The Tracks and Greg from Dillinger speak about camaraderie, DIY or Die and more at Bonnaroo.
DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN INTERVIEW WITH MOE TRAIN’S TRACKS
Greg Puciato, Monty Wiradilaga, Brian Kracyla
Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo 2009
You never know what’s going to happen during a Moe Train’s Tracks interview, as Greg Puciato, frontman of Dillinger Escape Plan, has his own interview with a dazed and confused girl, we speak about the camaraderie of the scene, how “DIY or Die” fuels his band, their new lineup, and next year’s upcoming album. Enjoy.
M: What’s going on man?
G: Nothing, just hanging out, just walking around checking some stuff out.
Random girl: (to Greg) Can you point me in the direction of the Rendezvous Tent?
G: Umm. (Laughter) What is your name?
RG: I’m Caroline.
G: Caroline, I’m Greg from the Dillinger Escape Plan, and we are doing an interview right now.
G: Um, and I have no idea where I am right now either.
C: I’m supposed to have a rendezvous at the Rendezvous Tent.
G: That what you do at the Rendezvous Tent, right, but you don’t know how to get there, which poses a problem. I don’t know either. (to random passerby) Do you know how to get to the Rendezvous Tent?
RP: I don’t know how to get there.
G: What good is trying to rendezvous with someone if you can’t get to the Rendezvous Tent?! (all laughing) Caroline, good luck trying to get there.
C: Thank you.
G: Wow! How many drugs did that girl take?
M: Welcome to Bonnaroo.
G: Seriously, that was amazing. She was higher than a kite.
M: (Laughter) I think that’s the general consensus with most people here right now.
G: Most people I look at here, if they don’t have sunglasses on, you can just look in their eye and be like, “You’re on some other thing right now in some other place.”
M: Exactly. Earlier today, when you guys came on, it was like, “Wake the fuck up Bonnaroo!”
G: Dude, I can’t believe how siked people were. I thought for sure, in general at this fest’ because it has a reputation for being more of a hippy peace-love type of thing, that as soon as we come out and start screaming at people and doing cool shit, people are going to turn around and just walk the other way, but people were siked, at one in the afternoon on the last day! It was honestly, we were talking about it after the show, the best big show that we’ve ever played in the United States.
G: Yeah. We felt like we played well. People seemed stoked on us.
M: Yeah, the reception was definitely great.
G: This type of vibe, it just doesn’t exist that often in the U.S., this type of festival vibe. It felt very European. In the United States, when you think of a festival, you think of Ozzfest or Warped Tour, and it’s like the same thing all day long. But this is cool because yesterday was Nine Inch Nails and today, if you wanted to, you can see the Dillinger Escape Plan and then Erika Badu.
M: She’s still on right now.
G: I really wanted to see her…
M: I’ll cut it short then.
G: It’s okay. It’s cool because it seems like, for a very long time here, people have been very into the mind-set of like, “I’m only listen to metal” or “I only listen to hip-hop”. Now, it’s cool to see so many people turn out for such an eclectic thing.
M: Exactly. It’s just always weird to see the different the different scenes clashing.
G: No, it’s cool, it’s very cool.
M: In watching your set it became evident how camaraderie really works its way into your music. You don’t see often where you can throw your mic into the crowd, let them sing, and when you call for it, they throw it right back to you.
G: I think something about our music, we’ve been around for ten years, I think there’s some aspect to it, besides the obvious insane energy and aggression of it, there’s a vibe of everyone knowing that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to listen to and it’s not the easiest thing in the world to get. For as many people who are siked on it there’s a lot of people that just probably hate it. I think that makes the people that are into to it have this really us-against-the-world type of vibe. We’ve always tried to be really hands-on with our fans and really communicative and never to-cool-for-school and always talk to them and do cool stuff with them. If they right to us online we try to write back to every person. I think, over the years, it’s created now a point where we have this really cool synchronous type vibe with our fans. It’s neat man, it’s really nice.
M: It’s also basically crossed the line from camaraderie to trust.
G: Yeah, that kid could have stole the mic and ran away with it, but he threw it back. That’s the other thing, I think when you have confidence and you give someone some responsibility and your cool to them, they feel obligated to be cool back. If that kid had tried to run away with the mic I probably would have jumped on him and killed him. But it feels good and it’s interesting, I have a lot of people say that our shows, even though they are so aggressive and so violent, it feels like the overall vibe is still positive in a way. So, yeah, that’s really cool.
