IN-8 Repair

Recommended TOOLS
  • 12″ screwdriver, Phillips #2
  • a medium sized suction cup or a couple of small ones
  • something soft to place on your repair area
  • a heat gun
  • a work light or stand-up flashlight

Please read the entire guide before starting. Overall, this is an easy repair. There are some gotchas along the way, though!

In early 2021, my left-side IN-8 started exhibiting a strange buzzing. Worse yet, by just a couple of months, I was outside of my 1-year warranty. Fortunately, the nice folks at Kali took care of me and supplied a replacement mid/tweeter assembly for practically nothing. Unfortunately, the repair was not as plug and play as I thought it would be. Fear not! With this guide, you will benefit from my experience and have a much easier time than I did.

Unplug all cables, and bring your IN-8 over to a nice, well-lit table. I recommend laying it over something like sheets of newspaper, a towel, etc.. The idea is to prevent scratches to either object. Now, remove the 8 screws securing the back panel. In this official Kali video the man Charles himself will show you how:

watch the first 45 seconds

Though the video above is for the LP-8, the screw locations are quite similar for the IN-8. I didn’t have luck simply pulling up on the panel as Charles does. My IN-8 seems a super tight fit. I was lucky enough to have a suction cup handy.

you may need a suction cup to get the rear panel off

It is NOT necessary to remove any of the screws in the middle surrounding the power cord and all the inputs.

Once you have the rear panel off, don’t forget to remove the LED wire as Charles showed above, and very carefully let the panel down. Once again, have something soft underneath so you don’t scratch anything or damage the volume knob. The next step is removing the plastic baffle that houses the mid/tweeter assembly. Since the IN-8 has such a deep cabinet, shining a light into it while you work is helpful. A cool LED work light or a stand-up flashlight will do quite nicely.

six screws hold the baffle in place

Here we encounter our first gotcha. Though it is possible to remove those six screws with a shorter screwdriver, I highly recommend using a 12″ #2 Phillips, like this one:

Big-ass screwdriver!

You may also have luck purchasing such a screwdriver at an auto parts store. The reason you will need it is that replacing the screws will be quite a knuckle-buster with 4 of the 6 screws being so close to the edge of the cabinet. The screwdriver handle itself will get in the way when using a shorter screwdriver. Once you have removed the screws, the next challenge awaits.

looks like we can just pull this back… uhhhh, guess not

See that black goop where the 2 wire pairs enter the baffle? It needs to go! You cannot just remove the wires at the amplifier side. That won’t give you the slack you need. I chose to heat up the goop with a heat gun, then gently scrape it off with a putty knife. Be VERY gentle at the center, where the wires are. There is a rubber grommet there that you definitely don’t want to damage, not to mention you don’t want to nick the wires themselves.

the heat gun sure makes this easier, a hair dryer might also work

Get the goop off! Once you have also removed the remove the grommet, you will be able to pull the baffle back and gain enough clearance to remove both of the mid/tweeter wire pairs. Removing the grommet will also let you pull the baffle completely out and give it a good cleaning with Goo Gone or a similar solvent.

yuck! clean that sucker up!
ahhh, we can finally remove this thing

Before you remove the speaker leads, here are some reminder shots of where the colors go:

left blue, right black
left black, right white

DO NOT simply yank the wires from their posts! These are fast-on connectors that must be pressed to remove. There is a latch release on the connector that you push to release. So squeeze, then pull. If you’re doing it right, you should NOT be pulling with any reasonable amount of force. They should slide right out.

Once both pairs are removed, remove the four screws holding the mid/tweeter assembly in place. Remove the old assembly. Phew! At this point, you are pretty much ready to pop in your replacement mid/tweeter assembly and reverse the removal steps.

Screw your new mid/tweeter assembly in place. Fish your wires through the plastic baffle. Re-attach all wires to the mid/tweeter assembly. Replace the rubber grommet. This step can be tricky. I found it useful to jam the bottom edge in first, then use something stiff (like the blue, plastic scraper below) to push the top of the grommet through. If you are really adventurous, you could probably re-heat the goop and trowel it back on again. I chose not to do so as I find the rubber grommet substantial enough to prevent any wire movement.

