Ace of bass

Josh Lippi

Photo By Ali Hosseini

A short time ago, SN&R featured a music article on Gerald Pease, the 38-year-old singer-guitarist for the band ¡Búcho!. The following weekend they played at Java Jukebox and Capitol Garage in Sacramento. Here we interview one of the three young members who, together with Pease, make up the band, a snap-shot of life in the musical fast-lane of a teenager.

Josh Lippi may just be the envy of every high-school senior in his class. While his fellow students are hunched over physics text books and furrowing their brows over trigonometry equations, he’s out in bars and nightclubs, playing bass in paying gigs with his band, ¡Búcho!.

Since its genesis three years ago, ¡Bucho! has earned its stripes on the local circuit, with a unique sound that mixes jazz and a South American sensibility, among other influences. “I love music that combines different genres,” Lippi enthuses.

Of course, Lippi and his counterparts (lead singer Gerald Pease, drummer Derek Taylor, and trumpeters Anthony Coleman and Leon Moore) aren’t bona fide rock gods just yet. “No girls have thrown their underwear onstage yet,” he says, laughing.

For now, though, Lippi is content playing with friends who appreciate his talents, in an environment where everyone has a measure of involvement. “We’re truly a band. Everyone puts in their own input; everyone has a say in what happens; everyone sort of makes each other better; and we, like, all kind of learn from each other.”

When did you first get into music?

I started playing guitar at around twelve, when I was going into middle school. I always was a fan of music, always loved music. When I joined ¡Búcho!, about three years ago, I started playing bass. It was really encouraged by my family. They totally supported all our shows … all the money we’ve had to put into CDs, T-shirts and merchandise stuff, and playing and practicing.

How did you get involved with ¡Búcho!?

¡Búcho! was formed by Gerald Pease, the singer-guitar player. He had put together a project of collected music that he had written and recorded, playing all the instruments, and he wanted a group to get going so we could play live gigs. I was introduced through the drummer who has been my best friend for about six years. Derek and I had been playing in bands all through middle school … so when he joined, he kinda introduced me, and that’s why I picked up the bass.

Is the bass your favorite instrument?

Bass is one of my favorite instruments. I love playing the bass, and I love the structure and sounds I can get out of the bass, but I’m a guitar player at heart.

Is this something you want to keep doing?

Playing in a band is something I’d definitely do for a career. Music in general for me is more than a serious hobby. It’s what I’m going to study in college. It’s what I will be doing for the rest of my life, regardless of what area, whether I’m performing or composing or producing or teaching, I’m going to be doing music stuff.

What other local bands are you impressed by?

I like the hip-hop band Capital Conspiracy a lot. We play a few shows with them. They’re great guys.

Have you guys ever bombed on stage?

We’ve had our share of bad shows. Not necessarily bad shows, but the shows where, like, there’s five people in the audience and four of them are our parents, and one of them is the drunk guy at the bar who doesn’t care. We had a nightmare gig where, I think, a couple of guitar strings broke, and my bass had [blown] up all on the same night. But now it’s great to have shows where we’re packing houses, we’re selling out venues and everything’s sounding great—we’re starting to come into our own.

Do you ever get recognized?

Only by, like, girls from Sutter Middle School, or people who recognize the shirt. Usually people recognize the name ‘cuz we wear the shirts and the sweatshirts all over the place. … Or I’ll get recognized in, like, Togo’s or a sandwich shop or something.

Any record contracts in the foreseeable future?

So far everything we’ve done has been on our own, with recording and CDs, and production and all merchandise. … We like doing it on our own because we get to say what we do and it’s fun to have that kind of control. We’ll see what happens in the future. All the success we’ve had with recording is due in part to the work of Alan Parker and E.M.E. Studios.

Do you enjoy playing in front of people?

I love playing in front of people. It’s probably the thing that I love best about playing in this band is when we get to play shows, and especially when we have a really responsive crowd that enjoys our music. It’s a really great feeling to look into the crowd and see people who you have no idea who they are singing the words to the songs that you helped make.