During this time, he was introduced to Gary "Muggbone" Cooper, who asked Freekbass and SHAG guitarist, Chris Donnelly, to play on a compilation Jimi Hendrix tribute album for P-Vine Records, Japan. Coincidentally, the recording session was to take place at Bootzilla Rehab Studios, recording den of none other than Boosty Collins. Freekbass and his guitarist, both named "Chris", were immediately dubbed "Chris Bass" and "Chris Guitar" by Bootsy, in order to not get them confused. But it was when "Chris Bass" laid down his bass tracks that Bootsy called out: "Play that Freaky Bass, Baba!" ...
Bootsy has called him Freekbass from that moment on ... It was the beginning of an inspirational and enduring friendship that continues today. "Freekbass is the new spiritual warrior for the Funk", Bootsy says. "I'm not a big fan of playing with myself, although I have been accused of doing so in the past (smile) ... this is the feeling I get when touchin' bass with Freekbass." Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Freekbass was an only child who initially wanted to be a magician.
He grew up glued to the television set, his mom influencing him with her obsession of "The King" and The Beatles. He later developed his own obsession for cartoon superheroes and comic books, relating to the underlying themes. "I always dug how these superheroes had all these powers, yet were ultimately still an outcast in society", Freekbass recalls. "If I wasn't Superman for Halloween, I was Elvis, so that should tell you something." Living in Cincinnati exposed Freekbass to genres of music he may have missed otherwise. While most kids were listening to Van Halen and AC/DC, he connected with the bottom-heavy sounds coming out of the boom boxes like Zapp and Midnight Star.
While working in a music shop to pay off his first electric bass he had in lay-away, he began to study the classics of Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Parliament and Bootsy. By high school he transferred to Cincinnati's School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), where he studied bass and dove right into the local music scene. Freekbass had numerous successes and then heartaches with his bands that followed. Sleep Theatre, who was signed just as they were breaking up, featured now Grammy Award winner Itaal Shur, co-writer of the Santana hit, "Smooth". "We tried to get back together for a couple months to make it work," Freekbass says, "but that didn't work at all. It was over." He then went on to form the funk band SHAG which became a very successful nationally touring band.
During their four year run, SHAG had then up-and-coming artists such as "Kid Rock" and "Stir" opening for them. They toured for months at a time, often taking breaks for only a day or two before hitting the road again. Ultimately, SHAG burnt themselves out, many of the eight members just tired of the rigorous tour schedule. As SHAG began to dissolve, Freekbass, embarked on his first solo project. His debut, Ultra-Violet Impact was picked up by Indy-label, Egg Records.
In 1999, Freekbass put together his own group, also using the name "Freekbass", to tour in support of the new release. Together, they recorded, Body Over Mind released in June 2001. Body Over Mind was picked up by Japanese label Starlets Records for release in Japan, September of 2002. Freekbass toured consistently, but was also careful to learn from the past.
The band took off for three months in the summer of 2003 to complete production on Underground, Gemini/Bootzilla, 2003. By September, they were on the road once again. While Freekbass has gotten several glowing reviews published for these albums, including Bass Player Magazine and Bass Frontiers Magazine, this heavily touring band is known for their live show. The combination of infectious energy, solid musicianship and that fancy finger-work on the custom, mutron bass, this production is more reminiscent of the big rock shows of another era. The Freekbass lineup in addition to Freekbass on bass and lead vocal, includes guitarist/vocalist - Josh Knarr and drummer Chip Wilson.
Guitarist, Josh Knarr, has played a part in successful Cincinnati bands such as Heavy Weather, though he initially studied Industrial Design at the University of Cincinnati's College of DAAP. Drummer, Chip Wilson, got his start with World Class Wreckin' Crew and has since played with artists from Sister Sledge to Reggie Calloway. Their tour history includes SXSW in Austin, CMJ in NY, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, House of Blues in Chicago, and Bogart's in Cincinnati. They have opened for acts such as George Clinton & the P-Funk Allstars, Nikka Costa, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Cowboy Mouth, VHS or Beta and Liquid Soul. The "Cammy Awards", Cincinnati's version of the Grammy's, has awarded the band "Best Urban/Hip Hop Band" for three years in a row, and Freekbass was also awarded the "Cincinnati Entertainment Award" in 2002 and 2003.
Freekbass was featured in Bass Player Magazine in March 2004 in an article entitled, “Keeper of the Funk Flame”. Tracks from “The Air Is Fresher Underground” are currently featured on episodes of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” and VH1’s “Bands Reunited”. Freekbass is also included on compilation cds by Bassics Magazine and D’Addario Strings, and recently signed on as endorsee for Kustom GrooveBass Amps. Read more on Last.fm.
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