— video by dave hogerty
“SWIRL” — Written in a contemplative moment at the end of a recording session at SONO RECORDS in Prague, Czech Republic, “Swirl” closes CinemaSonics, Doug’s second solo album.
ART DECO WEEKEND 2012’s MUSICAL DIRECTOR
The WimBash Festival Series
— A VISION
After more than 35 years as one of the world’s most versatile and sought-after bass guitarists, Doug has taken his career in a socially conscious direction. With THE WIMBASH FESTIVAL SERIES, Doug will continue traveling the world, playing and spreading his own brand of musical joy, but now with a distinct educational mission to support local mentoring and educational programs. Depending on the where and when, Doug will assemble different configurations of longtime collaborators, and partner with a selection of local musicians and educators, to organize workshops and concerts to benefit each community’s effort.
DOUG WIMBISH (Electric Bass Guitar)
— Celebrating a 35-year Odyssey, filled with musical exploration, influence, and discovery.
Even for those already familiar with LIVING COLOUR bassist DOUG WIMBISH, realizing the number of records he’s played on, the musicians he’s collaborated with, and the significant impact he’s had on nearly all genres of popular music is impressive. Think ROLLING STONES, JEFF BECK, ANNIE LENNOX, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, SEAL, BILLY IDOL, DEPECHE MODE, HERB ALPERT, JAMES BROWN, AFRIKA BAMBAATAA, GEORGE CLINTON (FUNKADELIC), ON-U SOUND, AL GREEN, CARLY SIMON, JOE SATRIANI, MADONNA, and MOS DEF. From his early days as one of Hip-Hop’s earliest architects in THE ORIGINAL SUGAR HILL RECORDS RHYTHM SECTION, to his long-time membership in TACK>>HEAD, LITTLE AXE, JUNGLE>>FUNK and LIVING COLOUR, Doug has continuously sought to expand his musical world. A New Millennium brought not only a LIVING COLOUR reunion, but Doug also continued playing with Original Sugar Hill mates SKIP “LITTLE AXE” McDONALD and KEITH LEBLANC, vocalists VINX (Vincent De’Jon Parrette) and BERNARD FOWLER (Rolling Stones/Tack>>Head), WILL CALHOUN (Living Colour/Head>>Fake), and ADRIAN SHERWOOD (On-U Sound). Doug also toured and recorded with groups and individuals as diverse as the EXPERIENCE HENDRIX TOUR (with guitarists/JOE SATRIANI, STEVE VAI and ERIC GALES), Goth Metal Queen TARJA TURUNEN (Nightwish), New Orleans’ BIG SAM WILLIAMS (Dirty Dozen Brass Band), and near the end of the first decade (2011), friend LAURYN HILL, in her reemergence after a five-year child-bearing hiatus.
Living Colour (Chair in the Doorway)
— Summer 2009
— video by dave hogerty
“BI” — LIVING COLOUR at the Highline Ballroom in New York City (10/28/09), the last show of an American Tour in support of THE CHAIR IN THE DOORWAY. “Bi” features Doug, whose daughters Olivia and Nova can be seen while he stands in the crowd taking his solo.
DOUG WIMBISH is probably best known as the innovative lead bassist in the Grammy Award-winning hard rock band LIVING COLOUR, but looking beyond the obvious, one quickly sees that Doug’s influence and impact on the world’s musical culture is much more vast and significant than often written or realized.
For more than 30 years, Doug has been one of the most sought-after electric bassists, and has collaborated with many of the world’s best known, and most talented musical artists. Having participated in the making of so many popular recordings, in every musical style, all around the world, it’s hard to find a culture or community that hasn’t been exposed to Doug’s music.
To get an idea of the respect Doug has earned within the music industry, consider that one week in 1992, he received personal phone calls from MICK JAGGER, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, and SEAL, all asking him to join their bands. Now consider that he turned them all down, choosing to stay with his LIVING COLOUR bandmates, VERNON REID (guitar), COREY GLOVER (vocals), and WILL CALHOUN (drums).
Despite his decision in 1992, not to join any band (staying with LIVING COLOUR), as a permanent member, DOUG did go on to record, produce, and tour with dozens of well-known artists, including THE ROLLING STONES, JEFF BECK, JOE SATRIANI, HERB ALPERT, ANNIE LENNOX, MADONNA, CARLY SIMON, AL GREEN, BILLY IDOL, GEORGE CLINTON, and JAMES BROWN. More recently (since 2000), DOUG also joined Hip-Hop, Hollywood Movie and Broadway Theater Star MOS DEF’s BLACK JACK JOHNSON, and in 2007, played on Finland’s Rock Opera Diva TARJA TURUNEN’s first solo record, MY WINTER STORM, and has toured with Tarja ever since.
