guitar bar
J A Z Z I N T E R V I E W
with Victor Wooten
by Don Brown Sr.

Author's Note:    This telephone interview was conducted the morning of January 14, 2003 on Victor's cell phone. Wooten was riding in the car with his family. He was excited about playing the Blue Note Las Vegas on January 24th. However, the show has been cancelled, because the jazz club has closed its doors. All at Las Vegas Jazz n' Blues and Caught Live Too! wish to thank Victor for being so gracious as to take time from his busy schedule. We also wish to thank Brad at Compass Records for setting up the interview.



Victor Wooten w/ Flecktones, Las Vegas 2001 DB:    With your hectic schedule with the Flecktone's how do you fit in another project?

VW:    Yeah barely, I have to look at the Flecktones yearly schedule and find the open spots. Then I try to fit things in. It usually keeps me going constantly a month or two throughout the year.

DB:    What does your solo stuff do that you can't do with the Flecktone's?

VW:    It's just directed in a slightly different direction. We do alot more funky music, even dance type music, and less odd time meter music. I have a lot of other interests like magic and illusion. There's a company that I work with called Denny & Lee's Magic Studio in Vegas. They actually built thing for this tour. It's going to be an exciting show. We'll have all types of instruments levitating and even people. All because of the the fun things that they built for me.

DB:    Do you prefer studio over playing live?

VW:    No, I prefer playing live over the studio. The energy that you get from the audience is not there in the studio

DB:    What made you pick up the bass?

VW:    I was the youngest of five brothers who all played different instruments. When I was two my older brother Regi said that they needed a bass player so I was the man, I was the boy.

DB:     The bass must've been bigger then you were?

VW:    Yes it was, I was just happy being with my brothers.

DB:    Did you enjoy it right away?

VW:    Oh yeah, that's what my brothers were doing so like any little kid I wanted to do it to.

DB:    Were your parents musicians?

VW:    No not musicians, but they were very very supportive and talented people. We were able to use our talents and our minds. We were able to get that from our parents. They were just ultra, ultra supportive. Our parents didn't really care what we did, it just how we did it and the type of people that we were around that concerned them. They were more concerned with who we are then what we did. They knew that if they made us good people it would run off into whatever we chose to do. We could have went the sports route, the academic route or anything, it just happened to be music.

DB:    Is your new CD Victor Wooten Live in America an extention of The Wooten Brothers?

VW:    Yes and no, yes in the extent that there are three out of the five of us out there. You have that vibe of having three of us together which allows us to go in any direction at any time, so there's a comfort level there. No, in that we are playing mostly my music. It's not a complete Wooten Brothers type of thing like when there's all five of us.

DB:    When you listen to music what do you listen to?

VW:    Right now I'm riding in the car with my wife and kids listening to Abba. I'm on the road so much that when I'm home I'm not listening much. I want to get away from it so it's fresh when I come back. I've been working on a new Flecktones record for a long time, and a new record for myself, so I'm hearing that alot.

DB:    With the Flecktones, how do you get four guys going in different directions and bring them all together?

VW:    Though we are four different personalities, when it comes to our music we all speak the same language.

DB:    What musicians would you like to work with?

VW:    I'd like to do some work with Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham, and I'd like to do some more work with Marcus Miller. I've learned so much from those guys. I've gotten the opportunity to work with Bootsy Collins. I've always been a big fan of rock guitarist Steve Vai. I'd love to do something with him. I almost got to do the last tour with Janet Jackson, that would have been fun.

DB:    What do you do to relax on tour?

VW:    Exercize and still myself and quiet my mind, meditate and things like that. I also try and get out in the woods as much as I can. I need to make sure that there are times when I am not playing.

DB:    Do you write songs better on the road or at home?

VW:    It depends on when I need to write. I'm not the kind of person who's writing music all the time, like Béla. My main thing right now is just try and get away from the music, because I'm playing it all the time.I'm not really writing on the road unless I need to. If I'm working on a project and I need more songs, then I'll write when I'm out.

DB:    Did you every imagine when you and Béla first met that you'd achieve the success you've attained?

VW:    Definitely not, definitely not. I would have bet against it. The band doesn't fit any mold of what is popular. I figured we'd be an underground success. I knew that musicians would love us, I knew that. I didn't think it would go far outside of that. Alot of band leaders are looking for players that won't updstage them, so they make sure the players they get aren't as good. It's like when I got a call for the Janet jackson tour, the band director said he wasn't going to call me, he didn't think that I'd want to do it. He throught all I wanted to do was the flashy stuff I do with the Flecktones. He didn't think I would just want to lay back and groove, and play what they call simple parts. Sometimes good musicians won't get called for things like that.

DB:    Who is your favorite bass player?

VW:    I don't have a favorite. There are many guys that I like a whole lot for what they do. When it comes down to favorites, it would have too many subcategories.

DB:    It this your first solo show in Las Vegas?

VW:    Yes, this is the first solo stop in Vegas. I'm looking forward to it, especially since the magic company I work with is in Vegas.

DB:    Were you asked to participate on the Gov't Mule DEEP END CD's?

VW:    No, it would have been great, but there are more people who weren't asked than were asked. I'm glad they did it whether I was part of it or not.

DB:    Thanks for everything, see you in Vegas.

VW:    Alright, thanks.

Photography by Carol Michaud copyright © 2001-2003 Brown Ink

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