Carol Kaye: The First Lady of Rock Guitar and Bass

Be Sociable, Share!

     

    When it comes to the bible of women in rock and roll, chapter one, verse one should read: “In the beginning, there was Carol Kaye.” Unlike groundbreakers who found fortune and fame as headliners, Carol worked her magic behind the scene. From the 1950s through the 1970s, she was one of Los Angeles’ top studio musicians, playing guitar or bass on Top-10 hits by the Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin, Jackie DeShannon, Four Tops, Jan & Dean, The Monkees, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Righteous Brothers, Sonny & Cher, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, and dozens of others. (Carol’s website lists hundreds of hits she’s played on: http://carolkaye.com/www/library/index.htm.)

    In the 1970s Carol began emphasizing film and TV dates. That’s her playing in such TCM faves as Airport, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, Le Mans, The Pawnbroker, Plaza Suite, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Walk Don’t Run. Carol is likewise heard in the reruns and box sets of M.A.S.H., Mission Impossible, The Brady Bunch, Hogan’s Heroes, Addams Family, Bill Cosby Show, Hawaii Five-O, and many other TV series. In addition, Carol wrote several of the first – and best – educational books for electric bassists; more about that in our interview.

    During my two decades as an editor for Guitar Player magazine, I made it my mission to not only cover up-and-coming players, but to also shine a light on the instrument’s pioneers and innovators. In 1983, I proposed a cover story called Women In Rock and began assembling an overview of female guitarists and bassists. Almost immediately, one name loomed above the others: Carol Kaye. So in mid-January, we did an interview that was published as an “at told to” article. The re-transcribed interview below is uncut and restores my questions.

    I’ve always liked Carol Kaye. Her charm, energy, musical brilliance, and a get-it-done attitude have served her well throughout her half-century career. Many times, I saw and heard firsthand the respect her peers – particularly Tommy Tedesco, Barney Kessel, and Howard Roberts – held for her. As a rock pioneer and session player, Carol is truly in a class of her own.

    ###

    Do you know of any women who were playing rock guitar or bass before you started playing sessions? 

     No, no. I knew of rock groups using women singers and all that. See, now, I was playing a lot of guitar in the late ’50s. You know, in ’56, ’57, ’58, I was playing a lot of bebop. And I was aware of rock, but to my knowledge I was the only female guitarist around in that area doing the records and all that stuff.

    What town were you in?

    The south part of Los Angeles. I lived there, and I worked in all the nightclubs. Most of the time, I was the only white person there, let alone being the only woman. There wasn’t any discrimination as far as I felt. There were times when I felt like I wasn’t playing up to par, and I realized it. I went home and practiced on the certain areas that I needed work on. Then all of a sudden I was very much in-demand in jam sessions, jazz work. Like, I played in Jack Sheldon’s band in back of Lenny Bruce. George Shearing asked me to go on the road with him, but I was about eight months pregnant at the time, so I couldn’t handle that, but it was a real honor.

    When did you get into rock?

    In the studios.

    Do you remember your first session?

    Yeah, very well! 1958, Bumps Blackwell came into the Beverly Caverns there where I was playing with a jazz group. I was working with Billy Higgins and Teddy Edwards. I forget who was on bass, but I used to work a lot with Scotty LaFaro, who passed on in those years. Bumps Blackwell walked in and he asked me if I wanted to do a record date. You know, Hollywood being the way it is, I said [tentatively] “Sure.” I went down there, and it was a real record date! It was a soul group featuring Sam Cooke. It was Sam’s second record that we were working on, and Lou Rawls was a singer on that date – it was his first record date too. Jesse Belvin was the other singer, and there was another older guy by the name of Alexander. It was a soul date, and it was fun. I said, “Yeah, this is kind of fun music.” It was like gospel music. So I got into it that way. Then I played for H.B. Barnum a lot – a lot of gigs and a lot of record dates. And then I started to add the guitars then.

    Were you playing bass at first?

    No, no – guitar.

    Who’s H.B. Barnum?

    H.B. is the guy who made the arrangements for Lou Rawls and for others – an arranger. He put a lot of the town to work. He wrote a lot of hit records, and he did a lot of Motown-type of dates. He didn’t work for Motown, but it was that kind of stuff. And we did a lot of hits in those years, the early ’60s.

    Can you think of any?

