Exclusive Interview with Mike Bendy

Mike Bendy Ultra Strap

1) Tell us about your musical background?
Since I heard Jimi Hendrix play the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at the age of 4, I knew music was IT for me. My brother John Bendy started playing guitar a year before me; when my father asked me what instrument I wanted to pursue, to not totally copy my brother, I chose the electric bass.

My first bass hero was Cliff Burton of Metallica and about a year later I was introduced to Mr. Les Claypool. Things changed when I was 13 and discovered Jaco Pastorius… I haven’t been the same since. Through Jaco, I was introduced and inspired by a multitude of music from Jazz to Caribbean and everything in between. Being influenced by so many different styles of music and musicians, I developed my own personal identity as a musician.

2) What are you working on now?
Currently, I am a part of a slew of ideas and projects. I am working with keyboardist and composer Sean Wayland as well as an up and coming heavy metal band, Resolution15, which replaces the guitar with a 7-string electric violin. Besides my steady gigs with the Bendy Effect, and the Felix Pastorius Group (Hipster Assassins), which feature musicians such as Felix Pastorius, Julius Pastorius, John Bendy, Chris Ward, Kenny Grohowski, Michael Purcell, Ian Rapien, Devin Collins and William Tatge among many others. In my spare time, I compose as much as I can and am inspired by my amazingly beautiful and creative wife, Kate Bendy.

3) What is the role of education in music?
I do not have any formal education in music besides for my band teacher, Paul Myrusky, who taught me how to read music and theory. My music education began with my brother and I bouncing ideas off each other and starting numerous bands in our teens. From there I made a musical pilgrimage down to Florida to visit the grave of Jaco Pastorius… While I was down there I located his house in Deerfield Beach… When I finally garnered up the courage I knocked on his front door and Felix answered. Felix, Julius and I met a year before at Bass Day 2000 up in NYC, so we immediately connected from where we left off. Then soon after that Ingrid Pastorius took me under her wing and had me move in with the family… While living there I had the blessing of studying Jaco’s hand written charts and began my lifelong relationship with Julius and Felix. The other huge part of my music education was going to see both the Wayne Krantz Trio and David Binney Group weekly at the 55 Bar in the west village!!! Those groups really changed how I see, hear and play music.

4) How do you feel about the current ‘state of the music industry’?
It’s show business… so there’s obviously gonna be a lot of bullshit surrounding the real meaning… creating and performing MUSIC. It used to bother me, now I know what is real and what is illusionary. You have to be true to yourself and as honest as possible when playing, all the other things should fall into place… EVENTUALLY šŸ˜‰ Keep on improving and strive to be better every day.

5) Why do use Ultra Straps?
Ultra straps are extremely balanced and comfortable. Even with some of my heavier basses… everything is comfortable and easy on the back/shoulders. Why not use Ultra Straps??

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