This week, we had the chance to ask Club Swing musician Jeremy Boettcher a few questions as he prepared for their Thursday, October 4 performance at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Read on to find out what Jeremy had to say about the great Big Band Era tunes featured in the show, and hear the hits they're known for in Five By Design's Club Swing!
What instrument do you play with Club Swing?
Double Bass or Upright Bass
What’s your favorite song in Club Swing?
I think my favorite song is “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road).” It’s a great arrangement. Frank Sinatra used to do it; it’s a beautiful tune.
How does your instrument contribute to that Big Band sound?
Several ways. It’s both a rhythmic and harmonic instrument, so I have to work with the drums and the piano and the rest of the band to maintain the pulse and framing. Many people say it’s the backbone of the ensemble, that it lays the foundation that everything is laid on. It’s a big responsibility. A lot of people don’t realize the bass is in control and really supplying the pulse. If it’s missing, or not up to par, it really hurts the ensemble. But it’s fun! I love doing it.
What’s the most exciting part about being on tour with Five By Design?
The most exciting part is being able to be in a new city almost every day. You don’t always have time to take in the sights, but it’s always fun to be in a new area and get away from normal life and the usual responsibilities. It’s fun to hang out with the people when you’re in the traveling from place to place. I also really enjoy playing in all the cool historic theaters. We were in Miami, Oklahoma a few years ago, and there’s a really great theater there that was built by a fellow that had inherited oil money or something. He used to go hang out in Hollywood and realized he wanted a place where people could go in Oklahoma, so he built one. Touring you get to go to these great historic theaters and explore these great buildings you wouldn’t otherwise see.
How long have you been playing with Five By Design?
I have been playing on and off with the group since 2001 or 2002, when I was a freshman or sophomore in college. Actually, one of the first shows I played with the group was at the Fox Cities P.A.C. in Appleton.
Where’d did you get your start with music?
When I was really young I took piano lessons and really enjoyed it, I think I was 5. I ended up quitting because I didn’t like practicing the things I was assigned. I liked to improvise and learn different pieces of music. I always felt bad going to the lessons under prepared, so I quit. I was in choir in middle school and really enjoyed that, but also ended up quitting. I decided I wasn’t going to pick up another instrument, but my friend in high school was starting a band. He had just got a drum set, and I was jealous of him because I wanted to be in a band. He convinced me to start playing bass. We were watching MTV and there was an Everclear concert on some live show. My friend said look, the bass player doesn’t really do anything, it’s really easy. So I convinced my parents to get me electric bass for Christmas when I was a freshman in high school. One afternoon I was hanging out with my friend at Family Video. We ran into a classmate that said they were looking for bass players for a jazz ensemble. At that point I couldn’t read music, but I went to the rehearsal and liked it and stuck with it. It all started because of my best friend convinced me to start playing because it looked easy. It’s not as easy as I thought, but I’m very thankful for him convincing me to get a bass.