While these days he is most known for amassing an absurd number of kills as John Wick, Keanu Reeves is also an avid bass guitar player in his leisure time. He also discusses his affection for the instrument in depth in a brand-new video that was uploaded to Fender’s YouTube channel via Guitar.com
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea gave Reeves a surprise bass lesson, which cemented his belief that playing the bass is less about theory and more about experiencing it and having fun.
“I think I’m a wild animal playing with a piece of wood,” he says. “I didn’t learn a lot of songs. I didn’t listen to a song and try and figure it out. Kids: I regret that. If you’re picking up an instrument, it’s cool to figure out what people have done before, but I wasn’t doing that. So I would just play. So I had no theory.
“I remember one time I was doing a film, and Flea was in it, or I was in a film with Flea. And I remember there was a house, and there [were] amps and instruments and stuff like that.
“And I was like, ‘Hey, Flea, can you give me a lesson?’ And he was like, ‘Sure, man!’ And he was like [gestures complex bass solo]. And I was like, ‘Alright, so?’ And he was like, ‘Just feel it, man. Just play.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’”
Elsewhere in the video, Reeves recalls purchasing his first bass in the parking lot of a Guitar Center store.
“I was asked what was my first bass,” he says. “I’ve been trying to remember, but I think it was like 1986. I went to the Hollywood Guitar Center with the daydream of getting a bass guitar.’
“I ended up… I don’t recall, but there was a guy there who was selling a bass. He was with a friend. Not at the store, it was like a parking lot sale. I had, like, a bass drug deal.”