Originally Published on Jun 23, 2016
String Theory is a web series from Ernie Ball that explores the sonic origins of some of music's most innovative players. In this episode Ernie Bal artist and punk icon Mike Herrer of MxP dropped by for to explore what makes him tick - from laying down bass tracks on his custom Music Man StingRay to crafting songs on his acoustic guitar using Ernie Ball Everlast strings.
Transcript of the video - Mike Herrera String Theory
Music to me is obviously everything I've been doing my whole adult life. It's in everything. It's always there. It's something that we kinda get used to and we take for granted in a lot of ways but when it's not there, you notice.
I started hanging out with this kid and he was listening to the Ramones and Social Distortion. I didn't play an instrument but I wanted to be part of this and then I met a local band. I would watch them practice and they sound so amazing like Bad Religion ya know just really fast, aggressive music. It said a lot of the things I was feeling.
Seeing it live for the first time not in an arena, not in a huge rock club or theater. But in a basement where it's just me and this other dude watching this band play. That just started it all for me.
I was listening to the Police. Sting really I thought it was interesting how he sang and played. And they (The Police) could make all this noise as a three piece. And that made me go, "Bass guitar, that's my instrument".
I put my first bass, Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray on layaway. I got that bass and right along with it I got that green pack. Regular Slinkies. 105 to 50 guage and I never changed. Literally never changed.
Now days when I play bass it's the most fun I have recording. This is the free fall of my day. It's like when you get up to the top of the roller coaster and whoooooo. It's a challenge sometimes to come up with a riff and then actually nail it and then keep nailing it. I love that part of writing bass lines with the chord structures.
A lot of times I write songs and it's just a chord structure, a vocal melody and then I'll add the bass later. The cool thing is as a bass player and the writer, I can continue to add a lot of texture a lot of depth to the song. The bass line for me is almost like what you would use an overdub riff part. As a bass player I can get in there and really play with things and do harmonies. And then sometimes you just hit the root note and call it a day.
When I'm writing songs I pick up a guitar. I instinctually just go with an acoustic guitar. So when I'm in the studio up in Bremerton, Washington where I live, it's cool because I'm not just doing my own stuff. Artists come in and they're making a record an EP or a couple of songs, a lot of time I get the chance to sit in and play bass for them. It really gets me out there not just doing straight punk stuff. Not just doing rock.I do folk and country and it's the best. Now that we have modern technology and everyone can throw ideas back and forth across space and time. It's really expanded my horizons as far as the types of sounds and bass lines to do.
My friends know when I'm busy. When I'm not posting anything online for days they know I'm probably playing music. When you can have your head down into a project that you care so much about that you don't wanna stop. You don't wanna look at your phone. That's what keeps me going. A week in the studio where you're just going! That's what I love. It could be something that never even sees the light of day. That's not my issue. It's just about doing exciting, fun things. -Mike Herrera
Thank you to the Ernie Ball family for the many many years of love and support. I'm proud to play Ernie Ball Musicman Stingrays.
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