Germany's Walls of Fire webzine recently conducted an interview with CANNIBAL CORPSE bassist Alex Webster. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Walls of Fire: Let's focus on [your bass playing] for a while. Have you ever taken lessons or is your ability completely self-taught?
Alex: I took lessons for a little while from a few different teachers over the years. My first teacher was a guy named Mike Hudson, he was from my hometown (Buffalo). He played in the band from my school and was also a friend. I took a few lessons and I was learning the basics of music. I stopped taking lessons from him for a while and started teaching myself. Then I took some more lessons from a guy from a local music store, a couple of years later I took some more lessons from someone working at a different music store to improve my sight-reading. It's a combination of learning on my own and getting taught. I did actually take a handful of lessons, only five or six, from the great bass player Shawn Malone (CYNIC) in 1994 or 1995 and learned some cool stuff.
Walls of Fire: You are able to read sheet music then?
Alex: Not so well. If you gave me a complicated piece it will be hard for me to sight-read it. But a slow quarter note walking bass line I could read on the spot. I'm pretty good at reading simple walking bass lines. To understand what's going on in any kind of piece of music, I can do that by looking at it. But I'm not a good sight-reader. To me it feels more like translating it. For instance, I can read Spanish, but I'm always translating it while reading.
Walls of Fire: How often do you practice on your own and how often does the band rehearse?
Alex: The band practices four days a week. I don't have a daily routine, it really depends on how I feel on that day. I've played for 23 years now and I know how to play the instrument. I'm only going to practice a lot when I feel like it. I don't want to burn out and hate playing, because if you force yourself to practice six or eight hours a day all the time you'll end up hating it. You need to have some balance in your life. That's what I'm trying to do. Sometimes, when I'm in the mood, I practice for eight hours a day and at other times I might not practice at all, because I have something else going on like doing something with my wife. I don't have a routine. These days I have been working on other projects. I have just finished a project with Ron Jarzembek (BLOTTED SCIENCE) and, whenever I had spare time to play bass, I was always working on the music he was writing. I didn't have time to practice for something else. I have a bunch of books that I really want to get into and to work on, but the projects keep coming. It looks like I'm going to end up playing bass on the new HATE ETERNAL album, which will be fun, but it's also gonna be a lot of work. Again, any free time I have for bass playing I have over the next months, will be spent on working on those songs.
Read the entire interview at www.wallsoffire.de.