6 April 20 - George Baldwin (UK), to Emmett:
This instrument is truly all I need to be happy whilst writing music. You always feel like you’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do no matter how long you’ve been playing it. I also love the joy it brings to people listening to it. It really is remarkable.
30 March 19 - Nick Beggs (UK), to Emmett:
Your continued support means so much to me. The instruments are sublime and continue to open a universe of expressive possibilities. After every show I am asked what is the strange new wonder I am utilizing.
09 April 10 - Eric Wallack (OH), to Stickist.com:
RE: Boris Bazurov
Wonderfully, it's a big world with still so much music to yet to play and be discovered! I love Boris' music and his fearlessness to use Emmett's creation to take the ancient Russian epic song tradition into the 22nd century and beyond.
I think we all can agree that the beautiful thing here is that The Stick has allowed each and every one of us to get closer to the music we want to make, the music we hope to make, and the magic of all the unheard music yet to be made - regardless (or inclusive) of all styles, genres, cultures and tastes.
10 September 08 - Jim Streeter (NJ), to Stickwire:
This was my 3rd consecutive trip down to see (Steve Adelson's) Long Beach Jazz Festival and it was fantastic. Every year so far there's been a totally unexpected surprise. Last year it was Steve and the rest of his band, only to be followed on-stage by the truly amazing Ben Lacy. I walked out at the end, shaking my head in disbelief.
This year was definitely Rachel Z with Steve and the entire Stick-Tet, followed by Rachel Z with her band Dept. of Good and Evil. Anyone who hasn't seen Ben really needs to do so. Rachel really is fantastic. The whole LBJF experience is one not to be missed.
18 January 08 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
I've heard Gary playing those tunes live (Gary Jibilian's "Galaxy Rodeo" CD)! Seriously, there's a ton of "jump" to his sound (for lack of a better term) and it's mainly coming from his fingers and fairly hard style of play. I've heard him through three or four different rigs and that same jump was there regardless of amplification.
30 January 06 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
It's not common to use thumbs but it is done. Bob Culbertson uses this technique quite a bit, especially on the bass side where he'll play chords and arpeggios midway up the fretboard and use his thumb to hit bass tones closer to the nut. Tom Griesgraber has been known to use this technique as well. And Steve Adelson plays licks on the melody side with his right hand and also uses his right thumb to play notes high up on the bass side of the fretboard. It's all still pretty much a clean slate and people are still inventing every day.
27 December 04 - Arthur Durkee (MN), to Stickwire:
One of the best examples I can think of for Stick playing rhythm and bass parts, heck, for playing, period, is Fergus Jamison Marsh, the Canadian Stickist who worked with Bruce Cockburn for several years. I urge you to check out the Cockburn "Live 1989" tour CD, which is chock full of great music, and features a lot of great featured work by Fergus.
I have some MP3s on my own Website that might qualify for your criteria, if I may be so bold. As Jerry has also mentioned already, a really good Stick technique is two-handed interlocking parts; these can function as simultaneous rhythm-plus-bass parts very easily. The Stick really IS a complete world in itself.
22 October 04 - Jon Southwood (IA), to Stickwire:
Last night I saw Tom Griesgraber and the California Guitar Trio. This was the closest I've ever been to a Chapman Stick. And what playing! Tom was, first and foremost, *musical*, using some of the extended techniques I've read about here in service of the music rather than as the "gee whiz bang" show.
So, I was converted from a wannabe-Stickist to a gottabe-Stickist....and I bought Tom's solo album, "A Whisper in the Thunder". Great album.
I've been lurking on this list for a while, thinking I'd been converted...heh, now I know what converted actually feels like. Stick Enterprises has one helluvan ambassador in Tom G.
06 October 04 - Ken Higgins (CA), to Stickwire:
Great Show in San Francisco last Saturday, and in Redwood City last night, worth seeing both for Tom Griesgraber and for the impressive California Guitar Trio. I went to the show interested in the CGT and already a fan of Tom's. I can now rave about them both. Simply watching Tom is like a mini-lesson. Tom is most impressive in person if you have heard his album before, as he manages to come up with arrangements which preserve all the key layers of his recorded music (with minimal looping), including the percussive elements. No easy feat. It's been said by others on the Stickwire list - get his album, it's a keeper. My suggestion is to buy it at their show! "Waking the Day" is a great opening song, perhaps my favorite of Tom's. It's fun to look around at a crowd who is largely agog at what a musician is achieving. Many stunned experessions in the room. Bert Lams of The CGT joined Tom for "Victor's Chase" last night, which made for some really satisfying layers. It was fun to watch them pass the melody lead back and forth a bit. Both nights Tom joined the CGT part way through their set to perform a piece from a film soundtrack which was composed by Bert Lams - very impactful indeed! Tom and Paul of the CGT are getting really good at the live "patter" thing, too. I really respect how Tom creates very melody-driven music, rather than trying to "impress" with an unusual instrument. Instead he simply creates impressive and dynamic music with the unique instrument we all love! His deep musical knowledge and background serves him well, to our benefit.
