Log for The Artist Shop/Talk City IRC Chat with Michael Manring on Wednesday, December 9, 1998

WotanCCC:    ******************************
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    . Welcome to todays
WotanCCC:    . Artist Shop
WotanCCC:    . Featured Artist Conference
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    . An evening with
WotanCCC:    . Michael Manring
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    . Presented by
WotanCCC:    . @Music and TalkCity
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    ******************************

WotanCCC:    Michael Manring grew up in Northern Virginia where his fascination with the bass began at age nine. He played in countless garage rock bands, pick-up groups and all the bands at his high school, including an award winning jazz lab.

After a year at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, he began playing professionally and moved to New York City for two years where he studied with bass legend Jaco Pastorius.   In 1979, Michael he began his long-term collaboration with the late guitar genius Michael Hedges and subsequently appeared on all but one of Hedges' seven recordings.

WotanCCC:    In 1982, he became the house bassist at Windham Hill Records. This led to a solo deal with Windham Hill in 1984 and a move to the San Francisco Bay Area where he currently records for the Alchemy record label. He has released four albums of his own and has appeared on well over a hundred albums as a session musician.   Michael, thank you for joining us today.

GaryArtistShop:    Thanks for joining us, Michael.

MichaelManring:    My pleasure

GaryArtistShop:    Is this your first IRC Chat?

MichaelManring:    Yes it is and thank you for inviting me.

GaryArtistShop:    Glad to have you.

WotanCCC:    Ok, lets start off with an audience question.

AskMichael:    psychicjanitor says: How long have you been playing bass?

MichaelManring:    Lets see.... I've been playing ....... for 28 years

AskMichael:    gentlegiant says: What kind of bass do you play? Whats your favorite axe?

MichaelManring:    The basses that I have are made by a company called Zon. And I would have to say my favorite is the one that has my name on it. Its full name is the Zon Michael Manring Hyter Bass.

AskMichael:    leebo says: Micael, I was ondering if you had ever played the Chapman Stick and do you like it?

WotanCCC:    Good question leebo

MichaelManring:    I have played the Chapman Stick.. and I am terrible at it.  But I wish I could play it well, it is a beautiful sounding instrument.

AskMichael:    alucard says: Do you play any other instruments besides the bass? What else do you play?

MichaelManring:    I play a number of other instruments poorly.  I played the piano longer than I played the bass, and I have played the piano on several albums.  There are piano solos, two on two of the Windham Christmas Albums.   Those records have sold very well. There are some people that, God forbid, think of me as a pianist and not bassist.  On the last album I played kitchen utentsils.   When I'm cooking at home I hear alot of interesting sounds, all the things I cook with and sometimes those sounds give me ideas for music. In particular, I have several pots that are very resolent and I love to cook with those because they have wonderful sounds, I used those on my last record.  Right from the kitchen down to my studio.   I also used the lids from some of my pots, spoons, and a spatula.

AskMichael:    psychicjanitor says: How many different groups have you played in over the years?

MichaelManring:    Its nice to include some of the sounds of your life in your music :-).  Oh my God! There is no way I could count them all.  I have played on over 150 records.  There are a couple of groups I played in for several years. One was called Natural Bridge, one was called Montreux .

AskMichael:    katrina says: Do you come from a family of musicians? Was your family supportive of your music career, or did they push fopr you to be a doctor or soemthing?

MichaelManring:    LOL... Lets see...  I would discard my parents as cautiously supportive. My father's father was a conductor and clarinest. When my dad was growing up they didn't have much money it was during the depression. But my dad's image of musicians was that they were poor people.  And so my parents never really discouraged me from music, they warned me alot about the pitfalls.  And I'm glad they did actually :-)

WotanCCC:    Were they right?    B-{)}

MichaelManring:    they were right :-) .MichaelManring:    Being a musician is a financial gamble on a number of   levels and their advice to me was, not so much to avoid that lifestyle, but to just make sure that it was worth it to me. And it has been.  There have definately been my share of lean times, but the joy of making music has always made up for it.

GaryArtistShop:    Let's get back to the Zon bass for a second. Obviously with your name on it, it's been designed to your own specifications.  What are some of those specifications that make it a unique bass.

MichaelManring:    Ok. First of all the Zon Bass is a 4 string sretless bass.  The finger board has been extended, but it is 3 octaves instead of the standard two.  In addition, the pickup is quadrasonic. That means there is a separate output for each string.  There are also tranducers, built into the body of the instrument.  There is one in the top horn, one in the bottom horn, one on the top of the body, and one at the headstock.

GaryArtistShop:    WOW!!!!

MichaelManring:    The signal from the transducers, goes to a small mixed bay and the combined signal comes out of an additional output.  So there are five outputs in the multi-mode.  The bass can also be switched to mono mode, that all the outputs are sent to a single 1/4 inch jack.  Then finally, the bass is also designed to facilitate instant retuning.  Each string is fitted with a Hitstock extended key.

