interview with Jamiroquai bassist Paul Turner

  PAUL TURNER - new bassist of Jamiroquai

Paul was born in Sunderland, grew up in the quiet Isle Of Man and since leaving in 1987 has made as much noise as possible!
He cut his teeth with soul singers like Ruby Turner and Edwin Starr helping him to groove into the world of rock n roll, funk n soul.
His released recording credits include Tina Turner, George Michael, Tom Jones, and Kylie Minogue.
As well as years of touring with covers/revue bands, unsuccessful original bands and very successful pop bands, his live credits also include the likes of Lamont Dozier, Mica Paris, Omar, Down To The Bone, Annie Lennox and now Jamiroquai.
He loves playing everything from funk to punk, but sadly still supports Sunderland Football Club!


We are proud to present the next interview with one of the funksters from Jamiroquai.
As you know, this time, as a member of Jamirotalk you had the opportunity to suggest your own questions for the interview. Due to the huge response and amount of submitted questions we were unable to ask Paul all of them but we hope that you will enjoy the interview whether your suggestions made the final cut or not!


Jamiroquai bassist Paul Turner on stage
Paul on stage with Jamiroquai


  • Born in Sunderland, 11 March 19xx ;-)

  • Worked in his parents hotel before being full time musician
  • Paul's top ten of jamiroquai songs:
    (No order and there’s others I’d like to include but let’s say..:)
    Canned Heat, Too Young To Die, Space Cowboy, Virtual Insanity, Butterfly
    Just Another Story, Manifest Destiny, Stillness In Time, Starchild, Light Years
  • Recently running on Paul's iPod:
    For funk Don Blackman, Best Of Pleasure, for chill Pat Metheny (Travels & We Live Here)& Blue Nile. Also enjoying new Nikka Costa album and Herbie Hancock (Flood)   Hi Paul, thanks a lot for taking the time to tell us something about you, although we know that you're busy with touring right now!
Paul:   Hi everyone at Jamirotalk, thank you for the questions and for your interest.
Here goes…
On becoming a musician - Influences   When and how did you start playing the bass? Why did you choose the bass as your main instrument to play & can you play any others?
Paul:   I started playing at 14. At the time I lived on the Isle Of Man, between UK and Ireland. My friend had just started playing guitar and we knew a drummer…….the old story!
We were music mad and wanted to have a band.
I was shown basic technique and some scales by an older local guitar hero, with whom I formed my first band doing rock and blues. I did my first proper public gig when I was 15.
At that time the Isle Of Man had a busy tourist trade and so soon I joined more bands and became busy on the local pub, nightclub and hotel circuits. By then I was doing more soul and funk type stuff.
I was mainly playing covers or original tunes influenced by Chic, Level 42, Paul Young and 80s chart stuff.   Which bass players (or musical artists in general) have influenced you throughout your career to date?
Paul:   My first bass heroes were Andy Fraser and Jack Bruce (of Free and Cream) and other favourite bands included Hendrix and Zeppelin. I wanted to be a hippy at school and loved the whole psycadellic rock bands from the late 60s early 70s.
Later I was particularly influenced by Bernard Edwards (with Chic, Sister Sledge etc), Pino, Jaco and Marcus. Then I discovered other studio greats like Anthony Jackson, Will Lee, Abe Laborial
I love lots of players, most of those I listen to are players from 60s & 70s, such as James Jamerson, Willy Weeks, Nathan Watts, Paul Jackson, Byron Miller, Mark Adams, Nathaniel Philips and lots more.   Do you write your own music?
Paul:   I’ve been involved in many song writing bands where I have had input and been part of the songwriting process and also do some “writing” with dance producers. But haven’t really focused on my own music
On becoming a member of JAMIROQUAI   Did you follow Jamiroquai before you joined the group?
Paul:   Yes, I had the first three albums and had seen the band a few times. I had been in bands with Adrian Ravel and Simon Carter who had both been in earlier line ups.
My wife had Synkronized and AFO too, so although I had never sat and played the songs I’ve always listened to them and knew them.   How were the auditions for the bassist position in Jamiroquai, & what were your feelings when you were told that you’d been successful? What do you feel helped you be chosen over the other applicants?
Paul:   I was called to audition along with about 10 other guys.
We played a couple of old tunes and also had a quick listen to Starchild and played that.
The short (20 min) sessions were recorded and even though I felt I was jamming it a little, they said they liked the way everything felt.
I was asked to go back (as was another guy) for a longer play.
Unfortunately I couldn't make the second call as I was committed to a gig with Annie Lennox for Nelson Mandella in S. Africa.
It didn't work out with the other guy and I was asked to go back to Jay's when I got back to the UK.
Rob had said to listen to every album as Jay likes to call from the entire back catalogue rather than a set. We jammed through loads of tunes, some old ones and some new stuff that I hadn't heard, as well as some spontaneous grooves.
To say why they chose me could sound boastful or disrespectful to others, so I’d rather not speculate. All I will say is I’m very happy they did!   How long did it take for you to learn the songs: both the current & the older ones? Which have been the hardest & also the easiest songs to learn?
Paul:   Fortunately years of gigs and sessions has helped me become efficient at learning songs. Be it picking up just the bones and developing ideas or getting a close vibe to an original.   A number of bassists played on Dynamite, including names like Derrick McIntyre and Randy Hope-Taylor. Was it hard trying to follow in their footsteps for live performances or did you just stick to your own style of playing & approach to the music?
Paul:   Well I’ve known Randy for a long time and have always enjoyed and admired his playing and enjoy the other players too.
Following on from the previous question .….. I think it’s good to feel confident in your own style but be aware of the original performance. Especially when there’s a record to promote. Quite often new songs are played closer to recorded versions than older material but all artistes and bands are different. Jay likes there to be development in the songs.
I basically always follow rule number one, make it feel good. Fills etc should be how you feel them yourself unless they’re a hook that’s necessary for a particular arrangement.   What are your opinions on the past bass players of the band (Stuart Zender, Nick Fyffe) & their style and performance?
Paul:   Both Stuart and Nick sound great on the relevant albums.
I can hear what music and players have influenced both and we share many of those influences.
I've met both guys a couple of times in the past and found them both cool and friendly.
On touring with JAMIROQUAI   How has your work with previous artists been compared to working with Jamiroquai?
Paul:   I’ve enjoyed many different experiences with some fantastic artistes.
I love music and genuinely enjoy playing an emotional ballad as well as a “funk groove”. I am in no way a musical snob and enjoy and draw from lots of different genres.
Jamiroquai is a GREAT band with infectious energy and vibe, it’s a band I had always enjoyed as a punter and fancied as a player.   So far on tour, what performance has really stood out for you individually & also as a group?
Paul:   Lot’s of them, I’m lovin’ it.   What's your favourite Jamiroquai song to perform live?
Paul:   Mmmmmm well I love loads but a favourite that comes to mind is Butterfly.   Is there a Jamiroquai song which the band doesn’t play live but you would love to perform?

