Jeff Allen Interview


Artist Spotlight

Tell us about your musical background?

Well going all the way back I played clarinet back in the 2nd grade and learned to read pretty early on. By 7th grade I discovered the group Kiss and then started playing electric bass at the urging of my friend the great rock-n-roll drummer John Webber. We never put on the make-up but I started learning those riffs along with songs by Van Halen and Black Sabbath. That snowballed into playing upright bass and eventually got into and graduated from Julliard. Now here I am, a season Pro some might say!

What’s going on for you now?

Right now I’m on tour with a German violinist David Garrett who does a classical/rock crossover thing. I’m thrilled to be working. We’ve been in Scandinavia, London, Paris and now here in Italy. Back in New York I’m subbing on Broadway and doing a fair amount of TV and commercial session work. I’m just doing all the things a musician has to do to make a living these days.

Where do you see the future of music going?

It’s a very exiting time. More artists have control of their own destinies. You have to do more administrative work. It’s less about somebody else doing it for you. You have to be willing to work harder and travel. I’m not a naysayer. I don’t believe in the doom and gloom. Just because the record companies are crumbling doesn’t make it bad for music. It’s quite the opposite. How you get your music to the people is the trick, whether in the corporate environment on not. That’s still the thing!

What role did music education have on your career?

Well, in a nutshell it helps to know what you’re doing and sometimes it helps not to know. It helps if you can read and play in different styles. If you play different styes you makes yourself more valuable in different ways. Obviously you can make more money. It’s good to know when to step up and when to stay in the background. Having an education has been helpful. Sometimes you have to forget about you ear training class at Julliard. If you are channeling the energy of an 18 year old guy playing in his garage you leave that at the door.

Why do you like R.Cocco bass strings?

I love to use R.Cocco strings. They last forever. I use them on my many different basses. Those instruments sound like they are supposed to sound. With R.Cocco strings I get the sound that’s in my head. That’s helpful.

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