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Remembering Ove Bosch

Ove Bosch
(Image credit: Chris P. Dekker)

Ove Bosch has passed away at the age of 51. He was not only the man behind Warwick’s Bass Camp, but also a writer, journalist, and bass teacher. Above all, he was a beloved family man. He leaves behind his wife and daughter, and we wish his family and friends strength with their enormous loss.

I cannot help but make this a personal story, as I knew Ove well and I loved the man. Sometime in 2013, Warwick founder and director Hans-Peter Wilfer asked me if I wanted to help with the second edition of the Bass Camp. I was willing, so in August of that year I flew to Nuremberg, to be picked up there for the last one and a half hours by car to Markneukirchen.

Ove was the head of the Bass Camp and he had always had months of thinking and organising to do before we came to help build. As a real German, Ove did it punctually, and nothing was left to chance. Everything was arranged and taken care of down to the last detail, and every new obstacle was taken immediately and well. I have rarely seen such flawless and enormous organisation. I don’t think he slept more than five hours a night during those weeks and sometimes you could see him sitting at his desk with a serious face, but we always solved it. Teamwork, but always with Ove as the driving force.

So was he a serious guy? No: 90 percent of the time he walked around with a huge smile. The whole Bass Camp, both the participants and the famous bass players, took him immediately to their hearts. He was there for everyone, and it didn’t matter if you were a starting bass player from Belgium or one of the most famous bass players in the world: Ove treated everyone equally and well. He gave me a lot of responsibility – as personal assistant and driver of the famous bass players and professors – and I took it. I learned a lot from him, and partly because of his enthusiasm and hard work you just did your best, and more.

The Bass Camp week was exhausting, but so was the week before. There was a lot of preparation, but in the evenings and on Sundays we took it easy. We went to good restaurants, we brought gear for participants and professors to hotels by car with loud music, everything was done with fun and humour and I think back to the adventures with a big smile. I filmed Ove’s ALS ice bucket challenge, I crashed with him during a Segway race and it’s a wonder we didn’t crash during a race with son Nicolas Wilfer’s karts around the Warwick factory. After that, it was back to hauling chairs, and we were happy to do it.

After a week like that, you were exhausted, but Ove just went on a clinician’s tour with Stu Hamm, Divinity Roxx and/or Chuck Rainey. That was Ove. I did five Bass Camps with him: they were the best weeks of my life and through Warwick and Ove I met all the famous bass players. From David Ellefson and Robert Trujillo to Stuart Zender and Rhonda Smith, from Guy Pratt and Neil Murray to Nik West and Scott Reeder, from Lee Sklar and Bobby Vega to Felix Pastorius, Victor Wooten, Justin Chancellor, Abe Laboriel and Andy Irvine, to name just a few. They are all in my phone partly because of Ove, and that is of course very nice for our magazine. We were one big close-knit team. After that there was another edition of GuitCon, again led by Ove, which was at least as much fun.

We regularly shared a hotel room in Anaheim for the NAMM Show, and together we visited the vintage guitar shops in Hollywood, the Queen Mary (a kind of Titanic) and the USS Iowa. Two visits to the ranch and studio of Kyuss’ Scott Reeder were also very memorable, with Ove always the happy centre of attention.

Ove played with many big names, in great German musicals, he was a journalist, he wrote a bass book, but he also made sure that stars and amateurs still talk about those weeks in Markneukirchen. The news of his death hit the international bass world like a bomb. Today I’m going through an emotional rollercoaster. The grief for his loved ones is interspersed with crazy memories, some of which I still can’t believe I experienced. Ove taught me much, Ove made much possible. He was the heart and soul of Bass Camp, a good and beautiful man, and I miss him.

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Joel McIver is the Editor of Bass Player magazine. A journalist with 25 years' experience in the music field, he's also the author of 35 books, a couple of bestsellers among them. He regularly appears on podcasts, radio and TV and occasionally teaches at BIMM.