Almost there! Now you can replace the plastic baffle. This is where the 12″ screwdriver REALLY comes in handy for those screws at the edges.

at the home-stretch

After replacing the baffle, don’t forget to plug back in the LED wire as you lift the back panel up. I recommend you replace the back panel with the speakers face-down. This will help you screw it back down evenly. Again, put something soft underneath so you don’t screw up your new drivers!

stare into the pretty blue light

Now go have a beer or treat of your choice. Happy listening!

Stay a While

A poem for a song

I’m feeling older
My eyes are fading
My body’s slowing
My blacks are graying

One time I heard you say
you didn’t want to live
One time was all I needed
One time was once too much

If we could live tomorrow
If we could love today
So many times I’ve wondered
So many times I’ve prayed

For you to stay here with me
For you to understand
As when we were children
just let me hold your hand

Just give me til tomorrow

Stay for me
So you want to go away?
Just wait for me
I’m home

And though you say that now
There’s nothing left to see
nothing in the world

Oh, all of those places
you never got to go
Oh, all of those faces
you never got to know

Stay a while
Why the dream for such a normal life?
They say we’re full of sin
This world is caving in
But hey I think we’re alright

Love life…dark thoughts away…

There’s nothing left
Life broke again
Just hang on
Give me ’till tomorrow

It’s a simple thing just
Stay a while
How could you live without me by your side?
They say we’re full of sin (Pass the time with me)
This world is caving in
But hey I think we’re alright

There’s nothing that could be
more beautiful than a girl
shining for tomorrow

tomorrow, tomorrow
please live

just until tomorrow
tomorrow, tomorrow
please live
Just give me ’till tomorrow

Revisiting a Day from Hell in 2003

While having lunch today, my friend Allison asked me where I worked before SCI-Arc. I was reminded that my days installing high speed cable modems prepared me for the worst. A really bad day at SCI-Arc is laughable in comparison. Here is an account of one such day I resurrected from my old website. Remember, this was just one day of MANY. Much profanity follows, you have been warned. I hope that my misery entertains you!

7:42 PM 9/20/2003

Following are my accounts of this “Day from Hell.”

It started out innocently enough. We were looking at a workload of approximately 125 jobs. This would be considered an extremely heavy day but it was predictable. This had been going on for weeks now. Routing 24 trucks with a such a full workload requires foresight,calmness, and optimism. Perhaps it even requires plain luck. These are all qualities I feel I possess except of course the luck, which is out of my control. Explaining the frightening feeling of despair this day delivered requires a visit to seemingly trivial events of the past week.

It started last Saturday when one of out techs met his own “day from hell” with an impossible lawyer from La Cañada. My tech was held up for hours and ended up missing two of his appointments. Of the two customers one was saved and the other, who claims to have been missed for the third time, was not. This caused me great aggravation. I couldn’t sleep knowing I was ultimately responsible. Sure, we were slammed with jobs and were asked to do the impossible, but that didn’t matter in the “real world.” This wasn’t Charter’s fuck-up, it could never be. It was our fuck-up and I owned it. The asshole lawyer and the customer I couldn’t save exposed me. In my never-ending optimism I embraced this as a lesson learned. I would arrive to work even earlier than before. I would focus on my follow- ups. I would call more customers than before. I would delegate better than ever. Yes, that was the idea, maybe now I finally understood what being a manager was all about. Thank the heavens for my misfortune. This was the lesson I needed to learn. This was MY wake up call!

The rest of the week was tough. Tuesday we were told we had to be in one hour earlier than usual. The calendar indicated Wednesday was the early day and we were informed of the change at 2:00PM but guess what? We made it! We were in on time. This shit was really working. Thank the heavens!

Charter had no white cable for the whole week. Everybody prefers white cable. This caused issues. We dealt with them. Charter is extremely low on materials. Not enough fittings, splitters, and roca clips just to name a few. We dealt with it.

