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Juan Alderete

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Juan Alderete
Alderete at Earthquaker Day 2018
Alderete at Earthquaker Day 2018
Background information
Birth nameJohn Peter Alderete[1]
Born (1963-09-05) September 5, 1963 (age 60)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Instrument(s)Bass guitar
Years active1985–present

Juan Alderete de la Peña (born September 5, 1963) is an American musician, best known as the longtime bassist of Racer X, the Mars Volta and Marilyn Manson.


Alderete was born in Los Angeles, California the fourth of five children.

Son of the late civil rights activist Angel Manuel Alderete,[2] he was exposed to jazz music on a weekly basis by his father, who often played it around the Alderete household. Juan decided to pick up the bass after he and his friends decided to start a band.[3] Other early influences included his brother's progressive rock albums, which included bands such as Yes, Rush, King Crimson, etc. He started learning the basics of the bass guitar when he was 16, and was influenced by such players as Jaco Pastorius, Geddy Lee, and Stanley Clarke. Some of his other influences include Jamaladeen Tacuma and John Entwistle, the bass player for the Who. His fascination with the bass guitar revolved around it being a somewhat "underappreciated" instrument at the time.

Alderete enrolled in Musicians Institute in Hollywood (Los Angeles, CA). He enjoyed his time in the school, explaining that he was able to learn techniques and styles that he had never even considered prior to his enrollment. Alderete and fellow student Paul Gilbert started their musical relationship during an audition that Alderete held to find a drummer. Alderete showed up at the audition, bringing a Musician's Institute student and drum-playing friend named Bill Lescohier. Although Lescohier was turned down for the part, Gilbert was impressed with Alderete's bass playing; the two quickly sought to form a speed metal band that would incorporate Gilbert's advanced neoclassical metal guitar technique with Alderete's solid bass lines. To complete the band, Harry Gschoesser joined to fill the drummer position, and Jeff Martin became the vocalist; the group named themselves Racer X (a title that Lescohier had suggested). With this lineup, the band released their debut album, Street Lethal, in 1986. Alderete has been recording with Racer X ever since (note: there was a ten-year hiatus starting from 1989), and their latest album was released in 2002, titled Getting Heavier. Alderete is credited as John Alderete on all Racer X albums.

However, four years after the creation of the band, Gilbert left Racer X to form the band Mr. Big. The remaining members of Racer X decided to stay active in music, although they went their separate ways. For the next ten years, Alderete would be involved in several different bands (including The Scream, DC-10, Big Sir, and Distortion Felix) as well as becoming an instructor at Musicians Institute. Not long after, he released his first instructional video on bass techniques and modulation.

Although Extreme Volume II: Live was released in 1992, Racer X was not actually reunited. That year, Paul Gilbert was touring with Mr. Big, and Alderete was recording with a hard rock band called The Scream. In actuality, the album was just a compilation of songs that were recorded in concerts before the hiatus. However, around 1999, Alderete got a telephone call from Paul Gilbert, who asked if there was any possibility of recording another Racer X album. Juan agreed, and Racer X reunited to record Technical Difficulties, which features new material as well as older songs that were never recorded.

In 2003, while working as a radio producer, Alderete received a call from Omar Rodríguez-López of The Mars Volta while on their European tour with an offer to audition for the band:

Eventually I auditioned, but they gave me no sign of whether I was cutting it or not. But they said I could leave my gear for the next day. On the second day, I didn't think I played that well. We jammed some more on the third day, but I was having trouble with this crazy drum break in "Roulette Dares" from the first record. I just couldn't hear what I was supposed to be doing, so I told Omar, "I don't know why I'm not getting it, but I'll really work on it," and he said, "You'd better get it down, because we have a show on Thursday."[4]

He went on to record Frances The Mute with them in 2004, and has played bass on every Mars Volta album since, as well as a number of solo albums by Omar Rodríguez-López. Since joining the band, he has played at Madison Square Garden and was featured on the front cover of the March 2005 issue of Bass Player Magazine.

Aside from The Mars Volta, Alderete has been invested in his own musical projects. Big Sir is a group composed of Juan and singer Lisa Papineau that has released four albums. Vato Negro is a group with a revolving door of musicians; originally a duo of Alderete and drummer Matt Sherrod, it has since featured Deantoni Parks, Omar Rodriguez-López, and Jon Theodore in various lineups. Alderete has played shows with both groups in 2010, in California and Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.

In addition, Alderete co-produced the film The Sentimental Engine Slayer with Rodríguez-López and former Mars Volta bandmate Paul Hinojos.[5]

After The Mars Volta broke up in 2013, Alderete joined vocalist Cedric-Bixler Zavala in his new band, Zavalaz, and later became the touring bassist for Deltron 3030. Juan also runs a website dedicated to showcasing effects pedals and other musical gear called PedalsAndEffects.com.

Alderete also laid down the bass line for the late rapper and singer Lil Peep on his 2017 single "Benz Truck".[6]

On November 5, 2017. Alderete filled in bass for Marilyn Manson at the Ozzfest Meets Knotfest festival, replacing longtime bassist Jeordie White, a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez. He has been Manson's bass player on tour since.

Personal life[edit]

Alderete lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Anne.

