HomeInterviewsG. Love on His New Record, New Musical Discovery, Art, & Sea.Hear.Now

G. Love on His New Record, New Musical Discovery, Art, & Sea.Hear.Now

Photo Courtesy of 101 Management

G. Love is a lot of things. He’s an artist that has deftly fused blues and hip-hop into an influential sound that (according to the artist) everyone from Dan Auerbach to Kid Rock has cited as an influence. He’s a man with an eye for talent — tapping everyone from Slightly Stoopid to Jack Johnson to open up for him — and putting those artists on the path to stardom. He’s a renaissance man — writing a children’s book (Little Daddies – a story for kids with traveling dads), slinging hot sauces, collaborating on craft beers, and being a painter/artist. Oh, and he’s also a dad, and soon-to-be husband. Simply put, G. Love is the man.

We caught up with the Pride of Philadelphia (our nickname for him) to talk about all these things, and a new record as he gets set to perform at Sea.Hear.Now today.

In speaking with your management, they said you were in the studio this week — can we expect a new record from the band, or you solo in the near future?

This is a project I’m collaborating on with this amazing artist from Hawaii named Ron Artis. He’s been some tours with me the last couple of years in Hawaii and then the last year across the country. He just played our festival, The Cape Cod Roots and Blues Festival a couple weekends ago. We did a recording session is going to be like a more of a G. Love/Ron Artis collaboration project, but it turned into a Ron Artis solo record.  I do guest on the record, and do some vocals but this his record

What was about him that you dig, and what do you think people are going to like about him?

He’s the real deal. He’s a virtuoso on guitar as a soloist and a rhythm player also as a singer and songwriter. And surprisingly the organ player, and piano player — we didn’t even know that going in. He’s really just a gifted soloist and he comes from a really musical family, like 11 brothers and sisters from the north shore of Hawaii. If you wanted to put some kind of label on it I would say he’s like a Hawaiian Gary Clark Jr. Obviously he’s his own thing, but if you wanted to have some kind of reference point, he’s a new school will kind of blues roots artist. I’m just blown away by him every time I’ve ever seen him play.

Is it different you, as an artist, discovering new music? Like do you feel like you get the same emotional reaction to new music as compared to an everyday person

I think it’s similar kind of feeling . When people discover music on their own and not through blogs or an onslaught of radio play it’s a special thing. It’s like your little secret and you share it with your friends. That’s the best way for an artist to grow.

One of my goals, my mission has always been to, when I got a foot up, to held up the next guy. I feel like I really have a good sense to what I like. If I know I deeply care for music, and there’s a vibe behind it other people will be. I feel like have a pretty good track. There’s people like Jasper and The Prodigal Sons  — Jasper was my rapping partner back in the day — he got a deal. My ex-girlfriend from way back in day, Nancy K, she got a deal with Def Jam under the name Rosie. Of course Jack Johnson, I helped him. I have launched in and I’m now just through like, you know, having both supportive supporting act.

We’ve been able to turn people on to a lot of our opening acts like Slightly Stoopid, The Movement — the support slot for G. Love & Special Sauce has been a good launching spot. I think that’s a testament to our fan base. I think our fan base is just music lovers, and they’re open. At our shows no one’s screaming “Fuck you! I wanna see G. Love!” They’re going to see a great show and doors opening to the closing song.

G. Love live at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, the night before The Eagles won the Super Bowl. Photo Credit: Matt Heasley/Pop Break

I wanted to circle back about recording for a second — will we be seeing new music from you and/or the band next year?

The last record did come out a few years, so yes there is a new record coming. We’re recording with Keb’ Mo who I got signed with in the same year, 1993, to OK!/Epic Records. We reconnected after all these years this year we spent a lot of together at his studio in Franklin, TN near Nashville to put together this record. We have a 10 day sessions hopefully this December to  wrap up. This record is going to be really cool for me this is a bit of a lesson in the blues. It brings what I do performance wise, and Keb Mo mixes it with the historical aspect of blues performance. It’s going to be a fun record. It definitely still going to have elements of hip hop. I’ve always been a blues man, but we’ve never characterized the true sense of a blues act. We’ve marinated for 25 years, and that amount of time has allowed us to have that authentic sound. We’ll see the record in Spring 2019.

You’re at Sea.Hear.Now this weekend, and one thing you’re doing is showing off your artwork. Tell us more about it.

I was graffiti writer when I was a kid — constantly practicing my tags. That made its way into doing this handwritten setlist. The past four to five years I’ve been posting them online. So I make this colorful, handwritten setlist, I frame it, make six copies, and sell it. That lead to me painting the blues chairs I sit on when I perform. Then one day I started buying old paintings of old landscapes, and crap and I paint all over the frames and I call them “love frames.” The backdrop I use on the road I’ve used on the road, which is massive, I’m going to have that on display. Then we’re going to cut it up into a bunch of pieces and sell it as big format pieces. Then I’m bringing down about nine paintings, or as many as I can fit on the plane to the show. My style is basically house paint, spray paint, and acrylics. I do a textured background with a lot of layers, with the word love written on them. That’s the message I’m trying to bring — love. They’re pretty bad ass (laughs). I try to color them so they pop under stage and blacklight.

It’s been cool because it’s a different creative outlet. I need to step away from the music for a day or a couple weeks after been grinding — you know to live life. Different creative outlets help to relieve you, and free and you feel inspiration for music again.

Photo Credit: Matt Heasley/Pop Break

How does it feel to be a part of a “first” festival like Sea.Hear.Now? Especially when it’s curated by a guy you’ve known for a long time like Danny Clinch?

We met back in 1994 or 1995. We did our first photo shoot and actually we used one of those photos for the Philadelphonic record. It’s a really cool photo worth taking a look, it’s all of in front of this old on South Street in Philadelphia in the rain. You can see Danny’s reflection in the car window shooting the shot. It’s pretty epic shop. It’s been amazing to watch his career. He’s a great Harmonica player, so he comes out to a lot of our shows and sits in. So originally gave me, called them.

Originally when he pitched us the festival we were going to be leading some jam sessions, and then it turned into us performing on the beach. I’m sure I’ll be jamming all over, and sitting in with Ben Harper, and Jack Johnson, and other bands. This is our biggest festival of the year, so we’re excited.

He actually owes me a show! Funny story about that. We’re down Art Basel in Miami one year, and we’re playing a bunch of shows. He mentioned he and Robert Randolph we’re doing a show at some hotel, and he wanted me to sing. I said sure, but as time went on I had kinda hoped he forgot about it because my voice from four straight shows was hurting. Then he texts me if I’m coming to play. I tried backing out, but then he tells he put it out on social media that I’d be there. So I show up, and Robert Randolph is like ‘Hey man can you sing, my voice is killing me, and I want to rest up.’ So I ended up playing guitar, and singing the whole show.

G. Love & Special Sauce perform at 6 p.m. on Sunday at The Park Stage at Sea.Hear.Now. Click here for tickets.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.

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