07 Fan club magazine Snakebite interview 1984
by on November 18, 2023 in Bass Whitesnake
Whitesnake 1984 with BC Rich Mockingbird bass

Whitesnake 1984 with BC Rich Mockingbird bass

Managed to catch up with Neil Murray a couple of weeks ago, home at long last from across the water — couldn’t you have brought the sunshine with you Neil?! Anyway, despite recovering from a bout of ‘flu, he very kindly agreed to do a short interview.

Over to you Neil …

DF: When did you first start to play bass? How old were you?

NM: “In 1967, when I was 17. I played the drums before in a couple of school groups and I’d always liked bass (and I wasn’t a very good drummer!). Someone had converted a guitar into a bass and I used that before making my own in the woodwork shop using some of the parts from the other one.”

DF: What type of bass do you prefer to use in the studio/on stage? How many do you own?

NM: “My main bass in the studio is usually a BC Rich Mockingbird (with many changes of pickups over the years) though on the latest album I mostly used a Kubicki Ex Factor (made in California). I have 14 basses including 5 Aria basses which 1 endorse, and a Roland bass guitar synthesizer.”

DF: Musical influences? Most admired singers and instrumentalists?

NM: “In the beginning I was influenced by Jack Bruce with Cream, Tim Bogert with Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and BBA, and Clive Chaman of the Jeff Beck Group, and later Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report). I am a big fan of anything Jeff Beck does and I love Glenn Hughes’ voice, but there are so many singers and musicians I could mention, some quite obscure.”

DF: What type of music do you like to listen to in the car or when relaxing at home?

NM: “Some rock, but mostly more well-produced records, such as Mr. Mister and Go West. I don’t listen to heavy metal, and I like some black music and a bit of classical, mostly 20th century composers like Holst and Elgar.”

DF: Favourite place on tour? Country/Town/Venue? Do you prefer to play to large crowds eg; festivals or at smaller places?

NM: “I like Japan for its great sounding concert halls, America especially California for the responsiveness of the audiences and the atmosphere, and the North of England and Scotland for the involvement of the audiences. I mostly prefer smaller halls for the sound and the atmosphere – daylight outdoor gigs I’m not so keen on.”

DF: Out of all the countries you have visited which would you say had made the most impact on you – perhaps somewhere you felt you might like to make your permanent home one day?

NM: “’I’d like to see what Australia’s like, as my ideal would be a cross between British culture and Californian weather! I usually end up missing my friends in London even if I’m enjoying life on the road.”

DF: Do you enjoy being on the road so much or do you just accept it as an occupational hazard?!

NM: “I wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t a concert most nights to make it all worthwhile because the travelling (especially in the States) and the repetitiveness really get tedious quite quickly. However, I only have to be sitting around in one place for a couple of weeks before I start wishing I was back on tour!”

DF: Do you get any spare time whilst abroad to do any proper sight seeing? To become just an ordinary tourist for a while?

NM: “Usually not much, though if a bunch of us want to see the sights it’s easier than trying to do it by yourself in a foreign country. Late nights and travel schedules don’t leave much time for it, and towns where we’re playing are often very unpicturesque or too far from tourist attractions.”

DF: Do you think that schools/colleges should spend more time training young musicians in other forms of music rather than just classical?

NM: “Yes, up to a point, but to make it in the music business takes a lot more that just musical knowledge, such as experience, determination, personality and business sense, which you can’t teach easily. Really talented people usually make it anyway.” 

DF: Would you like to become more involved with the production/engineering side of your work or are you happy just playing music?

NM: “I’m very interested in production and tend to listen for good sounds and arrangements on albums these days. It’s hard for me to hear many new musical ideas or very different techniques that haven’t been done before, certainly in heavy metal, so I get enjoyment and interest from learning about the studio side of things. However, there is nothing to beat the enjoyment that I get from playing good music with good musicians.”

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