Come Thursday morning we learn that our technicians will face a price drop. This means they will work harder for less money. My heart dropped. The last time this happened I was a technician myself and I quit. I believe one should be rewarded for their hard work and remain persistent in moving forward NOT backward. I was fortunate enough to have the skills necessary to move into management. Most people don’t. The technicians keep this company alive. As a whole they are the hardest working bunch of mother fuckers I have ever known. Although I believe our owner has nothing but the best intentions and a sincere concern for them, I believe they keep getting fucked. They deserve more. Still, I reminded myself of my position as their leader, as their role model and stumbled out my support.

Friday morning I received an e-mail that made its way to all the Charter managers. It states our tech spoke badly of Charter in front of a customer and came back at 9:00PM in street clothes to drop of a digital box. Nice one…

Friday evening was the beginning of the end. One of our techs “lied” to the wrong customer in Azusa. “We’ll be there in 10 minutes.” …45 minutes later… “Were still behind sir, I don’t know when we can get there.” Somehow this customer obtained the direct phone number to our office and speaks to our dispatcher. Although we had someone standing by to come to the rescue the customer requests we re-schedule for first thing next morning. Fine. I wrote the address down and scheduled it as a “first call, must do.”

So here I was at Saturday morning. The “Azusa call”, as I had labeled it, was just one of many follow-ups I had to deal with this morning. There was the guy in Norwalk who was a “must do 10 to 12.” We couldn’t find the main line from the junction box to his apartment Friday and he was pissed. “I took the whole day off, I have a business to run, it needs to be done today!!!” Also in Norwalk there was the computer that would no longer turn on after we installed a network card. Then there was a long underground run in La Cañada scheduled for 1 o’clock that would tie up both of my lead technicians. Add 3 more “tech calls” to this and 125 chances for something to go wrong. Murphy’s law did not let us down.

At 9:20AM the Azusa guy calls our office. He is pissed. “You were supposed to be here at 8:00… no, ok, I remember you said 9:00 after all but you’re still late. Were are you guys?” Somehow (still under investigation) it takes our techs an hour to travel 2 miles. These are the same techs that dropped the ball last night. Giving them the job again was a very bad call in hindsight. Maybe I felt they would somehow vindicate themselves by completing the job after all. Then, I wouldn’t have to yell at them about it as much. Maybe I hoped the customer would express how disappointed he was and they would learn their lesson. Maybe I just wasn’t thinking at all. This turned out to be the customer nightmares are made of.

Once again this customer magically obtains MY direct cell phone # and lays in on me. This has happened before. It’s part of my job but this time it’s different. I hear the usual ‘How can I trust you after all that has happened?’, ‘They told me you would wash my clothes and take out my trash!’ and ‘How can you run a business this way?’ but there was more this time. I didn’t realize what it was till later. He couldn’t handle my cell phone breaking up so he requested I call him from a land line. He thought I was lying about the phone breaking up but I did as he requested, called back, and we spoke for another 15 minutes. He proceeds to invade me…making me feel nervous, shaky, and out of control. Still, I managed to say the right things and felt the fire was out. Save for one thing.

I called back the wrong person! There were two numbers on the piece of paper I was scribbling on. I called the customer’s business partner! Their voices sounded so similar (and we were talking about the same situation) that I didn’t suspect I had called the wrong person. Fuck! The customer still awaiting my phone call was now fuming! I call the right number as soon as possible. This guy is twice as bad as his partner. He is unreasonable beyond belief. He speaks of suing us for missing his appointments and ruining his business. He eventually does not want to talk to me and will settle for nothing less than speaking to my superior. He doesn’t like the title of my superior (Operations Manager) and insists on the top of the food chain, Chad. I make it happen and predictably enough get yelled at by Chad as well. Later, Chad calls back, calms down and assures me everything will play out just fine. In this last conversation with him I realize why this customer upset me so much. He was doing this BECAUSE HE COULD. There was no reason for him to be as upset and nasty as he was. We hadn’t fucked up that bad. He knew no one would defend the mistakes we had made. He could act as atrocious as possible without fear of opposition.

