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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview With Former Stryper Bassist Timothy Gaines By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Interview With Former Stryper Bassist Timothy Gaines By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Four Strings and Stripes

Interview With Former Stryper Bassist Timothy Gaines

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio


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In July of 1984, bassist Timothy Gaines began his career when the Christian heavy metal band Stryper released their Yellow and Black Attack EP.   Respectfully Gaines was a part of the group along with Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, and Robert Sweet until 2017.  In between that time were many recordings, MTV appearances, and tours.  Gaines is currently the bassist for Aldo Nova in addition to his solo work and various guest sessions.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Mr. Gaines for this exclusive Boston Rock Radio interview.

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You have been a guest bassist on many diverse project sessions.  What advice can you give aspiring bassists in the session world related to professionalism, recording gear, and working with players from different genres?  

Be humble and be happy, and be sober. Be pleasant to be around.  Things go better when everyone gets along. Play for the song, not the spotlight.
Learn how to get different tones from your fingers, and find that sweet spot that makes your bass stand out in the mix.  If you don’t use a pick, start using one and get used to it.  Be versatile in both finger style and picking.  Learn to use your thumb too.  I lost out on several recordings when I was younger because I couldn’t play with a pick.  My fingerstyle approach was still being developed. It was mushy and not defined.  It sounded great live, but a good live performance tone may not necessarily transfer to the studio very well. Be ready to give the client/ producer what he/she wants. For gear, make sure your instruments are ready to go. No string buzz or intonation issues. Study what others have used in the studio. Probably 90% of the great bass recordings were done on a P or a Jazz bass.  I have basses that I use that are strictly for recording. I use a P bass with flats, and another P bass with rounds, a jazz bass with rounds, and a Musicman Stingray with rounds.  They all have different sounds that are used for different songs.  I prefer maple necks as they tend to have an edge that cuts through a little better. But, it really depends on the song.  If you play fretless bass, be sure to work on your intonation. Although most commercial studios come equipped with a bass rig and DI that they have dialed in, my next piece of gear would be a good DI.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  I recorded for several years using an MXR M80. The Tech21 stuff is great.  I currently use a SansAmp Bass Driver and the YYZ DI’s for my home studio.  In most cases, the engineer already has everything set up and all you have to do is plug in and let them tweak your sound.  Get some recording software and set up a home studio. The best way to learn about what sounds good is to experiment.   Most of the tracks I record from home are all direct, but if I go to a session I will bring an amp if the engineer wants to use it, or doesn’t have one already.  I’ve been using an old SWR Workingman's 12 combo since 1993 that I usually mic with a SM57 or RE20. A nice 12 or 15 cabinet is great. There are a million amps on the market, and they all sound great.  It doesn’t need to be 1000 watts loud, and you can’t go wrong with Ampeg.  When going to a session be sure to bring supplies like a pencil or two, batteries, strings, tools, etc. Also, be sure to bring something to eat like energy bars and bottled water.



Recently you were announced as part of the future touring plans with Aldo Nova.  How did you come meet his acquaintance?  

The whole thing happened by chance in 2018 because of Facebook.  Aldo was going through his newsfeed and saw my picture in the “people you might know” section.  He had no idea I had played for Stryper. He just saw my picture of me with a bass and clicked on it.  After investigating more about me he sent a message introducing himself, and asking if I could send him some video and songs of me performing. So I sent him some recent Stryper stuff and my 2009 solo album – Breakfast @ Timothy’s.  After conversing back and forth, we really hit it off.  It was like we had been friends forever.  In January 2019, he flew me to Montreal to film the video “I’m A Survivor.”

 

Aldo Nova- “When All Is Said and Done"



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During your last decade with the Stryper camp, respectfully you were a part of many nostalgia tour packages such as Rocklahoma, M3 Fest, Monster of Rock Cruise and beyond. Were those "chaotic" events behind the scenes before you hit the stage in regards to so many bands in one place?

As chaotic as it may seem to be, it’s actually real fun to be a part of. I love doing these things because of the camaraderie.  There is usually some central location like the “mess hall” where all of the bands can hang out and eat together. Most of us in the bands and the crew members have become good friends over the years.  Dressing rooms are usually trailers or converted cargo containers set up next to each other.  You get to watch a lot of great music from the side of the stage, and it’s always great to see the other bands watching you too.  Not to forget the whole purpose is to entertain the wonderful fans that keep everything going.  It’s such a great experience.

Would you consider joining one of the "known" bands of your generation if an opportunity presented itself for touring and recording?

Absolutely! Bring it on!

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Also back in the day, you toured or played gigs with many of your contemporaries  including White Lion, Great White, TNT, Ratt, Loudness, Hurricane, and more.  Did you ever feel your band was treated differently on these tours regarding the Christianity stance or did you ever feel as if the band was excluded from other gigs?

No, actually we all hung out and got along great.  We usually had a lot of fun, especially on the longer runs. When you are all together for a month at a time… everyday, you interact and become good friends.

Who are a few of the modern hard rock bands that you admire that are current or are you pretty much discovering the "long lost" classics in other genres?

I love so many different bands and genres.  I am really enjoying and rediscovering Aldo’s music.  It’s so awesome to be playing with him, and he is such a gifted writer, producer, and musician. But yes, I listen to so much new and old, that it’s hard to keep track.  And I don’t listen to just hard rock.  My wife and I usually have anything from Country to the Foo Fighters playing in the house.  

Have you taken in any Netflix music documentaries as of late that you really enjoyed?

Yes, there are some really good ones. Echo In the Canyon, 20 Feet From Stardom, Wrecking Crew, Sound City, Standing In the Shadows, Rush, Harry Nilson, Kurt Cobain, Good Ole Freda… I love watching this stuff and I need to make time to watch more.  

Beyond the Aldo Nova plans, what are some of your other musical activities that you have in store that we can look forward to in 2020-2021?

At the moment because of Covid, the whole industry has been shut down.  So I am taking any recording gigs that come my way for the rest of the year.  But plans for 2021 will be to tour with Aldo Nova when they open up the world for live entertainment.  

 

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Boston Rock Radio Music Journalist Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at https://thomasamoriello.com

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