Published on October 8th, 2014 | by TLV News0
Local Musician: Keith Fondren – a.k.a. Doc Prana
Hometown: Batesville, Mississippi
Early music experience: Motown is where I learned from the baddest bass players in the world. All the musicians I knew were playing with such artists as Stevie Wonder, The Dramatics, Parliament Funkadelic, The Four Tops, Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Supremes, The Temptations…wow! I was like a kid in a toy shop. The wonderful thing about these musicians was that they had no ego, as good as they were. Teaching me how to read music, how to be a studio bass player, learning to play upright bass. Behold, I fear not in the valley of great bass players! I found out that I could hear whole musical compositions in my head—original concepts of my own. The musicians I knew could play quite well, but couldn’t write a great song. My song writing led me to a recording contract with MCA Records.
Music schooling: Motown was my school. Everything I needed was right at my grasp. The top music composers and musicians. We had a place called the Rapa House, it would open at 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. All the musicians finished with their R&B gigs would meet there, horns, keyboardists, guitarists and bass players. It was an open jam session to 6 in the morning. You had to know the jazz standards or read from the Fake Book. You had to come with it or get the F**k off the stage!
Favorite style/genre: Universal
Favorite instrument: Bass Guitar
Where do you practice? In my mind.
Have you ever been hassled for practicing? I live on a farm, so I pretty much have my own way.
What was the first concert you witnessed? Sly & The Family Stone
What bands have you played in? I really never played in a lot of bands. Writing and composing songs for others has been my forte. Bill Perry, Jr. and I, we’re recording the Trio CD at Mr. Burkhead’s studio, should be out in about a month. Also, recent project Journey To The House of Fire is more on my jazz fusion side. I’m innovating my own style, bringing forth some complicated musical jams.
One thing you would like to change about Oxford’s music scene: Bring in more than one style of music.
Most famous person you’ve jammed with: George Clinton / Parliament Funkadelic
Are you an artist or do any other creative arts? I’m an abstract expressionist. I’ve shown my art work at Southside Gallery with Jeri Allen, Mr. Dunlap, Ole Miss Museum, and the Powerhouse.
Do you have a “day job”? If so, where? I work on campus, and also my farm.
Where do you hang out in Oxford? I really don’t hang out, working too much.
Aspirations: To give it all I got and have no regrets, no excuses. Remember your next breath could be your last, don’t waste it on bullshit.
Got a website? http://docprana.wordpress.com/
Originally printed in The Local Voice #133 (published June 16, 2011).