If you've spent any measurable amount of time in Seattle clubs, chances are good you've seen Jeff Wood play bass or keyboards. He's done time in more than a dozen bands, including the backing outfits for Marc Olson, Gerald Collier, Carrie Akre, and the Velvet Underground's Doug Yule. He's currently active in three projects: Orbiter, Duff McKagan's newer band the Gents, and Sanford Arms, whose record release party is Friday, October 5 at the Tractor Tavern.
You've worked with so many impressive producers. What stands out in your mind about working with Sean Slade and Paul Q. Kolderie (who mixed Radiohead's 1995 album The Bends)? "That was in Boston, at Fort Apache studios, for Gerald [Collier]'s record [in 1997]. One of the things that ended up informing that record was getting to listen to OK Computer for the first time ever--those guys had advance copies, of course. We walked into the studio and they said, 'You guys have to check this out,' and they throw this record on. Holy shit. It was playing constantly throughout the sessions."
Has Duff McKagan given you any good bass-playing advice? "He recommends that you always wear your bass low enough that you can piss over it."
You don't really use a lot of pedals, but I've seen a few more lately. What have you been using? "A few distortions and overdrives, some phasers and envelopes--and pitch shifters. My favorite pedal is probably the Big Muff."
Because of the name? "It's got a great name, and it does make a good hairy sound. Really, though, it works especially well with bass."
What do you find the most anxiety-producing about playing bass? And what's the best thing? "You can rattle people's fillings out and move their groove thang with it, but it can be more than obvious if you blow it. Bass players are like the rudders on huge oil tankers, a necessary evil: A good one will get you there with style and ease, a bad one will probably get you where you're going eventually, but will leave a mess behind. And without one, you're not going anywhere--at least not anywhere fun."