FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Do you have any? Feel free to write in.
WHAT GEAR DID JACO USE?
:::: Guitar Player, August 1984 Interview ::::
"My fretless, which is probably what I'm most noted for, is a
Bass that I got in Margate, Florida, for $90.00 with a case. My
fretted bass is even older - it's a
'60 Fender Jazz Bass that I got
for $90.00 from a saxophone player in Florida named Ben Champion."
[re pickups] "Nope. Totally stock. The only things that weren't there originally
are the potentiometers. I've replaced them, but they're still Fender pots"
"I just used standard Rotosound strings - the round-wound Swing Bass set."
"When I got the bass, the cat who had it had taken the frets out himself,
and he did a really bad job of it - left all kinds of nicks and chunks taken
out of the fretboard. So I really had to fix it up. I filled in all the chunks
with Plastic Wood. Hell, when I was a kid, I used to make a living by fixing
and dealing old, beat-up instruments. I was the first cat to use epoxy on
the neck of a fretless bass so the strings wouldn't eat the neck away.
I used Petite's Poly-Poxy; it's boat epoxy. You can find it in any
boating supply store around Florida. It's the toughest epoxy they make.
You apply it with a brush, and it takes several coats. I used about six
coats on my fretless, and it took about a day for each coat to dry."
"I use two Acoustic 360s, which is the same setup I've been using for
the last 13 years. Same amps - old reliables. I usually put the bass
setting all the way up and the treble about midway up, depending on
the condition of strings. The older your strings are, the more treble
you have to have, because the fidelity of the string really starts
losing it after a while. In the studio, though, I just go direct.
"I have an old makeshift fuzztone. There's no brand name at all.
You can hear a good example of it in action on the title cut from
the Word Of Mouth album, my last studio album. It's got a
built-in delay that I can put on infinite repeat whenever I want
to lay down somekind of track to play on top of in concert."
"I've got an MXR Digital Delay, which I put through one amp, leaving
the other amp clean, to cause a natural sort of vibrato. It's almost
like an organ Leslie [rotating speaker] effect or like a flanger. A
good example of that effect is the title cut from the 8:30 album, or
the tune 'Continuum' from my first record, or 'Reza' and 'Continuum'
from the live Invitation album. I also used that effect a lot on the Joni
Mitchell records, particularly on 'Coyote' and 'Hejira' on Hejira, or
'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' and 'God Must Be A Boogie Man' on Mingus."
The Latin name PASTORIUS was once the German Schäfer, meaning shepherd.
Jaco's father, John Francis Pastorius II, was born in Pennsylvania from
German and Irish descendants. Jaco's mother, Verna Katarina HAAPALA was
born in Minnesota and changed her name to Stephanie Katherine Haapala.
Jaco's Grandmother on his Mom's side, Kaisa Eriika ISOJÄRVI, was born
north of the Arctic Circle in Lappi, Finland, married David Haapala
from Minnesota, who's father, Andrew Haapala was from Oulu, Finland
and who's mother, Josephina BUCHT, was from Norrbotten, Sweden.
Conclusion: Jaco had Finnish, German, Swedish, and Irish ancestry.
DID JACO EVER MEET HENDRIX OR MILES?
:::: Jimi Hendrix ::::
Sadly, the answer is no. (but we can dream?)
:::: Miles Davis ::::
In the late 70's Miles came to a Weather Report concert at
the Beacon Theatre in NYC. The following day Zawinul, Jaco,
and I went to Miles' apartment, where we spent a few hours
socializing. At that time Miles was coming out of a sabbatical,
and played us his recent compositions for the new album.
Miles later recorded Mr. Pastorius for his Amandla CD.
WHERE ARE THE BASSES NOW?
:::: Fretless ::::
After more than twenty years not knowing where the fretless was located, whether it even still existed,
it finally surfaced in a guitar shop, 30th Street Guitars, in New York. The owner, Matt Brewster bought
it from a man merely for the parts and paid $400 for it, neither the buyer nor the seller at that time
realized it was Jaco's fretless. It wasn't until much later when Brewster while inspecting it
saw it had been signed and dated by the luthier, Kevin Kaufman (see story below).
