Doug Wimbish The Journeyman Bassist

DOUG'S BIOGRAPHY

Doug Wimbish is having an amazing career.

A highly respected and sought-after master of his instrument, Doug records and performs with a diverse roster of talent. From his early days with Sugarhill Records, to his pioneering work in TackHead and Living Colour, Doug is best described as a musical virtuoso. His repertoire reads like a whose who of Rock, Pop and Hip-Hop; The Rolling Stones, Mos Def, Depeche Mode, Madonna, and Jeff Beck, to name a few.

Doug hails from Bloomfield, Connecticut. He began playing after receiving a guitar from his parents when he was 12 years old. Doug grew up to the sounds of the 60’s and 70’s and found inspiration from the sounds of Miles Davis, George Clinton, and Sly & the Family Stone. He was also heavily influenced by family; his brother Victor and his Bahamas based Uncle Joey and Aunt Naomi. During summer vacations, Doug frequented his Aunts music store, further rousing his musical interests.

At 16, Doug decided to study music theory at the Hartford Conservatory and soon discovered his passion was the bass. He befriended drummer Harold Sergeant, who introduced him to jazz great Jackie McLean. While attending McLean’s local Artist Collective workshops in Hartford, Doug met guitarist Skip McDonald. Together they established an unrivaled reputation for their studio accomplishments. Along with drummer Sergeant, guitarist Barton Campbell, keyboardist Hubert Powell, saxophonist Otha Stokes, and trumpet player Randy Boss they formed the band Wood Brass & Steel on All Platinum Records. Doug then went on to work with 70’s Super Disco group Musique, whose song "Push Push in the Bush" was a summer smash.

In the summer of 1979, Doug and Skip met drummer Keith LeBlanc. The trio became the legendary rhythm section behind the hits for Sugarhill Records. They performed on such classics as Grandmaster Flash’s "The Message," the Melle Mel album "White Lines," and Angie Stones first record, "Funk You Up."

At the suggestion of Tom Silverman, Wimbish, Doug, Skip and Keith moved to London to work with British mixer/producer Adrian Sherwood of On-U Sound. And in 1984 the radical cutting edge ensemble TackHead was formed. They achieved success in the London underground and dance hall scene with hits like "Mind at the End of Tether" and "What’s My Mission Now?" They also worked with Mark Stewart, formerly of Popgroup, Gary Clail, and Bim Sherman. The first studio album entitled "Major Malfunction," is a TackHead produced record under Keith LeBlanc's name and is considered by many to be a new music classic. They went on to produce "Friendly as a Hand Grenade," featuring vocalist Bernard Fowler and followed up with the album "Strange Things."

Doug was also working with top producer Arthur Baker at this time, and it was he who introduced Doug to guitarist Jeff Beck. Beck extended him an invitation to play in London with his band, which featured keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummer Simon Phillips. It was through Beck that Doug met Mick Jagger, who was recording his second solo record at that time. Doug started playing for Jagger and soon expanded his studio work, to include recording with Seal, Madonna, Joe Satriani, Annie Lennox, and others throughout the rest of the eighties.

In 1991, Doug’s long time friend and lead guitarist for Living Colour, Vernon Reid, was looking for a new bass player. It was actually drummer Will Calhoun that encouraged him to join. Doug joined Living Colour and went on to record two highly successful albums: Stain and Pride. In 1993, Living Colour was awarded a Grammy nomination for a song co-written by Doug, "Leave It Alone."

After Living Colour split, Doug then teamed up with his band mate Will Calhoun and renowned jazz vocalist Vinx, to create the group Jungle Funk. Their sound has been described as "drum and bass infused poetic music." Jungle Funk performed over 200 shows and festivals internationally including The Montreux Jazz Festival and North Sea Jazz Festival. The self-titled album "Jungle Funk" received much critical acclaim, including mention for album of the year in Australia.

Another collaboration between the explosive drum and bass team of Wimbish and Calhoun, HeadFake rose from the reminisce. Headfake is a live fusion between DJ and musician producing trance-induced rhythms.

In 1999, Doug released a solo effort titled "Trippy Notes for Bass" on Adrian Sherwood’s On-u Sound label with all the TackHead players back on board and featured special guests Bernie Worrell, Alex Forester and Nigel Butler.

On December 22, 2000, Living Colour re-grouped for a one-off show at New York's legendary CBGB's. The dynamite show rekindled Doug, Vernon, Will and Corey's desire to play together. A small tour of the West coast drew huge and enthusiastic crowds, launching them off for a string of dates in Europe, including the Montreux Jazz Festival. The summer of 2001 saw the group finishing their U.S. tour on the East Coast, highlighted by a memorable show in Central Park.