M: Absolutely. Also, not just that, but you doing stage diving and your guitarist stage diving with his guitar! Now that’s trust.
G: Yeah. To me, we just try to take the vibe of playing in a basement to twenty people where we came from and try to get that to translate to bigger places and the only way to do that is to be as hands-on and as physically in people’s faces as possible and force them to wake up a little bit. It sad to see so many people have such a rock star complex that the only time that they engage their fans is if they do some kind of scheduled meet-and-greet or a signing or something. You know, hang out for a little bit and shake some people’s hands or jump into the crowd or do something. I do know man, you (the rock star) are no better than anyone else. This is going to be over for us one day and who knows what we’re going to be doing. So to try to act like you’re cooler than school is silly.
M: Hippies versus hardcore kids…
G: It’s two sides to the same coin because the whole hippy vibe and the punk rock thing, which is what hardcore came out of, are both very socially aware movements. The
re both very communal, we’re all in this together versus some type of exterior force type of vibe, and one just took a much more aggressive approach than the other. It’s kinda like one is Malcolm X and one is Martin Luther King Jr. They want the same thing but one is like, “I’m gonna smoke you out” and the other is like, “I’m gonna kick you in the fucking face!” But we want the same thing, so I think that’s why it translates. It’s not like we’re just knuckleheads trying to incite the crowd to beat each other up. I’d like to think it’s more intelligent than that.
M: What do you think about the term “DIY or die” and how’s that relate to your band?
G: Well, for us, that’s pretty much exactly how we try to do everything. We don’t have a manager, we self-manage ourselves. We are very hands-on, there’s no merch’, there’s no poster, there’s nothing about our band visually, sonically, how we are represented in press, anything, that we are not the seed of and have the final say in. As much as it drives us nuts and we spend every waking moment of our lives working on this, I know that there is absolutely nothing out representing us that we didn’t see from its inception to its finality. I think that it’s another thing that our fans appreciate. If they get a t-shirt from us, they aren’t getting it from some graphic designer that works for the record company that we were just like, “Yeah, whatever, that sounds cool, how big is the check we’re gonna get?” That thing has to look like something that I would wear, that means something to me, that’s looks cool. I think, especially in the climate now where the record industry is just collapsing completely, that the people that can do the most DIY are the only ones that are going to stay afloat.
M: That’s basically how the trend in music is going these days.
G: It has to be. It has to go back to that. If you’re forced to be in a position financially to cut back every bit of slack you possibly can and to try to do as much by yourself as you possibly can, it’s gonna weed everybody out. The only people that are going to stay alive are the people who really give a shit and the people who care enough to put in the time to do everything themselves. The days of being a kid, and thinking that your rock star fantasy is going to come true and someone else is going to wipe your ass for you and do everything for you and you’re just gonna get a check at the end of the day, are completely over.
M: Hit the road and promote yourself.
G: Yeah man, go out and do the shows. Don’t suck live. Don’t write shitty music. Put out cool shit and you’ll last.
M: So what’s your favorite lyric, the one that means the most to you?
G: You know what, it’s probably a lyric that’s going to be on our upcoming record because, for me, lyrics are snap-shots of where you were in your life, and you don’t want to be there forever. So when we sing songs from our past records it’s like looking at a picture of myself in an auditory way. I’ll be singing a song, and I’ll remember writing that song, I was twenty-three, I was in my basement, this is exactly what I was talking about. I might not relate to it now. Hopefully, you’re in a different place, especially when you’re yelling and screaming and pissed, you know. You shouldn’t still be pissed six years later at the same thing. The trick is to find a kernel of that memory and hone in on it, you can still mean what you saying and you’re not just spitting out consonants and vowels. That’s for someone else to decide. I know that’s a shitty answer, but I don’t have a favorite one of my lyrics. I know they’re all pretty piss-poor, to be honest with you. (laughter) If you want to listen to lyrics, you should probably listen to Dylan or something.
M: So when’s the new album coming out?
G: February or January of 2010, which sounds like a long time but it’s realistically like 6 months away. We do three more weeks of touring and then we go home and start recording in late July, early August. January, February at the latest, we’ll get it out, and we’re siked man.
