Jason Cornwell is a bassist known for his illustrious work with the Boston bands, 3 Parts Dead and Burning Heat (Ethan Brosh). His repertoire includes the use of chording, two hand tapping, a right hand “three finger picking” technique and controlled feedback.
He was recruited by Eric Martin, of the legendary band Mr. Big, as bassist for his side project, The Eric Martin Band and continues to work as a solo artist releasing CDs, touring with original artists and is currently endorsed by Brubaker Basses which brought him out to NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) in Los Angeles, California this past January.
Cornwell is also noted as a steady “true” bassist, fulfilling the traditional supportive role of the electric bass in the rock rhythm section.
Examiner sat down with Corwell to hear all about the many aspects of his career thus far.
Examiner: What made you want to get in to the music business?
Cornwell: “Growing up I always enjoyed music. My dad is a bass player which is obviously very inspiring to me. I kind of took on many of his influences from the 60’s and 70’s – Paul McCartney, James Jameson, John Entwistle, then moving on to more modern influences like Billy Sheehan, Stuart Hamm and Rudy Sarzo. Studying at Berklee College of Music and learning with Jazz Legend Bruce Gertz was just amazing.”
Examiner: Who are some of the famous musicians that you’ve opened for or played with?
Cornwell: “Let’s see, the list is pretty long and sometimes I forget all the fun I have had (LOL). First off, I’m a huge Billy Sheehan fan so given the opportunity to play with Eric Martin of Mr. Big on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise was pretty mind-blowing. Luckily, I already knew many of the Mr. Big songs and was so familiar with Billy’s Sheehan’s style. Then put in the mix John Nyman of Y&T on guitar, it was just incredible! Wonderful guys and great players! I just completed an East Coast tour with Eric Martin in the beginning of January – what a blast! I did double duty playing with good friend Scotty Dunbar who was on as the opener. Last year I toured with one of my bands, Burning Heat (Ethan Brosh, Adrian Araiza), opening for Yngwie Malmsteen and it was a remarkable time. Recently with my other band, 3 Parts Dead, I played the Whiskey A Go-Go in Hollywood opening for the band Kix on New Year’s Eve. There are also the shows where I opened for Alice Cooper-Heaven & Hell tour, LA Guns, George Lynch (Lynch Mob), Skid Row, Danger Danger, Bang Tango, Dangerous Toys, etc. – the list goes on.”
Examiner: Any road warrior stories?
Cornwell: “Well, there are many great ones, but not suitable for a general audience! There is one that stands out. I was signed to Universal Records early on with my old band Roadsteamer. The band was like a melding of Frank Zappa meets comedian Bobcat Goldthwait with great players. One night opening for Alice Cooper, we were playing a show at an outdoor arena and during the last song, the singer pushes one of the on stage dancers, just kidding around, and well, the dancer pushes back and catapults the singer, who is in mid jump, into the Marshalls stacks, knocking them ALL over. The crowd went wild thinking this was just part of the show. At the end of the day, it was like one of those things you could not have planned any better.”
Examiner: That was a true Rock & Roll story for sure! So, how many bands do you play with now?
Cornwell: “I currently play with 4 bands – Eric Martin Band, 3 Parts Dead, Burning Heat and Scotty Dunbar.”
Examiner: Any new recordings?
Cornwell: “Yes, I do have a new CD out with 3 Parts Dead. It was recently released on Demon Doll Records and one of the songs is going to be featured in the Soundtrack for the new movie “Hair I Go Again” (http://www.hairigoagain.com/). I also have a solo CD coming out in February that features many other talented players on it.
Examiner: You’re endorsed by Brubaker Basses which brought you to NAMM?
Cornwell: “Brubaker Basses!!! Love them! Kevin Brubaker supported me early on, sending me amazing instruments. I truly believe they are the only basses that I can get the tone out that I love. It’s like melding a 73 P Bass, a Classic Music Man Stingray and a little of the Yamaha Attitude Bass. The entire staff there – Kevin, Tom and Mike, are just the greatest!”
Examiner: You have a show coming up in Florida before the Monsters of Rock Cruise? Upcoming dates?
Cornwell: “Yes, I’m scheduled to play a show, with both 3 Parts Dead and Burning Heat, in Miami called the The Rockerz Gone Wild Pool Party II on March 27, 2014, right before heading off on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. The event features a phenomenal line-up including the bands London, Burning Rain, Trixter, etc. 3 Parts Dead played this pre-party last year and we got a huge response from it. The promoter, Adrienne Rose, books this event and really goes out of her way to celebrate music.”
This years Monsters of Rock cruise leaving from Miami is sold out but information on next years’ cruise is already up on the website: firstname.lastname@example.org