Morbid Angel bassist and vocalist David Vincent talks to Guitar World about his early days.
What inspired you to start playing bass?
When I was really young, my mother was a big fan of the Kingston Trio [a folk act of the Fifties and Sixties], and she used to listen to their records all the time. They did three-part harmony, with some guitar accompaniment. Because I had something of a deep voice, I found myself singing along to the records quite a bit. I would follow the bass vocal part, and because I identified with the low end, as I got older I would pay attention to the bass guitar on the music I listened to. I got into Dennis Dunaway from Alice Cooper’s band, Mel Schacher from Grand Funk Railroad and Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath. The bass is what felt powerful to me and set my soul on fire.
What was your first bass?
It was a Gibson EB-3, and I got it when I was about 14 years old. I had it for a while, because at the time I didn’t know anything about equipment or how to get a good sound. But once I realized that I needed something better, I got a different bass.
What was the first song you learned?
There wasn’t any specific song; it was more like a cacophony of everything. I played along with the stuff I was listening to: records by Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad. I was always hanging with older, musician types and doing a lot of cover band stuff, which pushed me to learn different styles. I was learning Judas Priest and AC/DC initially because that was pretty easy stuff, but I soon wanted to learn more stuff like Iron Maiden and Rush, because it was more challenging to me.
Do you remember your first gig?
I was 16 years old and singing in a band called Overlord in Charlotte, North Carolina. The gig took place during a dreadful ice storm, but because it was so anticipated and we had so many friends, there were a lot of people there for it.
Ever had an embarrassing onstage moment?
Recently we played some festivals in South America with Iron Maiden. They had a stage set-up that had a front riser and two side wings, with a gap in between. After we did our soundcheck, I was arranging my gear and some of the crew were trying to roll up the drum riser. They asked me if I could move back a little bit. Well, that last step was one too many, and I went down 15 feet. Luckily I didn’t break anything.
What is your favorite piece of gear?
It’s the Empirical Labs Distressor. It’s a Class A compressor that adds distortion and second- and third-order harmonics and the like, and so anything you put through it will instantly sound like a big glowing chunk of lava.
Got any advice for young players?
Instill confidence in yourself by any means necessary. Believe in what you do and make sure that what you do is you. That is the biggest thing—to be yourself as much as possible.