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Eric on Bass


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Hello all!

This is my first post here. It's fantastic seeing that there are so many fans.

I was wondering if there were any photos or videos of the time frame when Eric was on bass with The Raspberries. Also, does any one know exactly when/why he switched over to guitar?

Just one of those things I've been wondering about ever since I discovered Eric's music a few years ago.

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Eric played bass in Raspberries through the recording of their first LP, switching with Dave Smalley shortly thereafter. As for why, Eric had this to say in Eric Carmen: Marathon Man:

"We had actually been playing as a three-man band without Dave prior to his getting out of Vietnam. I had only seen him play in the Choir and I had never actually worked with him. I had always seen him play rhythm guitar, so we just left that slot open. When John Aleksic left the group, I became the bass player by default. I remember buying a Dan Armstrong bass and sitting up all night so I could learn 50 songs and figure some way to sing lead at the same time. I actually liked playing bass. I really enjoyed it. When we did the first album, Dave literally had been in the band only three or four weeks. He played rhythm guitar, but he wasn’t a really super guitar player. We switched instruments between the albums."


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Eric was like Paul McCartney in terms of playing bass by default -- that job went to Paul by default, too, even though he could handle guitar duties.

Also: Bernie -- that Flying V that Wally is playing... that's a different one that the c. 1967 model you and I discussed off line, right?

Tages, welcome!



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I gotta tell you that I sttarted as a guitar player, and switched to bass because someone asked me to join an band that already had two guitarists....I had played a little bass, but nothing really too demanding....I was worried because I was singing a lot of lead too...and had to work like crazy to play and sing at the same time....often the bass lines are on the off beat to the singing...that just fucks you up....eventually it clicked and to this day I prefer singing with a bass than with a guitar....

I also recall seeing Eric's "Hear it from your Lips" video , and he is playing bass on it...somehow Eric looks much cooler behind the piano...(big hair or not)

I remember the first time i heard this, I thought it was a rip off of Springsteen's "Fire"


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Sweet Jane was one. Just couldn't get it right for the longest time. Talk about your left brain in conflict with the right. I finally figured out that the song is in your right(strum hand). The verse is an Orbison type strum; full,against the grain where the chorus is more stuccao(for lack of better term)in sync. Not easy at all.

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Digressing back to earlier in this post...it is definitely a Hofner Club Bass. Eric was good enough to let me use it for a while. Extremely lightweight and very easy to play.

When John Aleksic left the band and Eric switched to bass, everyone thought it was going to be for about 30 days...until Dave returned from Viet Nam. No one thought it was going to turn out to be months until Dave got back.

Something that evolved while they were playing 3-man was a variation on the Curly Shuffle (The Curly Shuffle, think The Three Stooges, was a song released early in 1971 that was a dance based on the backward hopping that Curly did in Three Stooges movies). Wally came in one day and was talking about how the song was really kind of cool. The next gig, in the middle of a set, Wally backed away from his microphone doing the shuffle. The following night, Wally and Eric were finishing a harmony section in a song when Eric looked over at Wally, did a bobbing count, and both of them shuffled away from their microphones. Words don't describe it well... it was actually pretty cool, and funny...you can actually see Eric do it, with an obvious grin, on the reunion DVD (second verse of "Hard to Get Over a Heartbreak" about 1:21:20 into the concert).


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  • 5 years later...

Bass is a whole world within itself, and opens your eyes to things you didn't notice. I was an odd situation....usually, it's a case of too many guitarists and no bass player......we had a second keyboard player.......but some of the more country and acoustic songs really didn't do well with organ/synth.....and Matt, the guy with the Rhodes, was far more proficient on keys than I was.......so ended up getting a Fender Mustang.

You can certainly appreciate what Brian Wilson did, holding the bottom, but singing falsetto at the same time. Difficult at times. 3/4 size makes it easier to concentrate on the singing, compared to a full-scale.  Bass also is one of the best songwriting tools.

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