Q&A with veteran blues/rock guitarist Bryan Bassett of Foghat, has over 40 years experience as a professional artist

"My father told me to find what you love to do, make that your life and figure out how to make money from it. Best advice ever. I spent most of my adult life on a musical journey, and even through the ups and downs I loved every minute of it."

Bryan Bassett: Blues/Rock Conversations

Bryan Bassett has over 40 years experience as a professional musician and recording artist and 30 years experience as a recording engineer and producer. Guitarist for international recording artist “Foghat”. Bryan is a songwriter / guitarist / engineer and producer who has worked on Foghat’s various albums. Guitarist for international recording artist “Molly Hatchet”. As a member of MOLLY Bryan performed 100’s of concerts worldwide. Touring guitarist for “Lonesome Dave’s Foghat”. As a member of this band Bryan performed over 150 shows a year worldwide and became a part of the Foghat family. Session guitarist for King Snake Studio and a member of two bands, “The Midnight Creeper’s” (King Snake’s house band) and “Blue House” (a Central Florida blues band). During this period Bryan’s playing was featured on more than 25 blues albums worldwide for artist’s such as “Rufus Thomas”, “Kenny Neal”, “Lucky Peterson”, “Alex Taylor” (featuring James Taylor) and the “JB’s”(James Brown’s famous horn section).

(Bryan Bassett: musician, recording engineer and producer / Photo © by Arnie Goodman)

Band leader and session guitarist in and around the Pittsburgh PA area. The Pittsburgh bands Bryan played with were “Airborne, “T-Dice” and former CBS artists “The Silencer’s”. Renowned producer Felix Pappalardi (Mountain, Cream) was producing “Airborne’s” first release in Criteria Studio(Miami) at the time of his tragic death. Bryan Bassett was a founding member of the CBS/Epic recording act “Wild Cherry”. In 1976 he recorded the #1 hit song “Play That Funky Music” and charted 4 more singles over the next few years. As a member of this band Bryan toured with some of the biggest R&B acts in the world. FOGHAT fans, the wait is over! After seven years, these legendary architects of timeless Rock and Blues have dropped their brand-new studio album, SONIC MOJO (2023), an eclectic blend of originals and iconic covers by some of their favorite musicians. SONIC MOJO is a testament to FOGHAT’s enduring legacy. Founding drummer Roger Earl, guitar virtuoso/engineer/co-producer Bryan Bassett, bass maestro Rodney O’Quinn and lead singer/guitarist extraordinaire Scott Holt have crafted an album that’s a time capsule of their glory days.

 

Interview by Michael Limnios / Photos © by Arnie Goodman

Special Thanks: Linda Arcello-Earl 

How has Rock culture influenced your views of the world? What do you think is key to a music life well lived?

I had the privilege of traveling the world as a young musician and I got to experience and appreciate the various cultures of many different countries. It was exciting and educational and made me realize that music is truly a universal language. To be a musician and entertain people for a couple hours while in concert is something I think brings people together. I believe music is very important in the world. I feel blessed to have this musical life.

How do you describe your sound and music philosophy? What's the balance in music between technique and soul?

I consider myself a blues/rock guitarist. I was influenced and learned from the great British guitarists of the 60’s and 70’s. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Peter Green and many more. Those are the sounds in my head that I try to emulate. My philosophy about playing is that music is like a conversation... you speak... you listen and then reply. As far as technique I tell young players to learn as much as you can about different styles of music. The more you know the more you can incorporate into your personal playing. When I was young, I spent many years in clubs playing the hits of the day. It was a great education in playing various styles of music. As to Soul...when you reach a certain level of competence in your technique you are able to express yourself through your instrument which I think all artists strive to do.

"I had the privilege of traveling the world as a young musician and I got to experience and appreciate the various cultures of many different countries. It was exciting and educational and made me realize that music is truly a universal language. To be a musician and entertain people for a couple hours while in concert is something I think brings people together. I believe music is very important in the world. I feel blessed to have this musical life." (Foghat: Founding drummer Roger Earl, Bryan Bassett, Rodney O’Quinn and Scott Holt; New York 2023 / Photo © by Arnie Goodman)

Why do you think that Foghat's music and legacy continues to generate such a devoted following?

Playing live has always been of utmost importance to us now and all previous versions of Foghat. We have fun on stage and the fun goes out into the audience. Our records reflect that, and I think our fans just love good ole rock and roll.

What moment changed your music life the most? Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you?

I was lucky to have a number one single as a young person with my band Wild Cherry...”Play That Funky Music”. I got to tour around the world and meet many fantastic musicians. After a couple years on the road, I relocated from Pennsylvania to Florida and became a studio engineer.

The most significant meeting in my career was when Lonesome Dave Peverett, lead singer of Foghat, came to see my small blues quartet in Orlando FL. We became great friends, and I started touring the country again with him and that was my introduction to the Foghat family. That literally changed the whole course of my life. I met my wife while touring with him. I made friends with Molly Hatchet my eventual bandmates for seven years and I met Roger who invited me back into the Foghat band when Rod Price decided to retire in 1999.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I’m a music fan at heart and my favorite memories, and what I like most about touring, is meeting some of my heroes and fellow musicians, and becoming friends with them. A personal favorite memory is playing the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh with my parents in attendance. I had turned down a college scholarship to pursue music, so I was quite pleased for my parents to see me have some success in my career.

"Playing live has always been of utmost importance to us now and all previous versions of Foghat. We have fun on stage and the fun goes out into the audience. Our records reflect that, and I think our fans just love good ole rock and roll."

(Bryan Bassett / Photo © by Arnie Goodman)

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Well ticket prices for one thing ha ha I can’t believe how many bands I saw for under $10 back in the day. My personal hope is to be able to continue to play for some years to come. I see so many talented young musicians just beginning their careers now in all styles of music, so I don’t have much fear for the future of music. I think it’s going to be in good hands.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

My father told me to find what you love to do, make that your life and figure out how to make money from it. Best advice ever. I spent most of my adult life on a musical journey, and even through the ups and downs I loved every minute of it.

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