25 years ago a trio from Philadelphia led by Garrett Dutton, also known as G Love- released their debut album G. Love and Special Sauce. With that release, the band brought their music to the people: a unique blend of roots, blues, hip hop and jams that somehow reached a faithful group of music fans. The band and their fans have adopted each other for the decades that followed. This weekend, Saturday September 14th, Dutton and G. Love will be coming to New England to host the Cape Cod Roots and Blues Festival.
We took this opportunity to catch up with G. Love and to ask him about his career, his tastes, his song writing, his peers and his overall view of the scene. Since the inception of this website, Live Music News and Review.com has aimed to be a community site- a place where live music fans can gather, find out about music and to report on what is happening out at shows. So for this interview, we thought it apt to ask LMNR fans to contribute the questions that we posed to G. Love. This is your interview. Enjoy:
What keeps you touring and making music – like what really does it for you? – Juliana Wilson
G. LOVE: For me it’s the connection with the fans. My goal is to make people happy and inspired every night. I love to play solo acoustic and with my band. And I love to play music in general. I love being on stage and there is nothing better than seeing a whole room of people moved by your music.
How did a kid from Avalon, NJ manage to get a record deal? – David Avery
G. LOVE: I started as a street performer in Philadelphia and Boston. I baby stepped my way into a major label record deal in 1993. There’s no road map to getting a career, but you have to put every ounce of effort, will, dedication and inspiration into your journey along the way. And get lucky.
From your own perspective, How has your music changed since you started out? What music do you listen to? What inspires you? What was the last song you wrote? Greatest musical moment? Worst musical moment? – James Johnston
G. LOVE: The two last songs I wrote and recorded were my greatest Christmas carol ever recorded, called “Christmas Joint” which should be coming out this winter. And also “The Strongest of Our Kind” which was a collaboration with Mihali and Eric Krasno for Mihali’s new record. My songs are inspired by life and everything.
How has creating a family changed the way you make music and tours? – Katie Smegielski
G. LOVE: When I had a family it brought my whole life into focus. I was able to realize what was important and what was not. Having a family helped me to elevate my music, my songwriting, my performance, my business and everything in my life.
You’ve seen the Northeast scene move from a few select festivals to a flood of events of the nature. You watch the “jam band” and funk scenes develop, diminish and come back out with brand new sounds. In a “scene” and region such as the Northeast that changes from year to year, how has staying steady in your sound, style and drive worked in your favor of adapting? It’s as if you and Eddie Vedder know some secret to keeping with the same sound while still evolving as a musician and artist. How do you reconcile that with a scene that wants a new favorite act every fall festival season? – Christopher Michael Jacques
G. LOVE: I think that the most important thing you can do is be original. You have to keep pushing yourself as an artist to change and elevate your game and creativity. For me personally I follow my music. The song writing process and what is currently in my heart and soul dictate what my direction will be. One thing I can say, is you never want to chase something that is trending.
How did you connect with Phil Lesh? – Rick Winfield
G. LOVE: I was invited to play harmonica and guitar for the Phil Lesh and Friends’ “Dead Blues.” After that we were friends and we did have a pretty crazy night where I acted as his handler on the late night at Jazz Fest.
How did you feel about your music being used for one of the early viral videos (“Milk & Cereal”)? – Jon Bettinger
G. LOVE: I felt thrilled about that. It’s not so often you can get something to go viral. You don’t know when, where or why. When “Milk & Cereal” went viral it was amazing. Of course the song was never on an official release so was therefore not for sale. We didn’t get paid on that, but it was exciting nonetheless.
Is more mainstream popularity important to you? Is that something you strived to do in the past and is it something you yearn for in the future? – Keith Halladay
G. LOVE: I guess I always just try to make the best records and put on the greatest live shows I can, every chance I get. A lot of the things that have to do with having huge commercial success are well out of your control. And often times you don’t realize you are having those moments when they do happen, because you’re too busy playing guitar. Everyone wants to get a hit, me included. I want my music to reach as many people around the world as possible.
What’s your favorite beer? – Luke Sass
G. LOVE: G. Love’s Special Sauce the Juice IPA. My collaboration with Good Life Brewery.
Where did the influence for “Kick Drums” come from? Any hopes for future collaborations with Jack Johnson? – Chelle Joy Pezzo
G. LOVE: “Kick Drums” was a collaboration with our back up singers Brodeeva. They wrote the lyrics and we wrote the music. I think the song speaks for itself. Jack and I continue our great friendship and jamming as often as we can. Whenever we are in the same place at the same time there will be jams.
What role has surfing played out in your music and can you tell us more about the book you wrote for your kids about being on the road as a musician? – Chad Gelinas
G. LOVE: Surfing always sets my mind free and is a great passion of mine. The surf community has always embraced my music and that’s been wonderful as a fellow surfer. One of the things that’s hard about being a traveling musician is being away from my family. No matter what age my kids are, it never gets easy to leave them. I wrote that book “Little Daddies” when my son Aiden was three years old. He’s now 18 years old and I have another son Lewis who is 3 now and I read him the book last night. It still works!
What was it like having Johnny Trama in your band? – Craig Sala
G. LOVE: Johnny is one of the greatest guitar players I’ve gotten to play with over the years. We play together whenever we can.
What about moe. tour this summer. Favorite moe. jam? – Miles Hurley
G. LOVE: My favorite jam was when we all collaborated on my new song called “Go Crazy.” The moe. guys are awesome musicians and it was a real pleasure watching them play this summer.
9/13/19 Solo CCRB VIP @ Hog Island Beer Co.Orleans, MA
9/14/19 Full Band Cape Cod Roots & Blues Festival Nauset Beach, MA
9/19/19 Full Band w/ Hall & Oates MUSC Health StadiumCharleston, SC
9/20/19 Full Band Greenfield Lake Amphitheater Wilmington, NC
9/21/19 Full Band Southbound Smokehouse at SRP ParkAugusta, GA FREE SHOW
9/22/19 Full Band Salvage StationAsheville, NC
9/24/19 Full Band w/ Hall & Oates Oak Mountain Amphitheatre Pelham, AL
10/12/19 Full Band Wire & Wood Music Festival Alpharetta, GA
10/18/19 Solo Oosterpoort Groningen, NL
10/19/19 Solo Bird Rotterdam, NL
10/20/19 Solo Divadlo Archa Prague, CZ
10/21/19 Solo Kabinet Múz Brno, CZ
10/23/19 Solo Bush Hall London, UK
10/24/19 Solo Point Ephémère Paris, FR
10/25/19 Solo Zonnehuis Amsterdam, NL
12/20/19 Solo w. Anders Osborne Tipitinas New Orleans, LA