interview

feq: a bass for Red Hot Chili Peppers

Fred Jourdain / Martin Parrot

"It's gonna get played! - Flea »

How did you end up collaborating with Quebec City's summer music festival to make a bass for Flea?

Well, I'd always wanted to work with the festival. The event lights up and takes over Quebec City I've been going since my teens and I've seen hundreds of shows, many of which are unforgettable.

It's one of the best music festivals in the world but, unfortunately, I feel its visuals have a bit of a corporate look. And I had always wanted to change that. So a few years I asked to meet with the organizers.

In 2015, we put to discuss my ideas for some of their posters. They were interested and curious but nothing more. However, the year after, they call me up to a concept and paint it on an actual guitar for the artists at the festival.

We talked about the bunch of scenarios and finally we decided to give the instrument to Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Why an instrument?

It was Louis Bellavance's idea, the festival's line-up director. He wanted to offer some musicians a personalized gift to mark their time at the festival, a sort of honorary award but not in the conventional trophy or statue format. Louis loves vintage guitars and he's friends with Pierre-Luc Asselin, an exceptional luthier / guitar-maker. He's the one who made the bass I illustrated. It was a great project except there was a short deadline, only a few weeks ... you know, the usual!

We did not talk about a long term project using high quality instruments. We wanted to create a lot of fun for musicians with original designs that would gain some notoriety over time. We thought that it would be possible to get around to people in the music business and that these instruments would be sought after.

The Festival approached you in May and the bass was ready in July, right?

Yeah and I did not know the luthier, Pierre-Luc, it was Louis who introduced us. I felt it was concerned about the deadline, because it was necessary to have a good finish.

Pierre-Luc and I put it in the right place, I needed the following day. I'd never had anything to do with it before. I had to research and do some tests to see what it would be and we would not work because we only had one shot to get it right.

I end up speaking with experts who make the best of the world. It was not long before my sketches were ready to go and I got the carved piece of wood, I got to work right away.

How did it go? Did you have to get your artwork approved by the festival?

Haha, no, we did not have time for that. They had to trust me and worked it out well that way! However, to add to the pressure, I was filmed during the film and did not start off well. To save time during the first day of filming, I had covered the bass in Mactac and I had cut out a pretty complicated stencil to add my basic colors. It was pretty tedious work. The problem was that the solvents in the lacquer absorbed the glue in the Mactac. So there I was being filmed I could think about it, 'it's ruined'. The bass was so full of glue that I could actually lift it up by sticking my hand to it. I should've removed the tape after a few hours, but I never knew ...

So right away, I called Pierre-Luc to explain the disaster. He ended up dipping the base in paint thinner overnight to remove the glue and luckily it worked. I had no room for mistakes. In the end, everything turned out great. Pierre-Luc and I worked non-stop. I remember him adding to the strings and adjusting the money just before we gave it to Flea.

Flea liked it?

Yeah, we gave it backstage before the show. He really like it and did it with both of you. He said, "It's gonna get played!"

mission accomplished

In the drawing on the bass, I added all kinds of elements that have to do with Flea. The bees are a reference to his passion for beekeeping and the set of mechanical teeth with a gap between the two front teeth are a nod to his smile. We also built a small chili pepper in the head of the bass,

The following year, in 2017, the festival approached Pierre-Luc and I to make a guitar for James Hetfield of Metallica. Unfortunately, the festival was not able to get the green light from the band. The project fell through the guitar and the design were ready. One day, we could put it up for sale (laughs).

The concept for a guitar for Metallica must have been pretty different.

Yes! It was sculpted like a Flying V but the body was made to look like it was an M for Metallica. It was all black - the hardware, the pickups, everything - except for some white skulls that I had painted on it like it had been splashed on, like droplets of paint. It was easier than Flea's bass but it was bad-ass.