In 2002, after recording and touring the U.S. with Mos Def for his "Black Jack Johnson" album, Doug came back to New York City to record the album "Collideoscope" with Living Colour. Doug also co-wrote and played bass on a song that was written and produced by Kanye West and featured on the movie soundtrack for "Brown Sugar" starring Taye Diggs and Mos Def. The song reached Number 16 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and Number 4 on R&B/Hip Hop chart. Doug also co-wrote a song called "The Jump Off," for the "Italian Job" movie soundtrack also co-starring Mos Def.

Doug had several television appearances in 2004; Last Call with Carson Daily playing with Living Colour, and Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Show and David Letterman with Emmy Award Nominee and rapper Mos Def. TackHead also reunited and played a string of dates in the U.S. and Europe. They played a string of dates in Europe and the US. Doug teamed up with Joe Palombo and John McCarthy of Rock House Method to release an instructional DVD, "New Dimensions for Bass." Doug then produced guitarist McCarthy's record "Drive" featuring Bernie Worrell, Will Calhoun, and Leo Nocentelli.

These past few years have kept Doug extremely busy. He has been producing, recording and touring with Living Colour, TackHead, Little Axe, Headfake, Mark Stewart & The Maffia, Czech gypsy funk band Gulo Car, and Brazilian singer Fernanda Porto among others. Continuing to bless the stage at festivals and venues around the world, Doug displays his mastery of blending music and technology to lay his explosive rhythms that move the masses.

2005 presented new opportunities for Doug. HeadFake played the main stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival, followed by a tour of the US with Little Axe supporting Robert Plant. The first annual Wim-Bash took place at Sully’s in Hartford, where Doug brought together musicians Skip McDonald, Keith LeBlanc, Will Calhoun, Jamie McDonald and 13 year old female guitar sensation Desiree Bassett. Doug also rejoined forces with old friend Clive Roberts, owner of Trace Elliott, to help him endorse and promote Trace Elliott bass amplifiers.

2006 kicked off with Will Calhoun and Doug joining Lauryn Hill onstage for a private show, followed with intensive touring all over Europe and Canada with Little Axe. The band was invited to perform at Real World Record anniversary party where they jammed with Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel. Living Colour toured Europe fronted by Dug Pinnick, singer of legendary band, King's X. Doug stepped out on his own for strings of gigs all over Europe, recording and producing various artists while putting the final touches on his long awaited 2nd solo record "CinemaSonics."<br>

2007 started with a new stars studded Wim-Bash at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention in Anaheim California. An unusual twist recommended by sound engineer Doug Cook, had Doug joining former Nightwish vocal sensation Tarja Turunen to record her new album "My Winter Storm.” Doug then teamed back up Keith LeBlanc and Skip McDonald bringing European audiences Bernard Fowler's "Friends with Privileges.” Then it was time for Doug to strike out on his own for his first solo tour, "The Doug Wimbish SoundSystem," showcasing his astonishing showman qualities as a one-man act.

The yearly NAMM's Wim-Bash set the tone for a frantically paced 2008, headlined by Living Colour, with guest’s artists George Lynch, The Gods of Love and John McCarthy. Almost immediately afterward, Doug went back out on tour with a score of Little Axe, TackHead, Living Colour and Tarja Turunen dates happening all over the world. A new Tack>>Head collection is scheduled for release following the recent re-issue of "Trippy Notes for Bass & Mixes" and the long anticipated solo album "CinemaSonics," that is available right now on NovaSound Records. Retro Music Hall in Prague where Living Colour has been recorded at Sono Studio their 5th Album 'The Chair in the Doorway' hosted the release party for Doug's new solo record and guests the whole band playing a few new songs from their upcoming studio effort...


After the Annual "Namm" Wimbash 2009, Doug headed back to Prague with Living Colour to finish recording do a serie of concert with Skip, Bernard Fowler, and Finnish sensation Tarja Turunen. Then back in the USA in San Francisco to mix the album. Grammy Awards winning "Stain" producer Ron Saint Germain was brought in to put the final touches on the record who was soon picked up by Megaforce Records and will be released on September 15th 2009 followed with a World Tour. Doug, along with Bernard Fowler, Keith LeBlanc, Skip McDonald, and Adrian Sherwood, is currently (sporadically) in the studio working on a new Tack>>Head album (of mostly cover tunes), scheduled for release New Year's Day 2010. One of the eight completed tunes is "Funky Obama", a Tack>>Head interpretation of James Brown's "Funky President."

For additional 'Medias' information, please also check Doug's companion myspace site to his Official one.

www.myspace.com/dougwimbish
www.myspace.com/dougwimbishnovasound hosted by Dave Hogerty.

For further reading see:
2002 Vibe Magazine article on Doug, Will & Mos Def

Vanity Fair article on Hip Hop from November 2005 for the full coverage of the birth of an era

 


Home - ©Doug Wimbish
Trace Elliot