Dave LaRue learned his first bass line from a drummer. “Just by chance, the bass player walked away, left his bass, and the drummer showed me a few licks,” he explains. “So I’ve always stayed with the bass and developed a love for it.”
Indeed he did. From that hometown band, a true great has emerged, carrying the low end for some of the most technically proficient rock artists in the industry. He has been touring with the Dixie Dregs and the Steve Morse Band for nearly two decades, and has also worked with Joe Satriani, Dream Theater’s John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather, Vinnie Moore, Planet X, and many more.
LaRue’s influences might provide some clue to where he has acquired his fretboard proficiency. Jaco Pastorius was his main “go to” guy. “There was a period where I was really emulating his style, copying everything he did,” Dave says. He also includes Jeff Berlin, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and Berry Oakley (Allman Brothers), among others.
In the way that he has been affected by his influences, LaRue wishes to do the same for the next generation. He writes an instructional column for Bass Player magazine, holds clinics nationally, and even teaches privately in the Orlando area. He has performed and instructed at numerous seminars and released educational materials such as instructional videos and bass method books.
On stage and in the studio, LaRue is constantly on his toes and adapting his style to play with the virtuosos around him. “I’ve just seen so much wonderful music, and gotten so many great ideas from these guys” says Dave. Sometimes that means creating new parts and emulating other instruments, pushing himself and his technical ability to new levels. When he’s practicing, Dave uses the Pandora PX5D Personal Multi-Effect processor, and has been a Pandora user for many years. “The wealth of sounds is great and it’s all in one compact unit,” he explains. “I was able to get rid of four pieces of gear by getting the Pandora! I just have my Pandora and my MP3 player and I’m good to go.”
The new Pandora PX5D also offers USB compatibility to act as its own audio interface into computers. “I’ll be able to get rid of another piece of gear!” exclaims LaRue, who is especially a fan of the unit’s effects, including the reverbs, choruses, and phasers. “The delay is great for soloing,” he adds.
Photo by: Miki Nagae