M: What can we look forward to in the new album?
G: Well, we got a new drummer, and that’s the biggest difference. Our new drummer is just on fire! He’s twenty-four and honestly the best drummer I’ve ever played with. He wants to crush everyone. He’s got this fire in him that he needs to prove to the world he’s the shit. That’s kinda cool because he’s pushing us, and we’re really hard on ourselves so to be pushed by someone who is brand new is a really good feeling. I can honestly say, after being in this band for a decade, that the stuff we’re writing now is the most inspired stuff we’ve ever written. It’s hard to know whether you’re still going to be able to do stuff without becoming a caricature or parody of yourself. The fact that we can still have something to say, ten years into it, with essentially the same style music, to me is nice, the fact that people still give a shit. I think everyone will like it. Anyone that likes us should be pleased with the new record.
M: Awesome. We look forward to it. Thanks a lot for being with us.
G: Definitely dude.
From the initial long distance collaboration between Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello that created 2003’s sleeper classic Give Up to the current reunion tour celebrating the platinum album’s 10th anniversary and packing houses from New York’s Barclays Center to the Greek Theatres of Los Angeles and Berkeley… The Postal Service has now had its unique journey examined and chronicled by The Creators Project, a partnership between Intel and VICE. Viewers are given an intimate look at the band and its process: from the dressing room to the digital (re)construction of the music to the moment the band takes the stage.
Directed by Justin Mitchell, this is a one of a kind look at one of the most beloved acts of the past decade. Mitchell says of the project: “I’ve been looking for a project to use prisms on for a while and much like the multiple frames, I think they help to support the story of the band. For me the prisms represent a gathering of all the disparate energies that propelled the album upwards and onwards during the last ten years. The band might be the center of the image and the focus but for ten years they allowed Give Up to live its own life and somehow, all that outside energy resulted in a platinum album. Now, as Ben says, they get to reclaim it and I think the prism (which just looked so much cooler in slow motion) helps to show that.” Read the rest of the interview with Justin Mitchell on The Creators Project: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/capturing-the-postal-service-on-their-reunion-tour
The Postal Service On Tour:
07/24/13 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theater ^
07/26/13 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre (SOLD OUT) %
07/27/13 – Berkeley CA – Greek Theater^
07/30/13 – Kansas City MO – Midland Theater #
07/31/13 – Kansas City MO – Midland Theater (SOLD OUT) #
08/02/13 – St. Paul MN – Roy Wilkins Auditorium #
08/03/13 – Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
08/04/13 – Chicago, IL – Metro
# Mates Of State support
% Big Freedia supports
^ Divine Fits supports
Every once in a while, we experience technical difficulties which attempt to interrupt the domination of The Tracks. Well, that shit doesn’t fly around here, so we’re back up and running.
Music fans, you know what time it is. Festival lineups are starting to trickle out, and you’ve started to prepare yourselves for the summer. This winter hasn’t been that bad (yet… here comes a massive storm), but we need the warm weather back to get back into our shorts and flip flops (I can do without the massive amounts of patchouli, thank you. Sorry, but it’s the truth).
The lineups are looking pretty damn good. Personally, I’m pumped to see that Vampire Weekend will be back out on the road to support their upcoming album. However, I think that some major hitters will be coming out of hibernation to blow up the fest scene this summer (Daft Punk anyone?) Look for more greatness this year, and possibly some reunions of past media team-ups.
If anyone wants to call the Team Excelsior Hotline, hit us up at (727) 4-TRACKS! (Yes, it’s a real number…)
MTT and Ghostland discuss capes, sexual dancing, James Brown, Daft Punk and more while at Lollapalooza.
Interview with Ghostland Observatory
Thomas Turner, Aaron Behrens, Monty “Moe” Wiradilaga
Friday, August 3, 2007
Lollapalooza – Chicago, Illinois
Moe: We’re sitting backstage with Thomas and Aaron from Ghostland Observatory. How you doing guys? That was one of the best sets I’ve seen in a long time.
Thomas: Thanks a lot.
Moe: You guys started off with three people right?
Thomas: I think Ghostland, like the first official Ghostland show, we used two people. We were in other bands before but…
Moe: How did you guys get together, what was your meeting?
