Freekbass embodies funk


Freekbass is set to bring funkified bass lines to The Burl on Saturday, Nov. 19 when he joins forces with Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts.

After years of performing his funkified bass lines, there aren’t many places or many facets of the music business that Cincinnati’s Chris “Freekbass” Sherman hasn’t partaken in.

The versatile musical magician has released six full-length records to date, the most recent being 2015’s CINCINNATI, the first with independent label Ropeadope Records. Sherman and his backup band The Bump Assembly recently were in Lexington to record their upcoming single covering Sly Fox’s “Let’s Go All the Way” which is slated for a Dec. 16 release alongside an all-new music video. 

According to Sherman, he and Sly Fox frontman Gary “Mudbone” Cooper have known each other for years, with Cooper being the first to introduce Sherman to fellow Cincinnati native Bootsy Collins. Collins is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of funk. 

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Freekbass and The Bump Assembly also have studio session time locked up with Duane Lundy at Lexington’s Shangri-La Productions for later this November on a seventh record.

Sherman’s talents have taken him around the world to perform and take part in several music shows and conventions. Sherman recently returned from Bass Player Live! in Los Angeles, and was in the U.K. attending the London Bass Guitar Show last year when he was approached by Tomm Stanley of New Zealand-based instrument company Stonefield, leading to a fortuitous partnership culminating in a Stonefield signature Freekbass bass guitar and short film documenting the journey.

The film, titled Looking for the Bassmaker, was filmed in various locations in New Zealand due to Sherman and Stanley’s affinity for Star Wars, comic books and anything nerdy. The island nation has served as film sites for The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies along with The Chronicles of Narnia series of movies in the past. The project was filmed by englishman Richard Bell, who’s worked on Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” and several videos for Depeche Mode during his career.

“There’s so many bass videos on the internet where somebody is just sitting in a studio fiddling with the knobs and showing off all the features,” Sherman said. “We wanted to do something different, so the end result is a mini fantasy film highlighting my journey for the ultimate bass.”

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In the past year, Sherman has broadened his skillset even more, hosting a weekly radio show Friday nights on Cincinnati’s WNKU 105.9 FM from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. under the moniker “Funky Fridays with Freekbass.” The show is co-hosted by Chris Donnelly, guitarist for the band Shag that Sherman founded in 1992. 

According to Sherman, he likes to take on the show from a podcast approach after growing an affinity for the format after years of listening to podcasts navigating from show to show. The cartoon plays songs while also having a strong focus on the history of the music and artists they’re highlighting. 

In a year on the air, Sherman has welcomed many prestigious guests to the show, including George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic for the inaugural episode along with Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk and George Porter Jr. of The Meters.

Freekbass returns to Lexington on Saturday, Nov. 19 for a co-headlining show at The Burl with Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts. It’s Sherman and company’s first performance in town since playing at Cosmic Charlie’s last November.

Earlier this year, Freekbass was joined by new members in the Bump Assembly, Joel “Razor Sharp” Johnson on keys and synths, and Rico Lewis on drums and percussion, replacing Jason Burgard on saxophone and the late Ken “Big Bamn” Smith, who lost his life earlier this year in an automobile accident. Lewis has spent the past 15 years touring with George Clinton and Bernie Worrell prior to his passing. Johnson has performed with Bootsy’s Rubberband and Parliament Funkadelic in the past.

Soon Sherman can add another notch to his belt – cartoon star. Earlier this year he was approached by D.S. Meyers of 30 Graphics Unit and pitched a cartoon featuring original music from Sherman. Season one is scheduled for release in early 2017, and negotiations are currently taking place for which mediums the show will appear on, including Netflix and others.

“We’re playing with the audience, not for the audience,” Sherman said. “The audience is just as part of the music and the band as we are. They create the whole sound with us, and that’s what makes performing live so beautiful.”


What: Freekbass, Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts

When: Saturday, Nov. 19 at 9 p.m.

Where: The Burl – 375 Thompson Rd.

Tickets: $10