16 September 04 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
Tony told me the ability to play multiple parts was one reason he got the gig and used so much Stick. If I'm not mistaken, only one of the tracks on Discipline, "Thela Hun Jingeet" (sp?), is a bass track, all the rest are Stick. My inspiration to try a Stick came in 1984 whan I saw them on the Three of a Perfect Pair tour, and Tony was playing Stick bass parts and right-hand synth parts. I really wanted to have that bass sound. A few months later, I was hooked up with #695, a used ironwood instrument I bought at Chuck Levin's in Maryland. Thanks to Tony, 20 years later!
25 March 04 - Steve Adelson (NY), to Stickwire:
Oh baby. I played guitar for 15 years before I got my first Stick in 1984. I had actually played shows with Tal Farlow, Joe Pass, Kenny Barron..... I do not play guitar anymore, whatsoever. I do teach guitar but the only practicing and gigging I do is strictly on Stick. I think that my jazz guitar background does come through in my Stick sound. Long live the Stick.
8 March 03 - Tom Griesgraber (CA), to Stickwire:
I'm a week into the CGT tour now, and with no long drive yesterday and today I went through all the photos I've been taking and made a little page about the tour. You can find it at www.thossounds.com/cgttour.html. Been having a great time with them and a great reception from their fans. The guys are playing a bunch of new material too, and it's fun to watch it evolve and tighten night to night. I also managed to get them in to record on a piece of mine while in San Diego. but.. more on all this at the page. Still ahead? Palo Alto (tonight), Carmichael, Mill Valley, Eugene. (cgtrio.com)
26 January 03 - Vance Gloster (CA), to Stickwire:
Anyway, here are a couple informational tidbits I picked up at NAMM. Chad Wackerman, one of my favorite drummers (Alan Holdsworth, Zappa), wandered into the Stick booth. He was there to pick up a set of Stick strings. It turns out he has his own band down in Australia, and he writes a lot of the music for the group. He writes much of it on Stick, and then teaches the parts to the guitar and bass players.
16 December 02 - Micah Ball (CA) about Tony Levin, to Stickwire:
He (Tony Levin) didn't play Stick at all until the last encore (Shock the Monkey). Interestingly, it cut through better than anything else he played that night. That Stick attack is just unmistakable. Tony also got by far the biggest applause when the band members were introduced. Interesting.
21 October 02 - Tom Griesgraber (CA), to Stickwire:
I'm a few weeks into my Jerry Marotta trip out here now. Been quite fun so far with week one having been spent rehearsing and doing some shows in NY and OH. Week two now finds us back in recording mode?writing and tracking at the same time. I've been digging hard into my gear looking for new Stick sounds to "match wits" with all the drum sounds flying at me?and we've been working more or less in a "write/record the music first... learn to play it live later" mode, which is great. Some really amazing things are coming together.
8 October 02 - Greg Howard (VA) to Stickwire:
In the early days of The Stick almost all of the early adaptors were guitar players, turned on by Emmett's free-wheeling fireworks as he toured around playing concerts and doing store clinics. If you don't have a copy of Parallel Galaxy, you can't possibly know what I man. It wasn't just the idea of the instrument that inspired people, it was the music that Emmett made.
5 August 02 - Jim Reilly (Canada) interview of Bob Culbertson, to Talking Sticks:
Part of my goal and what I like to do is just bring The Stick out to the common non-Stick people. I love that. I love that I've got 50 year-old housewives sitting there playing Stick music in their kitchen. That is something I really feel good about. It's nice to get The Stick into the public in a way that it's just another instrument. It's not strange, it's just different. That is something that I'm proud of, that I'm able to play the instrument in a fashion that the common folk like and then still be able to do this other stuff. Playing for you guys though is the most fun. I get to open it up a little.
30 April 02 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan) about Don Schiff, to Stickwire:
Don played the NS/Stick exclusively with Lana Lane. (He told me later that he had decided to stop using both the NS and Grand Stick for the shows when he realized that he could do it all on the NS.) The tone of the NS was beautiful, with growling lows and brilliant highs that cut through the wall of sound erected by the guitarist and keyboardist. Watching Don, it struck me that he is the quintessential bass player, standing toward the back of the stage, not nearly as animated as the rest of the band, solid in his responsibility of being the foundation upon which the music is built. Anyone who kept a close eye on him noticed much more, however: plucking with his right had close to the bridge for a tight, distinct electric bass tone; resting his right hand on the body of the NS/Stick while hammering out bass lines with his left hand; fast two-handed bass lines up and down the neck; arpeggiated chords high on the melody side in combination with chords and lines in the bass; tapping a bass line with one or two fingers of the left hand while using the rest of the fingers on the left hand to fret chords plucked or strummed by the right hand; a guitar finger picking style with the right hand fingers and thumb plucking the strings fretted by the left hand, sometimes with a plucked open string for a nice "twangy" effect somewhat reminiscent of a sitar. Those who weren't watching Don as closely as I finally got a glimpse of what they had been missing during his solo toward the end of the show. It was easily the most entertaining and creative solo of the show (and I'm not a bit biased, am I? no no no?), and the crowd was very appreciative with extended applause. The other members returned to the stage and pretended to bow down to his greatness.
27 March 02 - Robert Schrum (MI) about Tony Levin, to Stick Enterprises:
BTW my two-year-old daughter now has tone and brand recognition of The Stick. Tony Levin's new 'Pieces of the Sun' is in random rotation in our living room's CD player. On most of the tunes Tony plays Stick, Nadia points at the speakers and yells, "Stick! Stick! Stick!" His regular bass playing gets no such reaction.
March 2002 - Andy Long (UK), interview of Virna Splendore for Global Bass:
"In 1985 I saw a small article about the Stick in an Italian music magazine", she explained. The Music Show in Milan was soon coming, and I knew the importer of the instrument in Italy was going to exhibit there, so I went to see it. I had the good fortune to see Jim Lampi demonstrating the Stick at the show. Wow, I was astonished! Jim is still my favourite Stick player. So I bought a Stick at the show the same day. I wondered what it was about the Stick that made it work for Virna, where other instruments had failed. "Mmmmm, good question...", she mused. "I don't know exactly. I felt really comfortable with it very soon, and I could mix my acquainted pianistic and stringed instruments knowledge very easily. It just happened that the Stick was my instrument more than all the others. I felt like it was a means through which the music could pass very easily if connected to the Stick...well, it's even difficult to explain it in English!"
24 December 01 - Simmon Keith (CO) about Bob Culbertson, to Stickwire:
Just saw Bob Culbertson in person again. Wow, is he phenomenal. Not surprisingly, I was blown away. When I showed up, he'd already been playing for 9 hours, and he was still going strong. Techniques worth noting: 1) use of the left thumb 2) seamlessly switching between crossed and uncrossed - in the same song 3) playing the bass-side with the right index and/or right pinky while the other fingers play melody-side, left hand simultaneously playing bass-side and/or melody-side. Bob truly does play "across the board", accessing any string with whichever hand necessary to reach the notes he needs. He can play really fast progressions, while keeping his dynamics low. And he makes it look so easy! A mall setting might not be the best to experience a talented performer, there being background noise and limited seating. But you can get right up close and watch his hands in detail. If you get a chance, GO SEE HIM!
December 01 - Jim Reilly (Canada), interview of Nick Beggs, for SE Website:
I feel very completed by The Stick. People keep saying to me, "I could make you this instrument," or "you could hybridize The Stick," or "you could use an NS Stick or you could use a Warr Guitar" or "what else do you need, how can we help you?" And I just say, "I've really got everything I need with The Chapman Stick." I think all these other instruments are really great and I see there's a market for them and it's for each person to find their own voice on whatever instrument they think is right. But I don't even find it necessary to pick up a bass guitar anymore. The Chapman Stick, for me, is a universe which needs to be explored and I don't want to detract from my quest of finding life out there by noodling around on other instruments that I feel would limit my search in some way.
JR: You've said that The Chapman Stick will change your life if you let it. What do you mean by that? Is that what you are getting at there?
NB: Well The Chapman Stick has changed my life.
JR: How has it changed your life?
NB: It made me part of a very exclusive club firstly. It also made me very focused and very detail oriented. But I suppose I always was like that. I think if you are going to be a Stick player you have to be one of those types of people. You have to be somebody who thinks outside of the square, as I said before.
You need a method by which to facilitate that and The Stick does it. The Stick will give you ideas and then make you run with them as far as you're capable of taking it. I suppose the things I do on Stick, only a Stick player could do. In terms of commerce and the industry it makes you a little bit more desirable. I've got people calling me up asking me to come and play on their records or "Can you do this" or "What's your availability." You wouldn't get that so much if you were a bass player because there're a lot of bass players out there.
29 September 01 - Greg Howard (VA), to Sticknews:
Thanks to all of you who have bought my CD's over the years. Without your support I simply couldn't continue to make recordings available, so I'm most grateful. Also, I'd like to thank Stick Enterprises for their ongoing support of so many Stick artists by making their records available. They have a huge catalog, it's quite amazing, really.
21 August 01 - Seth Goldenberg, to rec.music.makers.guitar.jazz newsgroup:
Yesterday, I finally went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to see the Dangerous Curves guitar exhibit. It was spectacular! The free audio tour was wonderful. One "guitar" I was particularly attracted to was the Chapman Stick made by Emmett Chapman. The string setup was bizarre and it is designed for tapping with both hands as opposed to picking with one. They had an excellent solo piece on The Stick with the audio tour. It was live so at the end I heard "Larry (Tuttle) from our own Van Nuys". I thought his music was brilliant.
20 August 01 - Tom Griesgraber (CA), to Stickwire:
I picked up a copy of CGT's new live album with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto. Great disc! Tony's Sticking is present on several tracks including a cover of King Crimson's Discipline that frankly I think I might like better than the original (gotta pull out the original and A/B them).
19 August 01 - Tony Levin (NY), on tonylevin.com:
My Stick is a pretty new one. I've been communicating a lot with Emmett Chapman lately, trying to get the ideal setup for a future solo Stick CD I'd like to make. Because I'm practicing The Stick now I've finally become aware of some of the subtleties of the top end of it, and with this Stick I have switched from the original pickup to The Block pickup that has been popular among other Stick players for years.
31 July 01 - Bruno Ricard (France), to Stick News:
I really think that Jim Lampi is one of the best European Stick players after I had the chance to see him live in a show during the Stick Seminar in Milan. His concert was fabulous: a lot of dynamics, a lot of groove, a lot of warmth. His show proved to me that The Stick is the perfect instrument to sing with. If you listen to his CD's, you will hear what it's possible to do with a Stick and a voice. Really impressive.
25 June 01 - Christopher Merlo (NY), to Stickwire:
I returned today from NEARfest (the North East Art Rock Festival) in Bethlehem, PA. The great thing for me this weekend was being able to pick Greg's brain about gear, and playing, and stuff. He really helped me pin down what I want to do in terms of amplification. Greg also played during Sunday's festival dinner break, and really turned a lot of people on to something new, which is what these festivals are all about. His performances also really inspired me to practice more, and with a couple of new tips and tricks we talked about, I can hardly wait to pick up The Stick again.
22 June 01 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
Right from the get go, Cides has managed to constantly push all of this Stickist's buttons with pretty much every piece that he records. My usual description to people who ask is that "he plays like he's on fire." My first purchase was "Primitivo" after hearing the title track on World Music Radio. I began listening to the latest work and sat like an idiot in my living room with my mouth open. (I could have been drooling, I'm not really sure). The man is a true artist. Effortlessly plowing through various Prelude and Fugues, Cello Suites and Brandenburg Concertos, Cides makes it sound as if these pieces were composed for The Stick. And as was present in his other recordings, there is the fire. Man! What makes this guy go?
8 June 01 - Kevin Keith (CA), to Stickwire:
Believe me when I say that I know what you mean! Initially it was weird for me to play bass guitar while learning The Stick since I was trying to adjust to 5ths tuning. At some point I really was bitten by The Stick bug and as a result I haven't practiced bass or guitar in years. I made a conscious decision a few years ago that Stick would become my primary instrument and I have never looked back.
9 May 01 - Andy Long (UK), interview with Carrie Melbourne for Global Bass:
Playing solo Stick is very important for me because it gives people a chance to hear what this still relatively rare instrument has to offer. There are so many fantastic players, really technical geniuses, many of them in America, quite a few in the UK, but we need more converts! Nick Beggs' style is wonderful - saw him with John Paul Jones recently. And my teacher, Jim Lampi, is reputed to be the best Stick player in the world. In our group "Melbourne" I use The Stick for about 50% of the tracks, in a more 'band' environment, so it's a strong treble sound, and I pump up the bass! But solo you can be more subtle, bring out more harmonics and colours. I adore The Stick. It is my favourite instrument of the ones that I play, and although I think I've built up quite a good repertoire of pieces, I still feel I've barely scratched the surface of The Stick's marvelous potential. I owe a lot to the inventor Emmett Chapman for creating an instrument that truly changed my life. The Stick copes with any style admirably. In our band we play very much rock music with world and ambient influences, but I've heard just about everything on The Stick - classical, jazz, country music, reggae, it all works wonderfully. I don't know why really. Maybe it's in the build of the instrument. For my solo shows I just do Stick and voice, so it's real exposure for me! The Stick I feel is the instrument I was born to play. I can already find things on it, sounds that are unique to me, and that is very precious in a world where it is very hard nowadays to stand out, to claim your own little voice, your piece of territory. So I am forever grateful to Emmett for having given me that opportunity to have something that I can call my own. The Stick for me is like my guardian angel. I can't be without it.
It took me 2 lessons from Jim (Lampi) to get a tune, and about a week of discovery work to break the sound open. Now that I found the key to open the Stick, you just keep discovering new things. It's so beautiful and quite over-awing at times. The thought of how much there is on there to discover is quite mind-blowing. Tony Levin said an interesting thing, that when he went to a Stick players conference, he was touched at how many different styles different people had come up with. That's how versatile The Stick is. I was asked very recently to play at a Stick seminar in Milan with Tony Levin and I can't go. I'm so disappointed! It is run by one of the worlds only female Stick players, a fantastic player call Virna Splendore. I hope to meet her one day.
4 May 01 - Eric Wallack (OH), to Stickwire:
Think also of Emmett. Here's a guy who invented an instrument for himself - to allow himself the kind of musical freedom he needed to express his music. Emmett, I feel, has made a great sacrifice of his own musical development to bring the very same instrument to us, a community of musicians who see The Stick as the one instrument that will allow us to express ourselves. I bet Emmett has days where he wishes that he could lock himself away to write and record his music (the whole reason there are Sticks to begin with). Emmett's music is fantastic (!!!), and think of how it could be if he weren't dealing with the whole business of Stick building. Certainly Emmett, Yuta, and Stick Enterprise have suffered at times to bring us Sticks, to bring us great music made by Stickists, and to bring us together in the form of lists like this.
12 April 01 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
I'll be touring with the bands Rocket Scientists (Progressive Rock) and Lana Lane (Symphonic Rock) through Europe. This is a good situation to see The Stick in. I ended up picking up the guitar parts on the top side of the Stick, (very fun). Also, a Stick solo feature somewhere in the middle of the show in which I'll turn on every piece of gear I own and play it all at once. Regardless of what that may sound like, you'll enjoy the blinking little lights from the rack, I know I do, cheap light show. The NS/Stick will be plucked an awful lot, not too much tapping for it in this band.
16 March 01 - Andy Long (UK), interview of Nick Beggs for Global Bass:
Beggs: I'd say to anybody who's interested in the Chapman Stick that it'll change your life if you're really serious about it. It changed mine, but if you're not and you want to flirt with it and have fun with it then that's also great, whatever you want to do really. If you want to just play bass on it then I think the Stick Bass is a good one, but I've just done a review of the NS/Stick for Guitarist Magazine which amalgamates guitar and bass in one instrument and it's all in one linear tuning. Of course it has got split pickups and you can change the tuning to whatever you want, and I would recommend that as well.
Long: Nick has now widened his spectrum of sounds with a new MIDI Chapman Stick, which enables him to simultaneously play bass, guitar and a bank of synthesizers. He played a few solo gigs featuring pieces composed specifically for this instrument. The gigs were very well received by both the audiences and the media. Since that time Nick has been busy putting together his first solo album, which will be titled 'Stick Insect' and he's extremely happy with the finished product.
Beggs: Yeah, the album is finished now and most of it is played on the Chapman Stick. I don't think people are going to believe it when they hear it, they're going to say, "That's not a Chapman Stick" - but it is!
Robert Fripp called me up about two years ago and he said "John Paul Jones is looking for a Stick player, are you interested, Trey Gunn can't do it?" And I said "Wow, yeah!" When I met with John I wasn't playing any of the MIDI stuff, I wasn't even soloing, I was still ostensibly arpeggiating in the bass and he said, "You're going to need a special instrument to do this. You're going to have to play string parts from the London Symphony Orchestra, you're going to have to play bass when I'm playing lead, lead when I'm playing bass, take Hammond solos and play Jimmy Page parts. Do you think you're up for it?" and I said "Of course, of course!" and then went home and cried! Anyway it worked out great because he's doing another tour this year.
27 December 00 - John Hillarby interview with Jim Lampi:
Martyn: I remember seeing you with John Martyn on a TV special in Scotland a couple of years ago for Box Set. I was struck by how high in the mix your playing on The Stick was. Some people might take your playing The Stick as John playing the lead guitar. I wondered how do you feel The Stick fits in the band?
Lampi: I'm like a keyboard player, you can go in there with a wide range of notes, you can play bass right up to quite high. It's still a real string instrument, it kind of puts you as a second guitarist and bass player. By using a few simple effects and swells, you can end up being almost orchestral sounding. I used to do a lot of that, because The Stick has this huge range so that you can play these huge chords that do sound orchestral. I tended to use more of a high end on this tour, but you can make a massive sound when you use the bass side as well.
11 December 00 - Virna Splendore (Italy), interview with Tony Levin, to Sticknews:
Virna: What kind of musical style would you say The Stick is better for? Progressive, Funk, Jazz, New Age?
Tony: Well, that is up to each player. I think the instrument has great ability in all these fields, and the only limits are what the musician can come up with. In fact, I think you could add "classical" to the list - I'm considering putting together a solo release of classical music on The Stick (though it's going to take me a LOT of practice first!!)
24 June 00 - John Garrison, to Stick Enterprises:
I have been obsessed with the Chapman Stick since 1994, when I first heard Greg Howard play at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, KY. I have never been so impressed with an instrument or a musician. His music was rich and complex; fuller than any string solo should possibly be, if accustomed to the limitations of guitar. Sometimes he sounded like two guitarists and a bass. The arrangement had the complexity of a piano piece, but with all the emotion and feeling that comes only when the strings are at your direct touch. When the performance was over I walked down to buy his album, "Stick Figures", and to get a closer look at the instrument. I was still in bliss, and felt like I was walking on air. I still felt entranced as I made my way back to the dorm. I couldn't sleep that night. I had been inspired. I had found something that I knew I was meant to do some day, but at the time I was busy with more mundane studies, and had little time or money to spare. Still, that CD always had a prominent place in my collection, and any time I played my guitar or a piano I remembered Greg's performance that night and looked forward to the challenge of learning Stick. And now finally I have the time to do it! I am ready to get one.
15 June 00 - Scott Wedel (WA), to Stickwire:
If memory serves, Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas has a wonderful Stick player by the name of Jean-Francois Brissette?go see it - if not for the great music, for the amazing performance by the troupe!
7 April 00 - Nick Beggs (England) interview for StickNews:
He (John Paul Jones) talked about his new album "Zooma" and played me a few tracks. The grooves were overpoweringly seductive and I felt a bond to the music straight away.
"Of course you'll be covering 50% of the solos, swapping to bass when I'm soloing and playing the viola, violin, cello, and contra bass parts from the London Symphony Orchestra score all on the Stick", he stated with a wry smile. "You'll have to have a new MIDI'd Stick made and no one's ever done anything like this before, do you think you're up to it?", he asked.
I nearly said, "I think I left something on the stove", but thought better of it.
Then John Paul Jones says to the interviewer, "I've got Nick Beggs in my band because he's a fine musician." I remember thinking to myself, "I'm going to wake up soon and this will all have been a dream." When I got round to asking John why he chose me for the gig he said, "It was because Stick players think in different ways from other musicians."
It's true that the instrument demands a lot of the player but it actually offers more than any instrument I've come across. With the right kind of back line you can sound like any player you want (disregarding technique). Therefore emulating the variety of bass sounds John generated was not an insurmountable task.
In one tune I had to play synth patches and guitar sounds to start and then change to emulate John's ten-string bass during his swap to solo on lap steel bass, all on one Chapman Stick. It meant doing the job of three people literally.
The MIDI'd Stick is versatile enough to sound like three instruments playing simultaneously and this is an enormous advantage to a small band like our trio.
The one area where I felt the Stick liberated me most was in the solos. The instrument is a blank canvas, it's what you put on it that makes the difference. Heavy distortion sounds love the Chapman Stick. It's as if they were made for each other. Strangely, I feel this is still a relatively unexplored avenue among Stick players.
30 March 00 - Mans Johnsson (Sweden), to Stickwire:
I'm not sure if I have missed something here, but if anyone wants to check out really advanced playing on Stick in a heavy rock context, take a listen to Liquid Tension Experiment 2! That album features Tony Levin on Stick playing pretty intense prog metal together with half of Dream Theater.
2 March 00 - Greg Howard (VA), to StickNews:
There is a deceptive simplicity to the music of Katsu. It is relaxed and spare, but also lush and intricate. His Stick is tuned like two guitars, with a pronounced jazz-guitar tone on the melody strings. His phrases cascade on top of each other, rolling over precise and harmonically deep left-hand chords and bass lines. These melodies return to my head long after I've stopped listening to the record, with his original composition, "Sussex" being the most prominent. If you were to convince John Abercrombie to play The Stick, this is what you might expect to hear. Beautiful music.
6 February 00 - Vance Gloster (CA), to Stickwire:
Imagining Larry's (Tuttle) music is easy. Think of what it would sound like if Claude Debussy started hanging out with Scott Joplin, and they both started playing and writing for the Stick! Larry is a strong composer who does a very complete and solid arrangement on the Stick, and Novi (Novog) is a virtuoso viola player. Whenever I hear Larry play I have the impression that his Stick is a couple of sizes larger than the rest of ours. It is sort of like the difference between a 6' grand piano and an 8'. There is a solidity and an authority to his playing that is quite distinctive. He uses a 12-string Stick with heavy-gauge strings. Larry's latest recording is his solo album from last year called "Through the Gates". It is a real treat, consisting of solid performances of his compositions unadorned with too much processing.
6 February 00 - Vance Gloster (CA), to Stickwire:
Every time I go to see Bob (Culbertson) I expect not to be amazed because I have seen him play before. But I always am. Bob has arguably the best technique of any Stick player around, and is completely fluid zipping around the instrument. It has to be seen to be believed. On Thursday Bob started with his arrangement of a flamenco guitar standard "Malaguena". He uses a technique where he arpeggiates with both hands and it sounds like a dozen guitars fingerpicking in counterpoint with each other. It was certainly the most exciting arrangement I had heard in a long time.
6 February 00 - Vance Gloster (CA), to Stickwire:
Emmett's playing is pure improvisation on a theme. He started with a jam on "Exodus". Once he gets going he starts adding some large delay and reverb that always sounds to me like an interplanetary journey. Then he did "Spain" (the classical guitar piece), and then "Hotel California". Notable features of Emmett's playing include his "motors", which are left-hand only patterns that provide bass and rhythm so that the right hand can solo. These he can do completely independently. Also, using the Patch of Shades Emmett can cross-fade between a clean treble sound something like a harpsichord to a smooth distortion with cosmic reverb. Watching Emmett it is interesting to me to see the large number of small techniques he uses which have been picked up by other players and expanded into a whole style.
5 February 00 - "FayeDumph"
Just had to let you know that I have seen Ron Fairchild of the Oak Ridge Boys band playing your Stick and think it is very revolutionary and on the cutting edge.
November/December 99 - Liquid Tension Experiment II , Bassics magazine:
This CD offers Tony (Levin) playing Stick almost exclusively. Tony's playing holds the music together while John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess offer interesting melodies and solos. No worries though, Tony gets plenty of time to take the driver's seat over the CD's 74 minutes. His sound is slightly more aggressive than usual but it fits in perfect with the music, evolving from the musicians improvisation and creativity.
1 December 99 - Barney Evers, to Stick Enterprises:
I saw Emmett play one night in Nashville in the late 1970's. It was one of the most amazing sounds I have ever experienced. Lenny Breau opened and so I was in heaven. Thank you for such a wonderful evening.
14 November 99 - Jaap Kramer (Holland), to Stickwire:
This morning Greg Howard appeared on a national TV program called "Reiziger in muziek" (traveller in music), hosted by Han Reiziger. Greg closed the show with an excellent performance of 'Blue Ridge'. A good choice in my opinion, while it clearly shows the complexity a Stick allows, while being an accessible song at the same time. Well done, Greg!
1 November 99 - Tony Levin (NY), to Papa Bear Records website:
After our L.A. show, I went with the guitar trio to the House of Blues, and caught John Paul Jones' show. Very very good, with the added bonus of seeing Stick player Nick Beggs cover a lot of ground in the band. It's a must-see for Stick players like me.
16 October 99 - Ron Baggerman (Holland) to StickNews:
A few days ago a man came up to me while I was playing in the "Cristal" in Cannes/France. He introduced himself as Babik, the son of Django Reinhardt. Happened to enjoy my playing on the peculiar instrument and invited me over at his table for a drink. He told me that if he had known the Stick 20 years ago he would have tried to learn to play it. He seems to have a son, David, who is 12 and Babik would love to introduce the Stick to him, to learn to play it. I then played a composition "Anouman" of his father for him, which was well appreciated. This was a big honor for me to meet and play for the son of a legend, who himself is no slouch on guitar either.