Aaron: We just met in the bands previously that we did. He answered an ad in the paper and we hit it off. The other guys went and took a break for a while and me and him just kept going at it and we found what me and him love to do together, you know?
Moe: Absolutely. You guys are from Austin correct?
Thomas: Yes, yeah.
Moe: And they’re saying that it the “live music capital of the world.” Is Austin really that strong of a live music scene?
Thomas: When we tour other cities, you can kind of tell like, in Austin, you can go out almost every night and see any kind of genre of music you want to, at almost a hundred different clubs. And most cities don’t have that you know. If want to see blues you can see blues, you wanna see rock, indie rock, punk rock, electronic, DJ shit, whatever, you know, you can go see it in Austin almost any night of the week.
Moe: You guys definitely have an interesting combination of styles. First of all, what’s with the cape? I gotta know what the cape is man! (Laughs)
Thomas: My wife made it for me, so I wear it you know, I sport it.
Moe: I was lookin’ for what stage you guys were playing on, I saw the cape and said, ‘Oh there they are.’
Moe: What did you guys grow up on, what were you really listening to? ‘Cause it sounds like you go from little bit from the dance genre, but then you go from rock, then you have a little rap, just a combination of so many different styles. Aaron, what’s your take on this?
Aaron: I grew up listening to, you know, my dad had a lot of like seventies, sixties-seventies rock, like Jimmy Hendrix, Zeppelin. Grew up listening to them… And then I got into eighties, and my mom had like Huey Lewis and The News, Prince, you know, all that good stuff. And then, you know, in the nineties I got into gangster rap…
Moe: There you go. (Laughs) NWA!?
Aaron: Snoop Dogg, NWA, Onyx…
Moe: Eazy-E! Yeah, there you go!
Aaron: Eazy-E, yeah all of them.
Moe: What happened to Onyx anyway? (Laughs)
Aaron: I don’t know dude. I think Sticky Fingers got into acting for a while, so I don’t know… But then I, you know, then I moved to Austin, and Thomas introduced me to electronic music, so yeah.
Moe: Yeah, it’s just the blend, the blend happened right there.
Aaron: Yeah… The beautiful blend man, you know, so..
Moe: Did you listen to a lot of James Brown?
Aaron: Oh, a lot, yeah, I love James Brown… I love James Brown… Yeah.
Moe: I know you know everyone says it… They draw your dancing style to James Brown…
Aaron: Oh, that’s a huge compliment, I love J.B…
Moe: It is. Those are big shoes to fill, but, tell you what… You never stop, you never stop! (Laughs)
Aaron: Oh man, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’. (Laughs)
Moe: I could tell through the set, people were getting into it more and more. You guys know everything was just starting to build up, and I don’t know if you noticed the crowd, but the hands started going up and by the end everyone was just rockin out. Ahh. It was great.
Aaron: Yeah! That’s good!
Moe: You guys basically just leave it out, all on stage, just balls out…
Aaron: Yeah, we really try. I mean, like I said, me and Thomas, “The Wizard” over here, dude. You know, he just throws down all this, it’s just, everything crazy on top. And it’s just, like we’ve said before it’s like, he just allows for me to get crazy on top of that, but he’s just pushing me man. With all those sounds…
Moe: Just feeding off each other.
Aaron: Yeah! It’s just real feeding back and forth. It’s just not talking, it’s feeling between both of us, you know.
Moe: What do you feel about the musicians that are doing that little shortcut with laptops and all that in their music?
Thomas: Yeah, I guess people do whatever they’re comfortable with. Maybe, you know, they started out with a laptop, and using virtual synths and things like that, and that’s just how they do it. I mean, I don’t hate on them for doing that. I just prefer having a synthesizer and, like, really getting inside of a synthesizer, and learning it inside and out. It’s the harder way to do it. You know, that’s just what I feel comfortable doing, and I like it. I enjoy it a lot.
Moe: Did you grow up more with the rock stuff, ’cause you’re playing drums, and you’re doing the synths, doing them together, just meshing the two. Did you grow up more in rock, or did you grow up more in the dance styles?