    Yeah. I play the guitar on all of Phil Spector’s dates. In fact, the guitar I used, which was my early, early jazz guitar, was an Epiphone Emperor. Most of the secret of Phil’s Spector’s sound was that they miked that. It was an acoustic guitar and an electric, but they miked it acoustically, and they’d dump a lot of echo on it – like the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” I played a lot of acoustic guitar on the Sonny & Cher stuff. The guitar fills that you heard, that was me. One of earlier hits that I played on was “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” but I played electric guitar on that. That was Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans. Remember that one? [Hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltKtImRM_vs.] In other words, I played on all of Phil Spector’s hits, whether it was Ike and Tina Turner, the Righteous Brothers, or the Paris Sisters.

    Did you play on “River Deep, Mountain High” by Ike and Tina?

    Yeah! Uh-huh. Guitar. I’d have to listen to the record to tell you exactly which part, because he always used two or three guitars. He always used me and Barney Kessel, you know. David Cohen came in about ’63, but I started working for Phil about 1960.

    What was it like working for Phil Spector? Did he have charts and definite ideas of what he wanted?

    Skeleton charts, mostly, but there were some dates – especially at Sonny & Cher dates – where Harold Batiste, a sax player, wrote all those fine arrangements. They were pretty intricate arrangements, in the sense that they were different. Every hit that Sonny & Cher put out was different. The style was different, which I think really, really made them successful. But there was one of their hits where the tune just kind of lay there like a dead dog. It was a one-chord tune, and I was starting to play bass, but I wasn’t playing bass on that date. I was playing that acoustic guitar that I was telling you about. I was trying to figure out a bass line, a hook line, to make it happen. And I played a bass line, and Sonny heard it on the mike. He said, “Ooh, I love that bass line!” Now, you’ve got to realize, when I first met Sonny, he was playing tambourine on a Phil Spector date – and not very good at that! [Laughs.] I saw him meet Cher and saw all that go down. Anyway, Sonny heard that line, and he said, “Ooh, give that to the bass player.” And that’s the bass line to “And the Beat Goes On.” 

    Really? You invented that? 

    Yeah, that’s my bass line. So we were called upon to read music and/or make up hook lines. See, the secret of a lot of hit records is in the bass line and the drum licks – but mostly the bass lines. Like later on, when I played bass for Quincy Jones, Quincy would get kind of backlogged with work. He had an awful lot of work, and I played on all of his films in the ’60s and the early ’70s. I played on every one of his movies, and every one of Michel Lagrand’s movies, and every one of the Hank Mancini movies. To cut a long story short, Quincy would tell us to just jam. He’d bring in a rhythm section and tell us to just jam, and we’d sit there and play funk for a couple of days. You know, when you got so much work, you don’t know what’s what and you don’t care – you just want to get in, get out, and get paid. Find a parking place, and that’s it.

    So anyway, I went to the movies one time, and I said, “Gee, that stuff is really familiar!” And the name of the move was The New Centurions. And what Quincy did, which is very, very hip – and I didn’t feel plagiarized at all, I felt like, “Yeah, that’s very hip” – he wrote the horn lines on all the bass notes that I played. So it sounded like it was arranged, but it wasn’t. He took theos bass fills and the bass licks that I played – because I played a lot of conga-type lines, like off-beat Latin kind of lines for funk – and he took an arrangement on top of the bass lines, so it sounded arranged. And some of the guitar hooks too – he’d take a little bit of that. I’m just saying that to tell you how important those hook lines are to arrangers, see. Like with [Glen Campbell's] “Wichita Lineman,” they took one of my bass licks and milked that for string part. People are not aware how important the bass is to arranging, and I’m just saying this to make them aware. Because a lot of people love to play bass, and that’s why, because you’ve got a lot of control. It’s like the basement of a house.

    You were with Phil Spector until when?

    Oh, all the time. All of his hits. You know, he wouldn’t do anything without me. The last time I worked for him was in ’69, and I was a little bit spaced out because my fiancé had just died. Phil was trying to make a comeback at A&M, and I was so spaced out I couldn’t play. And so he gave up – it was a flop that night.

    So you were on all the famous girl group records?

    Yeah. Everything that Phil did, I’m playing on.

    Mostly guitar or bass?

    Mostly guitar. Bass toward the latter part of his records. Now, I started with Phil about 1960, and we did almost all the dates at Gold Star.

    Were Phil Spector’s sessions different from other producers’?

    They were long. It would be anywhere from 20 to 35 takes. He took his time. He knew what he was looking for. Like, the whole band would sit around. It seemed like Hal Blaine used to have to play drums for about an hour before he could get to the bass and then the guitar – you know, to get the balance just right. And the horn section would play chess. I saw a lot of Playboy magazines with the guys! [Laughs.]

