My guest on this episode is Steve Pearce, who is one of the most experienced bass players working in London today.


Most recently he held the bass chair in the West End for the Carol King musical Beautiful, and plays regularly on sessions in the top London studio.


Over the course of his career he has played with the likes of Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones, Al Jarreau, Bryan Ferry, Madonna, Mark Knoplfer, Seal, Randy Crawford and many more. His TV work includes being in the house band for shows such as Sports Personality of the Year, Proms in the Park, The Royal Variety Show and many more.


In this episode we talk about:

  • The skills needed to work in studio sessions

  • Grafting and serving your talent

  • The experience of working with household names

  • The importance of doubling on your instrument

  • And much more

STEVE PEARCE PART 1 - Bass, Session and Live Show Royalty
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STEVE PEARCE PART 2 - Bass, Session and Live Show Royalty
00:00 / 00:00

Show Notes:

00:00 – Steve’s background

01:00 – The karmic music profession

05:30 – Regularly working with his Dad

07:10 – How Steve created his own ‘Studio College Course’

09:30 – The skills Steve learned for sessions

11:30 – The importance of listening to music

12:30 – Meeting new musicians

16:00 – Steve’s move to London, starting sessions and expanding network

17:45 – The big changing moment for Steve

21:10 – Your finances and functions

22:45 – Attitude and having enthusiasm towards work

27:00 – Working in the West End

35:00 – Understanding what you want to do and serving your talent

37:00 – Steve’s skill list

42:00 – Working hard

44:00 – Steve’s Live Diary

48:45 – The frequency of work over time

50:00 – Budgeting and money management

55:30 – Your reputation as a musician

56:30 – Who you know vs. what you know in studios

58:50 – A typical recording process

1:07:26 – How the session process has developed

1:09:25 – Steve’s bass concept

1:15:00 – Having some bottle and dealing with nerves in an orchestra

1:18:30 – Making decisions with takes

1:22:00 – Playing on bigger sessions

1:24:30 – The skills of a session musician

1:25:00 – Steve’s film sessions

1:26:00 – Working with Van Morrison

1:27:30 – Steve’s break into live gigging

1:30:00 – Playing in live touring environments

1:37:00 – Reading whilst performing

1:40:45 – Writing own parts for live gigs

1:32:30 – How Steve became the MD for Tom Jones

1:45:20 – What being an MD involves

1:48:30 – Playing with big names

1:54:30 – The sum of experience in your career giving you confidence

1:56:00 – Personality of people at the top

1:59:00 – Playing with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Vinnie Colaiuta

2:04:30 – Big decisions and big moments in your career. Using experience to draw strength from yourself.

2:06:00 – The hard work of developing your arsenal

2:11:30 – To double or not to double

2:12:30 – Session careers these days

2:17:25 – Advice for young musicians

2:25:00 – Recommended gear

2:26:00 – Recommended listening

2:28:20 – Steve Live

Recommended Bass Listening:


Bob Babbitt

James Jamerson

Marcus Miller

Anthony Jackson

Chuck Rainey

Paul Jackson

Michael Henderson

Recommended Gear:

Sadowsky 5-string

Sansamp DI box

Fender Precision Basses:

- Round wound strings for ROCK

- Flat round strings with foam under bridge for MOWTOWN

-5 String Fretless

- Acoustic Bass guitar

Ampeg Valve Amp

Double Bass + Pickup

Double Bass mic - DPA420

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