News — Lars Mullen

Artist Spotlight: Mindi Abair - Saxophonist Extraordinaire 0

Mindi Abair Saxophonist extraordinaireMindi Abair has certainly paid her dues in the studio and on the road as an unforgettable live performance artist. Described as the most recognised and sought after saxophonist, Mindi has played all styles from jazz to r&b to rock, touring and recording with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including, Aerosmith, Duran Duran, Gregg Allman, the Backstreet Boys, Keb Mo, Smokey Robinson and Joe Bonamassa. Her list of awards and ‘best of’ titles are endless and she was the only one surprised when she walked away with 8 awards at the 2018 Independent Blues Awards, which included the well-deserved Artist Of The Year.

Artist Spotlight: Tom Doughty - World Class Lap Steel Guitarist 0

Tom DoughtyTom Doughty and his relationship between mind and body is tempered by a serious motorbike accident in 1974 which left him with a spinal injury and a permanent disability that affected his hands and fingers. He, therefore, approached his instrument with a completely new and individual flavour, because he had to and not out of choice.

“I don’t have a choice,” explains Tom, “There is no choice...

Artist Spotlight: Usama Allati (Music Exceeds Borders) 0

Usama Allati liveWriting the Artist Spotlight feature I get to interview Fusion artists around the planet, how lucky am I? My next Fusion gig bag safari is a return call to the Middle East, Palestine in fact, to interview another incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist, Usama Allati.

We talk about his new project ‘Music Exceeds Borders’, how he grew up on a mixed recipe of classical and flamenco (with a large helping of Western rock) and his love for his ‘monster bass’ he refers to as a ‘spaceship.’

“It’s officially called the Oasis Custom Handmade 9 string Bass, made by Brazilian luthier Mauricio Costa who owns the company MG Bass in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA,” says Usama. “I contacted him in 2017 saying I wanted a bass made to my personal specifications within the tonewoods and hardware. The fingerboard is extra wide to cater for 9 strings which are tuned in 4ths and features a wave design inlaid with wenge, maple and mahogany exotic tonewoods. The 5-piece mahogany/wenge neck is of the straight-through body design, whilst the body itself is constructed from three layers of mahogany capped with imbuia, and it is the one and the only bass of this kind in the Middle East.

Artist Spotlight: Ahmad Hani - World Class Bass Player Against All Odds 0


Ahmad HaniThere are countless, everyday stories about the trials and tribulations that have squashed many an inspiring youngster’s dreams of becoming a musician. The cost of equipment for example, or not enough dedication from other band members, or getting married and not having enough time to commit to rehearsals. However, Ahmad Hani’s story about his road to success is far from every day.

“I was born in Egypt,” says Ahmad, “But my family moved to Dubai when I was just one year old, then when I was eighteen, I moved back to Egypt to attend university. I enjoyed learning other languages and dialects at school within multi-national classes. I made friends with students from the likes of India and Sudan. I loved all the sports, but my heart was in music. We always had music of some kind playing around the house as my mother was and still is a classical pianist and at the time, my Uncle adored The Beatles and we also had two TV channels broadcasting in English and Arabic.

I was just 14 when a friend in my class from Palestine introduced me to Iron Maiden. I loved this band, but at the time didn’t really think it was music and I was a little unsure about playing Iron Maiden loud in the house. In ’97 it was time to look at my future and in my heart, all I wanted was to be a musician, but my father was totally against my wish, he wanted me to study accountancy at university. This was just the start of a very difficult and epic journey for me. I agreed to go to university, but against his wishes, I bought a bass guitar and hid it under my bed. I could only play it unplugged during the night when everyone was asleep.

So far, Ahmad had struggled to play his bass in the dark without an amp and in fear of his father finding out. Pretty hard going you may think? 

Artist Spotlight: Becky Baldwin - Top Female Metal Bass Player 0

Becky Baldwin BassIn 2015 Becky Baldwin was listed in Metalholic Magazine’s Top 15 Female Hard Rock and Metal Bass Players, quite an achievement as there’s an endless list of female players now covering just about every musical genre from country to punk to Death metal.

A Celebration of English Musician Lars Mullen for St. George's Day 0

Lars MullenHello, my name’s Lars Mullen. I’m a music journalist, photographer and press consultant for many music-related products around the world including the wonderful Fusion gig bags.

And most important, I’m a guitar player. Welcome to St. George’s day.

Yes, guitars are my thing – there’s quite a few around. I don’t keep them in the house anymore; we don’t have room apparently, so once a month I go for a boy’s day out to a lock-up where they’re all kept and turn up very loud – clear my head! I first started… I was eleven years old, so not long ago, I was on a classical Spanish guitar playing the Harry Lime theme in the school concert. Petrified, yes I was.

Artist Spotlight: Emma Richardson - Bass Player Band of Skulls 0

Emma Richardson -  Band of SkullsBassist, Emma Richardson has not only been providing the low-end frequencies in Band Of Skulls since 2004, her harmony rock vocal blend with the band’s guitarist vocalist Russell Marsden is a joy in itself. I catch up with Emma as she takes a break from recording the band’s new album...

 

A NAMM Show Report by Lars Mullen 0

NAMM SHOW 2018The NAMM Show is the ultimate stage for all communities within music, sound and event technologies, a chance to group and showcase new products to the industries press and potential dealers new and old.

The latest figures released for the 2018 Anaheim show indicate no less than 1,931 exhibitors showcasing over 7,000 brands to over 115,000 attendees...

Artist Spotlight: Justin Johnson The Guitarist Who Plays A Shovel 0

Justin Johnson with shovel guitarThis is home (when he’s not touring the globe) for Justin Johnson, leading emissary and scholar of blues and roots music, also known as ‘The Wizard’ and recognised as International Slide Guitar Champion. Thanks to the wonders of Skype I get a tour of Justin’s house.

It’s the heart of Tennessee… picture the scene: The sun bleached porch with the creaky old rocking chair, the rusty old redundant tractor (now home for the farmyard rooster), chilled beers, an amp and the dilemma of which guitar to play.

Artist Spotlight: Remco Hendriks - A World's Elite Bass Player 1

RemcoUntil I actually met Remco Hendriks, I was one of thousands upon thousands of people who have watched him work his funky bass guitar grooves on YouTube, totally mesmerized by his sheer speed, accuracy, dexterity and phrasing on a fretless bass. I’d read all the quotes folk leave at the bottom… “Is this guy for real?” “Nah, can’t be done, it’s been sped up.”

Remco likes his privacy and own space so, as fans of his videos will know, he’s rarely seen full-face on screen. So I’m dragging my camera gear around Musikmesse, the annual trade show in Frankfurt, Germany earlier this year, when I notice familiar blonde dreadlocks. I’m thinking... is it or isn’t?

Witnessing Remco play live at the show, squashed all the rumours I’ve read, none of the videos are sped up and yes, I would say he is probably in the 1% of the world’s elite bass players.

Over a beer, Remco talks in his Dutch dialect about ‘all things bass’ and that until he checked it out, didn’t realise viewing figures for his videos were in the millions.