I was not approached to make another instrument in 2018. I have the impression of the bass to be a very good instrument.

credits

Pictures: Anthony Jourdain, Catherine Côté, Fred Jourdain, Martin Poulin, Martin Côté

Translation from french: Peter Tardif

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© Affranchi - The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the author's consent

Well, I never had a master plan. I just wanted to do the best I could on every level - drawing, printing, framing ...


interview

FEQ: A bass for flea

Fred Jourdain / Martin Parrot

Well, I'd always wanted to work with the festival. The event lights up and takes over Quebec City I've been going since my teens and I've seen hundreds of shows, many of which are unforgettable.

It's one of the best music festivals in the world but, unfortunately, I feel its visuals have a bit of a corporate look. And I had always wanted to change that. So a few years I asked to meet with the organizers.


In 2015, we put to discuss my ideas for some of their posters. They were interested and curious but nothing more.

However, the year after, they call me up to a concept and paint it on an actual guitar for the artists at the festival. We talked about the bunch of scenarios and finally we decided to give the instrument to Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.


Why an instrument?

It was Louis Bellavance's idea, the festival's line-up director. He wanted to offer some musicians a personalized gift to mark their time at the festival, a sort of honorary award but not in the conventional trophy or statue format. Louis loves vintage guitars and he's friends with Pierre-Luc Asselin, an exceptional luthier / guitar-maker. He's the one who made the bass I illustrated. It was a great project except there was a short deadline, only a few weeks ... you know, the usual!

We did not talk about a long term project using high quality instruments. We wanted to create a lot of fun for musicians with original designs that would gain some notoriety over time. We thought that it would be possible to get around to people in the music business and that these instruments would be sought after.


The Festival approached you in May and the bass was ready in July, right?

Yeah and I did not know the luthier, Pierre-Luc, it was Louis who introduced us. I felt it was concerned about the deadline, because it was necessary to have a good finish.

Pierre-Luc and I put it in the right place, I needed the following day. I'd never had anything to do with it before. I had to research and do some tests to see what it would be and we would not work because we only had one shot to get it right.


I end up speaking with experts who make the best of the world. It was not long before my sketches were ready to go and I got the carved piece of wood, I got to work right away.


How did it go? Did you have to get your artwork approved by the festival?

Haha, no, we did not have time for that. They had to trust me and worked it out well that way! However, to add to the pressure, I was filmed during the film and did not start off well. To save time during the first day of filming, I had covered the bass in Mactac and I had cut out a pretty complicated stencil to add my basic colors. It was pretty tedious work. The problem was that the solvents in the lacquer absorbed the glue in the Mactac. So there I was being filmed I could think about it, 'it's ruined'.

The bass was so full of glue that I could actually lift it up by sticking my hand to it. I should've removed the tape after a few hours, but I never knew ...


So right away, I called Pierre-Luc to explain the disaster. He ended up dipping the base in paint thinner overnight to remove the glue and luckily it worked.

I had no room for mistakes. In the end, everything turned out great. Pierre-Luc and I worked non-stop. I remember him adding to the strings and adjusting the money just before we gave it to Flea.


Flea liked it?

Yeah, we gave it backstage before the show. He really like it and did it with both of you. He said, "It's gonna get played!"


mission accomplished

In the drawing on the bass, I added all kinds of elements that have to do with Flea. The bees are a reference to his passion for beekeeping and the set of mechanical teeth with a gap between the two front teeth are a nod to his smile. We also built a small chili pepper in the head of the bass,

The following year, in 2017, the festival approached Pierre-Luc and I to make a guitar for James Hetfield of Metallica. Unfortunately, the festival was not able to get the green light from the band. The project fell through the guitar and the design were ready. One day, we could put it up for sale (laughs).


The concept for a guitar for Metallica must have been pretty different.

Yes! It was sculpted like a Flying V but the body was made to look like it was an M for Metallica. It was all black - the hardware, the pickups, everything - except for some white skulls that I had painted on it like it had been splashed on, like droplets of paint. It was easier than Flea's bass but it was bad-ass.

I was not approached to make another instrument in 2018. I have the impression of the bass to be a very good instrument.

credits

Pictures: Anthony Jourdain, Catherine Côté, Fred Jourdain, Martin Poulin, Martin Côté

Translation from french: Peter Tardif

Share this

© Affranchi - The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the author's consent