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Wednesday October 1st 2014

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From Philadelphia With Love

G. Love and Special Sauce Perform at Vinyl Music Hall
By Kate Peterson

Musicians are hard characters to nail down, and if you want to ask them questions, well, they are busy being creative and stuff. However, we got this one, literally, on the fly. We tracked down G. Love and Special Sauce in an airport, about to embark on a U.S. tour to promote their recently released album, “Fixin’ To Die”.

“Fixin’ To Die” is the fourth album released by G. Love and Special Sauce on Brushfire Records, a record label owned by Jack Johnson. The interesting thing about this album is, not only do the Avett Brothers, Scott and Seth, perform on some of the tracks–they produced the album. The convergence of these musicians came after some time performing on the same concert stages and playing together after shows.

Front man G. Love (aka Garret Dutton), stopped to answer some questions about their album and life in general.

IN: There is some chatter on your website forum that your new album “Fixin’ To Die” is being made using red vinyl. Is that true?
G. LOVE: Yes, that is true. It looks dope. Seriously the slickest vinyl in my collection, and the record sounds best on vinyl (but that’s just my opinion).

IN: How is the tour going?
G. LOVE: I leave for tour today. Actually, I’m in the airport writing this at the gate. The band is sounding great–the new record is going to be amazing live. I don’t think I’ve looked forward to a tour this much in a long, long time.

IN: What is it like to have people using social media outlets to communicate their love for your music?
G. LOVE: This is amazing. It’s even more gratifying than a Polaroid picture. Instant gratification is what we all want, right? As a musician, I really feel connected with my supporters and fellow musicians, and I appreciate the love and honest feedback.

IN: From 1992 to now you have recorded 14 albums, 10 with the band and four solo recordings. How has your music progressed from then to now?
G. LOVE: The music is like a river. It keeps flowing, and I’m just holding on riding the rapids. I started releasing records in 1994 as G. Love–when I discovered the Hip-hop Blues. The new record, “Fixin’ To Die”, is a second chance at making a first record. This is the record I have been trying to make for 20 years.

IN: Garrett Dutton to G. Love—How did that come about?
G. LOVE: I had made a record that I was going to sell out of my guitar case when I was a street musician in Boston in 1992. When I went to the cassette-duping place in Revere, Mass., they asked me what did I want to call it. I said, ‘Call it G. Love, Oh Yeah!’ I never looked back. I wanted a stage name that would reflect both the Blues and Hip-hop. All of my influences, whether it was KRS-ONE or Muddy Waters, had stage names, so I figured that was the way to go.

IN: What is the best part of what you do?
G. LOVE: The best part is doing what I love, which is playing music. There is nothing in the world like writing a song about something personal and seeing people singing your lyrics right back at you. What could be more fulfilling than making a living inspiring people to play music, dance and have a really great time?

IN: Being a part of Brushfire Records and working with Jack Johnson—How has that experience changed your music, or has it?
G. LOVE: Brushfire is a family, and all the other artists are my friends. It has been an incredibly supportive place to make records. The label is driven by creativity, not sales. It’s just a wonderful place to call home. As artists and musicians we are constantly feeding off of each other and bouncing ideas around.

IN: The Avett Brothers not only performed on your latest album, but they also produced it, what was that experience like?
G. LOVE: Working with Scott and Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers was extremely important to the creative success of “Fixin’ To Die”. From the initial stages of picking the tunes, to putting the sequence together and everything in between—they proved themselves as excellent producers. As brothers, they work very well together, constantly pushing one another and me towards the best performances. They are very clear in their vision and work ethic and we were able to make the record of my career, so far, in nine days. All along the way they were constantly making the right important creative decisions. We really wanted a stripped down, minimalistic approach to the music. Everything was recorded live. The music is very honest and sincere. We had just enough time to make a great record and not enough time to screw it up.

IN: Are you scheduled to play any festivals this year? What do you like or dislike about those experiences?
G. LOVE: We are scheduled to play Bonnaroo. And it looks like we will be at a bunch of festivals that haven’t announced their lineups yet. I love playing the festival circuit. Knowing that you can reach new people and also the opportunity to play in front of your peers helps to take the music on a very high level.

IN: Sorry, have to ask: Best place for a Philly, in Philly?
G. LOVE: You mean a cheese steak? I recommend Jim’s Steaks, on South Street. Coach would always take us there after we won a big game in my basketball league growing up. I like it with provolone cheese and fried onions, hot peppers on the side. Nice order.

IN: What’s next for the band?
G. LOVE: We are just really looking forward to getting out on the road and playing “Fixin’ To Die” live coast to coast and around the world. 1,000 percent every night. The low-down-dirty-blues.

IN: What can we expect from your live show that’s different from your recordings?
G. LOVE: We always flip it live. I hardly know what to expect every night. I just want the music to take the band, the whole audience and me to another world—We call it the 13th level. It is rather euphoric.

info@inweekly.net

G. LOVE AND SPECIAL SAUCE
WHEN: 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 15
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
COST: $20-$25
DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com