There comes a time in every musicians life where you want to meet the person who ultimately keeps you going. I’m talking about that musician that every time you hear them, you run to your instrument and practice just to possibly get your craft closer to theirs. Me being a bass player, I heard many other bass players that I like. Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, etc.. But none of those guys has ever motivated me like this guy, Victor Wooten. This guy is just a excellent musician. The moment I heard his rendition of “Amazing Grace”, I was floored. The patterns, the syndication of notes, the funk! This guy is who I label to be the best bass player of all time thus far. All you have to do to see what I’m talking about, if you don’t know already, is to go to youtube and do a search for these four words: “Victor Wooten Amazing Grace”.
Me personally, when I first started playing bass, I was the type of person that would go to Youtube everyday and typed in “Victor Wooten”, looked at the recently uploaded posted videos of him play and just watched and learned. But through watching these videos I learned something that was not so pleasant; Victor Wooten was not coming to my home town to play. For those that don’t know, I stay in the most exotic terrains of Miami, Florida. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve seen my share of celebrities, artists, and musicians. But I didn’t care about them, I cared to see Vic. For years I would wait for him to release his tour dates, and every time I looked, Miami was not on that list.
Then one day while making my routine stop at Sam Ash, as I was purchasing my D’addario Strings, I saw cut-out of Victor Wooten standing behind a Hartke rig. As a fan of the guy, I knew at the time he just left GK () and started using Hartke. I looked lower and it gave me a date at which he was coming to my local Sam Ash. I freaked! I took the day off from work, I posted on Instagram that he was coming, I posted on facebook not to expect to see me on this particular day cause I was going to be with the Funk Master himself.
The day came and I was completely stoked about this. I was going to meet the guy who inspired me to play bass guitar the way I do. So I pull up and I walk in EARLY! I was there an hour EARLY! And I see some seats set up at this stage the recently built in my local Sam Ash store. I was not expecting him to be there already, and I nonchalantly got a seat in the first row and started to wait. I went to text my significant other and I hear this very familiar voice. I looked up and saw this:
He was early too! I couldn’t believe it! Victor L. Wooten was finally standing in front of me. Now, here is where I can’t lie. I startled Vic a little when I initially took this pic. He was talking to a couple when I first noticed him and like a crazed fan, my first thought was “You need evidence of Victor Wooten’s existence! TAKE A PICTURE!” I immediately obey that thought and whipped out my phone and started snapping like there was no tomorrow. And Vic turned and looked at me and jumped a little in “startlement”. He quickly ended his conversation with the couple and turned to me. Till this day, I don’t remember what he said to me at that moment. I do remember shaking his hand and cheesing very hard. Next thing I know he walked in a back room somewhere. that was out of my sight. Next thing I know, I see some come out with the Victor Wooten Fodera Ying-Yang Signature bass! If you know Vic, you know exactly who it was.
Yup! You guessed it! Mr. Flex himself! Anthony Wellington. What a humble guy. For those that don’t know, Anthony is Vic’s right hand man, and bass technician. He plays bass as well and his style is very close to Vic’s. After a while when the crowd gathered and soundcheck was done, Victor Wooten took the stage.
This man absolutely blazed as usual! I must say this, its more impressive to see him play live. Like the “Tuber” I am, my instinct was to take video. Before I could even do that, Vic goes on to say that he did not want to be on video and he’ll explain why later. With that being said, here is the audio that I took that day.
Victor later explained that with all the videos on Youtube going viral on his very technically/flashy playing, he felt that other upcoming bass players felt that they had to be “flashy” too. He felt that musicians where taking his playing out of context. I couldn’t agree more. Vic is a freak of nature when it comes to bass playing. He does very uncommon things. He always states that his style of playing is a blessing and a curse because he won’t get the big time Gigs because he’s an act all on his own.
He opened up for unlimited questions. He was so generous with his time. He literally answered every question the audience had to ask to the point people were making up questions to ask, and he even answered those too. My questions were news reporter ready, being that I had prepared them the day I found out he was coming. The main question I asked him was “How heavy is your bass exactly?”. Now, you might be asking yourself, why would you ask that; and the answer is simple: Vic does tricks. if you haven’t seen him play Sinister Minister, the video will explain at the 4:20 mark why I specifically asked this question.
The answer to my question completely blew me away. He said “After I’m done answering questions and playing, I’ll let you hold my bass so you can see for yourself.” ……………………………………………….WHO DOES THAT?! I couldn’t believe he said that. So thats how this picture happened.
Afterwards, he decided to stay even more and give his autograph to the very last person. And thats how this picture happened.
He signed my book that was given to me by my wife, The Music Lesson. I felt a little bit bad that it was damaged by water due to a hurricane that hit the summer before. And he did look at it like “What is this???”… but he still signed it!
To end this adventure properly, you must know, I ran into a third Bass Great that day. After I got my signature and my pics with Vic, me and bro Rick (I wish I was making this up), was in awe of what just happened. We looked outside and saw this guy sitting on the wall and was like.. “is that who I think it is??” and low and behold it was Steve Bailey. Very cool guy.
Overall, I’m glad I got the opportunity to meet such a great guy. I couldn’t be more grateful that he made his way to Miami, FL. Vic, if you ever read this. Thank you again.