Thomas: Well I guess when I really started getting into music I really fell in love with electronic music, that’s where my heart is. But I played drums when I was younger… I used my knowledge of playing the drums and creating beats, but I never thought that I’d have to play drums again. It just so happened that I got the opportunity, and we just rolled with it, you know.
Moe: Does it feel natural though? I mean, if you were doing the drums, and you were doing the beats… Was the going back and forth, working with the synths and the drums… Was it natural, or how’d that work in?
Thomas: Yeah, yeah I think so. It feels good to be able to do both, you know? I like it.
Moe: Well like I said, we’re gonna see you guys at Vegoose… The rest of my crew’s coming tonight. What should they expect when they see you guys for the first time? How would you describe your set?
Thomas: You just have to be there to witness it. I would say, go in expecting nothing, and be the judge for yourself, and see how you feel when you leave. Hopefully, you’ll really, really love it. Or you’ll really hate it. There will be no in between, like ‘Ahh… It was okay.’ None of that. Its either you’re really into it or you’re not, you know.
Moe: Aaron, your dancing is obviously very, very sexual.
Moe: You don’t doubt that right?
Moe: Not whatsoever. (Laughs)
Aaron: It’s a very powerful energy!
Moe: Yeah, so what’s the craziest thing a girl has done to try to get in your pants after a set like that? (Laughs)
Aaron: Well, honestly, I haven’t really had to deal with that, because I really don’t put myself in situations to deal with it, you know. A lot of times people will try to get on stage, and you know, dance with me and stuff. But the thing is, it’s like, that’s cool, but I’m like in my own world. I mean I definitely do it for the people and I like entertaining up there, and it’s wonderful that they get inspired to get down with me and everything. A lot of it, it’s a lot of personal release. You know, it’s a lot of personal energy getting out, flowing out of me. So, I really haven’t had anything crazy, you know, or anything like that. And I think a lot of my fans know that. A lot of our fans know that. They respect it. And it’s the same thing; I don’t expect anything from them after the show.
Moe: However, you should have heard the comments from those girls that were standing next to me. Oh shit, you would’ve been like…(Looks and points) Yeah, point to em’… (Laughs)
Aaron: (Laughs) Girl, you’re dirty! Girl, you’re nasty!
Moe: Yeah exactly!! They were getting dirty nasty, that’s right. You guys are very independent…
Thomas: We don’t have a manager. We hired a publicist just for a short period of time, just to help promote the upcoming festival season, the new record that’s coming out, and just like to help the press-related things kind of go our way as opposed to just random things happening… Have a little bit more control of that. But, yeah, we’re very independent. We don’t answer to anyone. We agree on things and that’s what we do. And we just stick with that, you know. And we really don’t do many press-related issues either you know so…
Moe: Well, thanks for… thanks a lot, I appreciate that!
Thomas: Yeah! Yeah! So we stay under the radar, we basically leave the people to decide whether they like our performances or like our albums, and that’s that, you know. We just let them figure it out for themselves.
Moe: I definitely see a trend in music today. “They” want control of their catalog. I spoke to Ziggy Marley at Bonnaroo, and he went independent now. He was saying how he wants control of his things. Slightly Stoopid, who I just spoke to, also said the same thing. So, what do you guys think about the trend of music? Is it people taking the power back from the labels? Why is the trend like that?
Thomas: I don’t know. There are some bands that are very comfortable being on a label and they enjoy that lifestyle and the perks that come along with it, and having tour support, and having a marketing team and publicists and everything like that. And than there’s other people, they just really wanna do things their own way. And I think if you really want to do your own thing bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen, and I think that’s what a lot of bands are doing.
Moe: So you have a new album coming out soon?
Thomas: Yes, yes. We’re finished writing. Now we gotta get into the studio the end of August, early September and then bang it, bang it, bang it, bang it!
Moe: Yeah man. If you guys could collaborate with anybody, Aaron who would you collaborate with? Anybody, doesn’t have to be dance-related, anybody. You’re biting your finger; you’re probably like, ‘I don’t know.’
Aaron: I really don’t… I really don’t know. Because, it wouldn’t be the same, you know? The thing is, I think, Thomas and I enjoy the kinship we have with our music you know.
Moe: That’s a good thing.
Aaron: To add another person in the room, or someone else in the collaboration, I don’t know if we’d function the same, I don’t know if… It breaks up the connection.
Moe: Do you think it would water it down?
Aaron: I think it would water it down. I don’t know. Certain circuits run a certain way, Thomas and I have to be alone and in silence, and if anybody’s added in there it doesn’t work the same. It doesn’t.
Moe: So when you guys are doing your writing sessions, is it just like you’re on stage? You guys just start rocking out?
Aaron: There’s a lot of silence and then a lot of sound.
Moe: A lot of rockin?
Moe: You guys definitely have a real big sound for just two guys. I thought you guys were gonna blow out the PA system, did you hear it popping at one point?
Thomas: That’s good! I like that! (Laughs)
Aaron: Yeah, that’s good! (Laughs)
Moe: Yeah! I heard it, I was like, ‘Oh shit, there goes the set.’ ‘Cause you guys did blow out a set, where was it?
Moe: That’s right!
Thomas: We blew out the entire power in the whole freaking festival.
Moe: No shit.
Thomas: Yeah… It wasn’t too fun though when it happened. We were like, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ You can’t even talk in the microphone, nothing.
Moe: Did they get it back and going?
Thomas: Yeah, but it took a while. It was just like, at first, it’s cool, like ‘Oh, yeah they blew out the power’, but then you can’t crank it back up you know, you gotta wait. Then they get the power running again and you’ve got to start over and try to get back to where you were. But the crowd seemed to respond really well to it, so it ended up working out.
Moe: That’s cool. So you guys gonna be around for Daft Punk tonight?
Thomas: Man, we have to play another show tonight! So we gotta go sound check…
Moe: Oh, where is that by the way?
Thomas: Schubas? So we gotta go sound check right now.
Moe: Maybe I’ll show up for that one, after I figure out where the hell it is.
Thomas: If we can’t make it, we’ll try. Man, we drove all night to get here, and it’s pretty crazy, yeah.
Moe: (To Aaron) If you we’re gonna be there, you should be on stage as a dancer for Daft Punk, and suddenly you show up on stage, and people are like, ‘What the fuck is going on here!‘
Aaron: (Laughs) They would probably blow me up with their electronic stuff. And that’s the same thing, ya know… Daft… They would, yeah… I don’t know what would happen. (Laughs)
Moe: (Laughs) You just might have to show up for just like a couple minutes and then head out! Guys, thank you very, very much. Can’t wait to see you guys at Vegoose…
Thomas: Thank you!
Moe: And maybe we’ll see you guys tonight.
Thomas: Okay, sweet deal man!
Moe: All right guys, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Philly meets Philly when The Tracks interviews G. Love backstage while in Chicago at Lollapalooza…
Philly Meets Philly – Interview with G. Love
Moe’s Intro: When you think about Philadelphia, you think about a few things… Philly Cheesesteaks, the Eagles, the Flyers, the Phillies… And when you think about music from Philly, you think about G. Love.
Moe Train’s Tracks Podcast had the chance to sit down with G. Love backstage at Lollapalooza in Chicago, Illinois, where we talked about his music… the advent of the “hip-hop blues,” the Summer Haze Tour with Slightly Stoopid, G. Love & Special Sauce, and Ozomatli, and even a bit about Philly.
Make sure you check out the Summer Haze Tour when they hit your area! So here’s the Moe Train’s Tracks interview with G. Love at Lollapalooza…
Moe: G… What’s up, man? How ya doing? I’m Moe. Nice to meet you.
G. Love: Hey, how you doin’ man? Yeah, how ya doing man?
Moe: Philly meets Philly!
G: Woo! You from Philly?
Moe: Yeah man. Well… From the ‘burbs.
G: Right on.
Moe: Definitely been listening to your music for a long time…
Moe: It’s finally good to meet you. Got your new DVD out right? What, it was released this week right?
G: Yup, it just came out. It’s called A Year and A Night with G. Love and Special Sauce. It’s really cool. It’s definitely like an in depth look at the band on the run, you know, like a band on the grind. ‘Cause we’ve been grinding it out for like fourteen years so…
Moe: You’re always touring right?
G: Yeah. We do like 150 to 250 shows a year. And so that’s a lot of time in the bus, and as we did eight years in a van to start out, so definitely…
Moe: A bus is nice!
G: Yeah. A bus is great! I’ve definitely seen this whole country, man.
Moe: Yeah. I’m really noticing a progression in your music, but than again, recently it seems like you’re going almost back to your roots. Tell me about the beginning of G. Love and the “hip-hop blues.”
G: Okay. You know, I grew up listening to hip-hop, just like any other kid. You know, like, the Beastie Boys, and L.L. Cool J, Run DMC and you know like a whole lot of other stuff too. And I was like, grew up in Philly, which had a pretty strong hip-hop culture so… You know, we were getting into trouble and like writing graffiti, and break dancing, and skateboarding, and doing all this kinda like city stuff and, playin’ basketball. So that was like one side of me. And the other side of me was I had played acoustic guitar since I was like eight years old. I got really into the blues, the Delta Blues, when I was in high school. I was always kinda searching for something original, and when I found the Delta Blues that was like, no other kid in my high school was playing the Delta Blues. I had something that, you know, was making me stand out from the crowd, which I think is like really important you know. Now basically one night, I was a street musician, and I was just shuckin’ on the guitar, and I started rappin’ Eric B. and Rakim… Paid In Full…
Moe: Paid In Full!? (Laughs) There ya go!
G.: Yeah… (Laughs) And I was like, ‘Oh that was something.’ And then I wrote my first rhyme like that week and then I was like ‘Okay, you know, I can do this,’ and I felt like, you know, it was real. It was like a real expression for me. Also at the time, the early nineties, like that was kinda when hip-hop was like at it’s peak, you know, like the late eighties, early nineties, so that was what I was listening to.
Moe: Right. Well, you play a lot of improvised chords don’t you? Lots of blues chords, not the real standard chords…
G: I basically got a lot of my chords from… I would try to learn like a Lightning Hopkins record, or Muddy Waters, or Robert Johnson, or whoever blues, you know. There wasn’t like you could Google ‘Robert Johnson Tablature,’ when I was in high school, so you had to learn that shit off the record. (Laughs) Yo, you don’t know what tuning he’s in, so got to make up these weird chords to try to find the sound that he’s getting! So, I had all these weird chords so, I’d always make these chords and then I just be like ‘Oh that’s cool.’ Then I’d make a song with them ya know.
Moe: Well, you’re saying you’re always performing… Do you think the live performance is the way to hear your music?
G: Yeah, I mean, definitely. You know, we love playin’ live and that’s what it’s always been about for us, you know, and being in front of people and…
Moe: Your albums are recorded a lot live aren’t they?
G: Yeah, well, what we do, we record in the studio live, you know. You can get something different on a record than you can get live, it’s all about what you like to, you know like, certainly there’s nothing that beats… Oh, Slightly Stoopid’s just going on…
G: Nothing beats, but you know like, but you know there’s also nothin’… To me, I’d rather listen to a record than a live recording.
G: Except my new live recording which comes with my DVD!
Moe: That’s right. (Laughs) Explain ‘Everything’s a hustle.’ I heard you say that one time, you said that ‘everything is a hustle.’ That’s definitely Philly-style, the streets… You used to play a lot on South Street didn’t you?
Moe: I remember that. I think I saw you actually a couple times, yeah.
Moe: Yeah… Explain ‘Everything’s a hustle.’
G: You know, I mean, it might not be the most positive outlook on life, but I mean, you know, like I think people are in inheritably selfish you know. So, it’s like, you gotta hustle for everything you get. And you gotta realize that people most likely wanna get something outta you, so, you know, you gotta make sure you don’t get hustled. And everything’s a hustle, like whether it’s the music business, or your job, to get a job… It’s a hustle to practice your guitar and get good enough to play, but you gotta hustle to get that gig, man! You know, and then once you get on stage you gotta let it be about the music, but the music business is all about the hustle you know. And then everything’s a hustle but love. When it’s real love, you know, and neither party’s trying to get up on each other. It could be love for music, or love for a person, or whatever you know what I’m sayin’.
Moe: Right… Well that seems like the mentality of independent music these days.
Moe: People… They’re taking back the power from the labels and doing their own thing… More so, I guess it’s a hustle to take back that power.
Moe: The question is…Pat’s, Gino’s, Jim’s, or a big ol’ slice of Lorenzo’s pizza?
G: Jim’s and a slice of Lorenzo’s pizza.