— photograph by Kari Helenius (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Doug onstage with Tarja Turunen (Finland, 2007)
— video (Universal/Europe)
“PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” — TARJA TURUNEN (vocals), TONY TURUNEN (guitar/vocals), DOUG WIMBISH (bass), MIKE TERRANA (drums), ALEX SCHOLPP (guitar), MAX LILJA (cello), MARKUS HOHTI (cello), MARIA Maria ILMONIEMI (keyboards).
After playing on TARJA TURUNEN’s MY WINTER STORM, the singer’s first solo album after leaving her longtime band NIGHTWISH, Doug was asked to play on the new band’s first European Tour in the winter of 2007, and has played on all of Tarja’s four subsequent World Tours in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Between touring with TARJA, Doug spent most of 2009 on the road with LIVING COLOUR in support of The Chair in the Doorway, and toured with all his old English ON-U SOUND mates (MARK STEWART + MAFFIA, LITTLE AXE, and TACK>>HEAD.)
2010 — LIVING COLOUR anchored the EXPERIENCE HENDRIX TOUR, playing both sets of their own, and backing the tour’s lead guitarists, JOE SATRIANI and STEVE VAI.
2011 — In addition to the continuation of “EXPERIENCE HENDRIX,” and finishing TACK>>HEAD’s new Share>>Head album, Doug joined LAURYN HILL on JIMMY FALLON’s Late Night television program. Soon after, Doug was asked to join Lauryn on the road, starting with a show at the Los Angeles Coliseum with MUSE and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE on the “RISE AGAINST THE MACHINE” tour, and ending in New York City, headlining the ROCK THE BELLS TOUR.
THE ODYSSEY CONTINUES — After logging hundreds of thousands of miles, and entering his 35th professional year, Doug’s musical exploration continues to grow at an accelerating pace.
In the Beginning
It could be said that Doug’s musical journey began when he was a kid in the late 1960s, motivated by his older brother Victor’s interest in the Rock and Soul music of the day, listening to everything from THE KINKS, LED ZEPPELIN, SLY STONE, CURTIS MAYFIELD, FUNKADELIC, and JIMI HENDRIX. After picking up a guitar, one hot, summer day in his aunt and uncle’s appliance/music store in the Bahamas, Doug sought early guidance from his brother Victor’s bass-playing friend Gary Williams, who marvels at how quickly Doug’s virtuosity showed itself.
By the early ’70s, as a HARTFORD CONSERVATORY student of jazz saxophonist JACKIE McLEAN (who was also a teenager when he started his professional career, playing on MILES DAVIS’ DIG Album in 1951) Doug’s career in music was firmly established.
A JOURNEY THROUGH TIME AND SPACE
1976 — Doug’s first “real” job was with guitarist SKIP “LITTLE AXE” McDONALD and drummers HAROLD SARGENT and KEITH LEBLANC, playing in a dance/funk/horn band called WOOD, BRASS & STEEL. It was then that Doug, Skip, and Keith (THE ORIGINAL THREE) were hired by JOE and SYLVIA ROBINSON as the house band for their recently formed SUGAR HILL RECORDS. As Hip-Hop’s ORIGINAL RHYTHM SECTION, the three wrote, played, and recorded many of the genre’s original anthems, including “THE MESSAGE,” “WHITE LINES,” and “THAT’S THE JOINT,” before picking up rather suddenly, and moving to London (“fleeing the Robinsons for their lives”).
It was in England, that all three started a musical collaboration with producer ADRIAN SHERWOOD’s ON-U SOUND label, that resulted most significantly with the creation of the Industrial Funk band called TACK>>HEAD, and a musical partnerships that remain strong today.
1978 — With a talent that was immediately apparent, Doug was recruited to play bass on MUSIQUE’s KEEP ON JUMPIN’ (12″) with the dance hits “KEEP ON JUMPIN'” and “IN THE BUSH,” which were (along with Wood, Brass, & Steel’s “FUNKANOVA”) both mainstays of the Late-’70s New York City club scene at STUDIO 54, THE PARADISE GARAGE, and DAVID MANCUSO’s LOFT.
Not since their time in WOOD, BRASS & STEEL had Doug, Skip, and Keith’s instrumental abilities been completely appreciated. Despite a New York Times writer calling them “THE WORLD’S FINEST RHYTHM SECTION,” the band went mostly unnoticed, as nearly all the early hip-hop attention went to MCs, DJs, and Graffiti Writers, rather than the musicians who were actually playing the music.
