Dave Bronze is an English bass player who is extremely busy working with major rock and roll names such as Andy Fairweather Lowe, Eric Clapton, Robin Trower, Procol Harum and many more. He played on the Classic "From the Cradle" album from Eric Clapton and performed in the famous "Concert for George"... The tribute concert for George Harrison. Dave continues to work hard these days and has over 40+ years of road tested experience. Look for him in a city near you.
R.V.B. - What was the first music you were exposed to at an early age?
D.B. - When I was very young my parents played a lot of country music, Jim Reeves and so on. One of my uncles played in a skiffle band which practised in the house and my dad was always singing Nat King Cole songs. I remember being absolutely mesmerised by The Shadows too. I would play their records over and over again on the juke box in my parent’s social club.
R.V.B. - How did you start playing the bass? Did you start with other instruments first? What was your first bass and did you take lessons?
D.B. - My first instrument was blues harp, but a friend asked me to join a band that needed a bass player. I didn’t play and didn’t own a bass, so he loaned me one, a Rosetti, which was pretty awful. We had our first rehearsal a week later. The uncle who played in the skiffle band later became the bassist in a popular local country band, and he gave me some lessons very early on.
R.V.B. - What music did you like to play at first? Where did you hear it and did you have buddies that you jammed with early?
D.B. - My first bands were mainly blues bands, and we would play Canned Heat and Elmore James type tunes.
R.V.B. - What was the name of your first band and where was you're first gig. How did it go?
D.B - I can’t remember my actual first band’s name, but my first gigging band was called Column I think. The first gig was in a local social club and we cleared the room in about 5 minutes. I remember they wouldn’t pay us as we were so bad!
R.V.B. - What do you consider to be your first big break where things started happening for you? Did you start doing more touring locally and more studio work with other musicians at this time?
D.B. - That’s not easy to answer, as it was a very gradual process. Probably my introduction to Procol Harum lyricist Keith Reed was significant. He was involved in the management of a few acts, including Mickey Jupp and Robin Trower, and was still writing with Procol vocalist Gary Brooker. Through Gary I met Eric Clapton and several other established names, and slowly things developed from there. I was already a well known face on the local circuit, and had also been doing some minor studio session work for various people.
R.V.B. - Were you able to balance family activities with your musical career at first? Did you realize at the early stages that you were going to be as successful as you are?
D.B. - That is a good question! The work/family balance is not easy for a professional musician, especially when touring as extensively as I was during the 80’s and 90’s. However, due mainly to the incredible patience and understanding of my wife we somehow managed to get through, bring up 2 kids and stay married for 38 years. Amazing really! And I never for one moment thought my career would get as far as it has. In fact my wife and I agreed that I would give it a try as a pro for one year and see what happened. That was in 1976, and somehow I’m still going!
R.V.B. - I realize you have played with many very talented people in your career so I will just ask you about a few. Where did you meet Robin Trower and how did you enjoy working with him?
D.B. - As I mentioned earlier, I met Keith Reed when I joined the band of a UK singer/songwriter called Mickey Jupp. Keith was managing Mickey and Robin. When Robin decided to return to touring in the early 80’s he needed a bass player and my name came up. I toured and recorded with Robin for much of the 80’s. I learned a lot during that time, and am grateful for the experience. Like all things, it had it’s ups and downs. Unfortunately I did acquire some tinnitus due to the volume, which I carry to this day.
R.V.B. - In your stint with Gary Brooker did you tour a lot after making the albums. Is there any chance of Robin and Gary working together again?
D.B. - I did do some tours in support of the Prodigal Stranger album. I still work with Gary from time to time. I can’t speak for Gary and Robin but I would be surprised if they did work together again.
R.V.B. - Is Tom Jones's voice really that powerful in person?
D.B. - Yes it is, and then some! The most impressive voice I have ever heard!
R.V.B. - Did you play with all three George, Paul and Ringo? Was this studio work, jamming or in a gig?
D.B. - I did play with Paul and Ringo at the Concert for George, and have performed with Ringo on a number of other occasions, mostly charity events with Eric Clapton. Unfortunately I never met George.
R.V.B. - Eric Clapton's "From the Cradle" album is an absolute classic. How did you get asked to do that one and how long was the recording process?
D.B. - Eric just contacted me and asked me to take part. It was that simple! It was quite a long process, as we did everything live in the studio, with no repairs and virtually no overdubs. That means everything had to be right in one go; lead vocal, solos, everything. We just kept recording the tracks again and again until Eric was happy with his performance.
R.V.B. - You've played with many great blues players. Do you enjoy the blues more than straight ahead rock and roll? Have you ever met any American blues masters?
D.B. - I enjoy all kinds of music. I do feel I got tagged as a blues player after the Cradle album, but in I have always been interested in a much wider musical spectrum. I even toured and recorded with The Art Of Noise in the 80’s, which is about as far from the blues as you can get! An old friend of mine always said that there is no bad music, just bad musicians, which seems about right to me. I have been lucky enough to meet a few blues masters, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Lazy Lester among others.
R.V.B. - In all the touring and concerts that you have played. Are there any that really stick out as being memorable? Are there any where things went wrong that you just can't make up? How long was the preparation for The Concert for George and how did you enjoy it?
D.B. - Well, the Concert for George is definitely up there at the top. It was such an honour to be involved. We prepared for about 3 weeks. I also played with Tom Jones at the Queen’s Jubilee Concert in 2012, and also with Bill Wyman’s band as an opening act for the Led Zeppelin re-union in London’s 02 Arena in 2007. Amazing really!
R.V.B. - Are there any studio moments that stick out for you?
D.B. - Well, there’s a lot to choose from, but the “From The Cradle” sessions would be in there, and also the various sessions I have done with Tom Jones for his recent albums including “Praise and Blame”. We have recently recorded more material which will hopefully be released sometime soon. Again these sessions are very much live in the studio with almost no overdubs, and producer Ethan Johns is inspirational.
R.V.B. - What are you most proud of about your career?
D.B. - That I’m still at it after all this time! I am as surprised and mystified as anyone that my career has worked out the way it has. It’s incredible to me that I have been pro for almost 40 years! Astonishing!
R.V.B. - What do you like to do when you are not playing music?
D.B. - My main hobby is scuba diving. I like to cook, and grow a lot of my own vegetables. But in truth I don’t have very much free time these days.
R.V.B. - What do you have on your IPOD or CD player right now?
D.B. - I’m a big fan of Justin Vernon and his work with Bon Iver and Volcano Choir. I’ve been revisiting Bill Withers lately, as well as the duets by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. I have recently digitised my entire record collection, and my iTunes library goes from Bach to Beefheart, via Nat King Cole, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Elgar and all points in between. Like I say, my tastes are pretty eclectic.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your great ongoing career and enjoy your upcoming tour with Eric. How long is it and where are you headed?
D.B. - Thanks! We’re currently in Germany on a short European tour, finishing in Poland at the end of this week. After that I rejoin Tom Jones on tour for a while. Then it’s back with my long term band, Andy Fairweather Low & The Lowriders, for a trip to Japan and a UK tour til the end of the year. As I said, what free time??
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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