Monday, July 20, 2009

“The Godfather of the Bass,” Robert Wilson of the Gap Band signs with Lucky 7 Records & Lightening Entertainment

Lucky 7 Records & Lightening Entertainment have announced that, “The Godfather of the Bass,” Robert Wilson of the Gap Band has signed an album deal with the indie label.

Lucky 7 Records & Lightening Entertainment is a family owned and operated independent label and entertainment group. The label recently signed N E MEANS, and is in negotiations with two other acts they plan to sign by the end of the month. “I am personally proud to have my uncle on the label, Uncle Robert is one of my idols and I am honoured to have him,” states Frank Wilson, Chairman and founder of Lucky 7 Records.

Robert Wilson recently blessed the late Waymon Tisdale on his 2008 released album, “Rebound.” The record titled, “Watch Me Play Again,” was one of the best produced records on the album. “We have some huge plans for Uncle Robert, we plan to release an album, as well as bless others with his musical prowess; we plan to use his funky-Gap Band laced baselines for our R&B and Hip Hop acts.”

Keep your eyes and ears opened for, “The Godfather of the Bass,” Uncle Robert Wilson's adult contemporary/HipHop/Jazz album, due for release in 2010.


When Robert Wilson took the call from keyboardist Billy Preston inviting him on a short tour, the then-19-year-old bassist hesitated—not because he didn't want the gig, but because he had to clear it with his mom first. "She told me I couldn't leave because I had other responsibilities that weekend," says Wilson. "But I had to set her straight. The next day I was onstage at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, sharing the bill with Larry Graham, the Whispers, and Blue Magic." It was the mid '70s, and word was spreading quickly about Robert, whom Preston contacted through Tulsa, Oklahoma session great Leon Russell. Robert, his older brothers Charlie and Ronnie, and the rest of the Greenwood, Archer & Pine Streets Band—they would soon shorten the name to the more marquee-friendly "GAP" Band—had been discovered by Russell at a Tulsa night spot. "Leon heard us one night and snatched up the whole band," explains Wilson. "He basically removed his band and installed us." The Gap Band really took off when the Wilson brothers moved to Los Angeles, pared down to a three-piece core, and hooked up with producer Lonnie Simmons. 1979's "Shake" was the first of several high-energy, synth- and bass-heavy party anthems, followed by "Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me Bad)" and the oft-sampled "You Dropped a Bomb on Me." Today the Gap Band still brings the party to packed houses worldwide, and the group was recently honored with this year's BMI Icon Award for their "enduring influence on generations of music makers." At the root of the group's influential style lies Robert's vivacious bass work, which anchors the band's groove and provides the foundation for his brother Charlie's synth-bass parts. "I go for a sound that's warm but still has enough guts to cut through," explains Robert. "I put my parts down and Charlie comes behind me. Whatever the lick, he doubles it. He'll cut some breaks here and there, but his parts basically follow mine." Restraint is a key ingredient in Robert's groove recipe. "I don't like players whose main goal is to show that they're technical wizards. Bass is all about creating a mood." When crafting his parts, Robert—who developed his bass chops in church bands—often appeals to a higher source. "I connect with the spirit and let it take over," he says. "If you think too much about your next lick, you won't be able to find its spirit. I try to take my mind out of it." Sometimes, however, his inspiration has more earthly origins. "I always wanted to play lead guitar," says Robert, "so I'll play the lead licks that I hear in my head. As long as you leave the bottom on the one, you can be more aggressive on beats two and four. You just have to know how to get back.


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