This was further reinforced when I retrieved a voice mail he left me. He said “Alright Zuma, you want to play the game, then we’ll play the game!!!—click” Our technician also called later to say that the customer would turn and say “Watch guys, this is how you play the game,” before calling me. My perpetual optimism seemed to be mocking me. The human race became evil. I felt like an idiot for letting it absorb into my every nerve. This is fucking cable t.v. folks! What the fuck is so important about watching t.v. and checking your fucking e-mail? How about finding a hobby you fuckheads? And this is what I do for a living, hook up assholes like this? Am I the biggest asshole of all? Oh wait a minute, hold on. I’m not mad at the world, television, or the Internet. Just this asshole. Never before have I truly understood the meaning of the phrase FUCKYOU! So FUCKYOU Mr. Dickhead in Azusa! Finally, my installers finish The “Azusa call”. Yet, the day is not over.

At 11:00am Larry cut the power cord to a computer instead of his cable line (they are both black and similar in diameter!). At 12:30PM my lead Fausto breaks down with a leaking radiator hose. I take him to AutoZone where they give us the wrong part. We go back to find they don’t carry the hose and settle for a universal one. Now it’s 2:30PM and the super long underground run in La Cañada is still waiting. So, I take over his tech calls and hop on the 210 West. I take a follow up from yesterday and Larry’s cut power cord call.

The follow up from yesterday is a nightmare. I get yelled at for being a day early and the 5th guy to mess up a time frame. She lets me in anyway. The whole call is her fault. Her new Dell laptop is missing the built-in ethernet driver. I skip the explanation and the hero routine and just fix it with her Dell system disks. Her computer is full of spyware and stupid little toolbars…whatever. Her AOL pops up and she screams, “I don’t want AOL I want Charter!” I explain it popped up automatically. I turn it off and proceed to show her Internet Explorer. She screams even louder,”I don’t want Internet Explorer, I want Charter! Where is the Charter service!!!” I cringe and wonder how I am ever going to explain this concept to her. She asks,”Internet Explorer is not going to charge me also are they?” I say no and she seems to drop the matter. Then she wants e-mail. I kiss 20 minutes goodbye as I call Charter to set up (exactly) what she wants. I set it up in Outlook Express and show her how to send and receive e-mail. Just when I think it’s going well she needs to confirm her “forwarding” abilities. Yes people, THESE are the fucks on AOL that send you all that shit! As usual AO-Hell manages to convert every single message into an attachment and she has a fucking heart attack. “You Charter people are making this so hard! Do you realize how many messages I forward? I can’t have this happen!” I explain to her Charter uses a standard e-mail service and is simply receiving the e-mail as AO-Hell sent it. She flips again. Without looking me in the eye she tells me to leave and to make sure no one show up tomorrow. Gladly! I proceed to the “cut cord” tech call.

…I walk in to a room with no electricity. I panic for a second. Think, think, think. I find the electrical panel. The breakers are off. I switch them on and all is good. I replace the cord, configure the pc and all is well. The house is too small for this family. The house is untidy and the floor smells like cat piss. But guess what? This is the happiest moment of my day. These people are poor and their house is shit but they are so fucking nice it kills me! My installer just left them with no electricity and they think their computer is screwed yet they are so appreciative. Call it what you want. Ignorance? Fear? No, I don’t think so. How about these people actually fucking understand what the important things in life are like compassion, humility, and gratitude. Poor people win today. My-life-sucks-beacuse-I-own-my-own-business-and-I-can’t-watch-tv people lose.

A total of three broken underground lines, another nasty voice mail, another “I’ll be there in 15 minutes incident” and a customer who was offended my installer did not speak English well later, I went home. I drank a beer. I played my bass loudly to some Duran Duran and Power Station and then I wrote this.

I must give a big thank you to all the people that helped me make it through the day including Hector, Fausto, Anderson (who fixed the Norwalk computer), Gretchel, Elaine, and of course my partner in crime Frooshie, who had a bag of Spongebob Bubble Gum, a Spike burger, and teri-fries waiting for me.


12:30 AM 9/21/2003

Duran Duran – Lonely In Your Nightmare

Another bass guitar cover in the hat! For non-musicians I should explain that the instrument I am playing in this video is a fretless bass guitar. This means that it’s more like an upright bass or a cello, where the fingerboard does not have any metal note markers like most guitars do. The sound is rather unique and beautiful while the skill is difficult.

