A Small Talk with British Bassist Stuart Clayton

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2013年十月,我在音乐人攻略的微博上发布了一段视频,视频中的Stuart Clayton把Metallica乐队的经典名曲“Nothing Else Matters”重新用一把四弦贝司演绎了出来。意外地获得了超过500的转发次数。在第二天,我给Stuart发去了邮件,告诉了他这件事,并通过邮件做了个采访。

1990年,13岁的Stuart Clayton在看了英国funk-jazz风格乐队LEVEL 42的演出后,开始对贝司着迷了。在有了第一把Axe牌的贝司之后,Stuart立刻开始扒起他喜爱的乐队——KISS乐队的谱子,尽管一开始他只懂用一根弦演奏……随后的几个月里,他通过观看教学视频、书籍,模仿Mark King在LEVEL 42乐队里的演奏,学会了Slap和fingerstyle。初中毕业之后,他进入北德文学院的音乐系(高中),并随后继续到利兹音乐学院学习。Stuart的整个青春期都投入到音乐理论学习中,并参加各种大小演出,婚礼、晚会、朋友聚会等等,这期间让他接触不同的音乐风格并打下了坚实的基础。

自从他的第一本关于Mark King的贝司谱集合及教程推出后,到现在Stuart已经是接近二十本畅销贝司教学书籍的作者,包括著名贝司演奏家Mark King、Kiss乐队、John Entwistle(The Who乐队)等人的贝司谱合集、Funk & Disco风格贝司演奏、贝司理论以及像“Nothing Else Matters”那样的重新演绎。比起创作,他更热衷于教学与扒谱子。Stuart目前还是英国布里斯托BIMM音乐学院的贝司讲师,同时还代言Zon贝司和Aguilar音箱,并创建了销售贝司教程书籍的网站basslinepublishing.com。

读着Stuart的成长历程没有让我有那种“超现实”感,他并不属于我们所说的那种真正意义上“伟大”的贝司演奏家,他甚至还极少自己写歌。不过有一点他们是相同的,就是他们都清楚知道自己想要的和热爱的是什么,并为之付出努力。

 

SC:Stuart Clayton

你能用几句简短的话和我们说一下你与音乐结缘的故事吗?

SC:在13岁那一年,我对贝司产生了兴趣。我爸当时正在看LEVEL 42的演唱会,我对其中Mark King的狂野风格着了迷。在此之前,我从未对演奏乐器产生过兴趣,但当时我感到我必须要尝试一下。

MG:那在你刚学贝司的时候,谁对你产生过影响?他们又是在哪方面对你产生了影响的?

SC:这个人很明显是Mark King。但接着我受到了更多人的影响,像Stuart Hamm、Billy Sheehan、Jaco Pastorius和Victor Wooten等等的音乐人。我从他们身上学到了很多的音乐技巧。而随着我对音乐理解的不断深入,我发现没有坚实的乐理基础是不行的,所以我去大学进修音乐理论,学习如何“阅读”音乐作品。

刚开始的时候,你为什么会想以改编或扒下其他歌手/乐队的歌曲作为工作甚至还出书?除此之外,你有自己作曲吗?或者你有自己的乐队和个人计划吗?

SC:我从刚开始学习贝司时就喜欢写歌并且有创作过(至少有简单地写一些谱子)。即使是现在,我都会记下一些灵感突发带来的即兴旋律。后来我意识到当时市面上缺少像Mark King、Stuart Zender、Bernard Edwards这些伟大贝司手的作品乐谱,所以我开始出版有关优秀贝司手的乐谱书。我自己很少作曲,但我写了很多音乐方面的书,在www.basslinepublishing.com你可以买到它们。

当你在用电贝司从新演绎一首作品的时候(像Nothing Else Matters这首歌),你是关注乐理的合理运用来让歌曲更好听,还是说自由随意地即兴创作?

SC:我对乐理有着深刻的认识,所以我不会忽略理论的指导。一天下来,不得到最动听的音乐我是不会停下来的。我也会使用和弦移位法来寻找最合适的配乐。

在Nothing Else Matters这首歌的扒谱和改编中,你遇到的最困难的事是什么?

SC:对于我而言,无疑是演奏James Hetfield的吉他solo!因为我要用一只手弹奏贝司solo的同时,用另一只手来伴奏!我觉得这首歌的余下部分都十分容易演奏,但这一小节却十分有挑战性。

我们微博上的一些粉丝说,如果你能够用五弦贝司来演奏这首歌效果会更好。你是怎么看的?(你确实有一把GB的五弦贝司,是吧?)

SC:我确实有好几把五弦贝司,但我并不同意微博粉丝们的说法。这首歌是E小调的,四弦贝司是缀好的!

能说说你使用的是什么音箱和效果器吗?详细配置呢?

SC:我使用配备两个1×12 cabs 的Aguilar Tone Hammer 500,尽管我在“Nothing Else Matters”的视频中我用了TC Electronic RH450 和2×10箱体。我之前有代言TC Electronic,但现在我是Aguilar的代言人了。我同时还代言Zon的贝司。通常我不使用任何效果器。

MG:你会在不同歌曲中使用不同的调弦吗?