    You were the only female guitarist or bassist in the studios back then?

    Mm-hmm. The only one.

    What were some of your other sessions like – for instance, with the Beach Boys?

    Okay, now. The Beach Boys, I played guitar on their early records.

    Like “Help Me, Rhonda”?

    No, that’s bass. That’s my first bass record. “Help Me, Rhonda” was the first record I did with them on bass. I kept the strings real high in those days. I mean, the bass was a real physical instrument. I kept them real high, and I used the Fender P-Bass with the Super Reverb amp. And they always miked me. They never took it through the board. You know, I got a pretty good sound. Even on some of the Motown dates – like “Love Child” and “Bernadette,” I played bass on – I added more bottom, but they miked me on that stuff too. But the Beach Boys took a lot of takes too. You know, it seemed like Phil Spector kind of set the standard – it was okay to go six hours on one tune, which we did. They used all studio guys, except for Carl [Wilson]. Carl would be in the booth, on 12-string. He mostly played 12-string. And he’d sit and play with us, but he’d be in the booth and the rest of us would be out in the studio. Lyle Rich played acoustic bass – there was an acoustic bass on there too. But you couldn’t hear the acoustic bass except like on “Good Vibrations” – for a while there’s two parts there. I played the higher part [sings the line].

    Did you come up with that “Good Vibrations” bass line?

    No, that’s Brian’s stuff. Now, Brian [Wilson] wrote all of his lines. Once in a while I played a fill or something that was mine, but I can’t lay claim to any of Brian’s bass lines. But the feel – if you listen to “Good Vibrations,” that feel is a jazz feel. It’s a walking feel [sings main bass riff]. That’s pure jazz, and Brian was greatly influenced by jazz. He was influenced by the Four Freshman – you know, they way they sung. Barney Kessel, Howard Roberts, and I were constantly on those dates. We were constantly being amazed by Brian, because he’s the one that arranged it all, and he came up with all the ideas and everything. We met the other Beach Boys – they were really nice and all that – but it was Brian’s talent, really, that did all that stuff. On the Pet Sounds album, I played bass on all except one tune – there’s one tune on the Pet Sounds album that I didn’t play bass on. In fact, that’s George Harrison’s favorite album, the Pet Sounds album. A lot of people like that album. I mean, it’s a very creative album.

    After you played on the Beach Boys’ records, would you then teach them the parts?

    No. No, it’s just that they copied what we did. Like, they copied the feel and they copied the parts that we came up with, but it was Brian that wrote the parts. I mean, he didn’t physically really write them very well. He put stems on the wrong sides of the notes and like that, and we’d have to recopy it in another key and that kind of stuff. We spent time doing that too – in other words, the music wasn’t legally very good. We had to sit down and rewrite it, but it came from his head. And the parts were fairly simple, so they could go out on the road and cut them, but they couldn’t get that real, old studio feel that we got because I was in the clique that was playing on all the hit records. That’s all we did – cut a hit from 8:00 AM in the morning till 12:00 midnight, every day of the week. I’ll tell you some of the people I worked with: Johnny Mathis, Hank Mancini, Pet Clark, Andy Williams, Sam & Dave.

    Did you play on “Soul Man”?

    I don’t know the names of the records. See, I played on thousands of records, so I know some of the names of the records I played on. But I can hear stuff and say, “Oh, yeah. I played guitar on that.” I can remember the rhythmic part I played or the lead part. Remember the Alka Seltzer ad? [Sings the familiar 1960s riff.] Well, that was me that played guitar on that. I was the lead guitar of the T-Bones [the studio band that put out the 1965 single used for the Alka Seltzer ad, “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)”]. Remember that group? [Hear this song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP1dYj2hGss.] That was me on that. And I played lead guitar on the Green Acres show that you’re hearing right now, and that was cut about 15 years ago. And I played guitar on – remember the coffee commercial? [Sings the Maxwell House riff.] Okay, the very first ones were me. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X13ovEdx-fM.] The electric 12-string that you heard on the first two or three records by the Tijuana Brass, Herb Albert’s group, that’s me. A Wrigley’s gum ad was lifted from one of his albums [Carol is likely referring to this “Teaberry Shuffle” ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk11Acjofu8 ] – that’s me on 12-string. I got a lot of money for that ad. I’m just trying to give you a brief picture, because it’s really a huge thing to describe all the mountains of work that you do.

