Paul Manske, 1954–2012

The first gig I played after moving to Minneapolis was with a band called 40 Watt Bulb, which at the time had a somewhat temporary lineup that included Paul Manske on bass guitar. The club (which should remain nameless, but it was the 400 Bar) had tried to stiff the band on both our time slot and our pay, and in both cases it was Paul who somehow talked someone into letting us play and get paid. So his introduction to me was as the man who Made Things Happen, but it was twenty minutes later, onstage with him, that he was reintroduced as Paul the Musician.

Paul had this way of playing a bass that made other musicians sound good. When you gave him the right kind of music, he played with a pocket so deep and a groove so wide it was impossible not to fall right in. More than once, my playing has been complimented and I’ve had to sheepishly admit that it wasn’t me holding things down, but Paul, whose bass lines telegraphed to me the appropriate things to play and I just followed instructions.

I didn’t know Paul as well as others who have lived here longer, but I’ve known him long enough to say he held music and friends in deep reverence — his home was constantly filled with both — he treated each with respect and admiration, and I’m going to miss him.