After sitting on the bass for about a year, Brewster contacted Kaufman by phone who verified it was The Bass.
Brewster asked Kaufman to contact the family, but instead Kaufman only contacted Mary, who in turn had who she calls
"Big Daddy" Bob Bobbing contact the shop, at that time not all of Jaco's kids were notified of this.
According to court documents, Bobbing proceeded to attempt to make deals, instructing Brewster to not speak
with Jaco's "twins and their mother" about this find, asserting that it would get messy. Instead he was
willing and able to make "a deal", which involved selling the bass to Paul Allen, an American investor
who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, in the hopes to also sell Allen the idea of funding a full
length movie Bobbing was hoping to make.
This is when Brewster became uneasy, observing Bobbing's suggestions as unrealistic as well as underhanded,
so he turned to some of Jaco's friends and fellow bassists. One of them contacted me, to whom I told that
they all needed to know that Bobbing had no legal position at Jaco Pastorius, Inc, and that all
discussions regarding The Bass needed to be with Jaco's four children, the rightful heirs to Jaco' legacy.
After letting Bobbing know that they weren't going to continue dealing with him, he became grossly
agitated threatening to sue, claiming The Bass had been stolen when Jaco was still alive. He then
contacted the rest of the family members, most likely suggested to start a lawsuit rather than
the four heirs (corporation) do the negotiating themselves, as it should have been, not him.
After receiving a letter from lawyers representing Jaco Pastorius inc, threatening again, Brewster filed
a suit instead, forcing the corporation to proof The Bass was indeed stolen. After more than a year of
attorneys fees and frivolous accusations the judge wasn't able to resolve the situation.
The corporation contacted Robert Trujillo from Metallica who offered whatever it would take to
get the bass. At this point and time, it is in Trujillo's possession, he has played it on stage with
Metallica and will hold on to it for the family until the corporation can pay the amount he spent.
So, after many years of missing, the bass has surfaced, but as expected went through a series of greedy
interference and humongous ego power trips. I think The Bass should be in a museum, as Jaco "predicted".
Trujillo playing Jaco's bass during a Metallica concert.
Kevin Kaufman, Jaco's main luthier, told us of the following experience with the bass:
Jaco had called him from New York about the bass and had said
that he couldn't get the "right sound out of it" and asked whether Kevin could fix it. Kevin told Jaco to send the instrument down to Florida,
which he received in a medium sized, square box. The bass was in pieces,
the body had been painted purple.
After reassembling the parts, he re-lacquered the neck, added 1/8 of an inch of flamed maple on both the front and back of the body,
and possibly replaced the electronics, including a Badass bridge.
photo by Shigeru Uchiyama
:::: Fretted ::::
The fretted one was listed for sale on eBay, sold to an American collector,
who remains anonymous. Read more about it in the NEWS section.
When they were 19 they started their band Way Of The Groove,
which lasted for about 5 years.
Since then they have branched touring with a variety of bands, Julius currently plays
with different European bands, as well as his own band, the Bendy Pastorius Group,
and with Felix's NY band. You can find Felix's band at the Zinc Bar in NY every
Monday night of the month, unless he is on the road with Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band)
Mu'tet, but alternately also with Cindy Blackman, drummer and Santana's wife.
You can find many videos of both Felix and Julius on YouTube.
John plays drums and piano for fun.
Mary sings, writes lyrics, composes, and plays piano.
"LIVE IN NEW YORK" RELEASES ARE NOT BOOTLEGS
There are artistic differences in the family regarding these releases where some
feel that the recording quality is not deserving of Jaco, yet others feel that
for archival purposes these tapes are invaluable, especially considering they
were live gigs Jaco thrived on in his later years, which we now will never have
the opportunity to witness except via these Live In New York releases, with many
more to come, I hope. I suggest when you listen to them to turn off the lights
to set the mood, and enjoy the sounds of the laughter, clanking of the glasses,
and the reaction by those who were lucky enough to have been there. Regardless,
the series are not to be considered bootlegs, because not only did Jaco agree to the
taping of those nights, the first 5 releases were sanctioned by all four heirs, and attorneys.
