Steve Bailey

Chair

"I thought I had my life journey pretty much figured out, living by the beach in South Carolina, traveling and teaching around my surfing and tennis matches. When I became aware of this position, I realized that the Berklee Bass Department is the only beast of its kind in the world. The more I thought about having a chance to be a part of the legacy that Rich Appleman has built so solidly over the years, it started to appeal more and more to me. Rich was here for 40 years and built it from a very small department into the largest bass department in the world."

"What cinched the deal for me was when I hung out in the 150 building and pulled my hat down, put my coat on, and didn't get recognized much, and just hung out listening to the way people were practicing and jamming, watched the recording studios humming like a beehive, and stood outside by the door while everybody was standing there saying things like, 'I spent the week in New York. I heard Joe Lovano, and one day I'm going to play like that.' This is the energy I felt in college, and I didn't realize how much I missed it until that moment."

"My whole perspective on preparing a student for the real world has evolved significantly over the years. When I was going through school, all you had to be was a really good musician, and you could move to either coast and be successful. Today you've got to be a really good musician and all of these other things: You've got to be technologically adept. You've got to have good communication skills. You've got to be able to interact with people with positive results. And you've got to fuse all of that together with all of the marketing that you can do yourself, thanks to the internet. I call it the Millennium Musician. Since the year 2000, it's all these other skill sets that are the ingredients for success. And Berklee still sets the standard for that."

"My door is going to be open. And that's to students, faculty, everyone. But don't show up and want to just hang out and talk: you'd better bring your bass."

 

Career Highlights

  • B.M., University of Miami
  • Electric and double bassist
  • Partnered with fellow bassist Victor Wooten in the cutting-edge group Bass Extremes for more than 20 years
  • Performances with Dizzy Gillespie, the Rippintons, Kitaro, Larry Carlton, Mike Stern, T. Lavitz, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Jones, Joe Chambers, and James Moody
  • Recordings with Paquito D'Rivera, the Rippingtons, David Benoit, Jon Anderson, Jethro Tull, Victor Wooten, Larry Carlton, and Willie Nelson
  • Columnist for Bass Player magazine
  • Author of six books and instructional DVDs, including Rock Bass and Fretless Bass
  • Solo albums include Dichotomy (featuring Dizzy Gillespie) and So Low . . . Solo
  • Latest multi-bass production is Warwick: Fuss on the Buss 2, a live DVD featuring Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, Robert Trujillo, Lee Sklar, and many others
  • Taught at Musicians Institute, UNC Wilmington, and Coastal Carolina University