Ladies & Gents

A conversation with......

( Composer  / Bassist / Vocalist )

"Victor Bailey"


vx.JPG (101832 bytes)

 


So ,  What have U been into playa  ??
VICTOR BAILEY :
 These days... I'm mainly doing my thing with my group. As has been typical throughout jazz history

I can get thousands of people at a show outside the US..... and can't get arrested in the US.
 

Is that Bad ?

See, this kinda situation ...reminds me of a pathetic person ...chasing after somebody, who doesn't wanna be bothered !
Why chase somethin' ( america's attention ) that ain't for You ?

Fuck em'   !!!!
Why be in a room full of people....that don't "Get" you ?
( or who ain't even tryin’ to feel your shit ?!? )

I'm thinkin' : "Wouldn't you rather be among friends ?  ( european audiences)  
or  folks that you don't have to impress ?

But, on da reel  ?       "Ignorance & Racism" are at the root of THAT problem.

In the States…..



VICTOR BAILEY :

    Outside of the USA, audiences aren't bombarded with images of African Americans being bad,lazy,shiftless,dumb or dangerous.So when you show up with a group of cats,you can be viewed strictly as some bad mutha fuckas,period.Also because we pose no threat to them on any level,they're not afraid to acknowledge that peoples of African descent have superior rythmic capabilities and feel for certain musics.Doesn't mean that no one else isn't great,but when they hear some brothers funkin' or swingin'they're not afraid to admit that it's our feel,and anyone else can share it,but we have it naturally.Black people that never touched an instrument in their lives can be funky,or swingin'.And they also know we takin' our black ass back home so they ain't worried bout you stealin their women and shit.If we steal one or two along the way that's alright though.Cause they know most of the time they'll be back anyway!  I've been working on music for a new record too.I've played for other people for so long I didn't realize how much my thing WASN"T really developed,so I've been working on my playing more than in years. The new record will be a whole different guy.

Yea , Vic.... I feel U ,  when I turned 40 ( sporty ) a yr. ago

I decided to FINALLY do MY own thing   [ exclusively ]

I was like : "If not NOW...WHEN ? "

 

Cause, the "Hired Gun" thing is cool for awhile....

And, if U can finish your own sentences ?   ( MUSICALLY )

Then YOU SHOULD !!!!

 

Learn what U can Learn......Then " GO & APPLY" the Shit  ?!?!


VICTOR BAILEY :

At some point if you have something to say….. you HAVE to say it.  I played on 1000 records and three of them sound like ME :  MY records !   I'm proud of the career Ive had… but,  99 % of what people think is me.... actually represents a fraction of my capability.Most of the time I'm playing basslines written by someone who doesn't play the bass,written on a keyboard with two fingers.Then that comes out and peole think that's MY concept. Kid Logic from my “Bottom's Up” record is MY concept of a bassline! As proud as I am of Weather Report, I was playing way more shit back then…. than is on any of those records. Ask anyone who was in the 55 Grand St. or 7th Ave South clubs back in the day,or  saw WR live with me and Omar. Now there's all this stuff out there, that I just sound a'ight on to me, and I'm glad people dig it....but , lots of 'em have no idea what I really do.  Gotta do YOUR thing after a while.

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Aaaaaaaaay , man ....U know I KNOW !!!

Your version of P-Funk’s ( not just ) Knee Deep…w/  just You & Omar [ Hakim ] was Maddness !!!
VICTOR BAILEY :
 Thanks.  When I was younger and played funk gigs, I used to do the bassline in the beginning of that whenever we played Knee Deep.The cats always hated it.  During the last record I thought that if I arranged it my way, maybe cats could see where I was coming from.

Sounds like dem “corny-ass” jazz purists….

HOW IN THE FUCK are YOU NOT GONNA be able to hear

 "KNEE DEEP"  ?!?!?!


VICTOR BAILEY :

  Actually, that was the "Funk" guys !!!!

But,   Corny....  Never Sleeps !

 

VICTOR BAILEY :Sometimes when you're going for something different cats don't get it at first. Right before I came to New York Marcus had gotten big in the studios,and most young brothers were trying to sound like him.Some cats would say : "You need to check out Marcus". I said "shit,why did I need to check out somebody I was just as good as?To tell the truth I thought I was better!  I didn't give a fuck how big anybody's name was,when it was time to hit, it wasn't NO THING, with ANYBODY I was hearing at the time.The whole idea with this style of bass created by Stanley, Alphonso, Jaco was new, and nobody was trying to apply it to the funk. So those guys thought I didn't know what I was doing. Now... everywhere I go , I meet cats they've bragged to about hittin' with me when I was young.