This is also appearance #2 for Sugar. She made her debut appearance in my Girls On Film video. Then it was spontaneous. This time I couldn’t help waking her from her slumber.

I can’t tell you how many times I listened to Lonely In Your Nightmare as a kid. I was definitely a daydreamer, looking at my Star Hits and BOP magazines, wondering what it would be like to be wearing a cool suit in Sri Lanka and meeting a beautiful woman. Such a dreamer…

Duran Duran - John Japan

John Taylor somewhere in Japan. Hey, I think he’s daydreaming too!

I hope you enjoy the video.

My Faithful Co-pilot and Companion

This post starts by going way back. We don’t often see how the things we love actually impact our day to day life. We’re not looking for reasons. Their impact is simply there, with us, a part of ourselves. If we’re lucky we become mindful of our thoughts in a way that kind of ties it all together.

I have loved the world of Star Wars for a long time now. Back in “the band” days I had my 1971 Dodge Demon. I loved that car and so did most anyone that rode in it. We could fit our guitar rigs in there PLUS the drum set. It was quite the workhorse yet, more importantly, it was big, ugly and white. This gave it the nickname of Millennium Falcon. She didn’t look like much but she had a loud, strong motor. I made many modifications to it myself, just like Han.


One mod I was particularly proud of was installing plastic racing bucket seats in the front. This allowed me to unbolt the passenger’s side seat by undoing 4 bolts whenever I needed to take on more cargo, mostly for the aforementioned band gigs. At some point I learned George Lucas was quite the hot-rodding fan. American Graffiti would have a big influence on me, further fueling my love for musclecars and big V8 motors. I was never much of a mechanic but I sure got my hands greasy back then. If only I had a hydrospanner…

The band was no longer a part of my life and the Falcon was soon gone. I hardly drove it as I had a company truck now. Selling it felt like the right thing to do. A father bought it for his young teenage son and he seemed so thrilled I hardly felt bad about it. I never lost my passion for musclecars though.

The 1970 Plymouth Barracudas and the 1970 Dodge Challengers were my top favorites. Fast forward through a whole lot of life and I was now the owner of a 2010 Plum Crazy Dodge Challenger.


Fast forward some more and I found myself in a very different place. I made some bad choices and things were pretty bad. Somehow, I eventually emerged from the chaos. Certainly I can’t discount how valuable other persons in my life were, but, I also know that my faithful companion Pepper pushed me through scores of tough days.

One day, I’m looking over at Pepper and I realize – This is it! This is my new life and this is my new and improved Millennium Falcon. It’s better than the old one. Sure, it’s not raw and loud like my 1971 but it’s simply a better car, hands down. No more scary brakes and foggy windshields. Those things are only fun in drunken memories. It’s a better life now. The best part? I have my very own Chewie! I call her Pee-a-Bacca when she’s in the car as she is part Yoda, part Chewbacca. She is always there, to my right.


I’ve always been young at heart and I find myself embracing it even more now. Go ahead and talk to yourself. Go ahead and sing. Do a funky chicken dance. Why the hell not? Rob Lowe recently did an AMA on Reddit and I really liked his words on youth.

Well, being youthful is an inside job. Think about what youth is. It’s kids, kids are enthusiastic, energetic, interested, optimistic, engaged, and curious. If you’re not all of those things, you can have no lines on your face and a 32 inch waist, and no one is going to call you youthful.

When I’m backing out of the garage with Pee-a-Bacca I pretend like I am engaging some complicated ignition sequence. It helps that the Challenger has a console mounted on the headliner. The switch to open the garage door is located there. I definitely channel Han when I push it and the “hangar door” crawls open, making its Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr noise. Then, I futz around with the diagnostic screens, checking various pressures and temperatures before backing out. Us boys love our buttons ‘n’ switches and I use as many of them as I can, as often as I can. If I’m feeling especially nerdy I look over to Pee-a-Bacca and tell her to make sure she has programmed the navi-computer. After all, we don’t want to end up in an Empire construction zone and be late for work.

When I’m working in the garage at night (probably detailing the Purple Falcon or organizing my tools) I will open the garage door and pretend it’s the Hoth hangar. Pee-a-Bacca faithfully keeps a watchful eye for Wampas in the alley.


