My Guest for this episode is Ian King, on Instagram @iankingbass, who currently holds the bass chair for the hit musical 'Hamilton' that is playing in London's Victoria Palace Theatre.

Ian is a prolific West End musician who has held bass chair on Daddy Cool, Fame, Hairspray, Sister Act, Shrek the Musical, The Book of Mormon and Dreamgirls as well as Hamilton. With all of these shows combined Ian has been working in West End pits for over twelve years straight.

As well as this Ian is well versed in other areas of live music having credits working with The Temptations, The Supremes, Sister Sledge, Ronan Keating, Huey Lewis, Paul Young, Rick Astley and Albert Lee as well as arena tours with Jesus Christ Superstar, Dr. Who Live! and Symphonic Rock with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with TV credits including The Graham Norton Show and Strictly Dance Fever to name a few.

In this episode we cover topics including:

  • How to get in to the West End

  • Crucial non-musical considerations on a big show

  • The key relationships of a pit bass player

  • How to cultivate over 15 years of consistency

  • And much more.

IAN KING - West End Bassist, A Pit Musician's Mentality - Episode 4
00:00 / 00:00

Show Notes:

00:00 – Background and youth

04:00 – Developing sight-reading

04:50 – Work on cruise ships

05:55 – Younger musician’s attitude towards shows

06:45 – Non-musical considerations on a top show

07:30 – Do younger musicians have a bad attitude?
08:50 – How Ian paid his dues along his path

10:10 – Why function bands are a good idea and the skills you learn with them

11:45 – It is important to know the basics

13:10 – How the West End has changed in recent years

15:35 – The impact your attitude has when depping in the West End

17:25 – Breaking in to the West End bubble

18:45 – The importance of your reputation and experience

20:55 – Rising progressively through the ranks

21:20 – Ian’s estimated age range – stage of work ratio

22:30 – Patience and hard work is key

23:10 – The life style of having a chair in town

24:20 – How depping can open doors later on

25:10 – 12 years of constant West End work

26:50 – The two key relationships for a bass player

28:00 – The importance of your social relationships

29:45 – Being consistent

31:50 – Interpreting a chart to bring a bit of magic

34:20 – What Ian listens to when playing

35:10 – What is on click track

36:00 – Ian’s personal mix

36:45 – Getting the big picture

38:20 – The hardest part of a West End show

39:30 – Meeting and using deps

41:15 – The importance of doubling

43:10 – Putting in the time for new gigs

45:45 – Plate-spinning your professionalism

46:30 – Ian’s warm-up routine

48:00 – Having self-confidence

52:35 – Concentrations levels

54:00 – Consistency gets your rebooked

54:40 – 15 years of consistency

55:50 – Do you see it as a job or do you love it?

56:10 – Keeping it fresh on a long-runner

57:40 – Dealing with fatigue

59:35 – Regularly playing in a high-pressure environment

1:00:30 – Managing deps

1:05:10 – Strengths and weaknesses on different shows

1:05:55 – Pit band hierarchy and relationships

1:07:20 – Musical supervisors

1:10:50 – Managing personalities earlier on in your career

1:13:15 – Why cruise-ship work is a good idea

1:14:30 – Cruising while you’re young

1:15:00 – Having a positive outlook

1:18:00 – Recommended gear

1:20:00 – Recommended listening (honest!)

1:25:00 – Bands and chances to see Ian

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