He is probably one of the most humblest musicians and quietest talents on earth but we caught up with Ronnie “Dawg” Robson, who is a professional session bass player from Toronto Canada, on what he has been up to lately.
For those who have never heard of him, Ronnie has a great bass resume in the classic rock, hard rock and metal world – his resume includes recording with current and/or ex members of; Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Hollywood Monsters, Megadeth, Testament, Quiet Riot, Blue Oyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, Prophecy, Ronnie James Dio, Platinum Blonde, King Diamond, Hollentor, Danko Jones, Goddo, Heaven and Hell, Fludd, Jethro Tull and the Michael Schenker Group.
AA: What do you love the most about being a session bassist?
RR: I have really appreciated working with so many great musicians, songwriters, and filmmakers – one thing one thing that I love about being a session bassist, I am somewhat of a homebody and having a home studio that I can work from is amazing. It’s my place of comfort so I am in a more relaxed atmosphere to create – I can take my time composing, building up my parts, and recording my tracks to ensure that my work is the best it can be for anyone I am recording with. For the majority, I always felt somewhat “rushed” in a professional studio environment, since time is money. I do however miss the live-off-the-floor feel with other musicians in the room but I get that feel when I am touring, with an audience. When I record, I like to do it on my time, since it’s forever, and I get to work with many great musicians, never leaving my house of course.
AA: What bass guitars do you use most for recording, what’s in your arsenal?
RR: I have six bass guitars in my studio rack but only rely on three for all of my recordings. My go-to bass is a Fender Aerodyne Jazz. I have left it stock since it really is a beautiful sounding bass, right from the factory. I ended up purchasing it after ten minutes of playing around with it, running through various amps in the store, then gave it to my guitar tech to set up – and he even loved it. I also use a Warwick Corvette five string bass that I use for most of my heavy rock, metal based recordings. It has active pickups, a great tone and an amazing feel. The third bass I record with is a Warwick Corvette fretless. Another great bass, it also has an amazing tone and is very fun to play. I have been messing around with the fretless more these days, and it seems to keep me on my toes.
And all of my basses are strung with D’Addario XL (medium nickel wound) strings. They are very bright and seem to last forever.
AA: Do you have any current endorsements?
RR: Not at the moment but I am in conversation with New York Bass Works in regards to a possible endorsement. They build beautiful basses and I have been eyeing the RS5-22 model for my next touring bass. I have been talking to a few bands in regards to touring in the future, and would like a new “signature bass”, to perform with as my main guitar. When the world opens back up, then we will discuss the further possibilities of an endorsement and creating a solid marketing partnership. I would love the opportunity to provide them with professional live images and film capture right away, and plan to be very busy touring to make this happen. They are a great company and cannot wait to work with them.
AA: Who has been your favorite musician or artist to record with?
RR: There have been a few that I have loved recording with; Vinny Appice has to be my favorite drummer to record with – his style and sound are second to none, and I always smile when I get drums tracks sent to me from Vinny. Another cool guy that I have worked with on a number of projects is Glen Drover, he is a badass guitar player, a nice guy, and a great songwriter as well. Steph Honde is another guy that I love to record with, great vocalist and songwriter, just an amazing talent all around.
AA: Word is out that you are going to be on a book among other pro bassists?
RR: Yes, and I’m very excited that I have been chosen to be part of this publication. The book is entitled; Titans of Bass, the tactics, habits and routines from over 140 of the worlds best bassists.
AA: I will be amongst some of the best bassists in the world including; Billy Sheehan, John Pattitucci, Geezer Butler, Nathan East, Snow Owl, Abraham Laboriel, Leland Sklar, Jack Casady, Stuart Hamm, Dave Ellefson, Verdine White, and Jeff Berlin, just to name a few. It is quite humbling actually and I am very honoured to be part of this book. I am hoping that I’m placed beside Geezer, that would be very nice. This publication should be out very soon.
AA: What is the best advice you can give to a young bass player?
RR: Play what you want (or feel), but listen to all types of music, and listen to Motown like it’s your hobby, lots of great playing there.. Learn your instrument, set yourself up to practice certain things and try composing as much as you can , learn music theory, jam with as many musicians as you can, network with as many musicians as you can, but most importantly; have fun with it and don’t take yourself too seriously. I have recorded with some of the best in the world and I still don’t take myself seriously.
AA: Would you consider doing more “live” music on social media with other musicians?
RR: It’s funny that you mention that since a friend of mine and I were talking last night about social media and how musicians are collaborating with other musicians that they do not usually work with, doing various original and/or cover songs, recording their parts and adding footage for various social media platforms. So, the answer to the question; I would really like to work with Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar/Grady fame and of course Danko Jones – two of my fellow Canadian musicians. It seems there are musicians you just feel connected to and these two guys, I feel connected. Think it would be cool to do something with Vivian Campbell as well, he’s always been one of my favorite guitar players. Boot up Pro Tools and roll the cameras, I’m in!
AA: What projects are you working on currently?
RR: Got tons going on these days and have been super busy lately working on various projects including producing other artists’ songs, my website is now up and running, and I’m producing a podcast entitled; “Rhythm Section Rockcast”, that will feature well known bassists and drummers from around the globe – lots of music history will be revisited.
RR: I have also been asked to be part of a kids music educational series, so I will be doing some video in the studio for that – we’ll be talking about my instrument of choice, the bass guitar, its place in the music dynamic and how it fits (most importantly), in a band.
AA: What are your plans once the world opens up, what’s in store for Ronnie Robson?
RR: I am definitely going to tour as much as I can, do more music based film projects – thinking about assembling some famous musicians from around the world to go on vacation, and to then perform live at one of Havana Cuba’s most historic clubs. Thinking it would make for a cool six part social media based documentary, travel and music.
RR: In the meantime, I have lots of upcoming recording sessions in the studio, also making plans to do more film and television production in the near future.
AA: How can musicians who want to collaborate get in touch with you?
RR: Anyone can get in touch with me through my website at www.RonnieRobson.com, and just hit the contact page.