As the night progresses I have to break the news to her, “Sorry Pee-a…we have to close the shield doors now.” She looks on with resignation moments before I hit the switch.


I seem to recall the Buddhist philosophy being an influence for George Lucas. I can’t say I’ve ever studied Buddhism but I find myself using “calm-Jedi-face” many times throughout the day. If I feel myself losing control I kick in to this calm state and start breathing. It works. It really does. I picked up this Buddha at Ross one day and I have several Yodas so this happened:


My mom actually made those little hats for Pepper but her Force was too strong for them so they ended up here. You can’t help thinking a happy thought when you pass my little altar. (Keen eyes will spy Shadow photo bombing these Jedi Masters.)

Here the Purple Falcon flies low across the Arizona desert.


It doesn’t stop at Star Wars either. Sometimes I imagine Pepper having a little silver helmet like Merlin in Excalibur. Then, I tell her it was her love that brought me back, just like Arthur told Merlin once before.

I really need to stop now. Next thing you know I’ll start talking about Blade Runner. It’s 2 in the morning and I am fading…what was I trying to say? Oh yeah…I love Star Wars, I love musclecars, I love Pepper and I put them all together as often as I can.


Duran Duran – We Need You

Here is my latest YouTube post. This happened quite organically. The song just popped in my head and I proceeded to dig it out and listen to it a couple of times. My Ex-Factor was out, ready to be played. It seemed as if it was begging to be played. I decided to give it a go.

The bass performance was recorded quickly – two or three takes. The rest was quite comical. First I ran out of juice on my trusty Creative Vado. Of course I didn’t notice. I finished one of my monologues that I thought went quite well only to realize it wasn’t recording at all anymore. I switched to my digital camera. Guess what? Then I saw the dreaded “Memory Full” mid-take. Then there was the take when I never quite activated the record button. I tend to be very driven and stubborn about getting these things done. Yeah, I stayed up til 3:45am. Sleep is gonna feel quite nice tonight.

I’ve always loved this track. Warren’s arpeggio guitar line and the almost hypnotic chord movement paired with the super simple, super effective bass line by John work so beautifully together. Add in Simon and Nick and you’ve got a stellar track. It should have been a single! I also love that it’s short and sweet like a great Smiths song.

I’ll elaborate on the chord movement just a bit. The chord structure is arranged in a pattern of three. The song does not have a triplet feel, it just eschews the standard pop pattern of four chords. I believe this is what gives it that drone-y, hypnotic feel. The bridge lets you of the hook a bit because the D chord is repeated twice, giving you the familiar sound and feel of four chords to a phrase. Try and listen for it!

You will hear the Kubicki’s amazing 36″ D string in the bridge section. In the words of my old professor Craig Kupka (when referring to the bass guitar notes below E), “It’s the voice of GOD.”

I would love to know what was in Warren’s effects chain. It’s such a cool sounding guitar part. He is someone who knows how to play his effects as if they were a part of the guitar itself. Oh, and let’s not forget that Simon really delivered too –

Time will see we’re not searching for a wild excuse
To put emotions back on hold
Too much has gone down we know what you’re doing
But do you feel the same way
You look sharp inside your pointed shoes
I have this picture hanging in my room
And I refuse to take you down or shake you down
We could bring you gently round if that’s what you choose
For a point of view coz words like sand just get blown away
All those things we’d like to say

Those first two lines really hit home for me. I was certainly running for a while there. It’s coming back to me now. Music is meditation. Talking is therapy and good friends are more valuable than ever.

I would like to dedicate this one to Phillip Kubicki who passed away earlier this year. He may be best known for creating the Ex-Factor but let’s not forget that here was a man who once built a custom rosewood Telecaster for George Harrison. The following is taken from the Fender website:

“I remember when I saw the guitar for the first time in the Let It Be film. I was so thrilled I almost jumped out of my seat.”

Thank you for creating such a wonderful instrument. You will be missed.

The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping

I have finally put together another YouTube bass performance. Here is a quick performance of this fabulous Tracy Wormworth bass line. As usual, this is NOT a note for note cover. This is my interpretation. Just having fun here! Apologies for the bad camera angle. I’ll get it right next time. 🙂

Happy New Year everyone!

