Eddie Denise (Dion, Arlen Roth, John Hall)

Eddie Denise Portrait_opt.jpg Eddie Denise Portrait_opt.jpg

By Joe Gagliardo

When Lou Reed inducted Dion DiMucci into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 he closed by saying “after all, who could be hipper than Dion?”

Eddie Denise, “The Wanderer’s” bassist agrees!

Eddie Denise Shaffer Dion Hect_opt.jpg Eddie Denise Shaffer Dion Hect_opt.jpg

In the beginning: it is a time-honored, familiar story to countless bassists – and one that that profoundly changed Eddie Denise’s musical trajectory: the bass player in his band quit, and Eddie switched from guitar to our instrument!

Since then, Eddie has provided the harmonic and rhythmic foundation for a wide array of iconic performers, including the Shangri Las, Chiffons, Bobby Rydell, Eddie Holman, Ronnie Spector, and John Sebastian, among others.

Though Eddie is left-handed in “real life,” he plays the bass right-handed.

Bobby Rydell’s drummer and musical director also had a deep impact on Eddie’s career. Several years ago, he called Eddie to sub at the last minute to back Bobby Rydell. However, Denise missed out on the gig because he could not read charts. Rather than allow that incident defeat him, Eddie worked hard to learn to read and sharpen his skills, studying with Broadway bassist Paul Adamy whose stellar career includes a fourteen-year run as the bassist in Mamma Mia.

Recently Eddie once again had the chance to be part of the Rydell’s backing band. As fate would have it, the legendary Detroit rocker still employs the same drummer and music director, and Eddie took the opportunity to thank him for motivating him to improve his skills and further his career.

For the past ten years, Eddie has played bass in support of the legendary Dion DiMucci.

Having worked numerous shows with Dion, among the highlights for Eddie was playing The Tonight Show, Starring Jimmy Fallon.  In terms of the music, while there are plenty of hits, Dion was ahead of the curve, playing blues and folk music before it became fashionable!

Writer’s note: It has to be a thrill to play the cool major scale bass line leading into Abraham, Martin and John!  One surprise for Eddie was to learn that, notwithstanding The Wanderer’s pulsing music, the song hangs together because the bass only renders quarter notes!

“Abraham, Martin, and John” https://youtu.be/rwn8hIyiHvI

In addition to his gig with Dion, Eddie has supported guitarist Arlen Roth for the last nine years, including his Grammy nominated LPs All Tricked Out.

Eddie with Arlen: “In The Heart of This Town” https://youtu.be/0mzYcqlRAhg

Eddie with Arlen Roth Eddie with Arlen Roth

Eddie with Arlen Roth

Another Grammy nominated album Eddie helmed was The Journey Continues by the father and son acoustic duo Sundad. Eddie and his son, Jayson, have an acoustic duo named Set To Stun, which has released a self-titled album.

Eddie and Sundad “Out of Body” https://youtu.be/KgV3jPre-ic

As if that isn’t enough to keep busy, Eddie also plays bass and sings with The John Hall Band (listen to the bass on ”Dance With Me by Orleans” -it is killer!) and with Vincent Pastore’s The Gangster Squad.

“Dance With Me” (bassist Lance Hopper) https://youtu.be/op9ApJJyhD4

The John Hall Band The John Hall Band

The John Hall Band

Weapons of Choice: Eddie’s first bass was a semi-hollow body Red Mosrite.  He then moved to a Gibson EB1, akin to Felix Pappalardi, who, along with Paul McCartney, has been a major influence on his playing.

These days, Eddie’s go-to basses are a 1965 Fender Jazz with Roundwounds, and a Warmoth P Bass, with GHS Bright Flats.  Both basses have Lindy Fralin pickups wound at +5% for a little extra mid-range growl.

At clubs, his basses run through an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 and 2 DB 1×12 cabinets, and his concert rig is the Aguilar 751 head with two Aguilar DB410 cabs.

Check out Eddie’s playing with Dion:

“King of the New York Streets” Live at Westbury Music Fair https://youtu.be/wWks1N40igc

“Ride With You” Live Westlake NY, 2016 https://youtu.be/TD_kkiTFjEs