My Dying Bride’s Lena Abe: “When you’re playing slow, it’s even more noticeable if your timing’s not bang-on”

by GuitarDomain

I started playing bass when I was 10 years old. My dad’s a musician, he plays bass and keyboards professionally, so there was always music around when I was a kid. He had a proper 80s-looking Washburn, a white one, and I would watch him play it and think ‘How do you do that?’ because I would pluck it and it sounded nothing like it did when he played it.

So I asked him to teach me to play, and that was my start. It’s a huge advantage for any musician if they have parents who encourage them to play. I didn’t have lessons, it was just me and my dad. He set me up with the basics and then I learned myself. He’s still gigging at 70 years old, which I think is fantastic.

When I was starting out I admired Cliff Burton, who was a major influence. He played incredible melodies, and the distortion he used just blew me away. Justin Chancellor of Tool, too; I heard their first EP when I was just starting out in the 90s, and I thought ‘What on earth is this?’ 

(Image credit: Pedro Gomes/Redferns)

I loved Les Claypool’s playing for the same reasons – when I heard Sailing The Seas Of Cheese, I had no idea that basses could make that noise. It was weird – sort of playground-like and playful, but also spooky. And then it was Bill Gould as well, I’d never seen playing like that. 

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