The John Taylor Experience

Bass Player Live! 2012

8:19 PM 10/28/2012

It was one week ago today that a long time dream was finally realized. I MET JOHN TAYLOR!!! My childhood hero, my reason for playing bass, my reason for becoming a musician – he has been all of those things for me. As I write those words, I realize that some of that is not entirely true. Not in a strict sense anyway.

I didn’t really meet him but by the end of it all he did know my name and that’s gotta count for something. This wasn’t a meet’n’greet. It was a book signing, really. I was lucky to get the pictures that I did. I heard “John isn’t taking pictures today!” more than once that day. Also, I like to call myself a musician, but in a professional sense I am anything but. I suppose I define myself as a musician in a spiritual sense. It’s how I want to be remembered. It’s who I am. Before hearing those brilliant notes of Is There Something I Should Know in a bedroom I shared with my brother, I wanted to become a jet fighter pilot. I had just barely started John’s book prior to attending the Bass Player Live event, but already I saw that there was much about my childhood that oddly paralleled his own. Is it a bass player thing or mere coincidence?

John details his catholic upbringing, building scale models, his love for cars, his shyness as well as discovering music beyond a listener. He even mentions his Catholic Guilt, a condition I diagnosed myself with long ago. Those were all things that were on my mind as I sat there in my chair waiting for him to arrive.

This was an event for bass players, but I knew two things going in. First, John wouldn’t be playing bass as most of the other players would be doing. Second, the majority of the crowd would not be musicians. I secretly hoped that he would play bass but I knew I wouldn’t be wrong about the crowd.

I showed up about an hour before the “clinic.” There was already a line. Dammit! Then, I realized that the non-musician fans were probably already in Clinic Room B, saving their seat as they patiently sat through the previous act. In this case, that previous act would be Bobby Vega. I wonder if Bobby Vega looked out at the crowd and thought, “What the fuck are all these middle-aged women doing here?” I hope he had a good time with it. He’s a pretty funky dude. I hope he wasn’t annoyed.

Eventually, my brother, (ex-) girlfriend and I snagged some pretty good seats in the third row. We’re talking about a room that would probably burst at 100 persons. I was probably no more than 10 feet from the stage. It would be a good 30 minutes until John came out. There was a semi-annoying woman in front of me with her small boy. She had named him John, as she was obsessed with John Taylor. I always manage to sit next to noisemaking kids but that’s another story for another day. I would say those first three rows were mostly the housewife crowd. Make no mistake though, there were definitely musicians in the crowd who were as excited as I was to be there.

The stage began to take form. It looked like a presidential debate. Two chairs were laid out in front with a podium off to the left.  I had hoped that someone would wheel out some Peavey amplifiers and a Cirrus bass or two but that time came and went with no gear in sight. We wouldn’t be treated to live bass today. There was also a TV set up on a stand in back of the chairs that would eventually play a really slow moving slide-show of sorts while John spoke. I didn’t look at it much. Why two chairs I wondered…

About 15 minutes before the scheduled start time we were treated to some tasty Beatles tracks. I knew that Duran Duran were Beatles fans. John describes their influence in his book as well so this was fresh in my mind. It all made sense.

In a moment that almost seemed to arrive too soon, there was John strutting in the room from the back entrance. My initial thoughts seemed almost superficial. “Damn, he’s tall! Damn, he’s pretty thin!” We’re not talking Big Thing cocaine thin here, just very slim. The all-black attire and boots accentuated those observations.

Photograph courtesy of Anna Delores Photography

It turns out the other chair was for Tom Sykes who John co-wrote his book with. He made a comment about John basically writing the last half of the book himself while he just hung out at John’s house and ate his food. What a lucky cat that Tom guy was! In the beginning Tom would pose a question to John and that’s how the conversations were started. Later, John would read excerpts from his book at the podium. He seemed reluctant to use the podium but I guess he figured “What the hell. it’s there. May as well use it.” In order to keep the event legit, I suppose, the conversations were kept as musiciancentric as possible, including the excerpts he read from the book. The funniest part for me was when he was describing standing in for the bass player in his son’s band in the very place we were all sitting in now. Apparently, the band said he could fill in permanently if he wouldn’t mind playing behind the stage. “Those fuckers! Last time I played with them!” he said.  He was also much more candid than I thought he would be about his drug use. He said cocaine ended up being a really bad idea for playing, but downers were great for jamming hours at a time. Near the end of the clinic, the floor was opened for questions but there wasn’t much time left.

