Bassist Spotlight: Rich Thurston (Treason)

Photo: Ethan Martin

Introduce yourself to everyone.

What's up y'all? My name is Rich Thurston. Capricorn. I'm old. I've seen some things. I've done some things. 

What got you into playing bass guitar?

I started playing bass in like the 8th Grade. I was way into hair metal and everyone wanted to play guitar to shred some sick solos. I took two bass lessons. At my second lesson, I asked the instructor to show me how to play Anthrax "Caught in a Mosh," and it was on after that. Really, I just wanted to play bass because everyone else played guitar.

Did/does your family support your music?

My parents have always been super supportive. Early on they would buy me gear. They would have kept paying for lessons had I wanted to continue with that. They may not have been into the music but they supported me 100%.

Treason (Photo: Dan Murphy)

Typically, how do you write parts for your bands?

It always starts with an idea in my head. I'll be at work or watching tv and I'll start humming something. I can sometimes write a whole song in my head before even touching an instrument. 

What are you doing more of when you pick, upstrokes or downstrokes?

It varies, man. I've noticed that I downstroke during slower heavier parts where the faster parts I am alternating. I think some riffs need a little bit of both, to be honest. 

Do you play other instruments, and can you play and sing at the same time?

I can play several instruments, actually: guitar, bass, drums. I recorded all the music for Treason in the studio. At first, we had two members in Lexington so getting together just to write was difficult. I just wrote everything and recorded it in my basement. Then when it came time for the studio I just did it all. I'm sort of a jerk when it comes to that stuff. I have it a certain way in my head and I want it recorded that way. As far as singing and playing... backups only. I don't think I could or would want to attempt a whole song playing/singing.

Are there any bass players you are drawing inspiration from? 

I don't think I have been influenced by anyone as far as a playing style. There are different players tones I love but as far as actual style not really. However, I can recognize when someone is super good. Jason Black from Hot Water Music is a shredder. One of the best.

Are there any drummers who have changed the way you play?

Hmm... I don't know that any drummers have changed my style or made me play a certain way. What I can tell you is that when I played in Blood Has Been Shed I learned so much about guitar and music in general. That band made me push myself and made me such a better musician. 

What is your current, amp, bass guitar, pedal combination? 

Currently I have a Fender P Bass with Bare Knuckle pickups. I run a Peavey Firebass 700. It's loud as hell. I run that through a simple peavey 4x10 cab. I use a Tech 21 VT bass pedal. For me, it's such a good tone and I wouldn't change anything. I see people out here spending thousands of dollars for shit and its silly. 

Photo: Dan Rawe

I know you've toured a lot. Is there another city you'd like to live in?

If I could live anywhere it would be somewhere in Europe. I just love the thousands of years of history. So many amazing things to see and do. As far as the US, I'm down for Cincinnati. Queen City Hardcore.

Is there anything going on in your personal life you'd like to talk about?

I have an awesome 11-year-old daughter that is playing viola in school. She's rad. 

Would you tell everyone the story about the Biohazard show in 1993?

[Laughs] Ok. It was the Pantera/Biohazard/Machine Head tour in 1995, actually, I believe. West Palm Beach Auditorium. Machine Head played first and at the time there were only like 5 or 6 of us from Miami there. West Palm Beach Auditorium always had Nazi skinheads. They would come down to Miami sometimes and just get totally smashed. Like badly. Anyways like I said there were only 5 or 6 of us on the floor during Machine Head. We saw some of those Nazi dudes during their set. Long story short before we knew it there were like 20 Nazi skinheads eyeing us. I thought for sure we were doomed. The lights went down before Biohazard and you could see the silhouettes of these dudes getting into position around us. I thought... this is it. I'm going die in fucking West Palm Beach at a god damn Pantera show.

The first notes ring out and the lights come up. Sure as shit literally every single person I know just magically appeared. Like 40 people. It was like a god damn movie! About half a song went by and then all hell broke loose. Full on riot. Biohazard even stopped playing. House lights came on. I saw my friend Kevin O'Brien was squared up with some bonehead. I was about 30 feet away. I started in a full sprint towards him. Kevin saw me but didn't give it away. I hit this dude so ridiculously hard that I could see his soul leave his body. Out cold. Eventually, the cops and staff broke it up and threw me and few other guys out. As I came around the building I saw the dude I blasted being brought out on a stretcher.

Just then, the drummer for Machine Head saw me and was like, "Hey dude, I saw what you did in there. It was fucking awesome. Follow me." Dude walked me in through the back. I said hi to Dimebag and then went back to my seat. About two weeks later I was in West Palm Beach downtown with some friends and a car rolled up. It was the dude I almost murdered. He gave me the Nazi salute but couldn't yell because his jaw was wired shut. Also... he was delivering pizzas for Dominos. I still laugh about that to this day. I have so many stories I could share. I should write a book.

Do you have anything new musically you're working on?

New Treason 7" out on New Age Records in December. I have recorded some other music, too. I don't know if it will ever see the light of day but I love writing and recording music in all genres so we'll see.

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for someone picking up a bass guitar for the first time?

My only word of advice is this. No one owes you anything. If you start a band don't assume because you have 300 views on YouTube that you're owed some sort of compensation. Go play shows to 20 people. Have your van break down in the middle of Kansas. Work for it. Don't expect it or demand it when you've done nothing to earn it.


Follow Treason on their social media pages (FacebookInstagram) for more info. The True Believers EP will be out in the next couple of months via New Age Records.

Tagged: bassist spotlight, culture, on bodies, terror, treason