Binkie.net......jpg (16432 bytes)
 
Ha ha ha.

 


VICTOR BAILEY : My recording of "Knee Deep" on the last cd was a reactionary thing in a way.I was talking to someone about how lame I thought most of the smooth-jazz cover stuff was,and they said "well what can you do with a cover"?  So, I sat down and did my version of a classic tune. Though I don't think of it as a cover, I think of it as an "Arrangement".
Okay ?!?!

Victor …..NOBODY swings harder than YOU  !!!!
U take cash or charge for lessons  ?
VICTOR BAILEY :

Foley.... you're one of the rare cats these days who know how much swing and bebop are a part of my foundation !!  Growing up I never listened to Jaco for 'jazz" playing like a lot of cats.I listened to Ron Carter, Ray Brown  & Paul Chambers.  I try to give lessons but , sorry to say : 

I'm a terrible teacher.
"Damn, Damn, Damn" -------Florida Evans  ( Good Times )

 bailey.jpg (33815 bytes)

 

 

 


The “SMARTALECMUSIC” BURINING QUESTION : 
Indies  vs. the Majors
Omni-Important ?    or    In  the End…

it doesn’t *really* Matter ?


VICTOR BAILEY : As I've grown in age an experience,I've come to the conclusion that being a musician is not having a record deal,making money,being famous etc.Being a musician is BEING a musician.Major labels are great if your goal is to be a star.
Preach....
 
VICTOR BAILEY : If you just want to be a creative artist it's not always the best situation.I would never get the kind of support to just express myself on a major label like I do from ESC Reords.None the less I must say to be on a major and have their support can be a great boost to your life as a musician,and your life in general,  if your relationship works well.

 

  vic4.JPG (126330 bytes)

This pic was taken mins. after Victor's beloved signature bass was Stolen

( it was missing for Months )

 

 

 



I’m gonna throw some “Names” @  ya

( Respond however U wish )

 

 
Joe Zawinul     Zawinul    ( blue nites fest ).jpg (47451 bytes)

VICTOR BAILEY :   In twenty years of working with Joe on and off,I never heard him make a mistake.The man is TOTALLY dedicated to music and even at 72 years old he's still reaching for new things all the time.
Damn.....


victorw....jpg (23813 bytes)
VICTOR BAILEY : Add to that that he's very serious about life,not one of these "hang out" type of cats.I've been around a lot of bad cats,but there's another level,of TRULY great cats,and he's there for sure.He's a heavy guy on every level.After 23 years of knowing him there isn't one thing I can say I have ever seen that was not together.He's a little rough on some cats,but regardless of what they may say about him,they,no WE,were all better musicians and stronger men after we played with him.And some of those cats couldn't even play so they should be grateful to have shared the bandstand with him even once.I'm gettin' a little rough myself now huh!?

Yes, Indeed !

 

 

 

 


Jaco Pastorius      jaco.JPG (43844 bytes)

VICTOR BAILEY : Needless to say,Jaco opened up a lot of doors on the bass.He's one of those rare cats who influence how people that come after play.What he had that so many of his disciples miss though,is great feel and groove.A true master.

His Bass shit ..I already heard it from "Alphonso Johnson"
( that close to the bridge fingering)


But, Jaco's MUSIC MIND ?!?!
That's where his genius was shown !!!

HIS “DRUM SHIT” ALONE !!
Teen Town ??!?!?
People always talk about the bass on that tune ....
TOTALLY sleepin' on his DRUM work !!

VICTOR BAILEY :

  And all the arrangements and shit too.Cats also sleep on the fact that none of his writing was too busy or complicated.The shit he played was ridiculous,but the tunes had grooves,nice melodies,and nice harmony.Sophisticated,but not trying to show how deep he could get.Telling stories.So many disciples have these records with all this shit on it and NO tunes I can remember.

