Friday, March 31, 2017

Grow Up Jeff Berlin and Shut Up and Play Your Bass

Image result for jeff berlin
Jeff Berlin is Fat Guy on the Right

Jeff Berlin was a bassist, teacher and musician but now he's a big fucking crybaby. Victor Wooten is a bassist, musician, innovator, artist and one of the most respected musicians on the planet. Jeff likes running his mouth to make up for the fact that he can't hold a candle to guys like Victor and the slew of young bass players who are pushing the musical envelope and expanding the function and possibilities of the bass.

There are a lot of things that make Victor a great bass player beyond his technical gifts. I think most of it is the fact that Victor sees music as an art and not a competitive sport. The music inside Victor is liberating, soulful, important, inspiring, adventurous, joyful, considerate, loving, thoughtful, generous. And if Victor could only play whole notes his playing and music would still be liberating, soulful, important, inspiring, adventurous, joyful, considerate, loving, thoughtful, generous.

I play bass guitar and from a chops point of view I have always played catch-up with other musicians.  My music theory chops are also nothing special but I figure that since there are only 12 notes in Western music I really don't need the chord scales as a crutch for what note to play and when to play them like Jeff Berlin does. I guess I feel that way because I don't care if my music of playing impresses anyone. I grew up and even before that Jeff it knew that music was not a competitive sport. I knew that the function of the bass in the music I was playing was the same as every other instrument. It was to serve and add important musical words aka notes to the conversation.

Victor Wooten had enough of Jeff's mouth after Jeff started a bunch of shit talk. Victor posted an open letter to Jeff Berlin.

Victor writes:

Another comment of yours (posted below) was brought to my attention and I feel the need to respond. Please read and consider my thoughts before becoming resentful. I am writing as a friend who loves you and wants to see you succeed.

First: I love many of your ideas and actually love the fact that we appear to disagree at times. I welcome that. I often invite educators to my camps who express conflicting views in order to help students realize that there is more than just "my way" of approaching music. Disagreeing is not a problem for me. I know that we learn and grow because of it. Feeling the need to prove that "I am right and everyone else is wrong" is a dangerous way to live or teach. 

Proud FA's Comment: I think Jeff needs to fire his shrink and hire Victor. Demolish your ego Jeff and accept the fact that Victor Wooten's playing appeals to more people than does yours. You may not think it is fair but that would be your fragile ego talking. What is boils down to the music in your heart and Victor's heart and the contrived "play it safe" music in your brain.

Believe me when I say that there are many of us successful musicians and educators who really want you to succeed. We believe that you do have a lot of good to offer. That was why I originally invited you to my camp. But, it is your toxic attitude that keeps you from being invited back. It is also why you continue to be excluded from many other places including, ironically, The Players School, which you founded.

Proud FA's Comment: Jeff you are stinking up the place and you are pissed that the new young players are surpassing you so shut up and play your bass.

Please keep reading.

Second: I'll remind you again since you seem to have forgotten. During your visit to my camp, you went on a rant about there being NO good female bass players. (A totally ridiculous statement, I will add.) Ariane Capp, another successful bassist/educator, asked you about Carol Kaye. You responded with a horrible, degrading, and inappropriate comment about Carol Kaye's sexual preference and body parts, as well as what you would or wouldn't do with her. You said all of this in front of students, which included underage kids. (I think my mother was also present.) That was bad enough, but to make things worse, you never answered Ariane's question. You never mentioned Carol Kaye's bass playing, musicianship, or accomplishments.

Proud FA's Comment: Your shit talking about Carol Kaye tells me that you are a bigot and perhaps that bigotry goes beyond gender and sexual preference. I got news for you Jeff, the two most critically acclaimed string players today are Victor Wooten and Eric Gales. In fact, Joe Bonamassa easily acknowledges that Eric is the best guitar player living today and BTW you may want to check out Eric's bass player; he's in the same league as Victor. I seriously doubt whether Joe or Eric would hire a sterile player like you. You know what they say Jeff? Those who can do, those who can't teach, and those who can't teach...bitch about their students.

Please understand, it is not totally because of your ideas alone, but how you deliver them that is hurting you. Your misguided rhetoric coupled with your bullying tactics are the main reasons you are having trouble getting the work you desire. As much as you want people to accept you and your approach, and I know you do want that, become accepting of others and their approaches. That's what we should be teaching our students. Please accept these pieces of advice from me. Acceptance is healing!

