of musicians there . If I ever ran into them , they would just drop little bits of information . That was a big help .
BROWN : My approach was really just sitting in my basement and putting an album on and then just trying to learn that album from top to bottom . I started playing bass when I was 17 . It was like a game to me — people are addicted to video games , and I was addicted to this game of learning this instrument , figuring out the songs . To practice for 12 hours a day was nothing , as I was addicted to this game . And that ’ s what I would do . I would spend all day every day just learning songs .
LETELLIER : I started playing by ear , mostly country music and Southern rock , a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash and that kind of stuff . And just by ear ; I didn ’ t really know notes or anything . Once you ’ re 16 , you have to move out of where I ’ m from , because you graduate , or 17 , or whenever you graduate high school .
And then if you want to go to school , you have to move because there ’ s only a high school there . So , I had to move , and I was actually joining the military . But a year before I left , a new principal came to school and his wife had studied at the Toronto Conservatory of Music back in the ‘ 60s . I ’ d seen this opportunity to maybe get some formal training in music . So , I took the shot a year before I was leaving town . And I applied to go to Vanier College , which is a jazz and classical music school here in Montreal . And in a year , I learned classical piano . I moved to Ottawa for a little bit to take lessons and learn from a real teacher . And then I did the audition . And somehow , miraculously , maybe there ’ s a guardian angel above me , I don ’ t know , I got in . Out of 13 people , three people got in , I got in somehow . And I had been playing for a year . Then I went to another university for music here called UQAM , which is in French , so that was very difficult to switch from the English system to the French system at a university level . So , I was doing that for a few years , and I never finished the
program . Honestly , I started getting really busy with gigs .
CM : Do you have any basses or gear with sentimental meaning or special memories attached ?
SINCLAIR : I ’ ve got a bunch . I have a real weakness for collecting basses and guitars . And it ’ s born out of being on the road as much as we were ; we started playing before the internet . So , back in the day to pass the time on a day off or on a show day , I buzzed around at pawn shops , and in music stores , looking for gear . It was fun . So , I ’ ve got a whole pile . My main recording bass , which I ’ ve used since 1992 , was that ‘ 57 P that I got off of Kyle Brock . We did a tour with Eric Johnson . Kyle was playing bass , we were supporting them , and he was unloading this bass at the end of the tour , and I got it off him right away . I haven ’ t looked back . It ’ s sitting in the case right now ; I can pull it out . It ’ ll be in perfect tune , and it always has been .
56 CANADIAN MUSICIAN