Big World Music
has been generous, giving the heirs $1.00 per CD manufactured over and above the necessary
mechanicals and royalties, and has been accounted for compensating Jaco's children in the amount of $260,000.00.
The royalty of one dollar per CD, distributed equally and directly to all four heirs, have been a blessing.
Most importantly, because of these releases Jaco's bins have not been empty all these past years.
View letter of mechanical license granted to Big World for Live In NY release here.
BOBBY COLOMBY & "JACO PASTORIUS"
Bobby Colomby, the one instrumental in the release of Jaco's first solo album "Jaco Pastorius",
tells about how the album developed, and sets the record straight regarding some rumors.
Click here to read about it.
BILL MILKOWSKI'S BOOK
For obvious reasons I am sad over the way Bill Milkowski portrayed Jaco.
Considering that Bill and I never had a legitimate interview, my name is often mentioned, and mostly out of context. However,
I am pleased to note that one important correction was made for the softcover version of the book. Read
here for more about my feelings regarding the book, as well as corrections.
WHERE IS THE GRAVE?
Jaco's resting place is at the Queen of Heaven cemetery,
Plot: Section L, Block 219, Grave 8 located on State Road 7, A.K.A. 441,
north/west Fort Lauderdale.
1500 South State Road 7
North Lauderdale, Florida
(954)972-1234 For a more detailed explanation go
CHICKEN GREASE & STRINGS, TRUE OR FALSE?
Quoting Fender Players Club:
"Lubricant: Jaco was legendary for coating his fingers with
fried chicken grease before going on stage, in order to
lubricate his playing. However, some of Jaco's friends
have disputed this legend, saying it is just a myth."
While on Weather Report tours, or on the Joni tour, I never saw
Jaco purposely coat his fingers with chicken grease before going
on stage. Mostly after soundcheck the band munched backstage.
Jaco at some point would change the strings on both his basses,
which he did before every show. There were times when I heard him
say to a group of inquiring minds around him at the time, that leaving
chicken grease on his fingers helps....laughing heartily and playfully.
The truth is, there were times he left chicken grease on his fingers.
Jaco....always giving us something to think and talk about... he loved to entertain.
WHY IS THERE A FEUD AMONGST FAMILY MEMBERS?
Allow me to define "feud" first, according to Merriam Webster it is: "a mutual quarrel".
Before I lay out the facts that show there isn't a "feud" within the family, let me show who
the family is that counts regarding Jaco's legacy and any business matters, they are:
Felix, Julius, John, and Mary. The four kids have employed Jaco's brother Rory as the
accountant, and Jaco's brother Gregory as the fifth board member, but neither are
shareholders of the Jaco Pastorius corporation who collectively decide any
business related matters to further their father's legacy, holding all
copyrights to his music, image and name. There is NO feud between
those six family members who are the only ones who matter. Basically
JPI is a shell, John, Mary, Julius and Felix own equal shares of
Jaco's NAME & LIKENESS.
However, John, Mary, Julius and Felix DO NOT own equal interests in Jaco's INTELLECTUAL
PROPERTY (compositions), as they should. As a result John's & Mary's excess puts them
in charge, and in their minds justifies having assigned a man who has successfully
"insinuated" himself into the family, often pitting everyone against each other,
and worse, railing them when speaking to others in the business, saying that
"no one in that family cares enough to do anything, and are even incapable
of taking care of business", presenting himself as the martyr who does
everything but gets nothing.
My personal experience with and opinion of him is that he's destructive and thus
I won't validate him as the "un-official business manager" for Jaco and his kids,
specifically am I defending the rights of Jaco's and my sons, hence his obsession
to keep a "feud" going, which technically is only between him and me, neither of
us are worthy of Jaco's legacy in the legal sense, the four legal heirs do not
have a feud. This man's Modus Operandi is to Divide et Impera, Divide and Rule.
Hopefully it's over. Jaco NEVER considered him "his best friend". Show me a photo.
I suspect he might have been behind the corporation's attempt to remove
this site, frivolously, most likely out of spite wanting to control.