Jeff, you are taking a "boxing" approach, and that is not a good way if you want to be accepted, respected, or hired. That brutality mentality is exactly why many musicians, educators, and institutions choose to keep our distance from you. (You can't box with us if we don't allow you in the ring.)

Proud FA's Comment: Jeff, it sounds like when you do box, you have blocked too many punches with your head.

Please continue reading.

Third: Once again, you are telling an inaccurate account of what happened at my camp years ago when you called a student (Denson Angulo) up to play. In your recent post (see below), you stated that "he was livid" when you pointed out that he couldn't play. That's absolutely not true, Jeff. THE TRUTH IS: at camp, you actually "praised" Denson for being able to accurately execute everything you asked him to do.

The first time you posted this lie, I sent you the recording of what actually happened just in case your memory was failing. (I would rather think that your memory is failing than think that you are purposefully lying.) I even posted it on your page to make sure that you got it. But as usual, you removed my post and chose not to correct yourself or apologize to Denson. I'm happy to resend or repost the recording if that will help you.

To remind you: Denson Angulo is an accomplished musician and educator in Utah. He plays and performs on both electric and acoustic basses. He is also a double bassist in the symphony. He's an accomplished martial artist and martial arts teacher who uses it to help others. He's not a bully. He's definitely an amazing father and human being! Denson has accomplished things you and I will never accomplish. You should be praising him on your page like you did at my camp, not falsely criticizing him like you routinely do to people who have achieved things you have not.
In closing:

Jeff, I understand why you are bitter, but there are better ways of dealing with it. Until you can figure that out, things will continue to get worse for you. You can change your location and try to make a new start, but you can't run from yourself. And I doubt you will find the counseling you truly need by posting your troubles on Facebook. Hopefully, Nashville will rub off on you, because your approach will have to change in order for you to make it here.

Proud FA's Comment: You had a good run Jeff and it is time for you has beens to move over and let the young masters like Victor and Cody Wright take over and carry the torch. 

Your shit talk about Carol Kaye is beyond the pale. Jealous much? Here are some other influential bass players to whom you cannot hold a candle when it comes to advancing the art of music.

Larry Johnston... In your dreams Jeff

Geddy Lee... His artistry is something you never had

Charles Mingus.... Always played the perfect notes

Cody Wright... Too good for words!

Jaco Pastorious... Not even close

Les Claypool... Never took himself to seriously and his playing rocks.

Flea... The don't call him Flea for nothing

Will Lee... Total package

John Entwistle... Feel, style, grace, taste

P-Nut... Not full of himself

Bobby Vega... Beautiful playing

Tina Weymouth... Her playing tells has-beens to go funk themselves.

I long to know the Jeff Berlin I grew up admiring, and I am not alone. There are many who would happily welcome that Jeff back into our circles. Trust me, when you stop alienating the community you so desire to be a part of, your world will be a much better place. Until then... well... I'll just continue being hopeful and patient.
With Love and Hope,

Here's a comment from Jeff's Facebook page. 
Jeff wrote: "The same thing happened to me at Victor Wooten's bass camp, admittedly before I went into therapy. I angered people there, one guy in particular who told me that he could play. He couldn't, and I used musical examples for him to play to show him this. He was livid, but I wanted to show him and everyone else that day that what they believed about their ability to play wasn't necessarily true and that music itself instantly exposes our musical capabilities for what they really are. I made it possible for him and everyone else that day to see the truth which could have been the best musical day of their lives. But they rejected my views outright, even the fellow that couldn't play but didn't like that this was pointed out to him."

Proud FA's Comment: Jeff you can play the bass and if you were not so wrapped up in yourself you Could be in the same league as some of the greats but your musical ideas are clever but in many ways musical nonsequiturs as evidenced by B-3 where Stu Hamm and Billy Sheehan smoked you. That should be the least thing that should bother you. The fact that you are a liar is your major malfunction and why you never reached your potential.
Since you think music is a competitive sport hot shot, cop this. 


  1. That tune is hot.

    The truth is, Jeff Berlin is a never was.

    1. Jeff was pretty good but these young guys and chicks surpassed him. He was never a Carol Kaye or a James Jamerson because he never had their feel. He was to technical and now he's bitter.

      I just found out about Cody Wright and he's a total package. He's creative, has killer chops and he can groove. Also, check out Tal Wilkenfeld. She makes anybody she plays with sound better and the same cannot be said for Jeff Berlin.

    2. Jeff plays like he has a stick up his ass. Not a lot of feel there.