Verdine White: Shining Star
VW: According to certain critics, we were most prolific musically in the 1970s.
AAJ: At this stage of your life how do you handle your success?
VW: Now I am able to relax much more and enjoy legendary status, enjoy spending time with my wife of 31 years (we renewed our vows in December, 2011) and my three dogs, Azoff, Og, and Redd. A pit bull and two toy poodles. You can guess which one is the pit bull [laughs].
AAJ: Who were your early musical influences?
VW: James Brown, The Beatles, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, and John Coltrane. Then Quincy Jones, Marcus Miller and Sting.
AAJ: The desert island question....If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring 10 albums, which albums would you bring?
VW: That's the Way of the World (Columbia, 1975) [EWF];
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Capitol, 1967) [The Beatles]
Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960) (Miles Davis]
What's Going On (Motown, 1971) [Marvin Gaye]
Off the Wall (Epic, 1979) [Michael Jackson]
Pat Metheny Group ( ECM, 1978) [Pat Metheny]
Anything by Ravi Shankar
A Love Supremeb (Impulse!, 1964) [John Coltrane]
Rotary Connection (Chess/MCA, 1967) [Rotary Connection]
Mother Nature's Song (Cadet, 1968) [Ramsey Lewis]
West Side Story (Columbia, 1961) [Leonard Bernstein]
AAJ: What are some of your favorite venues to play?
VW: Hard Rock Arena, Hollywood Bowl, Beacon Theatre (New York City), Buddakhan (Tokyo), Superdome (New Orleans).
AAJ: What are some of your most memorable venues and shows?
VW: The Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Gardens.
AAJ: What is your favorite restaurant?
VW: Hands down, Mr. Chows, Beverly Hills, CA
AAJ: What do you do for fun when you are home?
VW: Read, walk my dogs, Saturday date night with my wife, relax late at night watchin' TV, meditation, and yoga.
AAJ: Favorite food?
VW: A good cheeseburger, a hearty soup and salad.
AAJ: How does it feel when you look into the audience during a show and see fans of all generations and ages cheering you on?
VW: I can't begin to tell you how rewarding and gratifying it is to see our shows sold out, with kids from eight to eight rockin' out to the music. How fortunate and blessed we are that people around the world still come and enjoy the music and it's been this way for over 40 years.
AAJ: How would you like to be remembered?
VW: Being remembered as an excellent musician, consistent, and dedicated. Also a respectful, compassionate human being would be wonderful. Be wonderful as a man in general. But, my story is still being written so I'll have a better answer later on [laughs].
AAJ: Do you feel that music is the universal language?
VW: Yes, it is true. Music is indeed a universal language because it cuts right thru all boundaries including beliefs, religion, race, age and gender. Putting on a great piece of music can instantly change your mood and outlook no matter what. I've seen major changes in people because of music in general.
AAJ: How would you describe your style of play or the way that you approach the bass?
VW: My style and approach would have to be traditional fingering and technique.
AAJ: If you had the ability and desire to put together and play with the best live jam band of all time what musicians, living or dead, would you have on stage with you? No restrictions on the number of players or instruments; this is the Verdine White All-Time All-Star Monster Jam Session....Live!
AAJ: My All-Star Band would be Miles [Davis] and Wynton [Marsalis] on trumpet, Jimi [Hendrix] on guitar, Tony Williams on drums and Ron Carter on bass.
AAJ: What songs would be on the set list?
VW: "Sketches of Spain," "Bitches Brew," "September" and "There was a Time," by James Brown.
AAJ: As a young musician, what musicians helped you the most in your development and career? Who were your mentors and who gave you the right advice and direction?
VW: First props go to my older gifted brother Maurice, who brought me out to LA. He gave me the tools and over all concept of music and performance on stage and how to master how to play on records.
Second would be the very talented Louis Satterfield, who fine-tuned everything and made it all come together musically.
AAJ: How did jazz fit into your life and influence you as a young musician?
VW: Classical music and jazz were initially one part of my early training. I eventually added R&B, pop, and gospel. All of these I played in as well. Listening to jazz music was, of course, the start, though.
AAJ: What are your favorite jazz tunes?
VW: "Bitches Brew," "Sketches of Spain," "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs," by Chick Corea and "Some Day My Prince Will Come," by Miles Davis.
AAJ: What do you play now?
VW: I play a Yamaha BB3000, a Fender bass, a Roger Sadowski, and my newest and best is the Warwick bass.