James Hunting

James on stage with his Hamer B12A 12-string bass and Vince Neil.

veteran 12-string bassist

James (Jamie) Hunting's musical resume is impressive. In the 1980's he played with Eddie Money, Fiona, and John Butcher. The mid-90's found him in David Lee Roth's band. Then one night while playing in Hollywood Jamie was spotted by former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, who recruited him for the band Union.

After getting off the road from last summer's long Rock Never Stops Tour with Motley Crue singer Vince Neil, James got settled into a new home in Southern California. Since then he's kept busy; working on a new website, playing, recording, and of course rocking out. "I really enjoy being at home... as long as I keep playing. It is my source."

James plays a custom Hamer B12A as well as a Dean Rhapsody 12-string bass. 

James took some time out of his hectic schedule to share his thoughts about his playing style, his recording projects, and the gear he uses. Here's what he had to say.

"I decided not to tour with Vince this year. Man I did two and that is a lot of miles. I'm searching for new challenges with music. I had a guest last night for a lesson. I enjoyed sharing my basses as always."

"I was recording with my good friend Frank Simes (Don Henley, Mick Jagger), doing a record for a Japanese artist, Char. Of course the 12 was employed. The artist arrived while we were laying down some pretty heavy shit and the look on her face when she watched and listened in amazement was one of sheer power. My fingers are well blistered indicating the pressure they had to withstand."

Regarding the Union album The Blue Room James told us, "On the whole it is a solid sophomore effort. I don't remember if I used the 12-string bass (lagged down to low B) on any other tunes other than ‘Do You Know My Name’. Bob Marlette, the producer, had a hard on when he switched the speakers to the big ones in the studio that day. It was a keeper. Nothing excites Bob ever. I was happy with the experiment."

James, the Dean Girls and a Rhapsody 12-string bass

"The sound is and always will be of the hand. The basses used in those days were undoubtedly the Hamer complimented by my 1959 Fender bass I've had since the Eddie Money days."

"On the self-titled U*N*I*O*N record (1998) I used a 1962 Fender Bassman amplifier into a single 4x10 SWR Goliath cabinet. Real simple. The sucking sound you hear is the power of the Bassman being sucked down to that thirsty 4x10 400-watt cabinet. It pulled hard. If you want more saturation use a low powered head through a power hungry wife of a cabinet and remember to keep the input (your hands) very strong and controlled."

"I have very strong fingers. Long and skinny. Like a priests hands praying! INPUT = OUTPUT. The 12-string was wonderful and exciting as it had the ferocity that I do so expect in sound and style with this instrument. I'm thinking...Pete Townsend. Dig?"

"I use 9-string chords to support areas that need support behind a guitar. Sometimes 12. I find that this instrument fits with most anything."

James at the NAMM Show giving a Musicvox Space Cadet 12-string bass an extensively thorough workout.

"On The Blue Room I used a similar setup for the A&M sessions. I believe I used my old SM 400 SWR. My Hamer has blown it up so many times. It is probably the most rebuilt 400 they have ever seen. Good guys up at SWR. They always have taken care of me since 1989. The speakers were probably two 2x10 Electrovoice bass enclosures they laid on me in 2000. I love 'em. They can take a lot, man, let me tell you."

"When we moved up to Bob Marlette's studio to finish bass tracks I used some lousy little guitar amp with a 12 inch speaker. I can't remember the name but it wasn't a fancy amp, I can tell you that! I have never made a fuss over amps because I put so much faith in my hands as well as my ability to play the sound and power at hand. It makes it much more interesting. Like a box of chocolates, Forrest."

"No special effects are ever used because they aren't needed. I'm saving that shit for my own production. Hell will follow. One more thing I forgot to tell you. I never use the pickup in the sound hole. Just the guitar pickups, for what it is worth."

"Glad you liked The Blue Room. I thought it was a good effort considering the amount of time from conception to master. Pretty impressive. They locked us in a round room. I was the only one who sat in a corner."