1983 — SUGAR HILL mate KEITH LEBLANC (with the blessing of Malcolm X’s widow BETTY “QUEEN” SHABAZZ) recorded the landmark “NO SELL OUT,” considered the first effective use of “sampling” committed to vinyl. “No Sell Out” is a 12″- single on which Keith cuts pieces of MALCOLM X speeches and mixed them with his own experimental, electronic drum beats. SUGAR HILL owners JOE and SYLVIA ROBINSON, without Keith’s knowledge or approval, steal the master tapes, and press 500,000 vinyl copies of “NO SELL OUT.” On the record’s label, writing credit is given to “SUGAR HILL RECORDS,” with no mention of Keith. Keith then makes a legal claim for his artistic, and financial rights to the record, and wins the case in Federal Court. The Robinson’s legal defeat proves to be a significant blow to their already suffering SUGAR HILL Label. By 1985, The Robinson’s Hip-Hop Empire had fallen, having been rolled over by RUN DMC, THE BEASTIE BOYS, and most importantly DEF JAM RECORDS.
1984 — DOUG, SKIP, and KEITH, with MELLE MEL (“THE MESSAGE” vocalist), write and record “VICE,” a song on the original MIAMI VICE SOUNDTRACK Album produced by JAN HAMMER. From the moment of the song’s release, Joe Robinson insisted Sugar Hill was owed a substantial percentage of the proceeds. Fear of Joe Robinson was a serious consideration in the ORIGINAL SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION’s move to London.
1985 — DOUG, KEITH, and SKIP contribute significantly to “SUN CITY,” the Anti-Apartheid Anthem attributed to MILES DAVIS, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, U2, HERBIE HANCOCK, and nearly every other pop star of the day. Despite playing, and doing production work on the iconic recording, Doug, Keith, and Skip are not listed in the credits.
— video (Japanese Bootleg)
ATLANTIC CROSSING — DOUG played bass with JEFF BECK on his 1986 SUMMER TOUR OF JAPAN. The band included JAN HAMMER (keyboards), SIMON PHILLIPS (drums), and STEVE LUKATHER (guitar). The tour also included THE CARLOS SANTANA BAND. Later, Doug played on Beck’s 1990 album, FLASH.
— from “Jeff Beck performing Live at Ronnie Scott’s”
In the interview section of JEFF BECK LIVE AT RONNIE SCOTT’S (DVD), Beck mentions Doug in a recollection of how his current drummer VINNIE COLAIUTA came to join his band.
Upon reaching London, Doug and his SUGAR HILL mates (SKIP McDONALD and KEITH LEBLANC) went straight to work with ADRIAN SHERWOOD (ON-U SOUND), and attracted the immediate attention of England’s musical elite, including THE ROLLING STONES, and JEFF BECK. Beck invited Doug to join his band, and took him on his 1986 Summer Tour of Japan, which also featured CARLOS SANTANA and his band.
1986 — “MAJOR MALFUNCTION,” a result of Keith’s further electronic exploration makes use of the Mission Control [NASA] dialog during the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. With Skip, Doug, and Adrian Sherwood all part of the recording, it is often referred to as the “FIRST” TACK>>HEAD RECORDING.
1987 — ADRIAN SHERWOOD wisely uses the funky American band (Doug, Skip, and Keith) to back a number of ON-U SOUND’s politically aggressive vocalists, including GARY CLAIL and MARK STEWART. An album of tunes with Clail called “Tack>>Head Tape Time” is the first time “TACK>>HEAD” had ever received a recording credit.
1988 — FRIENDLY AS A HAND GRENADE, TACK>>HEAD’S first full-length album features BERNARD FOWLER, a member of LARRY LEVAN’s NYCiti PEECH Boys of PARADISE GARAGE fame, and who had just joined the ROLLING STONES for their STEEL WHEELS WORLD TOUR. Bernard’s soulful influence moves Doug, Skip, and Keith (THE ORIGINAL THREE) back toward their Funky, Rhythm & Blues (American) roots … a change that became much more apparent on Tack>>Head’s second (and last) album, STRANGE THINGS.
— also in this period, with the reputation he had earned early on with WOOD, BRASS & STEEL, and MUSIQUE, Doug played bass on recordings with vocalists CANDI STATON, MELBA MOORE, FREDDIE JACKSON, WILL DOWNING, MICHAEL BOLTON, and CARLY SIMON … these preceding his early ’90s work with ANNIE LENNOX and MADONNA.
