Tim Scribner is a bass player for Debbie Anthony, Level Best, and The Gopher Tones. He also plays bass for Slim Willie and the Ride, a jump blues swing band.
What sparked your interest in music?
My father had a great love for music and would come home every week or two with an armful of jazz and big band records. He wasn’t a performer, but he really enjoyed it.
The first instrument I learned was the organ. I took lessons from a local music store. Then I started playing tenor saxophone all through high school. At some point, I had a friend who was getting together a little band and they needed a bass player. No one wanted to play bass, but I was happy to do that.
Most listened to song in the last week?
Most of the artists I’ve been listening to are people like Lynwood Slim and Junior Watson. I am playing upright bass in Slim Willie and the Ride, so I am trying to understand how they play the instrument and incorporate their style. It’s a new experience for me because I’ve always been an electric bass player. But that’s what music is about: reinventing yourself.
Favorite local band/artist?
There are a lot of really good players in Rochester, and all of the players here are favorites of mine. The musical experience in Rochester is changing for music lovers. Every month that goes by it seems that there are new musicians just popping out of the woodwork. There isn’t much distance between artists that sell a lot of records and the artists in Rochester.
What makes you stand out as a musician?
I know what my role is. I am a support player, and my job is to do whatever I can to make that performance successful. I am trying to play a foundation for the band. That allows the other musicians to create the finishing touches on the song.
One book you think everyone should read?
“Under a Hoodoo Moon: The Life of the Night Tripper” by Mac Rebennack and Jack Rummel. I don’t know if everyone should read it, but it is enlightening and interesting. It’s a biography about Dr. John, one of the premier musicians from New Orleans. It gets into the nasty, seedy side of the music business. It was a rough sport back in his day.
If you could run sound for one artist no longer among the living, who would it be? Why?
Eva Cassidy. She was a singer who lived out on the East Coast. No one really heard of her at all until she passed away, and then people started listening to her music. She was a person who could take a well-known song and make it uniquely her own. She had a voice like a songbird. That’s one performance where I’d like to be at the desk.
Strangest thing you’ve ever seen an
audience member do?
Years ago our band was hired to play a barn dance, and we were playing up on the elevated riser, on a platform. Old barns often have an iron rail that crosses the roof of the barn for use as a hay trolley, as a way to haul the hay. People were dancing and enjoying the music, but unbeknownst to anyone at the time, some guy climbed up to the top and started going across the hay trolley. He managed to get over to the bandstand, lost his grip, and fell 30 feet from the roof right into the band. We were playing a song, and he just flopped right down onto the stage. Not a word. Not a scream. Just plunk! He landed and missed all the instruments and all the musicians. Everyone was amazed that a human being actually fell from the top of the barn! He didn’t even break any bones; he just got up and shook it off. A couple people came up and collected him, and, as far as I know, he just stayed at the barn dance.
Kindest words from an audience member?
There is some emotion that a crowd member will have that will be enough to speak with a band member. But I know that if they are moving to the music, then I am creating a connection with them, and they are feeling it. Music should create a reaction in people.
What motivates you to keep playing music?
I found out years ago that music is a difficult life. Musically, it’s very rewarding, but financially, it’s not. But I do it because it’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember, and music fulfills my life.
You can see Tim with Slim Willie and the Ride at Piggy’s Restaurant in La Crosse on February 18th.