JamTrotting the Globe ~ Uniting Music, Travel & Cultures

INTERVIEW: Kedar Roy – Bass

Kedar Roy

Kedar Roy played low brass wind instruments (baritone, trombone, tuba, etc) from 5th grade through high school. In College he picked up electric bass to join a friends garage band. A few months after that Kadar decided to get into the upright bass. Kedar has worked with Junior Watson, John Nemeth, Fred Kaplan, Kid Andersen, Kim Wilson, Rick Estrin, Mark Hummel, Rusty Zinn, RJ Mischo and others.

Kedar Roy plays mostly blues but is recently doing some reggae gigs and other genres


1.       How would you best describe yourself and your music as an artist?

Well, as a bass player I think of my job as a support role. I’m there to support other musicians as part of the rhythm section. As a bass player I should know all the material and be able to work well with the drummer but also be able to support whoever is singing or soloing. I like to be prepared and on time. I like for whatever band I’m playing with to ‘not worry about the bass’.

2.       What are your current musical endeavors?

To keep getting better. There is no ‘end’ to learning in music, no matter how good you are or how long you have played you can always get better.

3.       When and where did you first discover the love of your instrument and How did it FEEL being on a stage the first time?

I can’t really say how it felt being onstage for the first time as it was a long time ago (5th or 6th grade). I do remember that I’ve never had stage fright so I guess I’m lucky there.  I do remember that it felt ‘right’ when I got my first upright bass (as in ‘this is a good fit for me’)

4.       What were your greatest influences as a musician?

Living: Mark Carino, Ronnie James Weber, Larry Taylor, Junior Watson.

Not living: Willie Dixon, Big Crawford, Ransom Knowling, Jack Myers, Keith Fergusson

5.       How has your music evolved and expanded over time?

I’ve gotten better at both upright and electric bass. My music knowledge has grown significantly. I’m getting better at playing different genres of music. My chart writing and reading capabilities have also improved.

6.       What’s the cultural difference in playing locally and overseas? Or between cities and countries? Got a story?

It seems that “the farther you are from home the better you are” so if I play local shows with whoever it’s one thing but if that same band plays overseas or far from home (but still in the US) there is almost always a noticeable improvement with how the audience and pretty much everyone involved with the show treats us.

7.       Do you ever Jam off the cuff with local musicians and what’s it like interacting with your jam fans? If not, why?

Sometimes. Jam fans seem nice.

8.       Please tell us about your favorite or most memorable musical career event?

I guess recording and playing some shows with the recently deceased Richard Innes – one of the greatest blues drummers of all time.

9.       What is it like touring? Being on a big stage with all the lights and people? Do you prefer large or small venues?

Small venues tend to have better stage sound than larger venues. Larger venues tend to like to use drum monitors and subwoofers, which don’t work well with upright bass. Having said that, some of my favorite places are larger venues so it really depends on the sound crew I suppose.

Touring is fun, however it’s a job. When I fly overseas people tend to think it’s a vacation and I’ll be able to see all these touristy sights and such. That is almost never the case – it’s airport to airport to vehicle to hotel to venue pretty much everywhere. There are days off (often used for laundry and such) but to think of it as “I get to go see sights and play” should be more thought of “I get to go play!”. The music/show is why you are there, everything else is secondary.

10.   Do you have any suggestions or tips to JamTrotters on how to carry their gear when traveling on bus, train or planes? TSA? Regulations?

Upright bass – just travel in a van or have the venue prepare one for you, unless you want to deal with a large trunk and flying with the bass. Easier to take an electric bass (or easier still a Kala Uke bass). Note that even though there’s all sorts of sights sites saying that laws have passed regarding carrying instruments on board, I think it’s still up to the flight attendants  – they still may require you to gate check. So, bring something that’s not worth a ton of money and get a nice gig bag that can be gate checked if necessary.

Basically – smile and be nice! It’s amazing how well you are treated by TSA, flight attendants etc. if you’re nice and smile.

11.   Is there ANYTHING you’d would like to share with JamTrotting travelers…tips about places, restaurants, clubs, sights, etc….anything that comes to mind?

Be prepared!!

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