This man is a legend.
You may not know him by name. You have heard hundreds of songs that he has played on. Over a year ago, I decided to start a new podcast (it’s called, Groove – The No Treble Podcast). As someone who studied and loves the sound of the electric bass, I realized that these musicians (these artists) are often in the shadows – their stories rarely told outside of the bass community. If you’re a bass player (or a musician), you will often know these people. As a casual listener, it’s often the instrument that is often forgotten. It’s also a relatively new instrument. One that is still coming into its own. Tony Levin is a bass specialist. Pure, simple and rhythmic. Bass players know how hard it is to find one’s voice. Levin has not only found his voice, but a very distinct sound, playing style and groove, whether he’s playing electric, upright or the curious Chapman Stick. It would be easy to lump him into the progressive rock genre (considering his work with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, and Pink Floyd), but digging deeper into his discography (over 500 albums that include everyone from Cher and John Lennon to Carly Simon and Seal), you will uncover a true artist.
It’s not just music. Tony started blogging (before it was even called that) in 1996, he writes books, is an avid photographer and more. Levin turns 70 years old this year, and he’s busier than ever. His Levin Brothers band (a duo featuring him and Pete – his brother) is still active, Stick Men is just finishing up a club tour, he will hit the road next month with Peter Gabriel and Sting, and then cap off the year with some additional King Crimson dates. Recording, writing, taking pictures, touring and more creative output. Levin – a legend in the bass space – does not want to slow down. Prior to our conversation, he was about to embark on a club tour with Stick Men. Imagine, at 70 years old, he’s hopping into a van, hitting the road, staying in random hotels and gigging in small clubs. It’s a far cry from where he’ll be in the upcoming months, as he heads out on the road as Peter Gabriel’s bass player (think private jets and the best hotels). Why bother playing clubs? Because he loves it. It’s who he is. It’s what he does to continue to develop. He’s 70. What’s your story? Often, people will ask me about the relationship between these conversations and this, the Six Pixels of Separation, community. These are artists that many of you have never heard of. Now, they are telling their story. If, for a second, you don’t think there is much to learn from people like this… you need to listen to this. Their inspiration, their process, their grit, their creativity and more…
Here is our conversation: Groove – The No Treble Podcast – Episode # 17 – In Conversation With Tony Levin.