John Papa Gros: I remember my first gig that I played on Bourbon Street. There was a Hammond organ in the club.
I didn’t even know how to start it because it’s got a motor and everything. So I had to find another organ player down the street and ask him to come help me start it.
Once I got it up and running, I started playing. I’m like, this is how easy it is to make an organ sound when I was using all these digital boxes and things trying to just get a sound that sounds like all the Motown sounds, and all the Neville Brothers sounds and things like that. It really got to be a personal relationship that I have with the Hammond organ, which is completely different than the relationship I have with the piano, so it started at an early age.
Cris: How much have you changed as a musician as a result of your work with Lou Gramm?
Michael Staertow: Probably a lot more than I have realized. I've gone back and watched some video of the very first show (after) I joined his band officially. And I watched videos from the most recent show. I think I have definitely relaxed a lot more. I have learned to grown into my position and be more comfortable in the context of what I do with Lou. Getting to play those great songs helped me to grow as a guitar player. It's helped me become a better songwriter, a better performer. I think it has helped me step my game up considerably.
(listen to the full interview)
Jim Weider of The Weight Band: I dabbled in songwriting in my early years, but I became more of a songwriter when I joined The Band, playing that material and listening to those lyrics. And then Levon brought me down to the South and to see his influences, the blues players and the lyrics they were using, as well as the rockabilly guys that influenced him. I started learning all that music, and it helped my songwriting for sure.
Daniel Glass: My teaching style is very fundamentals-based, and it ties in to all the historical information I’ve gathered over the years. The goal is to share not only the knowledge itself, but also where it comes from and why it’s important for us to learn it. I like to call this "The Why Behind The What".
Grace Kelly: My most-inspired songs have come from very emotional times in my life. There is a recent song of mine called "Feels Like Home" that so many people in my life have had a strong reaction to. They end up telling me a lot of their personal life stories and how they relate to that song. And that song came to me at a very inspired moment. I had just met my boyfriend. We were doing all of these tourist things in New York. I had kind of put my whole routine completely to the wayside to spend all of this great time together. And ironically enough, that's what brought out a song. I've been thinking about this concept a lot lately, about when you push, push, push. But then when you are not pushing at all and (the song) just comes. I think there needs to be a fine balance. Because sometimes inspiration doesn't strike and sometimes the best things are deadlines.
(Listen to the full interview)
Fur Dixon: For quite a long time, maybe 25 - 27 years, I was playing a lot of acoustic, solo (shows). But I also did a lot of busking. The reason I went off the path to more singer-songwriter stuff was because I had a child. And I just didn't have the time to have a band. So I started busking in New York City and at art festivals. And it was really lucrative. Wow! It was shocking how you could open up your case and play tunes… I guess if you're good enough. The first time I ever busked I didn't have anywhere to put the money because I didn't know I was going to make any money and I came home with like $93 in an hour. It was so much change, it was stuffed in my pockets, and I didn't even have a plastic bag on me to put the change in. So busking teaches you what works and what doesn't and how to project.
(from episode 24 of the podcast)
Cris: Producer Michael Knox said that you play in the studio with the same energy that you have in concerts. How do you do that? What is the key to bringing that energy into the studio?
Rich Redmond, drummer for Jason Aldean: I was just talking to my new friend, Rick. He is a DJ in Denver on one of the big stations there. And it turned out he is a drummer. He said, "I am a big believer in people putting their energy into their instrument." It's almost like you play your personality. There are some exceptions, but drummers are usually the loudest, highest energy, most obnoxious person in the band. And you want that person on the drums. You really do. So I really think the drums are a manifestation of my personality, my soul, my aura.
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