Graham Bonnet recently resurrected Alcatrazz, and they’re currently working on a new album for a 2020 release. In the Graham Bonnet Band and most recently, Alkatrazz lies a bassist that is the backbone to Graham Bonnet. That’s Graham’s wife, Beth-Ami Heavenstone.
When did you start playing bass?
BAH: I’m a bit of a late bloomer… I started playing bass in the late ’80s. I joined my first band while waiting to establish a residency in LA before transferring to UCLA. I lied and told the girls that I had stage experience when, in actuality, I took one elective music class in college. I auditioned on a Tuesday and played to a packed house at the Whisky the following Monday. It was terrific, and I never went back to school.
Who are your influences?
BAH: I love many bass players but can’t cite all as an influence merely because I can’t play fingerstyle after having cut off the pad of my middle finger of my right-hand hand, leaving me with nerve damage. I love James Jamerson, Jack Bruce, John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix (he played bass on a lot of the recordings), Chris Glen and Roger Glover.
How have you evolved as a musician?
BAH: Playing with Graham Bonnet has helped me to improve as a player. Graham himself is a great bassist, and developing music with him has taught me so much. Playing 2 hours sets for weeks on end and having to learn his immense back catalog of material has been a game-changer.
Do you improvise while playing?
BAH: I have had to improvise on some of the material. Playing Chris Glen’s bass lines can be challenging because he has enormous hands, and I am very petite.
What does your live rig consist of?
My live rig generally consists of either whatever the opening act provides or the kindness of the promoter. I always request an SVT with an 8 x 10 cabinet, but that isn’t always what I get. I am a good sport about it. We mostly play in Europe or Asia, so its generally anyone’s guesses what I’ll have on any given night. My rig at home is a 1976 SVT (recently re-tubed to sound like G-d) and two 4 x 10 cabinets.
Who are your endorsements?
I have no endorsements. This is a conscious decision based on an experience with a D’Addario rep that got very upset when I refused to send nude photos. One of my best friends is an A&R rep at Fender and helps me whenever I need anything. I am blessed with exceptional instruments and don’t require more. I’d rather pay for strings then sell my soul for them.
Is the GBB no longer, and it’s now Alkatrazz?
BAH: Never say never.
What are the band’s plans for 2020?
BAH: We’ll be releasing a new Alcatrazz album early in 2020, and a live DVD from our May 2019 shows in Tokyo