GaryArtistShop:    That's amazing.

MichaelManring:    and this allows me to change the tuning of each string separately on the head stock.  There is also an unique bridge which allows me to change the entire tuning of the bass by moving small levers.  Using the combination of the Hipshots bridge I am able to access quite a number of tunings without having to stop.

GaryArtistShop:    It sounds like you do a lot with alternate tunings.

MichaelManring:    You betcha!!  I have one piece that has 14 different tunings in a single piece.

GaryArtistShop:    Holy Moly!!!

AskMichael:    blitzen says: Is it hard for a bassist to carve out a distinctive identity w/out props like funk fingers?

MichaelManring:    I think I would have to say no.  That is just my opinion. The bass is still a very young instrument, and again in my opinion, very little has actually been done with it.  And most of its potential is unrealized so far.

AskMichael:    drphibes says: What advice do you have for someone just starting out on bass? What should I be practicing?

MichaelManring:    drphibes, the first thing is to ask yourself what your goals are.  If you want to play jazz, you will need to learn how to improvise. You will also need to know how to read music.  If you want to play rock, its most important to get lots of experience playing with other musicians.  And in any case, it is always good to listen to as much music as possible.

AskMichael:    aboxofrogs says: What were your main influences when you first started playing? What did you play in garage bands?

MichaelManring:    The first records I bought were Sly and the Family Stone, The Greatest Hits.  And the Second was Tommy, by The Who.  I listened to all kinds of music when I was growing up.  My friends all thought I was crazy.   Because I would listen to everything from Led Zephelin to Miles Davis to Bela Bartok to Harry Partch I think that all of this music influenced me in different ways. And I still try to simulate alot of lessons MichaelManring:    that I learned from listening.

WotanCCC:    John Entwistle. He a big influence on you?

MichaelManring:    John Entwistle, yes.......but so were so many other bassists, that its difficult to single anybody out.  Except for maybe Jaco Pastorius.   I was absolutely floored when I first heard Jaco's playing and I was very lucky to study with him briefly when I lived in New York.

AskMichael:    ScoobyDoo says: Did you have to go to school to learn music? Did you attend any scools for any trades or other careers?

MichaelManring:    ScoobyDoo, I only went to Berklee School of Music for one year.  Before I got a gig and went on the road I have wanted to go back to school to study more music ever since, but I haven't had the time.  As far as other careers, no I went to Berklee right after highschool so I have never learned anyother trade. And never had any other job.  I started playing professionally when I was still in high school.

AskMichael:    furax1 says: when did you start to use the tapping technique?

MichaelManring:    I started tapping as soon as I heard Eddie Van Halen. The first record came out I think in 1977.  I loved it, and it seemed to me right away that there was much more to the tapping technique then even Eddie was doing.   The technique is sometimes criticized, for being just for show. But I think it has alot of musical potential.

AskMichael:    earthblnd says: I'm a looping musician of sorts and have heard that you have entered the realms of loopage. What's your take on the live experiencexperiencex--?

WotanCCC:    LOL

MichaelManring:    I love looping devices! And I used the live. but I seldom do looping on one or two songs in any one show.  Electronics like that are wonderful color, but there are so many things that I like to experiment with, that I never tried doing a show exclusively with looping.  The setup I use are two Lexicon Jam Man's

GaryArtistShop:    You've just put out a brand new solo album on Alchemy Records called Book of Flame. This is a great album, but I think those who appreciated your earlier Windham Hill recordings might be in for a bit of a shock. There are certainly some aggressive moments on this and even more so on your recent Attention Deficit project. Care to tell us about either or both of these projects?

MichaelManring:    As I mentioned earlier, I like all kinds of music.   And I listen to everything from very mellow music to hard core thrash.  I guess I should subscribe to Duke Ellingtons idea that there are really only two kinds of music good and bad.  It was kind of nice working for Winham Hill because everything that I did, had to sit into their sound, and that kept me focused.  But I have to say, its really nice to have the change off and have the opportunity to do more agressive stuff as well.  These days it is not unusual for me to do a Heavy Metal session one day and a New Age session the next day.  It was a pleasure making the Attention Deficit Record, with Alex Skolick and Tim Alexander. We really got to experiment alot and they are very creative musicians.

GaryArtistShop:    That certainly must keep you from getting bored! LOL!

MichaelManring:    Yes ! Actually, I find similarities in music much more striking then the differences.  The differences between different genres are very transitory to me.  And often amount to nothing more than effectation that is maintaining a certain volume level, or using a particular kind of phrasing.  The intent of music is always the same for me.  Which is to try to communicate something meaningful.

AskMichael:    leebo says: I know this could be an embarring question but WHO is your favorite drummer?

MichaelManring:    LOL....... Well, I guess I would have to say my favorite drummer is my brother :-) .   But I suppose that one was rigged.    I have been playing with my brother since I started, and  I have learned so many lessons about music from Doug.  I would have to say, he has been one of the biggest influences on my music.

