Ask Willis - December - 2000

Supreme Court
Declares Winner!
And the winner is.......

dozens of entries
a few hanging chads
some filings
some breifings
the drama is over
we have a winner:

Curt Bianchi

the prize: a "Rocket Science" CD signed by the band
(street value $1.89)

Animation by Curt Bianchi
Curt's winning caption:

And in news from Barcelona... Tribal Tech keyboardist Scott Kinsey became so enthralled by the beautiful but flat (in a musical sense) Barcelona Huevos Muchacos that he thrust his right hand clear through the forehead of guitarist Scott Henderson. Henderson would later say, "It really didn't hurt much when it happened. Actually, it kinda felt good, but then Kinsey kept jerking his arm back and forth in a weak attempt to stay in rhythm. "That's what really gave me the headache." Upon hearing Henderson's comments, Kinsey retorted, "Hey, it's not my fault. You try to stay in rhythm when you're arm's attached to someone else's head."
other notable entries:
6 margeritas: $30. tour cost: $100,000. blackmail photo: priceless.
Kinsey: "If you wanna be my lover . . you gotta . . ."
Henderson: "Kinsey, listen to me. You are under contract to finish this tour! I know about your dreams of pop star fame as "Portly Spice", but you've heard me try to comp while I solo . . . PLEASE I beg you to reconsider . . ." 
Saturday Night Nausea
picture your best friend. now picture your best friend doing this. please, drink responsibly.
kinsey: is there a chiropractor in the house?
white men can't dance
Astro Chimp and the Space Camel struttin' their stuff.
Tribal Tech guitarist Scott Henderson tries to teach fellow bandmate Scott Kinsey the Hokie Pokie. "You put your left arm in, you put your left arm out... No! I said your LEFT arm!"
Henderson & Kinsey gettin' it on with the entire European chapter of Tribal Tech Groupies Inc.
I think I've found the Octavia!

Hey Willis
I really dig most of Rocket Science (although I wouldn't mind a few more composed tunes, you guys have written so many classics) but... what's up with the mix on the bass solo from Space Camels? Did TJ accidentally set the level too high or was it meant to be obnoxiously loud? ;-)

Classics - Schmassics....turn up tha bass!.
The effect on that solo is intentionally out of phase so it's hard to predict how it's going to behave in different environments.
TJ just does what we tell him to, anyway;-). We jam cause we can...and there's writing afterwards anyway. It's just more spontaneous to start out this way.

Yo Willis,
Man, great CD. Rocket Science is just awesome. I gotta know something though... I mean, the whole going-into-the-studio-and-writing-everything-there is great and all, and your last two TT CD's are two of the best I have, but I'm curious if there will ever be another CD like "Illicit" or "Reality Check" where Scott (both of them), or yourself write some of the tracks on your own. That was good stuff. Not saying, though, that the new stuff isn't, I mean, it's great, but just that I was wondering.
One more question...
My wife and I were on our way to NY when we found a dog on the side of the road. No tags or anything, so we're assuming the poor girl was abandoned. Anyhow, the dog we have now is absolutely nuts, and all she does is play and play, and then she plays some more. I mean, it's to the point that our new friend can't hardly eat or poddy without Abbey (our first dog) taking a swing at her tail or what not. Any suggestions?

Thanks..who know's. We put jams on 4 CD's before this one so it wasn't that radical to us to do a whole CD that way. We might end up going back to the composing process but I doubt that we'll ever completely eliminate the jams.

Congratulations on your benevolent deed...Don't worry, the excitement will wear off eventually. The first few months after we got Josie, to her, Buster was just a huge stuffed-animal play toy. Man she used to gnaw on him, not in a bad way, but she was relentless in wanting to play. Now he only becomes the target when things get really the occasional game of soccer-ball-keep-away.

Hey Willis
What's up! I'm wondering what's a bass lite?

There it all it's tiny guaged glory....25-30-35-45-and a whopping 65 for the E string. It's mostly tuned EADGC but that'll vary up or down a half step or so depending on the situation. I put the front pickup in and split them stereo on "What Has He Had?" /Thick.

Hey Willis
I like to know why do you prefer digital effects (the Lexikon MPX1) to analog stuff (for example the very good EBS pedals). Don't you think that the analog effects are more direct and warm?

Actually if you check out the bass solo on Thick (title track), you'll hear "dueling envelope followers. On one side is a famous analog pedal on the other is the Lexicon. I checked them out solo with nothing else going on and couldn't tell the difference. The analog pedal sounded great but using analog pedals live creates a whole other set of problems....mainly that you have to build a switching device to get a true bypass. If you use the pedal's bypass switch it will affect your tone.

Hey Willis
Iin your muting technique, it is the pinky area that does the muting rather than the palm right? And if your fingers are at a 45 degree angle to play the strings. Is that how you do it? The only muting that I;ve ever worked with is when I'm slapping I move up to the fingureboard and mute with my forearm. Your muting is difficult.

With the right posture, it's not that difficult. I don't use my little finger, it's definitely the bottom corner of my palm that does most of the muting work. Since I come at the strings with a straight wrist, it puts the bottom left side of my palm (left if it's facing me) on top of the saddles. I'd have to bend my wrist to get my pinky to reach the saddles

Hey Willis
I was wondering if you could giveme some advice on putting a ramp on my fretless fender p-bass. I will attempt to make a picture(I=the bridge, 8=the pick up, and 1=the fretboard) it looks something like this, I 8 1 If that makes any sense whatsoever, this is what i was trying to do. I want to put a ramp between the pickup and the fretboard and another between the bridge and the pickup. would that work? is it a good idea? if so, what types of wood do you recommend(any in particular)? and how would I go about putting them onto my bass. I know this is long and you may not entirely understand it but i would appreciate your opinion on the matter. thank you for your time and advice.

I have done exactly what you're describing: putting 2 ramps on a P bass. You have to have some basic woodworking skills but it's not too hard. It does help to have a belt sander to shape the top of the ramp to contour to the strings. But I went a long time just sanding by hand. The easiest to work with is simple pine molding. A Dremel tool comes in handy when you're trying to remove the wood so that it'll fit over the "ears" of the pickups. You want to clear the "ear" and the screw but leave wood remaining to keep the surface intact. The tools aren't cheap but the wood is, so you can afford to screw up a few times. Besides there's a 101 uses for a Dremel...right?