    What were the hardest rock sessions you tackled?

    The ones that weren’t very musically satisfying, like The Hondells, because it was so dumb, and you’d be playing that dumb stuff for hours. And I like Mike Curb – Mike Curb was a pretty nice guy. I played guitar on all those things. Howard Roberts was also on those dates, and we’d just sit there and space out. It was like, “Oh, God, I should have turned this down.” But it was a lot of money. You don’t turn down money – I mean, a lot of it, that is. That was hard. Some of the Dick Dale stuff was hard.

    Did you play on stuff like his “Misirlou”?

    I don’t know the names. I’d have to listen. But most of his stuff I did. Let’s see – some of the harder stuff. The stuff that took hours, and it didn’t need to take hours. Like, Phil Spector set this thing that it’s supposed to take six hours to cut a hit record, and he had such a phenomenal success that everybody thought, “Oh, I’ve got to take six hours,” and most of them didn’t have to. You know, they were practicing in the studios, just like doctors practice on their patients. They were practicing in the studio how to make a hit record, see? And that’s why it took so many hours. Now people pretty well have it down, but I’m not really thrilled with most of the music that’s coming out. It seems like the feeling is not there.

    Was anyone ever surprised when you, being a woman bass player, showed up on the date?

    No, no. I never got that – I guess because I had a pretty good reputation for being a live player in jazz. If you were a successful jazz player, you were very respected by all the players.

    Did you consider yourself a rocker?

    Yeah, yeah. I started to tell you that in my mind it was very hard to make that transition from being a very successful jazz player and an up-and-coming giant in jazz, which doesn’t pay any money, to doing studio work, which was really dumb, until I got the idea that, “Hey, it’s fun to make a hit record, and this stuff can groove too.” Even though it’s rock and roll and 8/8, it’s got its own groove to it. At that time, when I started playing on all the #1 hit records that were coming out of the West Coast, definitely then I thought, “Yes, I’m a rock guitarist.” I didn’t feel like I was a rock bassist there for a long time, because I always felt like I was a guitar player that just picked up the bass.

    So your early sessions were guitar, and you switched to bass in the mid 1960s.

    Yeah, ’64.

    And from there it was primarily bass.

    Yeah, it really shot up. I was about #3 or #4 call on guitar in those studio years, and I was making pretty good money. But then when I switched to bass, I put a lot of bass players out of work because in those years they were using acoustic bass and Danelectro 6-string bass guitar. A lot of people call the Fender bass a bass guitar, but the Denelectro is the “bass guitar,” because that’s got six strings. They’d use, like, three basses on the date. Well, as soon as I started playing bass, I put the other two bass players out of work, because I played it with the pick and it got a really good sound. And I was the only one in town that was really working my tail off.

    Was it always charts and reading, or did they sometimes ask you to come with parts on your own?

    Both. It was both. If I couldn’t make a Motown date, Gene Page would have a real simple bass part for the other bass player that could make it. But he would write some outrageous bass parts, and I’d sit down there and sight-read them. Quincy Jones would occasionally write some great bass parts, like the Ironsides theme. And I’m also the one that played the theme of Mission Impossible – Lalo Schifrin. So you had to be able to read all kinds of music, you know, depending upon if it was films or records. But at the same time, there’d be times you’d go on a date and there was no music written, and you’d have to skull-out a part with chords. You write them on a blank piece of paper and come up with a bass line.

    Were you ever asked to join groups?

    Yeah, yeah. Occasionally. See, most of the groups in the ’60s didn’t want people to know that they did not record their own music. Okay. But occasionally there’d be a call to go out on the road, but I just couldn’t afford to, because I was making so much money and I had my kids. I didn’t want to go out on the road.

    Did you continue to do rock dates throughout the 1970s?

    No, it became more film, but they wanted the rock-type of bass. You know, the rock-funk bass on the film thing. I have to look at some of these credits. [Carol refers to the quarterly royalty statement that studio musicians received.] Valley of the Dolls, for instance, Thomas Crown Affair, On Any Sunday, Walk Don’t Run, a lot of movies from Universal, which were real murder movies. Oh, remember In the Heat of the Night? I’m the fuzz bass player on that. [Laughs.]

    Did you have to keep up with all of the effects?

    Yes. I’m the first one who used effects in the movies – like on the theme of Airport, I used that Gibson box that had all the things like the octave doubler and that one that sounded like steam. What’s the name of that little Gibson box? Oh, the Maestro. And I’m the first one that used the fuzz tone on a bass in the movies. So yes, I did have to use the effects, but not like they’re doing now. Like, I never used a flanger or anything like that.