Photograph courtesy of Anna Delores Photography

I don’t believe more than four questions were asked. The first was a question about his Bernard Edwards influence. He seemed to like that question and spent a lot of time talking about it. Of course I had been obsessing over what I could ask him for days now. I was suddenly hit with the reality that I may not be able to ask him anything at all! Astonishingly, the universe was on my side and I asked the last question!

Before I asked him anything I took the opportunity to tell John that I was thankful to him for the turn my life took after hearing Is There Something I Should Know years ago. Then I stumbled out this question – “When you are songwriting away from Duran Duran or just gelling out ideas (jamming, etc.), what is your instrument of choice? I know you’ve played keyboard bass here and there, like on the Arcadia track.” His first response was “I’m glad you asked me THAT question.” “Really?!,” I thought, feeling quite proud. Well, he didn’t really answer my question but proceeded to talk about how, in this event for bassists, he felt it important to say that keyboard bass should be embraced. He spoke of always keeping a Korg loaded with bass patches nearby. Previous to my question, he spoke about not using the bass as a songwriting or accompaniment tool. My guess is that his answer would have been the guitar. The clinic ended and the book signing began.

Photograph courtesy of Anna Delores Photography

The line for the book signing seemed so long. It would go quickly though. I soon realized the allotted one hour time slot for the book signing was way too much time. Maybe they would allow photos after all. I had wrestled with the idea of bringing my Aria Pro II SB1000 or my Kubicki Ex-Factor for him to sign. If not properly prepared though, a signature on an instrument doesn’t live long unless you don’t play it ever again. I play those basses! I ended up bringing two much smaller items – a solo CD of his called Retreat Into Art and my copy of his book. This meant I would wait in line twice. The first signing of the CD was uneventful. I kind of thought seeing his solo CD would spark more of a reaction, but he just signed it and went to the next one. There weren’t many people left when I came around for the second time (to have my book signed).

Photograph courtesy of Anna Delores Photography

This time he looked at the pink sticky you were supposed to write your name on and asked “Zuma?…Were your parents big Neil Young fans?” I responded by saying that it was just part of my full name. As he nodded and went to actually sign my book, I knew this was the opportunity I had been waiting for. No matter how uncool or corny it may be, I just asked him “John, do you remember that Shadows on Your Side video on YouTube?” “What?,” he asked, amidst the rumble of noise that so many bass players were making around us. Louder, I started to repeat, “THE SHADOWS ON YOUR…” then he cut me off and asked excitedly, “That was you?!” “Yeah,” I blurted. He burst into laughter and said something like, “I remember thinking  fuck me when I saw it…AWESOME!” and then gave me a high-five followed by a handshake. I felt like a little kid. Giddy is the best word I can think of. It was definitely a highlight of my life. I can only imagine it will continue to be for quite some time. I’m not the kind of person to be star struck easily, but any members of Duran Duran definitely hold that privilege for me, especially John.

Photograph stolen from the Duran Duran Facebook page

Photograph stolen from the Duran Duran Facebook page

I made a quick run around the event and returned to the Elixir booth where John was. No more than five minutes had passed. Though there was still commotion at the booth, John was long gone. I was quite proud that in my years of attending the Bass Player Live event, not one artist caused the ruckus that John did. He had packed the place and brought some much needed energy to it. Granted, some of that was housewife energy but who’s counting?

Today I won. Great Success. Now if I can only get off my ass and make that next YouTube video…


Thank you to Alex Laise and Luna for helping me edit my post.


My friend Ben Post sent me these photos of his bass that was signed by JT at a recent event. It reads “To Ben…with love…signature…The Aria Pro.” I included his son and the kitty pic because I simply couldn’t resist.