Not many 12-string bassists do double duty as the band's lead vocalist. Richard Savoie from Quebec City in Quebec, Canada did exactly that for many years with the band Éonz. With five albums, numerous singles and videos to their credit, Éonz rocked Quebec for over a decade. Along the way Richard incorporated the 12-string bass into the group's albums and live performances, and he is currently using the 12 in his solo recordings. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Richard!
What attracted you to the 12-string bass?
Where do I start... Like the majority of us, I started playing music as a teenager (back in the early 80's) but didn't do it professionally until 1990 when I joined Éonz. The first few years in the band, I was the lead singer / rhythm guitar player but took up bass duties in 1995, right when we started recording our second album. This was out of necessity; our third bass player had left and we had no time to find another one, so the guys said, "Richard, you can do it!" So I did.
I'm a long time King's X fan and had always been fascinated with Doug's bass sound, so when I found out that part of the mystery was the 12-string bass, I knew that, sooner or later, I was gonna get one! This happened in the summer of 1997. I bought a black Hamer Chaparral B12L.
Did you use the 12 on any of your recordings?
Since were in the process of producing the third CD, most of the songs were written and demoed but I managed to record three with the 12-string: "J'attends", "Le sauveur" and "Eugene". From that point on I played it live for most of the shows we did. You can hear it on the "plugged" side of Éonz live album. Later tracks were done with it, "Cible sans arme" and "Freedom Radio".
You use the smallest live performance rig of any 12-string bassist I know!
Gear wise, I kept it to a minimum. Live, a SansAmp Bass Driver DI direct to the PA and through the monitors. It did the job quite nicely and I had no heavy cabinets to drag around. The guys in the band liked that a lot! Of course, in the studio it was a combination of amp / direct signal and tweaking around to get the right tone.
What amps did you use in the studio?
If I remember correctly, we recorded with the old classic "mic Ampeg / D.I. to the board" setup and in some cases, a lone SansAmp Bass Driver to the board would do the trick. On "Cible sans arme", I doubled the bass track with both a 4-string bass (an Ibanez ATK series) and the Chaparral. And, yes, I'm using the 12-string on my new stuff! I'm having fun detuning the thing; I really love the growl it gets when tuned a step and a half below standard. Blame it on dUg!!!
Since Éonz broke up what have you been doing to keep busy?
Éonz disbanded in 2002, therefore I don't play bass as much as I did. I keep writing and demoing my stuff here at home in the hopes of releasing it in the future, some way or another. Meanwhile, I'm busy playing weekend gigs in a duo and singing in an AC/DC tribute band. The money is good and it allows me to do what I love the most, play music!
Thank you Mark, and I'm really honored to be included on the 12-string bass website!