    So in the 1970s it was mainly film.

    In the film they still wanted the rock thing, but it was kind of like pseudo-rock. It wasn’t the real rock that we did on the Phil Spector dates or with Gary Puckett. For instance, I played on Gary Puckett’s stuff, and Harry Nilsson.

    You also played with Joe Cocker and Stevie Wonder.

    Yeah. “I Was Made to Love Her” – there’s a few of them I did with Stevie. A lot of that [Motown] stuff was cut on the West Coast, and people don’t know that. And then the Joe Cocker was “Feelin’ Alright.” I liked that – it was a fun record. And then Jerry Vale – a lot of pop stuff. Sam & Dave and Ike and Tina Turner – I played on their stuff a lot – and a lot of Ray Charles too, but that was like gospel-rock. That wasn’t really rock-rock.

    When did you become aware of other women playing rock guitar and bass?

    Well, not really until about the ’70s, when I started to see women play in rock groups live. You know, I’ve been out of the studios now – well, I do do occasional studio work – but I’ve been out in the public. Because when you’re in the studios, that’s the only life you know, and it’s like being locked up in jail or something. You don’t interact with the general public, so you don’t know what’s going on out there. You’re in there cutting all the hit records and they’re listening to you and everything, but you don’t grow any other way but in your music. See? Now, coming out, I realize the attitudes that women have to develop. But you know something? It’s really not that much different than when I got started, because I never thought of myself as woman. I thought of myself as a guitar player. Now I’m seeing women in groups, and it seems like they’ve cut out the notion, “Well, I’ve got to play like a man.” You know, that’s not it either. You either play or you don’t play. And that’s the attitude. And the ones that seem to come across the best seem to have that attitude.

    It’s like if somebody puts you down, you just gotta put the blinders on and keep going. Forget their trips – that’s their trip and that’s their hang-up. For women in rock nowadays, the ones who are successful are the ones who exploit their own talent and get it across with strength and with conviction. But the ones who are trying to put the men down or they’re trying to be cute with the boobs and that kind of stuff – you know, pretty soon they die out. But I’ve seen a lot of women players that I really like. In fact, the women that were in the group Heart – I like those women. They weren’t really technically fantastic players, but I like what they did onstage. And the new women’s groups coming up, I like the way that they put themselves across without being real cute and coy. In other words, they’re taking care of business without saying, “Hey, look at me! I’ve got the curves too.”

    Were any of your books oriented toward rock bassists?

    Yeah, a lot of it was. The first two books,  How To Play The Electric Bass  and Electric Bass Lines No. 1were the most rock-oriented. Now, ELECTRIC BASS LINES NO. 4 has got transcriptions that people like to practice with for some of the hits that I’ve played on with the Beach Boys and Ray Charles and others. The “Feelin’ Alright” line is in there. A lot of people like to practice with that stuff to get the feeling of it. I’ve written 11 books, and I’ve also got a six-and-a-half-hour video course too.

    In 1969 I started Gwyn Publishing on my kitchen table because everybody was bugging me with “How do you do this and how do you do that.” So I wrote my first book, and no one wanted to publish it because they said it was too hard and it wouldn’t ever sell. And it’s now sold hundreds of thousands. Anyway, it’s been out there a long time and it’s done really well. I put out the Joe Pass books too. I got Joe going again. I named the publishing company after my last baby – I’ve got a couple of girls and a boy – and the last child was Gwyn. I named it after her because I kind of think that she’s a miracle baby. I wasn’t supposed to have her, and I had her.

    In those years [in the mid 1970s], I kind of stopped doing studio work at the very peak. I couldn’t stand the coldness of it. It was pretty cold, pretty cutthroat, and I couldn’t stand it. And I knew it was cold, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to live a better life. But I kept coming back to it, and every time I kept coming back, I did more and more film work. The last couple of major record dates that I did were “Memories” [“The Way We Were”] by Barbra Streisand and I Heard That by Quincy Jones. And I haven’t played on any hit records since then, really. That was about 1976. I was married to a drummer, Spider Webb, and I was starting to get sick then – a little tired out, not eating right, and that kind of thing. And the shape of the bass was taking its toll. Sitting there so many hours in a twisted position to try to play. But anway, Spider and I had one of the first disco records out. Some of the licks, by the way, were copied by groups like Taste of Honey. And I like those gals. It’s like they get out there and they put it out, and that’s hard to do onstage.

