Everclear and The Exies: Two of this author’s favorite bands. And what both of these groups has in common is bassist Freddy Herrera, who was a co-founder of The Exies, and is the current bassist for Everclear. The band, who rose to prominence with such hits as “Father of Mine” and “Santa Monica” is about to embark as the headliner on the Summerland Tour, with such supporting acts as Sugar Ray and Lit.
We were able to corner Freddy, and he graciously offered to sit down with wafflesatnoon.com to answer a few questions about the new album, tour, and give us some insight as a prominent bassist in the rock scene over the past decade.
Waffles: At what age did you start playing bass? What made you choose the bass?
Freddy: Started at 17! Pretty late, I know but hey, right!
Waffles: Which bassists are some of your biggest influences? Have you met any of them?
Freddy: Without a doubt Tom Peterrson from Cheap Trick is up there! Yup was lucky enough to do a record with him playing six-string bass on it!!! Was SO surreal… Paul McCartney too! Haven’t met him yet but still hoping!!!
Waffles: Can you tell us about how you became a member of Everclear?
Freddy: Well, we (The Exies) were opening for them and at the end of the tour Art asks me if I wanna join Everclear… weird… Told him I was flattered but I had to see it through with The Exies and he understood. Nine years later, I call him to see if he knows any bands that need a bass player and he says, yeah me… and here we are!
Waffles: Was there ever a point you were hazed as the “new guy” in the band
Freddy: Not really. I happened to join the band at a time when he had decided to replace everyone at the same time, so we were all the new guys.
Waffles: What’s the difference between forming a band such as the Exies, and joining an established band like Everclear?
Freddy: Way more work forming a new band. Not that I don’t work hard at Everclear – I do, but it’s a different kind of work.
Waffles: Everclear has been quite active lately, with a new album and tour. Tell us a little about those.
Freddy: The new album is probably one of my favorite recordings that I have ever been a part of! It was definitely a learning experience! Every other recording I’ve done, the band rehearsed like crazy before we started, but with this record, we flew up to Art’s house, worked on his songs for about a week, made demos, then flew back home. We all had to work on our parts on our own and hoped they worked! Luckily, he liked the stuff I played!!! I think he only really made me change a riff in “The Golden Rule”, so I was stoked. The Summerland tour is gonna be off the hook and it’s the first time that I’ve been in a headlining band on tour, so I’m super excited about it!
Waffles: Give us a rundown of your gear.
Freddy: Ashdown amps, always! I have three EVO 500 heads, one 8×10 cabinet and two 4×10 cabinets, as well as a combo that has a 15-inch that I use for TV and radio gigs. As far as basses go, live, I use Sadowsky and Fender basses. Both Jazz models.
Waffles: Do you only play 4-string basses?
Freddy: Yup. I can barely deal with that many strings, HaHa! Seriously though, I can really appreciate 5 or more strings but they’re just not for me. If I can’t get it done with four strings I must be doing something wrong…
Waffles: You’re known to primarily use your fingers on your right hand. Do you ever use a pick?
Freddy: Yes. Actually I haven’t used a pick in years but Art wanted me to use one in the studio for the recording of the new record, so I spent quite a bit of time learning how to use one again. I’m really glad that I reconnected with that side of my playing and I think I faked it pretty well!
Waffles: When not touring or recording, do you still practice regularly?
Waffles: What artists you are currently heavy on your listening rotation?
Freddy: Cheap Trick and The Beatles…always…
Waffles: It seems that being a rock musician gets more difficult every year. What advice do you have for young bassists?
Freddy: I get asked this a lot and the answer I always give is do it because you can’t not. Don’t do it for any reason than that. Period.
Everclear’s new album entitled “Invisible Stars” hits stores on June 26, 2012.
Everclear is currently headlining the Summerland tour with such artists as Sugar Ray, Lit, Gin Blossoms, and Marcy’s Playground. More info on the tour can be found here.