 

 


Marcus Miller     marcus.JPG (44674 bytes)

VICTOR BAILEY : Marcus is another one of those rare cats whose sound and style become a part of the vocabulary of their instrument. He set the standard for sound and stlye with thumb playing. He's the only bassist who influenced the sound of slapping.Larry of course invented the stlye,and Louis added some nice flourishes,but no one copied their sounds.Marcus set the standard with his sound and is the only thumb player in history to do so.Listen to radio now and half the records sound just like him,especially smooth jazz records from LA.But you know how you can tell if it's him or not?If you hear a record and go "is that Marcus?" it's not him.Because when it IS him you hear one fuckin' note and you know,THAT'S MARCUS!  And he's done it with all great music. Never was trendy or faddish,always had his own shit.I heard him with Lenny White in Philly when I was sixteen and still coping Stanley and Jaco licks.He was only seventeen and already totally had his own shit.The rest is history.And he's probably one of the coolest millionaires you'll ever meet.
Whew !!!!



VICTOR BAILEY :  When you ever see a cat that rich be so down,especially out here is LA?   Gotta love dat brutha!
 Great "Inner-view" with Marcus.
Thanks, man…..

 



Lenny White     lenny   1.JPG (38329 bytes)

 VICTOR BAILEY : I have MADD love for Lenny White. When I came to NY and some guys were trying to say I didn't know what I was doing,he said "you got something else, don't ever change that".Plus Lenny is hip to ALL the shit,jazz,funk,hip hop,whateva.That's my kind of cat.

"HATERS ?"

 VICTOR BAILEY :  Like I said before when you go for something different,cats don't always "Get It" at first.But Lenny did,and the cats that didn't were no lenny white's,so I'll go with the CAT!  He used me in situations at a time when everyone was looking for marcus or some other young cat playing like Marcus. and he always said "play YOUR thing.  And he's not only a great drummer.... but a great musicain as well. We ( You & I ) worked together with him and you know that music was off the heezy!
Aaaaww, man ....
THAT was a cool-ass band !!

VICTOR  BAILEY :

That last one was phenomenal !!

Me, You, Donald Blackman AND Patrice Rushen, Bennie Maupin,Mark Ledford, Lenny.....SICK !

Yea..... We did the Gott Damn Thang , that tour  !!

 

 



James Jamerson   jamerson  II.JPG (182385 bytes)


VICTOR BAILEY :  No one will ever be more significant to the history of bass guitar than Jamerson. The instrument has advanced so much it's easy to forget that before Jamerson, it was thought that you couldn't have a sound, a style or a recognizable identity on electric bass.  It was literally not thought of as a "legitimate" instrument.  He changed all that.

And, NOBODY know who he was.....

til' MARVIN put the credits on the insleeve of  "What's Goin' On"

They knew his Hands ...but , NOT HIS NAME  ?!?!



VICTOR BAILEY :

  The standard of his work is so high you cannot play any of the songs he played on without playing his basslines.They're a part of the song now.That concept didn't exist on electric bass before Jamerson.

No Jamerson ?     No Peace !     (  If   U "THINK" U play BASS  )


 

 


Herbie Hancock    hh2   II.jpg (20821 bytes)

VICTOR BAILEY : Herbie is the one cat I never worked with that I want to play with. He is a COMPLETE master of his instrument yet never sounds "chopsy". He's always telling a story.
Not to mention being a MAJOR contributor to hip-hop  ?!?!?
 THEY consider him to be one of the Bricklayers , because of the MTV exposure of dj's  with "Rocket"
VICTOR BAILEY :

   His Rocket thing was a ground breaking moment for hip hop getting exposure to the mainstream.I'm as big a fan of Herbie as anyone alive,but not his hip hop shit.It's some watered down...who's that dude...Bill somebody?......mmmmmm.......yeah ok,right......

Ha ha ha....

 

 



Wayne Shorter     wayne.JPG (33627 bytes)

VICTOR BAILEY : I'll never forget on Weather Report's Domino Theory tour in 1985,we played a ballad from that record called Blue Sound Note Three.I played a solo and just ripped it.Then Wayne played a solo and played three chromatic notes,E flat,E natural and F.He played those three notes so many ways,maybe one or two every bar,and wiped everything I played out.He has an incredible mind.

I've never heard Miles speak as highly about someone [ consistantly ] as he did about "Wayne"

VICTOR BAILEY :

   I haven't been around Wayne for a long time but when i was he was ALL music.

He would sit on the bus with his little yamaha keyboard and improvise harmonies that were ASTOUNDING !    As a composer.... he is a grand master for all time.
 

 

 

 



Prince     p on d.JPG (87892 bytes)

VICTOR BAILEY :  Prince is so bad he makes me sick! Plays everything like he *really* plays THAT instrument. He can write, arrange, produce, sing, dance, all of it. And of course these days with Rhonda Smith,  he has the world's prettiest bass player in his band,and she funky as hell too,that don't make no kinna senss!!

yea....I guess.

