the role after the departure of guitarist G.E. Smith from the
tour in the early '90s. In fact, Smith was the person who hooked
Garnier up with the job after the illness of bassist Kenny Aaronson.
Smith and Garnier had played together in the house band on Saturday
Garnier -- who was born in Minnesota and raised in California
-- did time as the bassist for country-swingers Asleep At the
Wheel as well as gigs backing Tom Waits, Robert Gordon, Buster
Poindexter (a.k.a. David Johansen of New York Dolls fame) Albert
Collins and Otis Rush.
role besides being the bandleader, is to underpin the three-guitar
assault of Dylan, Campbell and guitarist Charlie Sexton (and formerly
pedal steel/mandolin player Bucky Baxter).
basslines tie the musical arrangements together. His understated
and flexible style allows the ensemble to make the leap from slow
blues shuffles to sprite bluegrass passages all the way to the
pulsing, hard rock crunch of "Silvio." Using both an
electric bass and a stand-up "doghouse" bass for the
acoustic numbers, Garnier gives each groove the swing and depth
necessary, propelling the melody forward.
the trick," Garnier said in Bass Player magazine in 1997,
"listening to the groove and listening to the singer. It's
really hard. Sometimes you might tune in to the vocal a little
more; other times you need to set up a good groove so the singer
has something to sing to. That's what makes performing live so
songs are based on music I've played through-out my life,"
Garnier said. "but the best way to learn them is to know
the lyrics. Once you do that, you see how powerful his music is.
I can be onstage playing something we've performed hundreds of
times, and I still get emotional hearing it."
other distinction is that he has played longer with Dylan than
any other musician. His association with him dates almost to the
beginning of the Never Ending Tour and it seems plausible that
Garnier's continued presence has kept Dylan on the road as long
as it has. Garnier said, "Playing with Bob takes precedence
over everything else."