This is the 2nd part of a 3 part interview with My Ruin bassist Chris Lisee.
Morley: You’ve had a chance to get some of the new material in front of an audience. How was it received?
Chris: I know how I feel when I go see a band and they play songs I've never heard before... it's kinda like a swift kick in the earhole. I think the people that have been to the shows recently and heard the new songs live were really receptive. There have been some very positive comments, so far.
Morley: How did you react to the news of Tairrie’s accident? After you knew she was alive and going to be (relatively) OK, were you afraid the band might be over?
Chris: For some reason I couldn't sleep, and was awake to hear my cell phone ring which normally I would sleep through. It was around 2:30am and Mick was calling to tell me what happened. I think he had just returned home from the hospital after seeing Tairrie. I was shocked and at that point he really didn't know anything about what exactly had happened, other than that it was bad. My mind started racing toward every possible outcome. I'll admit that the thought of the band being over did cross my mind, along with about 100 other scenarios, but my only real concern was that Tairrie was okay and I stayed up for the rest of the night thinking about Miss B. Once Mick and I got to the hospital the next morning and I saw her for myself, I knew there was no way she wasn't eventually going to get back out there. I'm just amazed at how quickly and intensely she's been able to get back to it.
Morley: You seem to get on particularly well with Miss B. What is it about your chemistry that seems to work so well?
Chris: Mutual respect. I know we understand each other better than most people understand either of us as individuals. We communicate extremely well with each other. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't. I know she believes in what she's doing and I've been a big supporter of that since the first time I saw her in My Ruin. I get it, so it's easy for me to want to contribute. I don't recommend it for everyone; being in a band, especially this one is a hell of a drug.
Morley: The band has been through a number of drummers since you’ve joined. Considering you’re the other part of the handshake that is a rhythm section, how tough is it on you to lock it down with a new drummer each time? Chris: I'm a pro, dude. I adapt and survive. A "number of drummers" is really only a few if you really break it down - no more than most other bands have had to deal with. You know how drummers are, right? It's probably been harder for me dealing with their personalities than locking in with them as players *wink*.
Morley: It’s quite apparent from your MySpace pages that My Ruin has a rabid following in the UK and parts of Europe. Are the shows there more over the top than American ones, in terms of audience feedback?
Chris: Every show is a new experience. There have been equally crazy shows in both the US and the UK. I look forward to playing live and connecting with people each time we're onstage. Usually as long as there's at least one person that I make eye contact with I'm going to have a good time and I hope that person does, too. Whatever emotion we get from the audience we reflect back to them 1000 times over, positive or negative.
Morley: Backing up a bit, how did you first come to join My Ruin and what were you doing prior to that?
Chris: Back in '88 I was bagging groceries and gathering shopping carts in the snow, fast forward through 10 years of me working in a factory and then moving to L.A. in early '99. I think Mick and I actually met shortly after that, just after he had joined My Ruin. I met AJ from Soil while he was still in Diesel Machine and started playing with him in a band called One%Soul around 2002. We did that for about 2 years until he got the gig w/ Soil. Following me so far, kids? Anyway, it's early 2005, Mick and Tairrie were finishing up ‘The Brutal Language’ and my name came up during a conversation they had with Shaun Glass (Soil) while they, for some odd reason, were looking for a new rhythm section. I spoke to Tairrie, she told Mick about me, I think we each said something to the effect of "I know that dude" and the rest is hysteria.
Morley: When did you first start playing bass and who were some of your earlier influences?
Chris: I started playing bass kinda late, actually. I started playing guitar when I was 13. I was always in bands but didn't really pick up a bass until around 2000, after I had moved to L.A. and realized that everyone wanted to be the "hotshot lead guitarist" (*cough* Mick Murphy *cough*). I sucked at leads, so I had always focused more on the songwriting and rhythm playing, which made the switch to bass very natural for me. As far as early influences in general, these guys/bands stand out the most, in chronological order: Ace Frehley, Randy Rhoads, Iron Maiden, Metallica, George Lynch, Pantera, Page Hamilton/Helmet, and Black Sabbath (I know, but I honestly didn't get into Sabbath until much later than I should have).
Morley: What’s your equipment set up and has it varied much over the years?
Chris: I'll answer this from the point I started playing bass... I've pretty much only played Fender Jazz and Music Man Stingray basses through Ampeg amps. I've used Marshall and Laney amps in England, and both are great companies, but for my hard earned cash my preference is Ampeg. Lately, I've only been playing the Fenders through an Ampeg SVT and (2x) 6x10 Classic cabs, with an MXR bass overdrive for some bite. I keep my rig fairly basic and I don't have any secrets. I was hesitant to mention the companies because I'm not sure they need any of my free publicity, but I'll be cool and hope they have my back when I need them.
Stay tuned for the final installment of this interview with Chris in a couple of days. If you missed it, click here to read the first part of the interview.