Lots, but I’m sure we’ll keep introducing different songs all the time so who knows. We rehearsed If I Like It I Do It and recently Stillness In Time and they sounded great!  
How much involvement do you have in arranging what songs are played on tour? How does this all work with rehearsals etc?
Paul:   Jay wants to hear embellishment and input to the songs, so we’ll all suggest ideas. Obviously the final decision on something being used is his.
He likes to sing ideas, especially riffs and bass lines and then develop them with the band.
That continues on the road as most of the songs are in a constant state of change.   What kind of sensations do you feel when performing in front of so many people?
Paul:   Did I do my fly up?   How do you cope with “life on the road”? How does travelling, seeing new sights & meeting new people compare with home comforts?
Paul:   Travelling and seeing the world in comfort is the perk of touring, I’ve always enjoyed that.
The down side is being away from my wife and baby. We cope by talking and video conferencing every day and by them coming out on sections of the tour.
Future plans   Are you going to become involved in the song writing on future Jamiroquai albums?
Paul:   Hope so!
On life   If you could spend one day any way you wanted, what would you do?
Paul:   As I love playing music, an ideal day would include a great gig in a beautiful place. It would also HAVE to include some fun with my family too.   What is your life philosophy or motto?
Paul:   I don’t have a motto but I like to be happy and hate to see people unhappy. Be open minded, respectful and love life.
About Playing Bass, Technical “Stuff” and Equipment   What is your bass rig like?
Paul:   My amp set up is an Aguilar DB750 and 4x12 cab.
It's fat and warm but responsive too, so it’s perfect for this gig.
It's also simple and quite old school in lay out.   Do you have preference between 4 or 5 string bass’?

I do think 4s usually sound better. The E on a 5 doesn’t sound as good. Period. However I like playing 5 and enjoy having the option of the extra range of low notes without detuning.  
What equipment and or pedals do you use on stage?
Paul:   My gig pedals include a 70s Mutron, 70s Bass Balls, EH Micro Synth, Boss Octave, Bass Flanger, MXR Driver and Auto Q.   Speaking about your “gear”: amps, effects and pick ups, do you tend to use more old school style or modern ones?
Paul:   I prefer vintage stuff.   Which is the most exclusive vintage bass in your collection?
Paul:   My beautiful 1966 White Jazz Bass.   Can you say what bass and effects you use when you play "Butterfly"?
What bass do you use for tracks with slapping like "Mr Moon"?

Butterfly: I usually use my MusicMan Stingray and use the Octave.

Mr Moon: I use a Jazz (either my '66 or '77 Fender Jazz).  

Thanks for the interview, Paul!

Have a great time in USA! :-)

Paul:   Thanks everyone, I hope you find my answers interesting.
To those of you I’ve met after gigs thank you for the kind words and support.
Wow I made it to the end!!!!!




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Paul Turner, Jamiroquai