Summer/Fall 99 - "Don Schiff: Timeless", review by John A. Wilcox, Progression Magazine:
Quite simply, Don Schiff is one of the finest Stick players I've heard in my life. His masterful playing is among the most effortless it has been my privilege to hear. His lead lines soar with a fluidity I have yet to hear other players achieve. The music itself is a jazzier Steve Hackett, with touches of world rhythms. Schiff (a member of California proggers Rocket Scientists) sings as well, and possesses a pleasant voice indeed, remindful of Chris Squire. The music here is exciting and full of sonic treats. Schiff is a blazing player - squeezing every possible iota of sound out of his Chapman Stick. Percussive at times, at others fluid and swooping - Schiff brings the listener aspects of the Stick seldom explored by other artists. Jazzily progressive, the music on Timeless could dovetail well with Camel's Dust and Dreams or Steve Hackett's Guitar Noir. Where did this guy come from? I want to shout it from the rooftops: buy this CD! This is what music is all about: experimentation, ability, inspiration and knowledge.
2 August 99 - Steve Lawson (England), to Stick Enterprises:
The live album (Bruce Cockburn) is fantastic - Fergus (Marsh) is a monster Stickist, and sounds more 'integrated' than almost any Stick player I've heard besides Tony Levin - his playing doesn't draw attention away from the songs, but manages to drive the whole band, and often be the whole band when Cockburn is soloing!! :o)
27 May 99 - Ron Baggerman (Holland), to Stickwire:
No matter what style of music you like or play, in the playing of Emmett you'll find lots of inspiring material, & together with his amazing "Free Hands" instruction book, you'll find all the "keys" to unlock the secret sounds of a long lost paradise. Thanks Emmett, for sharing your musical (among other things) wisdom with us. I hope to be just as inspiring for other Stick players (& potential players) as you are.
26 May 99 - Steve Adeleson (NY), to Stickwire:
How interesting to think about Emmett's early recording now that it's being reissued on CD. We communicate with each other as Stick players and learn and dissect. I would imagine Emmett did not have this luxury back then as the playing population was small. More kudos in his pursuit of creative music as a pioneer. This CD is musical, historical, and inspirational. Absorb it!
May 98 - "Dream Academy - Dream Theater's John Myung", article from Bassist magazine by Steve Lawson
For a player who's already experimented with tapping, one assumes the transition to Stick wouldn't be too great. "I've tapped on bass for quite a while, and enjoy it", he (John) agrees. "It's a different perspective on playing - more keyboard oriented. The Stick for me is a very beautiful instrument, it has a beautiful soul - very spiritual. I can sit at home and play it and be at total peace, it's so relaxing".
7 February 98 - Joe Mc Collam (CA), to Stickwire:
What Emmett apparently likes to do is to use standard tunes (in this case Debussy's "Claire de Lune", the theme from "Exodus", and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", to name a few) to springboard into a sort of musical Twilight Zone, where anything can happen. Light, airy constructs, grinding industrial grooves, urgent speed-leaps, hip chordwork, chaotic wailing, lightning musical hairpin turns, interspersed with musical references to the title piece or other works, and often recapping with the original head. Listening to him sort of reminds me of riding a roller coaster; it can kind of shake you up, but it's a lot of fun. This was really interesting for me to hear/watch because I had heard about Emmett Chapman for over 20 years now, and this was the first time I ever saw him. Listening to him, it was obvious that this instrument was invented by a player, who was just trying to come up with something that could do the impossible stuff he heard.
November/December 97 - Bass Frontiers by Caroline Paone, an interview with John Myung of Dream Theatre
Pretty much everything that I've recorded with the band has always been behind the bass. I felt the need to do something different, which is why I started learning and studying Stick. I wanted to bring that sound into the band and I think it really added a lot to the song 'New Millennium' on our new CD. You can hear different types of songs; songs that have different personalities from the instrumentation.
25 January 96 - Sean Malone (FL), to Stickwire:
There is some serious harmonic depth in Emmett's approach to improvisation and substitution; though it never sounds too academic or esoteric. There's a surprise around every turnaround.
17 October 95 - Toshi Fujita (Japan), to Stickwire:
Recently I bought several CDs and tapes from Stick Enterprises. I believe I am not the only one who was *SO* surprised by Mr. Emmett Chapman's playing techniques. There are several manifest techniques used in his video but I am interested in and want to acquire two specific skills.
(1) In his arpeggio with both hands, he employed his left pinky to the 1st or maybe 2nd melody string to hold a long tone. He also uses his right thumb to hold another long tone on the 10th string. His other right fingers tap short tones sequencially. (2) His left hand rapid fingering for backing is really something.