On May 1, 2007, Alderete announced that he had been diagnosed with polycythemia vera, a rare blood disease. However he also mentioned that he was feeling fine, would experience no side effects from the medication, and would continue to play music.[7] Since discovering his condition, Alderete had agreed to become a spokesman for the MPD Foundation.[citation needed]

On January 13, 2020, Alderete sustained a serious brain injury as a result of a bicycle accident near his home.[8] Despite wearing protective equipment, he suffered a form of diffuse axonal injury and was in a coma for almost four weeks.[9][10] By September, he had undergone therapies and returned to playing bass.[10]

Technique and equipment[edit]

Playing style[edit]

Influenced by players like Jaco Pastorius, Alderete's main playing technique is to use the "standard" fingers to pluck the strings with his right hand (two fingers: index and middle). He occasionally uses Dunlop Gel picks, as well as his signature picks. He is also known to use two-handed tapping techniques and slapping/popping, which was influenced by Louis Johnson, the bass player for the American funk and R&B band The Brothers Johnson. Alderete also cites Dr. Dre and Kool Keith of the hip hop group Ultramagnetic MCs as influences. While the two didn't formally play bass, Alderete looks to their bass lines for influence.

Bass guitars[edit]

The Laklands that Alderete had on tour are:

  • a white Darryl Jones Signature
  • a black custom fretless
  • a red Bob Glaub signature

Lakland had made Alderete a bass guitar that if popular, would become a signature model, assumed to be based on his modified 70's fretless Fender Jazz that he used during the Frances the Mute tour.

  • Darryl Jones model body
  • Fretless neck with painted lines
  • Volume/Volume/Tone. (Passive)
  • Precision/Jazz pickup orientation
  • "Curb" style thumb rest
  • Killswitch

For live shows he was most recently using a white model with a white pickguard and maple fingerboard.


  • Mid-'70s Ampeg SVT Amplifier (now Ampeg SVT-VR heads with 8x10" SVT cabs)
  • Early '70s Acoustic 360 preamp and folded 18" cabinet (the "Jaco rig")

Alderete was featured on the first issue of the online magazine Resonate, talking about his Ampeg Rig.

Effects Pedals[edit]

A short, and incomplete, list:[11]

  • At least 3 Boss CS-2 Compressor/Sustainers
  • MXR DC Brick
  • Electro-Harmonix Bass Synthesizer ('70s version)
  • Two DigiTech Whammy IV Pedals
  • moogerfooger MF-102 Ring Modulator
  • DigiTech Digital Delay
  • Boss LS-2 Line Selector
  • Fulltone Fuzz
  • Musitronics Mutron III
  • Musitronics Mutron Micro V
  • Electro-Harmonix Sovtek Fuzz (second issue)
  • MXR Phase 100
  • Digitech Bass Synth Wah
  • Boss PN-2 Pan Tremolo
  • Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
  • Dunlop Bass Crybaby Wah
  • Boss OC-2 Octave
  • Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
  • Wren and Cuff Phat Phuk B
  • Wren and Cuff Tri Pie 70
  • Line 6 DL4 Delay
  • Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
  • DOD Meat Box Sub Octave Pedal
  • EarthQuaker Devices Hummingbird[12]
  • EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath


With Racer X[edit]

With The Scream[edit]

  • Let It Scream (1991)
  • Takin' It to the Next Level (Recorded in 1993, unreleased)

With DC-10[edit]

  • Co-Burn (1995)

With Distortion Felix[edit]

  • Record (1999)
  • I'm An Athlete (1999)

With Big Sir[edit]

With Halo Orbit[edit]

  • Halo Orbit (2016/2017)

With The Mars Volta[edit]

With Omar Rodríguez-López[edit]

With Free Moral Agents[edit]

  • Control This (2010)

With Vato Negro[edit]

  • Bumpers (2008)
  • TBA – (TBA)

With Zavalaz[edit]

  • All Those Nights We Never Met (unreleased)

With Lil Peep[edit]

With Marilyn Manson[edit]

Guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "TC Electronic | Artists | Artist | Juan Alderete". Retrieved February 1, 2024.
  2. ^ "Angel Manuel Alderete Obituary - Novato, CA". Dignity Memorial. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "Juan Alderete: 'Our Band on Tour is Myself, Lisa and the iPad, That's Our Drummer'".
  4. ^ "Back on Track". Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  5. ^ Juárez, El Diario de. "Diario.mx: Últimas Noticias de Cd. Juárez, México y el Mundo". El Diario de Juárez. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  6. ^ "The Making of Lil Peep's "Benz Truck" with Smokeasac | Deconstructed". YouTube. February 13, 2018. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.
  7. ^ "RACER X Bassist Diagnosed With Rare Blood Disease". blabbermouth.net. May 2, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  8. ^ Neale, Matthew (January 25, 2020). "Mars Volta and Marilyn Manson bassist Juan Alderete is in a coma following bike accident". NME. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
  9. ^ "News about Juan Alderete — Pedals and Effects". pedalsandeffects.com. January 26, 2020. Retrieved February 5, 2024.
  10. ^ a b Seah, Daniel (December 20, 2020). "Paul Gilbert sells his rare Ibanez Ice-Stroyer to support Juan Alderete's recovery". guitar.com. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
  11. ^ "Juan Alderete on Bass guitar mag June/July?". TalkBass.com. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  12. ^ Alderete, Juan. "Juan Alderete's Signal Chain Suggestions". BassPlayer.com. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Alderete, Juan (October 2, 2019). "Benz Truck". Retrieved November 15, 2019.

External links[edit]