When did you start playing bass?
Well, I get this question a lot. I tell people I got my first bass when I was 10, but I really didn’t start taking it seriously until I was about 14 or so. What 10 year old wants to sit inside and practice an instrument all day? Not this kid. My first bass was sweet, it was a mini-scale black and white beast that sounded as awesome as it looked. My parents and brother found it at a pawn shop and painted it themselves, adding “Mark X” on the headstock to really round it out. My life was never the same. Thanks guys. Also another thing that people usually don’t believe me when I tell them, is that I just took my first lesson earlier this year. I just picked up what I could from my family, or playing along with cd’s. I was fortunate enough to get hooked up with some lessons with Jorge Casas, who has played bass and been band leader/producer for Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine for the last couple decades. Its been a real challenge to go back and try to undo some of the bad habits I created on my own, but over all it has been a tremendous help and over all blast.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Its hard to narrow it down to a few. I could make this list go on all day long but I’ll try to just give you a few I feel are the most important in shaping how I play and just an over all inspiration for me. My parents and brother would probably be the biggest. I grew up around music from day one, as my parents have been in bands since they were 11 years old. Outside of that Victor Wooten (solo artist/bela fleck) is probably one of the big ones for me. Nobody does what he does, and probably never will. Tom Kennedy (Dave Weckl Band) just because he’s a beast. Abraham Laboriel Sr. (played with everyone under the sun) is one of the first bass players I saw who just made my mouth hit the floor, he’s amazing at what he does, but my favorite part about him is just the pure joy he puts into his playing. Always a blast to watch. The last one I’ll mention is kind of an odd one as a bass player. Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band) is a drummer, but listening to some of his patterns and trying to play bass along with them really stretched me because its usually anything but a straight ahead groove. It also made me want to be more creative and think outside of the box with bass lines, the way he does with what he does behind the kit.
Whats your favorite food?
I’ll give your eyes a break, this is a very short answer, no questions asked. Favorite food is Chicken Lips! If you don’t know, you better ask somebody! These changed my life. If your ever in Burlington Iowa go to Martini’s and order some up. Chicken breasts smothered in a creamy buffalo sauce from the heavens. mmm…
What do you do in your spare time?
Well first off I’m a huge UFC fan, so you can usually find me catching up on my latest UFC and MMA websites and watching the latest fights. I also hop in with the local police and ride along quite a bit. I recommend this to anybody who loves the show COPS. Its not just ‘like’ being there, it ‘is’ being there. Even something as simple as a traffic stop is way more fun to watch from that side of the fence. Most PD’s allow this, so if its something that sounds fun, just go down there and ask them if they’ll take you, they most likely will and then you’ll be hooked. I always come home with a good story or two for the fellas. I also like to golf when I can, but that doesn’t happen as much as I would like it to. I also started a blog about a year ago, and while its pretty much sat dormant for months, I’m getting ready to update it again soon and I’m going to force myself to stay on top of it this time. No really, this time for SURE! :) You can find it at: http://markdejaynes.wordpress.com/
Where in St. Louis do you live?
Well actually I don’t live in St. Louis. When I first started this FE journey, after commuting for about a year from Iowa, I moved down to Hillsboro, Illinois. I already had some friends from back home who had moved there, so it seemed like a good choice. I also come from a very small town, and so there is something comforting about being able to leave your door unlocked at night, and most people knowing your name. When we come off the road I love the peace and quiet of Hillsboro. Moving to Hillsboro also is the main reason I became the big UFC fan that I am. Thanks to Matt Hughes for turning me on to something I now waste a majority of my day on.
Back to the music side of things, do you have a favorite song of all time, and what is it?
Yes, I do. ”I Wish” by Stevie Wonder. No matter how many times I hear this song, or play it, it always makes me smile and feel good. The groove is amazing to this song, its one of my favorite bass lines too, and the lyrics just top it all off. So good.
Ok, speaking of playing live, what is your favorite FE song to play live?
This one is kind of tough. It changes a lot. Right now though I would have to say its a new song we have been playing a lot called “This Moment”. There is nothing really crazy about this song, but the groove is so heavy on this song and has a lot of energy to it. Its a fun one to play for me.
How did you become a member of FE?
Well it all started when my brother Luke (FE drummer) used to attend Greenville College. He turned me onto a band called “LP Outsiders” and when I would come down to visit we would go to St. Louis and try to catch and LPO show. Russ happened to be in this band and I always thought he was an awesome vocalist and front man. So in late 2004 Luke and I were approached about doing a showcase with our good friend and former FE guitarist Ben Kesler. He and Russ had started a project and needed a full band for this showcase. So when I got the chance to finally play with Russ I jumped on it. We did that first show, with the addition of Scratch Track on guitar and background vocals we laid it down for the first time. After that we were kind of like, “hey that was kinda fun, we should do this some more”, and the rest is history.
Whats your favorite album you have purchased in 2009?
Man this is a toss up. Of course I’m going to say the new DMB record “Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King” because I’m a huge Dave Matthews Band fan. Really though, if you already like them, or you’re new to their music, I think you will find this album is really solid. Its still in regular rotation on my iPod. The other one that I still can’t get enough of is Raphael Saadiq’s newest album “The Way I See It”. It’s just incredible. Anybody who knows Saadiq knows he is an amazing producer/ bass player/ R&B artist. I bought this album because I really wanted to get some of that classic Raphael Saadiq sound in my collection, and when I popped it in, it was totally different than what I was expecting. However, I ended up falling in love with it right off the bat. He went back and created an entire album that captures the whole Motown era. He even used the same recording techniques they used back in the day and the songs themselves sound so authentic. It blew me away and I still can’t get enough of this album. I highly recommend either of these for your next music purchase.
What is your dream venue to play?
Red Rocks amphitheater in Morrison Colorado. I can’t think of a more beautiful place on earth to play a concert. If I ever play there, I can ride off into the sunset a happy camper. We drove up there while we were out in Colorado a few months back and tried to watch “Office Space” there, on one of their movie nights, but we got turned away at the gate. That means there were 9,000 people there to see this movie that has been out for years. Yeah, thats how special this place is.