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Q&A with Ra Diaz from Suicidal Tendencies

Tell us in as many words as you wish where and how you grew up, about your family and how you got into playing bass and at what age did you begin playing?

I grew up in Chile, South America. I don’t really come from a “musician family”, but there was always music around the house in a way or another. There was people visiting all the time, they would sing, play guitar, stuff like that. At some point my older brother started playing guitar, and shortly after I picked up a bass. I was probably around 12 years old.

Tell us about your trek from Chile to LA what made you make the decision to move so far away, and how has it impacted your life?

I grew up listening to a lot of bands that just happened to be from California, so I was always intrigued about that. You know, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves, Fishbone… When I was around 15 years old, I was able to visit LA with my uncle and brother, and I remember thinking to myself “one day I’ll move here”. I immediately felt like I fit there. Anyways, went back to Chile, worked my ass off, played with a lot of bands and every venue, etc. It all started becoming very repetitive I think, so in 2010 I decided to move to Mexico and see what happens. I did some really cool stuff there and grew up a lot as a musician and as a person, being there by myself, you know. After a while I started coming more and more often to LA, touring, NAMM shows, etc, started making friends, connections, and eventually it just felt like it was the right time and moved here in 2013.

Let us congratulate you on the ST gig .. tell us how that came to be .. that is a spot that many bassists have moved on to great things through and we are sure hopeful that this happens for you.

Man, it’s a dream come true! Have you seen that movie Rockstar when the guy gets to join his all time favorite band? That’s pretty much how I feel about it, haha! I’ve always been a huge ST fan, I still am, and I was able to meet them in Chile around 2007 and stayed in touch with them ever since. Every time they visited Chile, I was going to be the first guy there. Of course once I moved to LA the friendship became stronger and they were always aware of the fact that I absolutely love the band and practice their songs all the time. If you follow my Instagram, you’ll see I was always posting videos of me playing their tunes, etc. So I guess they kinda knew I was ready, and when they needed a new bass player they decided to give me the opportunity and I’m so thankful for it. I play bass in my favorite band. I tour with my favorite band. I record with my favorite band. I hang out with my favorite band. For example, a couple months ago the band got inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, and I was there. Never in my wildest dreams I thought something like that would happen to me. Like, who gets to say that? I’m just living the dream man.

Tell us about your gear, basses, strings, amps of choice?

I only play Spector Basses. I honestly believe they’re probably the best basses for me and for the music we play. My main bass is a beautiful custom made Spector Coda5 Deluxe that we call the RAD5. It has a Darkglass Electronics on-board preamp and EMG Pickups. The tone is just amazing! I also have other USA, Euro and Korean Spector basses. I love them all. I use D’Addario FlexSteels strings on all of them. My amps of choice are Gallien-Krueger. I’ve been playing GK for over 10 years. They are amazing, and they’re great people. They have always supported me in many ways. I also use a variety of GruvGear products, like the Gigblade gigbag, ClubBag backpack and their FretWraps on my basses.

Who are your top 3-5 influences on bass?

In no particular order, some of my main influences would be Flea, Rob Trujillo, Josh Paul, James Jamerson, Jaco, Bubby Lewis, Thundercat, Justin Raines, Miguel Perez who was my teacher back in Chile, Pedro Aznar, Andrew Gouche, I don’t know man, the list never ends, haha!

What are you drawing inspiration from musically these days?

Just life I guess. Life is good right now. I’m surrounded by great people. People that truly cares and loves me. My family and friends and even my country they are all very proud of me. I’ve been feeling the love and good energy everywhere we’ve been to and it’s just been a beautiful journey so far.

What words of encouragement would you give to any young bassist considering to make a move such as you did?

I would say that if you honestly know you have what it takes and you are the right person to do it, don’t let anyone or anything stop you.

In closing what’s on the horizon for Ra Diaz?

We have a new album coming out September 30th. It’s called “World Gone Mad”. My first album with the band, and also the first one with Dave Lombardo on drums. We have lots of tour dates coming up so make sure to check out our website www.suicidaltendencies.com and our Facebook fan page for the latest news, tour dates and updates. I’m always praying for more and more touring. Everywhere I go, I see the happiness in people’s faces while we are playing. We have the greatest and most passionate fans ever. I can only hope we get the chance to keep making people smile all over the world.

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