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Biography | Stuart Clayton

Stuart Clayton

Biography

My connections with the magazine meant that I was often visiting music trade shows and in late 2002 I met UK luthier Bernie Goodfellow at the Music Live show. Bernie was demonstrating his GB basses through the EBS amplification that he was distributing in the UK and the sound of the instruments just knocked me out. Bernie liked my playing and invited me to work with him at trade shows as a demonstrator. By March 2003 I had asked Bernie to build me a 4-string Rumour bass complete with LED fretmarkers and exotic woods. It was finished just in time for us to head to the Frankfurt MusicMesse where we demoed his basses for four days and hung out with a lot of cool players as well as the guys from EBS. My GB Rumour 4-string is still my main bass and I love it. I later had Bernie build me a Chrome 5-string with green LED’s which came in very useful for band work.

GB 4 string bass

GB 4 string bass

In 2005 I found that some of the band and writing work I had been doing was coming to an end and I needed to look for fresh challenges. After briefly considering going back to working on the cruise ships I found myself being offered a six month contract working in Denmark with the country’s largest circus, Cirkus Arena. The circus was celebrating its 50th anniversary and had hired a couple of big Danish pop stars to host the show. I auditioned, got the job and in March found myself heading to Denmark to join the circus! Over the next few months we played a show pretty much every day (sometimes two!), visiting in total 105 Danish towns. Denmark is a beautiful country and I thoroughly enjoyed touring around it. Another benefit of this tour was that I found myself with a great deal of free time during the day. I decided to use the time wisely and wrote a new book called Ultimate Slap Bass. I also decided to seriously pursue self-publishing and laid all the groundwork for my publishing company Bassline Publishing. Upon my return to the UK, I released the new book and revamped the Level 42 books so that everything was published through Bassline Publishing.

In late 2005 I was offered the job as the bassist in Carl Palmer’s band. Carl of course was well-known for his time with pro giants Emerson Lake and Palmer and rock pop act Asia. Obviously I jumped at the opportunity to join, and immediately immersed myself in the task of learning some pretty tough music. My first gigs came in early 2006 and were in Spain – Barcelona, Gran Canaria and Madrid. I vividly remember being utterly terrified before the first gig – the music was extremely difficult and there was a lot to remember on stage! The shows went well however and before I knew it The Carl Palmer Band was keeping me very busy. In 2006 we toured the US for six weeks (during which we sold out BB King’s and I got to hang out with Stuart Hamm in San Francisco), played about three weeks in Europe and finished off the year with a tour of the UK.

Me at BB Kings

Performing with the Carl Palmer Band at BB Kings

In 2006 I decided to approach BIMM (the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, where Carl’s guitarist Paul Bielatowicz worked) about stocking my books. Paul arranged a meeting for me with the directors, who assumed I was looking for a job… and offered me one! Before I knew it I was travelling to Brighton a couple of days a week and teaching classes of bass players, something I had never done before but quickly came to enjoy. I worked in Brighton for a full year and was then offered the position of Head of Bass at the company’s new school based in Bristol. As this was much closer to my home in Devon I was happy to accept the job.

Currently I am working two days a week at BIMM Bristol, writing books for Bassline Publishing, teaching privately, working on articles for Bass Guitar Magazine and recording with a new artist named James Sinclair.