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‘If you’re not passionate, don’t bother.’

– Victoria Smith, The Ramonas – bassist.

 

Where it all began..

Music and anything creative was pretty big in our household when I was growing up. My first memory is sitting at the piano with my Dad attempting to play along to whatever he was playing.  

Choosing to play the bass..

I actually started out playing piano and drums when I was younger, my sister also played drums but I really wanted to play bass so when I was 14 I got a bass for my birthday and it’s stuck ever since!

Major influences..

It was that classic walking blues/rock n roll bassline that initially got me into bass, Chuck Berry, Little Richard etc. I’m a big fan of Roger Glover from Deep Purple, Pictures of Home is one of my favourite basslines. I also love Maxwell Murder by Rancid, Love Song by The Damned, Myage by Descendents, Stay Clean by Motorhead. Obviously The Ramones are a major influence too, I’ve learnt so much from Dee Dee about stage performance and songwriting.  

Photo by Dod Morrison

My successes and failures..

There’s been lots of highlights over the past few years but I think my top 3 moments would be playing Rebellion Festival, gigging with Richie Ramone and supporting CJ Ramone. I’m just really happy to be part of the punk scene, the support from the wider punk family has amazed me.  I personally feel it’s a genre that has always welcomed and supported female artists. Vera Ramone also recently made my day saying how much she liked what the Ramonas are doing and that the boys would’ve loved it too.

Funny stories..

The worst one I can remember is being late for the gig with Richie Ramone! I’d left my house really early to arrive in plenty of time but the traffic was definitely not on my side that day, missed soundcheck and just arrived in time to play.

Recommendations and worldly advice..

Get in a band or go to jams as soon as you can play the basics, listen to others and play for the song. Perform! Get to the front of the stage from time to time…or all the time if you fancy it. Be nice, respect your band mates and don’t be a dick. If you’re not passionate, don’t bother.

Future plans..

2017 has been a year for ticking a lot of musical boxes, the main one being to record and release the first original Ramonas album on CD and Vinyl. Super happy to have this all released and really pleased with how it’s turned out. Next year we’ll be releasing some more music videos and continue to promote the album, we’re looking to play more gigs that are just our own songs and continue to write more too. We’ll also be touring the Ramones tracks for our Ramonas Mania tour all over the UK and Europe.

In terms of touring it would be great to play more festivals and countries we have’t been to before. There may be some collaborations in the pipeline too and another interesting album release I’ve been involved with.

Photography by Dod Morrison

Good starter instrument..

My first bass was a Fender Squire Precision, these are great starter instruments that are affordable too (£180 upwards). There’s a lot more range now – Squire Jazz, Jaguar or even a Mustang if you have smaller hands as they are short scale but still look and sounds great. It’s always worth looking into secondhand instruments too.

Currently playing..

I still mainly play a Precision bass for most gigs, I own quite a few but my main 2 that I use for the Ramonas are a Fender Precision (MIM) and my custom StoneWolf Pee Pee Ramona Precision that was made for me a few years ago.

Dream setup..

 I would love a Fender Precision from the 60’s and a Mosrite bass….better get saving!

 

 

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