Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan shares the most important thing he’s learned in life so far
Former David Lee Roth and current Mr. Big and The Winery Dogs bassist Billy Sheehan was recently interviewed by AXS and asked what is the most important lesson that he’s learned in life so far.
Sheehan replied: “Well, knowing when to shut up I think is a good lesson to learn. [laughs] Knowing when to just keep your mouth shut and not say anything. There’s a time and a place for everything, so before you speak think, ‘is this the time and place for this or should I just save it until later?’ That’s an important thing to learn. But as a musician and as a player for me personally, the fact that I started performing live first and I was on stage before I really knew that much about playing bass – or anything else – that was the greatest thing that happened to me and which has lead to the most amount of success. That on-stage experience, whether you’re prepared for it or not, diving into the deep end you do learn to swim pretty quick and effectively. So that’s probably the most important thing that I’ve learned music-wise. You’ve just got to get on the deck and start, don’t wait until you’re ready or until you’re good enough, just get up there and go and everything else will just fall into place.”
In terms of the process of how the new Mr. Big album came together, Sheehan advised: “Well, we had some things that were together in varying degrees. Nothing actually complete – nothing that was actually finished, we’d have a little piece of a thing that had the vocal part but wasn’t completely done. And it created a pressure to get it done, to be real, professional musicians and get the job done on time and under budget. We lit the fires and got at it. We didn’t rush through it as far as the concept in someone’s mind might be, we didn’t slop through it, but we’ve made lots of records together and millions of records with other people so we kind of know what we’re doing when we get in there. It’s that urgency that you have – ‘we’ve only got six days, we’ve got to get it done and it’s got to be great!’ So, that urgency is a good thing and I enjoy it, especially in a recording environment. I’ve done records in two days and I know people who have done them in similar amounts of time. It’s really kind of like a live show, at a live show you can’t ‘take two,’ you’ve got to play it – play it right – sing in right – if you’re flat or play a wrong note you can’t go back and fix it. There’s a great urgency to performing live that is like nothing else. So that applied in the studio and it just brings a little bit more depth to the spirit of the record and connects it back to when all records were made that way.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Billy Sheehan at AXS.