You see, it’s not the album credits, the celebrity status, or the magazine features that move Crump to make music—it’s the songs that nudge him to pick up his bass guitar every day and create. He’s an old-school cat, one of the last members of a dying breed that puts groove first and flash last. He could easily play lick after impressive lick in the studio or on stage, but that’s not him, and that’s not why he keeps getting called by some of the most impressive acts in the game.

      In person, Preston is the epitome of chill. He moves slowly and speaks even slower. Ask him a question, and he’ll sit back in his chair and peer through his glasses as he carefully composes each syllable of his rumbling response. For a man who’s done as much as he has, he’s mighty humble. It is our oxymoronic honor to introduce to you the one, the only… Preston Crump. 

GX: At this point, what inspires you to continue making music?

PC: It’s the only thing I can get up everyday and feel happy about. It’s about always having something new to express; it’s hard to get bored with it. If God gives you a dream, you gotta go with it—you never want to regret letting a gift slip away.

GX: Describe your playing in your own words.

PC: Musically, I was never the most adept, but I’ve always had a good feel. I just think of it as always trying to touch the listener with the vibrations and take you there. I like what Saadiq said about me: “With Preston, that sound is always gonna be hitting you thick.”

GX: What musical accomplishment are you most proud of?

PC: Aquemini was my shit. Stankonia was another record that I loved leaving my mark on. I had always wanted to play with Erykah Badu, and she was on two of the tracks I played on for Stankonia. Also, my work with En Vogue was cool. That had some bite to it.

GX: You worked with En Vogue, too? OK, you need to list your collaborations for us.

PC: Let’s see, there’s Outkast, Goodie Mob, Raphael Saadiq, En Vogue, Destiny’s Child, Curtis Mayfield, Citizen Cope, Dr. Dre, Alice Smith, Cool Breeze, and a bunch more I can’t think of right now. (Ed. Note: We later found out he had also appeared on albums by Mystikal, Xscape, TLC, Cee-Lo, Chamillionaire, and Earth, Wind and Fire. Dayummm!)

GX: That list will certainly do. So what do you think gives you the edge over the other million bass players? How do you always get the callback?

PC: You know, you gotta be hot with everything you do—you can’t half-ass anything. Producers and artists don’t just want your playing, they want you, and they want your vibe. They can sense that shit the second you walk in the room, whether you got it or not. You gotta bring more than just your licks—you gotta bring your presence and make everything a part of you.

Also, for bass and keyboards, you can never overplay. You gotta respect their songs; it’s always about the song first. You got hired to contribute in the first place, and it’s not always about you shining—it’s something bigger. I guess it comes down to respect. Always respect. No musician is ever bigger than the song.

GX: Does it ever get frustrating to not blaze through your fast licks and crazy bass riffs?

PC: Naw, man. It’s good to have those things on the tool belt, but I never started playing bass to sound like Jaco (Pastorius). I always just wanted to wear sunglasses on stage and have a stagger with a band.

GX: Do you consider studio and touring work different?

PC: Everybody is different on a live stage. Studio and stage are two separate experiences; it really keeps things in perspective. If you love the music, it’s always good. With Cope, it’s interesting because you never know where it’s gonna take you. One of the first places I went with him for a gig was Iceland. It was crazy, man!

GX: We hear you have a solo album coming out soon.

PC: I’m shooting for this fall. It’s hard with Cope’s touring schedule. Keep checking back with me on it—it keeps me in line.

GX: And what can we expect?

PC: A little of this, a little of that. When support other people for so many years, you really figure out what you like and what you don’t like, so this is pretty much everything I like. It’ll be soulful, regardless.

GX: And finally, what can we expect from you in the near future?

PC: I’m heading back out with Cope through June and then we’ll probably record another album after that. I’ve been writing a lot for my solo album and I’ll try to piece it all together in the little time I have off. Music is why I get up in the morning, but it really doesn’t leave much time for anything else. That’s how I like it, though.


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