AskMichael:    toniccc says: Who are your favorite contemporary musicians?  Who's out there doing work that you really admire?

MichaelManring:    I Love Egeerto Gismonti .  I am also a fan of Gyorgy Ligeti.

GaryArtistShop:    The classical composer.

MichaelManring:    And Morton Feldman.  Wayne Shorter...... and all of the musicians I play with.

AskMichael:    guest Couch says: In what ways do you see the bass changing over the next 10 years? (if at all)

MichaelManring:    Couch, a good question.  I think I can only speak for myself.  Because I often don't feel that much a part of the bass community.   It's not that I haven't felt welcomed. Just that I seem to think a little differently.  So I can't say for certain what direction everyone else will want to take their instrument.  But for me, there are some amazing things that I think can happen.  As I mentioned before, its potential is mostly unrealized.  I think many technological advances could be made with the design of the instrument.  That would help to open up new musical territory.  In my opinion, the possibilities are limitless. And the only constraints are in our imaginations.

AskMichael:    leebo says: Name 4 recordings in the progressive genre that you consider to be EARTH SHATTERING *s*

WotanCCC:    Interesting question

MichaelManring:    LOL.......Heavy Weather, the band is Weather Report. Ecotopia, the band is Oregon,  Sanfona, Egeerto Gismonti , and Nefertiti, by Miles Davis. Are these considered Progressive?

GaryArtistShop:    I'll accept them.    ;-)

AskMichael:    spumoni says: How'd you come up with the title, Attention Deficit, for a CD?

MichaelManring:    I think that was Tim's idea.  As we were making the record, we were talking and
thinking and joking about how in the modern world everyones attention span is so short.   We thought in our music we should reflect these ideas, both seriously and with a sense of humor.  And in the end, that became the theme of the record.

GaryArtistShop:    You've been very busy lately, not only with your solo album and Attention Deficit, but also with the groups Cloud Chamber, Sadhappy and Skol Patrol. I've not really heard anything from those last three projects. What can you tell us about them?  And how can we find them?

MichaelManring:    Sadhappy is a band from Seattle, that has been together for about 10 years.  They used to be a trio, bass, sax and drums.  But about two years ago, the sax player quit and they asked me to join. So we are now two basses and a drummer.  In the past the music was probably best described as Punk Jazz.  But now I'm not sure what to call it. But there is alot of bass going on.   The only way to get a copy of our recording which is called Good Day, Bad Dream is by writing to Periscope Records, PO Box 4755, Seattle, Washington 98104.  The email address is periscoper@AOL.com.

MichaelManring:    Cloud Chamber is a quintette based in the Bay Area, Guitar, percussion, cello, tynbolon and me.  Our music is entirely improvised and some reviewers have described it as sounding like 21st Century music.  Our record is called Dark Matter and its available from Supersatured Records, PO Box 5232, Berkeley, CA 94705.

MichaelManring:    Skol Patrol, is Alex Skolnick's group.  And the music is alot of fun. We play several theme songs from Cop shows.  Especially those from the 70's such as Starksy and Hutch.  It's funky, and everyone solos alot. I'm not sure how to get a copy of the EP that we did, I'm sorry.

GaryArtistShop:    Yes, you've definitely got some diverse things going on!   BTW, our audience members should be sure to check out Michael's website at http://www.manthing.com

MichaelManring:    Thanks I forgot to mention that .

WotanCCC:    Is there anything else you would like to mention before we conclude today?

MichaelManring:    Oh boy.... I would just like to thank everybody for their thoughtful questions.  And thank everyone, especially for listening.   Thank you for inviting me.

GaryArtistShop:    It was great having you here.

WotanCCC:    Looks like our time is up...   I'd like to thank everyone for joining us tonight.  Michael, we appreciate your taking the time to come and chat with us today, and hope you'll come back to Talk City again soon!

MichaelManring:    My pleasure and bye bye

WotanCCC:    To purchase Michael Manring's "Attention Deficit", or for information on other Artist offerings, please visit The Artist Shop Online at:


GaryArtistShop:    And Book of flames, too!

WotanCCC:    Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this conference. We especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with Michael Manring.

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WotanCCC:    Tonight's show has come to an end.  We thank you, our great audience, and extend a very special Thank You to our guest  ....... MICHAEL MANRING ..........We look forward to seeing you again soon.

WotanCCC:    @Music Featured Artists is produced in conjunction
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WotanCCC:    And thanks to all for coming tonight.

GaryArtistShop:    Also subscribe to The Artist Shop's newsletter at http://www.artist-shop.com/guest.htm .   'nite all.

WotanCCC:    ===========================================
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    Next on our Featured Artist Series:
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    . Sunday, Dec. 13th at 12:00 noon pt / 3:00 pm et
WotanCCC:    . Keith Emerson of ELP
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    . Stay tuned for more fine
WotanCCC:    . Artist Shop / @Music productions
WotanCCC:    .
WotanCCC:    ===========================================



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