Moe: Wiz or without? Or “witout?” (Side Note: There IS a proper way to order a Philly Cheesesteak.) Excuse me…
G: Well, no… I get provolone. Provolone, onions, hot peppers on the side, baby!
Moe: (Laughs) What the hell is going on with Philly sports these days?
Moe: Are we ever gonna win something? Is McNabb gonna stay healthy?
G: I don’t know I just…
Moe: Ryan Howard gonna do something?
G: I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. But I just moved up to Boston ’cause my kids up there and they just got Kevin Garnett and I’m like… We just got rid of A.I.! (Allen Iverson) (Laughs)
Moe: My co-host said to say to you that he ‘loves your music but Charles Barkley doesn’t beat Larry Bird.’ (Laughs)
G: (Laughs) No, but we said that Charles Barkley dissed Larry Bird.
Moe: Oh, okay.
G: It’s basically like, well Dr. J and Charles Barkley are the, I mean Dr. J and Larry Bird had the fist fight. But I think at the time Charles Barkley dissed Larry Bird somehow on microphone… I don’t know… I don’t know what he did! (Laughs)
Moe: All right, one last thing. You always give love to Philly…
Moe: How’s Philly been treating you?
G: Well, you know, Philly’s like a hard-love. Philly has hard-love. They show kinda hard-love I think, but you know that’s where I was born and raised, and that’s where my studio is, and I still live there part-time, and Philly’s a great city. Philly shows its love, man! We sold-out two Electric Factory shows last year.
Moe: There ya go!
G: And this summer we’re doing the Festival Pier (In Philadelphia). So, I gotta say, it’s still one of our best cities to play, and you know, it always means a lot to come home.
Moe: We’ll be bringing a crew to the festival pier to see you guys.
G: Ok, cool!
Moe: And good luck on your tour.
Moe: We’ll see you then…
G: Cool… All right…
Moe: Thanks a lot… Appreciate it, man.
G: Cool, man, appreciate it.
Music festivals have always been the life-blood of Moe Train’s Tracks. Ever since our inception, we’ve been hitting several music fests a year all over the US. We’ve hit Las Vegas, Chicago, Tennessee, Michigan, and more. Each festival has its own culture and draw, which always causes for a unique experience.
This festival season will be light for The Tracks, as both B and The Train are extremely busy taking care of personal business. We’ll be hitting Rock the Bells in NYC in September, so if you’re going, let us know!
Anyway, within the past five years, we’ve seen some amazing music, done many “dream” interviews with massively acclaimed artists, met thousands of great people, made new friends, and business associates. We’re certainly missing not hitting up our usual fests this year. But, the future will hold more big things for Team Excelsior.
We’re very fortunate to be able to see all aspects of a music festival; from the planning, to the set up, the crowd interactions, and everything in between. Some festivals are more media friendly, some make it all more accessible, and some… Well… They could get tips from other fests.
After all these consecutive years of attending music festivals in a media capacity, I can help but to notice that some festivals have started to rest on their laurels. Same setup, same artists year after year, etc… We really took note of this last year. There’s something to be said about consistency, yet, they can’t be the coolest thing since sliced bread if the bread has gotten stale and is starting to wilt.
The freshest feeling festival that we’ve experienced was Madison House’s first year of Rothbury. Great music, amazing atmosphere where people could readily escape the sun and heat, a lakefront club and beach(!!), and more. They took aspects of several different festivals and wrapped them into one great package. This opened our eyes to the fact that first year festivals have a great chance to blow away other established festivals in an inaugural year. Every few years, the big festivals need to think back to when they were first coming onto the scene, and create a fresh experience for their devoted attendees. There are a multitude of ways to recreate “newness” outside of the box, the promoters just need to reach deep and do so.
Maybe next year we’ll see a rejuvenation of the music festival scene. Who knows… We could be desensitized to the pure awesomeness of it all. Believe me, we love the scene and the people. Some music festivals just need a little soap and Scope to freshen up their images.
We’d love to hear your thought about the state of the festival scene and any stories that you’d like to share. Feel free to email us through the site, or add your comments on the site!
The MTT staff hopes you all have an amazing and SAFE summer festival season. Remember to drink tons of water, get rest and rock it out! (Have a few shots for us too…)
– Moe and B