I just answered 10 questions for www.dmanlamius.com
I post it here.
1. What are you up to right now, musically?
I just finished my solo bass CD "Outre" www.cdbaby.com/cd/jeffschmidt
Right now I'm working on material that I'll put out under my alter ego "Ruiner Severhead". It's darker. More offensive. More distortion. More mayhem. It's a concept album about the rise of Christian Fascism. I'm planning a Christmas Day 2007 release.
2. Who are your main musical influences and why?
Depends on my mood. Right now it's dark, heavy & scary musics - but leading up to the recording of Outre is was instrumental piano, guitar, cello etc... jazz, classical and new age.
Music is like food. There's the stuff you like and you eat that regularly. But it's important to mix it up. Try something you don't think you'll like. I've always liked dark and heavy music - but got away from it for many many years.
3. What made you want to play bass in the first place? What did you dream?
My best friend and I both first picked up the guitar at 13. But he was better at it than me so in order for me to join the band I had to play bass. I dreamed of being the best bass player ever. Whatever that meant.
4. What equipment do you use? Is good equipment important to you?
For solo it's an MTD 535, and Pedulla PentaBuzz fretless. A Boss GT-6b processor. That's it. For the Ruiner Severhead stuff I use all kinds of weird noise making pedals and software plugins.
Good equipment is very important to me. Once you play really nice stuff for a while - it's really difficult to tolerate less than great gear. Great gear can be very inspiring.
5. Have you exceeded what you thought you may become when you first started to learn the bass?
No . . I have not exceeded the ideas I had when I first started.
But I've adjusted my expectations and now I'm happy that anyone even cares about what I do.
6. If you have one, what is your favourite technique?
7. Do you have any good practising tips for newer players?
For beginners - focus on getting a handle on basic technique and theory. Even while doing that - start making your own music.
8. Do you ever get stuck in a rut, or get "writers block"? Do you do anything to remedy this horrible dark place?
I don't think it's a horrible dark place. What makes it horrible and dark is thinking you need to say something - but having nothing to say.
It's a place every creative person will enter time and time again. It's part of the cycle of creation.
Periods of creation are followed by periods of silence. These silent times are the time to find new inspirations and motivations. Only if we expect to be constantly creative do we view these silent periods as horrible.
After finishing "Outre" I thought I would/could bang out another solo bass CD pretty quickly. But I felt empty at the thought of it and all my solo bass ideas sounded exactly like what I just recorded. I needed to do something else.
So "Ruiner Severhead" was born and I found great inspiration in that. But even that has a limit. So I'm going to finish material that and then wait for the next bout of inspiration to tell me what's next.
9. How can you see the bass evolving?
It seems more and more players are interested in doing more than fulfill the traditional role of the instrument.
I think we'll see a lot of players trying different things. We'll probably see more players modify the bass instrument itself - which is what I do with piccolo strings and alternate tunings.
Extended Range basses will come of age and there will start to be some really interesting music being made with them.
As far as trends that I think are a dead end - the whole be-bop melody on bass thing seems to be reaching a tipping point.
It's been 30 years since Jaco covered Donna Lee and now there's crowds of people who think doing Parker licks on bass is hip. But maybe that's just me. I tire quickly. ,-)
10. Any parting words of wisdom?
Don't try to stand out from the crowd. Avoid crowds entirely.