SC:不。我喜欢使用标准调弦,并把歌曲改编成适合四弦贝司演奏的旋律。

在你的网站上的自传中,你提到在你早些年作为学习贝司演奏的时候,你的老师Steve Berry教给你的最好的东西就是“不依赖任何既有模式,在指板上演奏大调音阶。” 你那时是怎么理解和学习(例如在你的自传中提到的最佳学习方法是什么?)

SC:总的来说,Steve教会我去根据音符本身的变化来学习音阶,而不是受制于那些既有的音阶指形。这是一个更加贴近音乐本质的学习方法。这个方法意味着,你不受制于某块有限的指板区域上去演奏音阶。这也是我现在教给学生们的内容。

在你的Nothing Else Matters贝司独奏的视频中,你的结合了slap和指弹的弹奏技巧的表演,让我们的微博粉丝高潮迭起。你花了多长的时间去练习这样的技法?你觉得学习slap和指弹的最佳方法是什么?

SC:一开始的时候,我通过研究歌曲,扒谱和模仿我最喜爱的乐手来学习演奏技巧。实际上,扒谱,模仿,研究歌曲就是最好的方法。这能让你灵感迸发,并促进你的技巧的提高。 

你对中国以及对中国的音乐的了解有多少?

SC:我恐怕只能说——我真的不太了解哦。最近我的YOUTUBE上多了很多来自中国粉丝,非常感谢中国朋友们对我的支持!

 

以下是采访的英文原文:

Can you tell us about your musical upbringing in brief words?

SC: I became interested in playing bass when I was 13. My dad was watching a Level 42 concert and I was really blown away by Mark King’s slap style. I’d never been interested in playing an instrument before then, but when I saw that I knew I had to try it.

MGWho were your influences as a young, up-and-coming student of bass? And in what way they had influenced you?

SC: Mark King obviously, but then I got into quite a lot of ‘technical’ players like Stuart Hamm, Billy Sheehan, Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten etc. I learnt a lot of technique from all of them, but as I got better I realised that it all meant nothing without a solid musical background, so I went to college and learnt theory and how to read music etc.

When/why did you start to do those transcription works at the beginning? Besides them, do you compose yourself and do you have any solo projects…?

SC: I have always loved writing out music and did it (in TAB at least) right from the beginning. Even now, I score out any good riffs I come up with. I began publishing transcription books as I noticed there was a lack of books on great bassists like Mark King, Stuart Zender, Bernard Edwards etc. I don’t compose much myself, but I do write a lot of books, which I sell through http://www.basslinepublishing.com

When you are arranging a song (like the one “Nothing else Matters”) with E-bass, do you pay much attention and time to those musical theory or rules, thinking much about what was sounding best? Or just try to feel free to it and improvise?

I know musical theory really well, so it’s hard to ignore. But at the end of the day, whatever sounds best is what I end up playing. I also improvise a lot with chord progressions to find the right ideas.

To you what is the most difficult part in your “Nothing Else Matters” transcription?

SC: For me, it’s playing James Hetfield’s guitar solo! This is because I combined the solo in one hand with some bass notes and accompaniment in the other! I find the rest of that piece quite simple to play, but that part is very challenging.

Somebody (our followers on Weibo) says you could have done better if you put it into a 5-string bass? What do you think of it? (you do have a GB 5-String bass, don’t you?)

SC: I have several 5-string basses, but I disagree with that poster – the song is in E minor, so it fits a 4-string bass perfectly.

MG: Can you tell us what amps and effects do you use? And the set up?

SC: I use an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 with two 1×12 cabs, although in the ‘Nothing Else Matters’ video I was using a TC Electronic RH450 and 2×10 cab. I used to endorse TC Electronic, but I have moved to Aguilar now. I also endorse Zon basses. I don’t use any effects regularly.

 Did you employ a different tuning for each composition?

SC: No. I like to make arrangements that are playable on a standard 4-string bass in regular tuning.

MG: In your biography on your website, you mentioned that in your early years as a bass student, “One of the best things that he (Steve Berry) taught me was to learn my major scales all over the fingerboard without relying on any patterns”. My Q is:

Can you tell us more about it back then? (Like What is the approach exactly like you said in your biography?)

SC: Basically, what Steve encouraged me to do was to learn my scales based on the notes in them rather than as patterns. It’s just a more musical approach and means that you are not restricted to using that scale in a small area of the fretboard. It’s how I teach all of my students now.

In the video of your “Nothing Else Matters” bass version, your performance, which combines the slapping and fingerstyle skills, is kinda mind-blowing to many our Weibo followers. How long did it take you to be like that and WHAT are the best ways to learn slaps and fingerstyle?

SC: I learnt a lot of technique early on by learning songs, transcribing and imitating my favourite players. These are the best ways to learn – transcribe, imitate, learn repertoire. This gives you ideas and helps develop technique.

What do you know about China and the music in China?

SC: Very little I’m afraid! I’ve had lots of people from China following me on YouTube recently and I’m really grateful for that!

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A Small Talk with British Bassist Stuart Clayton

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