1990 — STRANGE THINGS … TACKHEAD’s over-the-top, virtuoso live performances quickly earned the band a cult-like status in the [post-punk/pre-trip-hop] LONDON UNDERGROUND. One fan, MICK JAGGER, asked to make a guest appearance on TACK>>HEAD’s second album. The band obliged, and Mick can be heard singing (background) on the tune “Take a Stroll.”
— video by dave hogerty
“STEALING” (In the Name of the Lord) — TACK>>HEAD at the Highline Ballroom in New York City (2/22/09). A one-off show (the first in five years) after the band reunited briefly in 2004.
1992 — After the dissolution of TACK>>HEAD in 1991, Doug was quickly recruited to participate in a number of high-profile collaborations with THE ROLLING STONES, on the band’s Bridges to Babylon album, and on a number of solo records produced by the individual members: MICK JAGGER, KEITH RICHARDS, CHARLIE WATTS, and RONNIE WOOD.
Back in the USA
It was then that MICK JAGGER, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, and SEAL all called asking Doug to join their bands, but he turned each of them down, choosing to stay with LIVING COLOUR, after replacing original bassist MUZZ SKILLINGS on the band’s South American leg of its 1991 World Tour. Helping in Doug’s decision was that in addition to finishing LIVING COLOUR’s WORLD TOUR, the band had welcomed Doug as an equal member, and subsequently, he contributed (as a writer, player, and producer) to the then finished STAIN, LIVING COLOUR’s third studio album.
STAIN earned immediate and widespread critical acclaim, but with the onslaught of Grunge, the record went largely unnoticed publicly. Despite a well-received world tour, LIVING COLOUR (motivated mostly by guitarist VERNON REID) decided to call it quits before the end of 1993.
w/Style Scott (On-U Sound)
— video (YouTube/Wobbleon1)
Of course during his short stint with LIVING COLOUR, Doug had mantained his oldest musical relationship with his partners in THE ORIGINAL SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION, and ADRIAN SHERWOOD’s ON-U SOUND / TACK>>HEAD crew in London. This (DUB/REGGAE) performance from Carnival ’94, in Brighton’s Stanmer Park, (May 30, 1994) sees DOUG and SKIP McDONALD joining STYLE SCOTT’s DUB SYNDICATE (ON-U SOUND) which includes producer Adrian Sherwood on the mixing desk, the same position he always filled with TACK>>HEAD.
1994 — After Living Colour’s dissolution, Doug left New York City, and returned home to his loft/studio in Hartford, Connecticut. It was then, the first time in nearly 15 years, that Doug was without obligation to a specific band or project. He took the opportunity to begin work on the mostly instrumental, dark, and ambient sound, that he’s known for today.
He also re-established his musical relationship with his WOOD, BRASS, & STEEL and SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION bandmates, joining KEITH LEBLANC and SKIP McDONALD to record Skip’s first LITTLE AXE album, THE HOUSE THAT WOLF BUILT.
1996 — This was also the period of time when Doug strengthened his musical bond with LIVING COLOUR drummer WILL CALHOUN. HERB ALPERT invited them to write, produce, and play on his 1996 album, COLORS, on which Doug and Will further developed their bass/drum configuration. Calling themselves the HEAD>>FAKE SOUND SYSTEM, they recorded a number of demos, and later joined jazz vocalist VINX (DE’JON PARRETTE), changed their name to JUNGLE FUNK and embarked on a European Tour, recordings from which went to make JUNGLE FUNK, released in 1999.
2000 — At the end of the most experimental 1990s, Doug was prepared to release his first solo record. Influenced both by Calhoun’s world-wide native rhythms and beats, and his own mastery of the frequency manipulation and electronic effects he explored with ADRIAN SHERWOOD and TACK>>HEAD, Doug had produced a new, mysteriously melodic, dark, ambient, and evocative sound. When asked about the title of his first solo recording, Doug answered, “after hearing the master, it struck him as a continuous string of “TRIPPY NOTES FOR BASS.”
w/Mos Def (Black Jack Johnson)
— video (HBO/Reverb)
WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?…. When MOS DEF reached out to friend WILL CALHOUN, asking him to assemble a band that could best help him deliver a Hip-Hop message with a Rock ‘n’ Roll agression, Doug was first on Will’s list … and then adding BERNIE WORRELL (keyboards) and BAD BRAINS guitarist DR. KNOW, Mos’ new BLACK JACK JOHNSON band came to be. After a live NYC show recorded at the Bowery Ballroom for HBO’s Reverb, the band recorded two albums, BLACK ON BOTH SIDES (2002) and THE NEW DANGER (2005).
