Here we are for another edition of the Loud Fast Gear Report. If you’re just checking in, last month I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Alexander Korostinsky in his apartment to talk about all of his cool things. We talked endlessly about the gear he has and what he’s done with it. Alex told me many stories about his playing history, gigs and how it’s gotten him to where he’s at now.

This is Part Two of the interview where Alex fills me in on his influences, music background and his favorite gig stories.


What are you influences?

Bass inspirations, I kind of have to stick with my main guys which would be James Jamerson, from Motown, Pino Palladino, who’s basically James Jamerson reincarnated. He’s on almost everything, Don Henley, John Mayer, D’Angelo, which is how I got into him. Thundercat’s cool. I like Thundercat. He’s not my favorite bass player ever but he’s an honorable mention. Joe Dart though from Vulfpeck has been a breathe of fresh air in the bass world. I’m really happy to have this guy be alive and paving the way for awesome bass style, especially in the funk genre. Also I’m super into Larry Graham from Sly and the Family Stone. Even as a singer he’s an inspiration. That dude is all around a bad ass. He’s definitely more of a slap guy but what he innovated on Sly and The Family Stone and funk is invaluable to music history. How everyone plays the bass now has so much to do with Larry Graham and still at the same time Bootsy Collins. The classic bass lines that were being invented at the time are so foundational to what I do now that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without those guys. James Jamerson, Pino Palladino, Larry Gram, Bootsy Collins, Joe Dart. I like Jaco but like I’m not about to throw him on everyday. Which I know a lot of bass players will be like. “how dare you?”. But I’m not just into Jaco stylistically, I’m more into groove bass playing.

So that’s my bass inspirations. In general, I love bands. I love funk bands. Sly and The Family Stone are one of my favorite bands. I love James Brown when he found funk. It’s undeniably good music. I love Tower of Power, Rocco Prestia, I should’ve mentioned him. Ground breaking music. Yeah man, I love all music as long as it’s honest.

What have you been listening to lately?

Eighty percent of the time over the last year and a half I’ve been listening to Beethoven. And Johann Strauss. There came a point in my life where I needed something else. I needed something. Something different. I’d been listening to all sorts of rock, soul, world music, all sorts of shit.  It was like, “What have I always been avoiding in life?”. Now it’s almost a part of my identity. It’s always in my car, on CD. I have a pretty awesome classical vinyl collection. I have a copy of Beethoven’s 9th on vinyl in Mono. Which when I read the reviews it’s supposed to be one of the best recordings done by a German orchestra, conducted by the guy and it’s been amazing. So I’m really really into classical music. I’m really really also into exotica music. So Les Baxter, Esquivel, Yma Sumac, all of the dudes. I think is the two son’s or three son’s. Amazing exotica. Some of the most interesting music you can listen to.  But I’ll get down on anything, man. Anything good, anything honest. Anything cutting edge for it’s time.

What’s the best gig story you have?

One notable one comes to mind. It’s something not a lot of people ever heard of. A while ago there was this gospel singer. Still a relatively youthful gentlemen. Not an old guy by any means. His name was Tonex. Tonex was one of the most virtuostic, technical gospel, or singers, in general. He was known for being on another planet with his singing abilities. He had one of the most insane ranges ever. His singing range was so crazy low to so crazy high. He was like shredding. If he was a guitarist, he would be like the most amazing shredder you have ever seen. I’m not the type of guy to be obsessed with people who only shred, you know what I mean? This dude just shredded. At some point a few years ago, maybe seven years ago, he came out as being openly gay and he pretty much got the door slammed on him by Baptist churches and got thrown out of the Gospel scene. He was playing at the gospel equivalent of the Grammy’s. Anyways, dude’s amazing and one day he’s gone. Tonex is gone. So fast forward to a few years ago to 2011 or 2012 and The Sextones are playing in Venice Beach. We are opening for an artist called B. Slade. And we didn’t know who he was. The image of this dude is like tux and shades, looking super suave and really cool. We thought we were playing with like an L.A. R&B guy. And Mark and I are all about Tonex at this point thanks to Davey Squelch. We show up and he kind of has his posse and we do our set in front of our folks. We played at this place called Whits End. It was a listening room. It’s all seated, acoustically treated, really nice. People pay money come down and sit and intently watch. You go and play your ass of and everyone is sitting and sipping cocktails, like laser focused on you, which is totally surreal. We play our set and this dude sits down on a stool and has an acoustic guitar player, a drummer and maybe a bass player. And we’re like “oh it’s an evening with B. Slade.”. We’re just hanging out after the show, socializing with people and the dude starts and everyone just shuts the fuck up. We’re like “oh my god! Who the fuck is this guy?”. He had everyone speechless, jaw dropping, amazing singer, like amazing songs. He had like Frank Ocean, Neo Soul type of shit. It was so awesome. Mark is googling who we’re playing with and it’s fucking Tonex. I’m like “Oh fuck.” The first thing we did was call Davey and told him we were playing with Tonex. It was one of the first super cool moments playing a show, finding out you’re playing a show with someone you admired and totally respect, surreal.

At The Saint you told me you had a really fucking crazy story about a Comma Coffee show.

Let’s talk about it. I’ll make this fast. Okay, well 2008? 2009? I think it might’ve been 2009.

I think it might’ve been 2007 dude. 

Shit, you’re right dude. This was the Summer of 2007. I was a freshman at UNR and I was taking a music class. It’s how I met Brian Danes. We became best friends in this music class. He was totally all hippied out, long hair. Getting me higher than anyone I’ve ever known. Great conversation stuff. One day this show is booked for Groove Box Replica at Comma Coffee on Carson Street. I was the drummer for Groove Box at the time. I was hanging out with Brian Danes in the afternoon at his house by Record Street Bibo. I’m hanging out with him and he gets this super crazy weed called Sour Diesel and it’s new to me. It’s a beautiful day and his house is gorgeous, right out of 1969 or something like that. Such a good vibe being there. Very airy, light is cascading in. Great feeling. I took a giant bong rip of Sour Diesel for the first time in my life. I started coughing and got way too ripped. I got so high I legitimately had a psychedelic freak out. I was tripping balls on this weed. I’m very sensitive to it, so it was insanely over board for me. We are sitting this couch and Brian and I are like staring at each other. At one point I transported into the past and I was my dad in the 70’s. I’m like reliving my Dad’s history right now. My dad had passed away a year before. I was coping with it in very interesting ways. I didn’t really know what to do, I was 18. At this point I’m just freaking out. I’m like, “I’m my Dad! That’s who I am. I’m my father when he was my age in this moment!”. And I’m saying this out loud to Brian. At some point something clicks and I’m like “oh my god. I’m too afraid to look at my phone.” because I didn’t want to deal with that. I just remembered I had a show with Groove Box in Carson and I couldn’t even drive. Brian is a lot older and can handle stuff like that better than I can so he did the driving. We got my drums in and the back and we had this amazing car ride to Carson City where he became almost my spiritual adviser and the time when we were driving through Washoe Valley I was in sanely high, I’ll never be that high again. I’d have to do a lot of LSD to get that high again. I was so high that every shape was turning into a polygon. I didn’t see complex edges anymore, I just saw round and straight, Everything was turning into some sort of pan tone color of what it really was. It was like standard colors all over the place, everything’s a polygon. I was like “Brian, I need help right now.” And Brian guided me through so much internal anguish I had been experiencing over the last year. Like coming of age stuff. It was the moment that Brian and I became best friends. He totally found my path for me that by the time we got to Carson City, I still tripping balls and we get to the gig and I’m sort of grounded. Everything is still a polygon though. Classic stoner story. We get to the show and we pull into the back. Davey and Johnny are there and we were kind of late. The last thing I remember I was setting up my drum set on the stage they had there and sitting on the drums before we began, getting everything set up. It’s all of these pre-teen girls, scenster shit was way in. I remember being absolutely disgusted with what girls do to get noticed by guys and what guys do to get noticed by girls, like this whole primal concept of attraction was making me sick to my stomach. It was so gross to me. Last thing I remember was, “One, two, Three, Four!” and I remember ending the show with our last hit. That emotion being put into and that expression getting out was all I needed. It was like completion. I purged all that by playing in a psychedelic rock band with my best friends. I still needed Brian to drive me back.

You can catch Alex playing in The Sextones in Santa Cruz at Moe’s Ally on May 25th.