John Stirratt became friends with Jeff Tweedy when his band, The Hilltops, was opening shows for Jeff’s legendary band, Uncle Tupelo. John ultimately joined Uncle Tupelo for its last album, Anodyne, and then Wilco.
Roughly twenty-six years later, John is the only original member of Wilco, other than Jeff–which says a lot about his great bass playing–inspired by Paul McCartney, David Hood (Muscle Shoals Sound Studio), Tommy Cogbill (American Sound Studio) and Joe Osborn (The Wrecking Crew).
John is a singer and songwriter, and that experience has helped define his bass playing, which is tightly in the pocket, with melodic interjections answering phrases, when it fits.
His go to on-stage basses are a 1970 Fender Precision, 1965 Fender Jazz, and an early-60’s Hofner Club Bass. In the studio, he adds an early Gibson Les Paul signature bass, and a 1963 Guild Starfire bass, which can be seen and heard in Wilco’s latest video, “Everyone Hides.”
John’s melodic playing is also evident in Wilco’s “Shot in the Arm” and “Handshake Drugs.” John also has a Joe Osborn model Lakland, that once belonged to Joe Osborn.
In addition to his work with Wilco, John has released 5 LPs with the Autumn Defense, where he and Wilco bandmate, Pat Sansone share the bulk of singing and songwriting duties. John Pirucello – of Lakland Basses and Hansen Guitars- is also involved in the project.
One of the highlights of a Candy Golde live show was hearing John’s spot-on vocal and driving bass playing on The Who’s “Armenia City in the Sky,” which he reprised on Bun E. Carlos’ CD, Greetings From Bunezuela!