archivesapril ´01 2001

Hey Willis
I really dig your work. 'Long time fan. I've got a band and we just finished a CD. Where can I send it to you to get some comments?

While I appreciate your interest in my opinion, there's one little problem. Since I started the site a couple of years ago, I've received over 211 CDs so far, pretty much all of them unsolicited. That's over 8 straight days of listening 24 hours a day, no breaks, nothin. If I just listened to CDs 8 hours a day it would take me over 3 and a half weeks to get through everything. I'm not an A&R rep, I'm not affiliated with a record company that's looking to sign anyone. Take a look at the track record of companies that have signed Tribal Tech and you'll get an idea of how much the industry values my opinion. However, in light of this "presumed" demand, my only choice is to start a new service.

makes its internet debut today. Have your work listened to and critiqued by a professional for only $50. That's right, only $50 gets you a tune by tune, solo by solo evaluation by an experienced, trained pro. You get detailed improvisational analysis, melodic evaluation (if you wanna call it a melody), arrangement advice. I'll even help with personnel decisions ("fire the drummer!"). Don't have a CD? No problem. Just include the URL of your MP3 with your order. $10 per MP3 (no RealAudio, please).

On a budget? Order the economy package
For only $10, you'll receive a printable email proclaiming: "Sounds great, man!"
Individual MP3's are just $2 each!

211 and counting...

Hey Willis,
I tred to analyze the chord changes of "the Necessary Blonde", but I have have no idea how you wrote that song. How did you find those changes?What is the meaning of life? and when will you come back to play in Quebec City?

I wouldn't try to make too much sense of those chords.
I'll tell you how I found those changes.....for each chord, I first had to eliminate the 40 or 50 different chords that 'didn't' work until the right one came along.
The meaning of life is......SMTP ERROR - AUTHENCATION NOT CONFIGURED FOR 215.76.883.15 - SMTP SERVER INTERRUPT........until you get it right.

I might be in Montreal for the Drum Fest in Nov. this year but that's all I know of now.

Hey Willis
I am a big fan of your bassplaying and I have one important question to ask you:
Can one slap, pluck and tap on your bass?

Although I suppose one could "slap, pluck and tap" but then enventually the fingerboard would wear out... and you'd have to buy another Willis bass.....hmmmm....of course! "slap, pluck and tap" all you want....we'll just make more;-)

Hey Willis
I have a serious problem finding a good fretless 5-string bass. I know what your're about to say and maybe that's the final conclusion: to buy a Willis Bass!! I've been thinking about this day and night and I don't know what to think anymore? I mean, buying your signature and having you as my idol, does that make me a stalker? I wanna be me, not you! But then again, I can't play like you!

If you're concerned with the identity issue, you can just put a Primus sticker over my signature and nobody will know. Ibanez is considering issuing a "no you are not a stalker if you buy this bass" certificates with each GWB1 sold. Anyway, the less you play like me, the more work you'll get;-)

Hey Willis
Do the first two fingers of your right hand "smash" into your thumb when you play or do you always leave room for them to strike the string below (e.g. to create the thump sound you described in your video) ? I seem to have trouble making room for the fingers unless I jut my thumb out in front of them. What gives?

Good question-They "contact" or rest on my thumb mostly. It can get kinda crowded in there. What usually works is to rotate your wrist more clockwise. You end up playing more in the sides of the end of your fingers instead of straight on, but it helps create more room.

Hey Willis
Did you find your professed lack of sight-reading abilities a stumbling block in any early career opportunities? Everybody says it's essential and I've wondered how you pulled it off?

I'm sure it held me back from a few opportunities, but only from an employment standpoint. What I lacked in reading, I made up for by being able to play by ear and learn by ear really quickly. (something that's actually a liability when you're sight-reading) There's probably less than 10% of bassists out there today who make their living by reading. Still, if you choose not to develop that skill, you have to make up for it by really improving other skills--mainly your ear.

Hey Willis
On your Bent CD, was Dennis and Kirk tracked in one of several takes or were there punch-ins'? I cant imagine either drummer would have needed many takes. All of your tunes sound VERY interactive, so I would assume you recorded the tracks as you did on Rocket Science, adding the extra's later. Have you ever digitally cut tracks or parts of tracks from different takes and 'spliced' them together?
Your bass rig is so quiet. All the basses I have are noisy to some degree. Do you have something like a Hush unit, or are there any secrets to eliminating noise?

There were no punch-ins on Bent. yeah..Dennis and Kirk are that good. We probably got Himpotize on the 2nd or 3rd take and the same thing on Armageddon. Since it is more's always obvious which take is the one. Plus, there's no click so splicing is out of the questions.
My Bartolini is humbucking with individual coils per string....don't ask me how he does it. Otherwise I just track with minimal processing.

Hey Willis
I was just wondering what kind of wah-pedal or integrated midi-type of kinda machinery converting device thingy (yes, I'm Dutch and a complete antitechnical illiterate, now, does that make me a bad impersonator of a bassplayer? I guess so) you use. I'm trying to figure out what you used with your solo on "Space Camel" (which you played even more funkaliciously in the Milkyway in Amsterdam last year, HOT DAMN!!).
(Off the topic:) Have you heard of Squarepusher? If so, whaddayathink of that geezer?
See Ya Latr en tot ziens meneer Willis, daaaaag!!

Check out November's Questions for a tune-by-tune breakdown on the Rocket Science effects.
Also on the same page are the settings for the Envelope Follower patch that I use live for the MPX1.
Squarepusher is the bomb! (is that still an up to date phrase?) My fave is Big Loada.