 
 


Madonna        madonna.jpg (35675 bytes)
VICTOR BAILEY :   Madonna was phenomenal!
She knew exactly what she was doing in every aspect.  The amount of time and effort she spent putting things together was in-human.  She's a genius at being a "Star".
As soon as she'd taken ALL cues from Prince on "Pushing Buttons"

Yes, then I'd agree....
 

 

 

 

 



Let’s play the....Either  OR  Game  !!!



Using an Amp   or   goin’ Direct  ?
VICTOR BAILEY :
That depends on what your sound is. If you get your sound from using a particular amp use the amp.Myself, my sound is me on the bass, so although I like to mic an amp if there's room for it in the studio,to have sound options, I'm ok with direct. As long as the end result sounds good... nothing else matters.
Aiiiiight ??
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Producing  or  Writing ?

VICTOR BAILEY :

 Well,  times have changed with the advent of home recording technology. Everyone thinks they're a writer and producer now.
((((((   PLEASE…. DON'T GET ME STARTED !!!  ))))))

VICTOR BAILEY : Know your strengths. Some people should just write and at least produce with someone with "adequate" production skills. If you can do both all the more better. I do them both... sort of at the same time and love both aspects.

Aiiiiiiiiiiight ?


 

 


Logic   or   Digital Performer  ?
VICTOR BAILEY :
My philosophy on that is  :  "Either a kats music is happening..... or it's not."
If a cat's got the ears,he can use a four track and make great sounding music.I used to use Performer but switched to Pro Tools because all the studios all over the world seem to have it,and I was getting frustrated with going into studios and not being to sit down and take care of things myself,which is sometimes necessary. But,  really it all comes down to the quality of the music.

Ya Heard ?

 Sergio Cabanillas....jpg (22751 bytes)

 


 
Mac  or  PC  ?
VICTOR BAILEY :

I'm a MAC guy.
I haven't ever used a PC..... so, I can't say one way or the other.
Once again ....the music will be either happening or not.

 

 

 


Oceans  or  Mountains  ?
VICTOR BAILEY :
I can't swim.... so,   I have to go with the mountains.

Ha ha ha ha….

mike visceglia.....jpg (7890 bytes)

 

 


 
Live  or  Studio
VICTOR BAILEY :   I like it when the music sounds great.
 Ok.
 

 

 


Bluegrass  or  Classical
VICTOR BAILEY :

  “ Bluegrassical “

Ha ha ha....
 


 


Jazz   or  Precision  ( Fender bass )
VICTOR BAILEY :

I'm a Jazz Bass man.It has more sound varieties. Of course we must acknowledge people like
James Jamerson who had such a great Precision sound. and....
Paul Jackson  ( Head Hunters )


Precisions feel like I have a TREE in my hands !!
( or a 3x4 )
VICTOR BAILEY :  Ha haha….

 

 

 


The Future  ?
VICTOR BAILEY :

I hope the future brings some new music.

Well....THAT’S  on  US !!!

VICTOR BAILEY :It's been a long time. Jazz, r&b, pop, rock, country, fusion, bebop,hip hop-these are all musics of the twentieth century, and we're in the 21st ......

Yea, well..... folks' VCR's  still blink 12:oo am !
People don't like to think !!     ( especially, if you're gonna do it for them ! )

Have U seen a "McDonalds" cash register ?!?!
( picture pages )

And, when U order a computer now.....
All of the connection cables are "color-coded" 

...& the software is ALREADY installed


Education :  "It melts in yo' mind !!"
 
You’ve definitely put it down out there & STILL …..
VICTOR  BAILEY :

Thanks,  though I feel I've only scratched the surface.  I played grooves for people for so long, in my own inimitable way,but grooves none the less.I have so much more to say than that and hope I can grow into saying it all while making some good music along the way.
 

 


Keep Pushin' Vic  !

And, Keep Tellin'  "THE TRUTH"


VICTOR  BAILEY :

   Can't stop.

Yeah,  that's wha's wrong wit da vibe right now.

Mufuckas don't be sayin' how shit IS !!!

Everybody 'spose to be a "Bad Kat" if they're doing well ?!?

I'm never one to HATE on 'em .....but , Let's keep dis shit Ree-yall !

 

Peace to all *Real* musicians out there, let's keep doin' it.

 

HOLLA!

Aiiiiiiight,  Mayne !!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

          

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