Fender Quarter Note | October 2004
Tell us about your Profile CD / Biz Card.
I was planning on moving to LA. The pressure to succeed was enormous. I was trying to figure out how to introduce myself to the LA music community using multimedia. Since I had done some TV commercials, CD’s, and gigs I wanted to be able to profile what I could do in each of these capacities. I determined a CD with videos and pictures that could also play music in regular CD player was the way to go. I had plenty of help getting it started. The first Mel Brown Profile debuted Oct 6, 1997. I left for LA on the same day! I instantly began handing out my invention to musicians that I thought could help me get gigs or hire me. I’d been in town for about 3 or 4 weeks when I was recommended to Gladys Knight’s Musical Director, Benjamin Wright. I got the gig and became a full time musician living in LA, making good money, with a nice place to live, a decent car and a new invention that was helping to get my name around.
How did you got involved with Fender® ?
I was doing sessions with Mike Jones from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in Tempe. He introduced me to Richard McDonald from Fender® (VP Marketing) and through Richard I met Jay Piccirillo. I came to the Fender® offices and he showed me all of the new gear. I immediately gravitated to the new 800 PRO head. I was playing Eden at the time, but I really liked the Fender® stuff. When Jay explained there was a new division of Fender® solely dedicated to bass amplification, I was like “finally”! Everything really felt right so I signed on as an official endorser. Being local is great for checking out new prototypes. I just recently got my hands on the new TBP-1 Tube Bass Preamp, and it is blowing me away! Once it hits stores and players start hearing it, I think it’s going to be big for Fender®.
What set up are you currently using? I am currently playing the 800 PRO head through the 810 PRO cabinet. I have used this combination for over 100 gigs so far and I am really blown away by the combination of power, focus and tone. As a matter of fact, the 800 PRO can be heard on “Ain’t no stopping us now” the latest single by Wayman Tisdale (yes, Wayman is a bass player, but I am holding down the groove on this single). “I cut that track at my house using a DI straight out of the 800 PRO into a computer recording setup. I emailed it over and boom! What you are hearing is the second take.
I approach the 800 PRO as a building block for multiple sounds. The flat sound is great for finger-style. The “Enhance” button is my thumb sound (as it cuts the necessary mids). I use the semi-parametric EQ for my soloing. I bring up some high end and the overall volume and footswitch it in to nail an attractive lead voice.
How do you balance the demands of being a truly “modern” musician? Well, I have developed a word of mouth reputation and met a lot of very cool (and very connected) people. Years of networking have allowed me to get myself out there as a “go-to guy” for all kinds of musical projects. As a result, I can live in AZ and still be available for anyone who needs me. I handle most all of my session work at home through the computer. I have a very professional and regular gig in town. I tour sometimes and perform one off gigs when the situation is right. Living in AZ has also provided a good life for my family, so overall I feel fortunate and extremely happy! Thanks Mel!