— video by dave hogerty
THE 911 EFFECT — LIVING COLOUR REUNION (Orlando, Fla. House of Blues)
December 28, 2001
2001 — On December 21, 2000, Doug and Will were playing a HEAD>>FAKE set with “guest” (LIVING COLOUR) vocalist COREY GLOVER. In the audience, was (LIVING COLOUR) guitarist VERNON REID, who joined the others onstage to play an old LIVING COLOUR standard, a cover of the TALKING HEADS’ “Memories Can’t Wait.” It was the first time in seven years that LIVING COLOUR had played together, and enjoying it so much, they decided to go out on a 2001 REUNION TOUR.
Interrupted by the Twin Towers attack on 911, LIVING COLOUR considered calling it quits again, but instead decided makeup the cancelled dates later that year. The tour’s last show was in NYC’s Central Park on New Year’s Eve (2002), in front of large, enthusiastic “hometown” crowd. Positive enough were the feelings for each individual member, that they decided to stay together and record a new album. COLLIDEOSCOPE (Living Colour’s fourth studio album) was released in 2003.
CollideOscope included much of the early, guitar rock LIVING COLOUR was known for, but it was also influenced by the bass/drum electronics Doug and Will had developed during the band’s hiatus. Lyrically, it delivered the expected socially conscious messages as on all three previous LIVING COLOUR records, most noteably on Vernon’s “FLYING,” a melancholy description of 911, that remains a standard in the band’s live set.
2004 — Despite having been on the wildest of professional rides, reaching every corner of the globe, and passing through every culture and genre of music, Doug has always stayed in touch with his well founded roots. With SKIP McDONALD, and KEITH LEBLANC, his ORIGINAL SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION mates, Doug has toured extensively, and recorded on all three of Skip’s LITTLE AXE albums (HARD GRIND , CHAMPAGNE & GRITS , and STONE COLD OHIO ). The same trio also tour with original TACK>>HEAD (ON-U SOUND) vocalist MARK STEWART’s band, he calls MARK STEWART + MAFFIA, and Doug contributed significantly on Stewart’s EDIT (2008) album, his first in nearly 20 years. With current TACK>>HEAD vocalist BERNARD FOWLER, Skip, Keith, and Doug also tour as BAD DOG, playing sets dominated by tunes off of Fowler’s FRIENDS WITH PRIVILEGES, the ROLLING STONES singer’s first solo record, released in 2007, and featuring Doug on most of the album’s 12 songs.
The Inaugural Wimbash
2005 — Starting with a TACK>>HEAD reunion in 2004 (the band’s first performance in 14 years), Doug began hosting a show at Sully’s Pub & Tiki Bar, a tiny beer bar/pizza joint near his home in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. The annual “WIMBASH,” as it was named in 2005, features Doug playing with a number of his world-class collaborators, as well as select local bands, providing the opportunity to see musicians, who more often play large venues around the world, in a much more intimate setting.
In its seventh year, Doug’s WIMBASH is growing in popularity and attracting more and more talented musicians to his NOVA SOUND FAMILY. In addition to the hometown shows at SULLY’s, Doug has partnered with ROCKHOUSE to present three WIMBASH WEST shows in Anaheim, California, and has just announced his first MIAMI WIMBASH which will be a part of the ART DECO WEEKEND festival on OCEAN DRIVE in Miami Beach (Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend) JANUARY 13-16, 2012.
ART DECO WEEKEND 2012 …
“Tongues On Fire” — A Tribute to The Black Panthers (Paris, France / February 6, 2010)
Doug’s solo in Living Colour’s performance of David Murray’s musical interpretation of Emory Douglas’ revolutionary art. Since his participation in the 1960s, Douglas has been known as The Black Panther Party’s “Minister of Culture.”
WimBash 2011 / BirthdayBash
(Saturday) September 24, 2011 @ SULLY’s PUB & TIKI BAR (Hartford, Connecticut)
with/Jungle>>Funk, Vinx (De’Jon Parrette), Will Calhoun, Head>>Fake, Keith Leblanc, The Original Sugar Hill Rhythm Section, Adam Falcon, Ladell McLin, Swiss Chris, Jeremiah Hosea, (EarthDriver), Phantasm, Jaeme Starchild, Joe Jordan Experiment, GrindCity, PersiaSound, Vinyl Gypsy, DJ Markie Gee, Livid, XY Eli, Platinum Mustache.