The year may have only just begun, but last month, we witnessed what will be one of the largest televised musical events of 2020 — the Super Bowl 54 Pepsi halftime show starring Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
The BASSic Black Entertainment (BBE) All-Stars band, led by renowned producer and music director Adam Blackstone, arranged and performed the music for this year’s Latin extravaganza.
Performing the show’s vibrant 16-song medley (excluding interludes) is no easy feat, and production runs and rehearsals spanned an entire month in the lead up. We went behind the scenes with Adam during rehearsals, which you can watch below.
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“Not that I saw myself playing at the Super Bowl, but I didn’t think that it wouldn’t be possible” MONO artist @adamblackstone and the #BBEAllStars take us through the preparation leading up to the Super Bowl #PepsiHalfTime show. Video: @troynalls @iamdwalk @rahim.cmf @1209mediagroup #monocreators #goplay #bbe
After the big event, we also snagged some time with Super Bowl music director Adam Blackstone and drum royalty, Brian Frasier-Moore to talk about their most memorable experiences around the Super Bowl. They also give us the lowdown on their gear and advice for aspiring musicians.
Let’s start with you, Brian. Tell us about the relationship you have with Adam. This isn’t your first Super Bowl halftime show together, right?
Brian: Me and Adam are pretty much family! Outside of us working together, we share the same interests in the pursuit of life, family and friends. This was our second Super Bowl together and my third Super Bowl in total.
Brian (not shown) also played the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show with Adam (pictured on bass) for Justin Timberlake
For each of you, what were your most memorable moments during this year’s Super Bowl halftime show?
Adam: This year’s Super Bowl 54 had many memorable moments, but two that stick out in particular are:
- My rocked-out feature with Shakira on center stage!! She invited me out with her and I was able to bring energy and play one of the most favorite riffs of all time— the classic Kashmir riff [by Led Zeppelin].
- Second would be the memory of rocking Let’s Get Loud with JLo and her daughter Emmy. The message that she conveyed to the world was big — we are all here in America and on Earth, and music is one universal language that can unite us.
Brian: My most memorable moment? Hmmmm. There was the moment that I stepped into the rehearsal room and realized what was about to happen; there was a moment when we went to the field for the first time; there was a moment where we were standing in the tunnel about to walk on the field on Game Day and there was also a moment when I sat on my kit and the halftime show was about to start.
Finally, there was a moment of VICTORY while walking back to the dressing room. Those were some of my most memorable moments.
Adam, you premiered a brand new Custom Shop Ultra Jazz bass for the show. Tell us about this bass build and what makes it so special.
Adam: Fender and Moya Nkruma have been amazing to work with. They really get the player’s specs dialed in.
My new custom Fender is a 5 string Ultra series Jazz Bass. It features a unique “Modern D” neck profile for hours of playing comfort and the tapered neck heel allows easy access to the highest register.
A maple fingerboard with 21 medium-jumbo frets means effortless action, while the Ultra Noiseless™ Vintage pickups and redesigned preamp provide endless tonal possibilities – without hum. The sculpted rear body contours are as beautiful as they are functional.
This versatile, powerful instrument is perfect for how I push the boundaries of bass.
“Not that I saw myself playing at the Super Bowl, but I didn’t think that it wouldn’t be possible”Adam Blackstone
Brian, tell us about the cymbals you picked out for the Super Bowl halftime show.
Brian: I played the new line of Sabian cymbals at the Super Bowl. The design I chose was the best fit for the rest of my setup. Of course the design was AMAZING but the sound was actually great.
A lot of times you lose a lot of the sound when you place a design on a cymbal. In this case I retained about 80 percent of the cymbal sound. I love them!
You also debuted your new Signature Snare with Pearl. Talk us through your collaboration with Pearl and the thought process behind the specifications of your snare.
Brian: The Brian Frasier-Moore Signature Snare! I was so excited to be able to debut her at NAMM 2020 and Super Bowl 54.
The specs for my snare stem from me and my sound. I had a signature snare with Tama when I was there so I’m a little familiar with the process.
This snare is designed for versatility, power and consistency. At NAMM 2020, I tuned 3 of my signature snares 3 different ways to preview the versatility. All in all, the BFM Signature Snare is the complete snare for any situation.
The specs include:
- 14”x 5.5”
- 45 degree bearing edges
- 12 ply shell (2 ply gum wood – inner shell/ 8 ply maple wood/ 2 ply gum wood – butter shell)
- Mastercast die cast hoops
- 10 lungs
- 42 strand snares
- Natural gloss finish
- Retail price: $600.00 (available for preorder at bfmworld.com).
In BBE’s Super Bowl documentary, Adam had this to say about your journey: “Not that I saw myself playing at the Super Bowl, but I didn’t think that it wouldn’t be possible”
What advice do you two have for aspiring musicians on how to stay determined and positive in the music industry?
Adam: My advice for aspiring musicians would be to follow your dreams, put no limits on yourself and surround yourself with people who are better than you at what you aspire to be.
Also, remain humble and trust in God. For with Him, all things are possible.
Brian: Stay humble, work hard. Treat people as you want to be treated, be flexible, be self-contained. And if you want any more advice, you can visit bfmworld.com and set up a consultation with me. I look forward to speaking to you soon.
Last but not least, what’s in the bag?
Adam: MONO has been a stablemate in my rig. The cases, pedalboard and FlyBy keep me on the go, focused and ready to take on the world. There are several things that must be with me in these items as well:
- My EBS pedals (Octabass, Multicomp, Microbass)
- BOSS tuner
- Black Diamond strings
- IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo Audio Interface
- My Empire in-ears
- OWC hard drives.
Brian: I keep my computer, hard drives and miscellaneous items in my Stealth Alias bag.
I keep my Sabian Cymbals in my MONO Cymbal Case and my Brian Frasier-Moore Signature Sticks by Vater in my MONO Studio Stick Case.
Watch the full Super Bowl halftime show with Adam and Brian in action here: