Kenny Passarelli

Tributes to Gus from friends and colleagues

Kenny Passarelli

Bassist

Gus was like a pop star. He was like a god. He was a big-time cat and he looked the part.

We did the Rock Of The Westies record in Caribou. We rehearsed for five days and then we cut the tracks live…and they were spectacular. I was playing fretless bass and I’ll never forget: we finished the last track and I walked out of the studio and Gus came up to me and said, “You’re going to have to overdub all your bass parts. Do you have other basses?” I had to go through [engineer] Jim Guercio’s collection of basses to find one that he could get a sound on. I remember I just about did the entire record using this bass in the studio, overdubbing all the parts the way he was used to doing with Dee. I was livid, but I did what he said and I’ll be damned — when he went off and mixed it and brought it back… I had to go, “Wow.” His method proved to be perfect. How could you beat those hit records? How could you beat the sound of what he got?

I mean, Yell Help is unbelievable. I hit it New Orleans style and the bass sounds incredible. I think Street Kids and Feed Me were the only two original (fretless) bass parts that he kept on the record. But I have to say, every single track is a killer. The bass sounds unbelievable. So, we got off on the wrong foot, but we ended up on the right foot. I’m very proud that those records really stand out from a sonic level.

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