    In 1974 I had to find out if I was as great a bass player as they said I was in the studios. They would flatter me all the time, and there I’d be sitting there playing dumb music, and I was wondering if I was good or not. So I had to step out and find out if I could play. And the only way to do that is to get out on the stage, so I went to play with Hampton Hawes, and I cut an album with him. I was starting to get back to jazz, getting back into the jazz grooves, and that’s where I met Spider and we started to play together on the disco record and that kind of thing. But it was fun to play some jazz there for a minute to find out if I can really play.

    But that’s a woman’s thing anyway, because she really doubts herself all the way. Women doubt themselves because of this identity thing that were supposed to back up the men. [Laughs.] And I even got into the philosophy, digging back research-wise. I’m finding out that before Christianity, women were worshipped. Things were a lot different before the Christians came along. I’ve got a book, When God Was a Woman. The children took our name, and we had the money, and all that stuff. So I got into that, because it does play a role in the identity thing.

    So anyway, I got into a lot of TV and film work – like you are hearing me right now on M.A.S.H., and I played on Cade’s County, Ironsides, Love American Style, McCloud, It Takes a Thief. You’re hearing me on Hawaii Five-O – they’re still running a few of those things. Brady Bunch, Hogan’s Heroes.

    What an impressive array.

    It’s a lot of work, a lot of work. The Bill Cosby Show too – that was me playing the theme on that.

    What are you up to now?

    Well, right now I’m getting settled up here in the northern California area. I have a place here and a place in Los Angeles too. I’m going to Los Angeles for occasional studio work. I’m doing seminars. I’m getting this video company going. I’m doing a little bit of select teaching, but I don’t have too much time. The video is a production company for the educational stuff, for bass and a lot of other instruments. It’s in the formative stages. I’m doing promotional campaigns for book sales in stores, because my books, I’m finding out, are the hottest educational books in the stores.

    Anything you’d care to add?

    I guess that’s about it. You know, I’m kind of a schizophrenic because I’ve been voted #6 electric bassist in Playboy’s Jazz Poll, but I consider myself a rock-funk bass player too. It’s kind of a funny thing, because when you’re able to do both like that and think the way that you do in both, you’re a schizo! [Laughs.]

    Thanks a million, Carol.

    Good. I hope that’s enough for you. Thanks a lot!

    Epilog

    When I contacted Carol through her website to ask permission to re-transcribe and publish our 30-year-old interview, she said yes and sent along this update: “I’m in the middle of moving back to the San Fernando Valley. Currently I still teach, do occasional recording dates and some film things too, and keep my hand in doing seminars and some jazz guitar concerts. Since my TMJ (from an accident in 1976) surgery in 1994, I’ve been able to resume my playing career. Though I’ll be 76 soon, I have not slowed down much. Being a non-drinker, non-smoker and non-druggie helps, as well as diet and exercising too. So that’s it in a nutshell. By the way, I have a very active Forum with thousands of fans worldwide who ask educational questions, and we talk about musical history and techniques too.” Here’s a link to Carol’s website and Forum: http://www.carolkaye.com . In addition, I highly recommend Thumbs Up, the 1999 live jazz CD featuring Carol Kaye on bass, Mitch Holder on guitar, and Ray Pizzi on sax and flute.

    Donations to help maintain this Archive are appreciated.

    © 2011 Jas Obrecht. All rights reserved. This interview may not be reposted or reprinted without the author’s permission.

     

    Be Sociable, Share!

      5 comments on “Carol Kaye: The First Lady of Rock Guitar and Bass

      1. Thank you Jas for the interview on Carole Kaye.

        I hope that ‘The Wrecking Crew’ documentary will be available on DVD soon.

        The Wrecking Crew Movie Website
        http://www.wreckingcrew.tv

      2. Mike S on said:

        Jas, another great interview! My friend gave me “Thumbs Up” almost 10 years ago, and while the guitar and sax playing were excellent, the bass playing really set me back. I would highly recommend it based on Carols playing alone. Carol found her way into everything (quite literally) and did so with a unique style. A great player who destroyed boundaries from the start, thank you Jas for posting this interview!

      3. Hideaway on said:

        Another inspiring interview !! Thank you Jas !!

      4. Dave Kyle on said:

        What a great Lady. (capitol “L”)

      5. Ralph Monk on said:

        I wonder with all her credits whether she ever made it into the “rock-n-roll hall” in Cleveland?

      Leave a Reply to Darren Cancel reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      *

      HTML tags are not allowed.