Andrew Gouché Godfather of Gospel Bass
New Artist, New Album, and 1st Time Performer at the
28th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival
By Patrick Harris
[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap]ndrew Gouché is known as the “Godfather of Gospel Bass.” As a world-renowned bassist, who has appeared on over 250 Gospel, R&B and Jazz albums, Gouché, a Grammy Award winning producer, musical director, and composer has played with a list of extraordinary musicians in his illustrious career in the music industry. Beginning with such Gospel legends as, the late Rev. James Cleveland, the Hawkins Family, Andrae Crouch, the Winans, including becoming Musical Director for BeBe and CeCe Winans. Andrew Gouché, then went on to a successful career in R & B music working along side Gladys Knight, Cheryl Lynn, Chaka Khan, Prince and many others. After 40 plus years of performing with others, Gouché has released his first solo project entitled “We Don’t Need No Bass.”
ULM: What is the evolutionary process from being a side musician, to Musical Director?
AG: When you’re in a situation and you inject ideas and the artist start to like your ideas and see that you have the ability to do that. I started putting bands together and they saw that I had a talent for administrating things, then they really liked my ideas and it was an evolution that way, it wasn’t like I had a set plan to do it. They saw the talent in me.
ULM: You mentioned that you stopped touring for 9 years, what was the reason for that?
AG: We play music because we love it, then one day somebody pays you, then you go oh wow you can get paid for doing something you love. At some point the focus shifts to making money and that happened to me. I found myself being on a gig that I hated because I needed the money. I said I didn’t start playing music to feel like this so I quit. I decided that didn’t want to tour anymore. At that time I was blessed to have a song on a record that sold 4 million copies. So that’s when I found out that there was a whole lot of money that you could never make just being a musician. Then I started doing my own shows around town, which is what I had never done before. The level of gratification from doing your own stuff is different. It’s good to make money and it’s a blessing, but there is no greater satisfaction than doing your own music.
ULM: The name of the new project is called “We Don’t Need No Bass”
AG: That comes from starting off in church back in the 70’s, in the Baptist Church, which is where my roots are. Back then I would go to the church to play and sometimes they would say, “We don’t need no bass” because the organ player can play bass on the pedals. It’s a tongue in cheek reference to my experience back then and the first song on the record is me talking about that experience.
ULM: How would you best describe the music on the project for those who haven’t heard it before?
AG: I would describe it as my musical life, which is Gospel, R & B, and jazz. There are two gospel songs on there including a very well known Rev. James Cleveland song which is a well-known so song called “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired,” which I actually recorded with James back in 1983. There is some R & B stuff. My main influence on bass when I was learning how to play was Robert Wilson from the Gap Band so I did a tribute to him on there which is “Early In The Morning” is on my record. It’s real funky, it leans more toward funk than jazz, but since it is instrumental, I had to call it jazz.
ULM: What’s next for you?
AG: My record came out June 9th on iTunes and the response that I’ve gotten has been really incredible. All these years of working with somebody else and now to be doing something on my own and to see how people are gravitating to it is really amazing. So what I’m trying to do is get out on tour and I want to be a touring artist. I understand that even though I’ve been in the business a long time, as a solo artist, I’m the new guy and I’m cool with that. I’m ready to do the grunt work and I want to get out there and work this record.
ULM: Talk to me about your thoughts about performing at the Long Beach Jazz Festival.
AG: This will be my 1st time ever even being there. I’ve done festivals around the world I’ve done Montreux, North Sea and the Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia, but this is my first time playing in Long Beach at the 28th Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival so its almost like be like my first one at home because I’m from LA so it’s going to be really cool.