In all the excitement of the show tonight at Freebird Live, VOID Magazine got together with G. Love to find out more about the musician’s style, life, influences, inspirations and the upcoming show. Not only will G. Love and Special Sauce be performing, but they are also collaborating with artist Jay Alders, who will be doing live paintings onstage with the band. Make sure to go check out this exceptional and unique experience TONIGHT at 8 p.m.
VOID: Your music obviously pulls in many different styles. What genres would you say have influenced your music the most?
G. LOVE: Definitely the delta blues and hip-hop. When I first heard the John Hammond record “Country Blues,” my life changed. I knew right away and very clearly that was the sound I wanted to make on my guitar and harmonica. I also grew up a child of the 1980s in Philly, where hip-hop was being invented and it was an explosive new sound that was rocking my world. I would sit in my room playing Robert Johnson then be out skating and writing graffiti, listening to the Beastie Boys. One day it all collided and I found my sound.
VOID: What made you want to give exposure to local talent by creating Philadelphonic?
G. LOVE: I’ve always been into jamming and nothing turns me on like meeting talented musicians. I’ve always felt that if I made it, then anyone can make it. All you have to be is a true original. I always keep my ears open and in that way, I’ve helped a lot of peeps get record deals and a foot in the door of music.
VOID: What was life in Boston like?
G. LOVE: I moved to Boston when I was 19 with two guitars, a bag of harps, two microphones, a small battery powered amp and not much else. I didn’t know anyone so it was a bit lonely but I would always remind myself I was there to play music, not have fun. I would practice up to eight hours a day and busk in Harvard square. I worked at a coffee shop and played any gigs I could get. Most of the performance time was on the street where I honed in on my skills. It was the best time of my life.
VOID: What sparked your decision to move to Boston?
G. LOVE: I knew you could get a permit to legally play on the streets. In Philly, you could get kicked off the street at any moment by the cops, so I decided on trying Boston. Boston is a big music town with many venues of all sizes, music schools, lots of rockers and it’s close to NYC where you could try to get a big break.
VOID: What is life like being a dad, has it changed much? Has this had any impact on your music?
G. LOVE: Being a father has made me a better person. It has made me focus on all aspects of my life. If I have to leave my boy for a tour, you’re goddamn right I’m going to play my ass off and make every moment onstage count. Leaving home just never gets easy when you’ve got a child at home, but that’s bittersweet. You’re living the dream and sometimes you realize that dreams ain’t all they seem to be in a lot of ways. My son is starting to jam the drums and, who knows, maybe someday he will be out here too.
VOID: Tell us about your passion for surfing.
G. LOVE: Aside from playing music, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. Surfing is the ultimate sport and it has taken me all around the world. I’ve been surfing exactly as long as I’ve been playing guitar. When I met Jack [Johnson], the music and surfing worlds collided so it’s been a fun ride to say the least.
VOID: You’re very well-traveled. What country or city that you have visited has had the biggest impact on you and left you with the most memories?
G. LOVE: I think I always cherish playing in Japan. I’ve been there probably 35 times and although it can be a very culturally challenging place to play music, I’m always honored to perform there and I’ve made some dear friends.
VOID: What is it about the blues you love the most? Why has this genre captured your heart?
G. LOVE: It’s raw, it’s real. It’s so far away from where I was born and raised but I couldn’t help it – when I met the blues, the blues took me away.
VOID: The blues are all about telling a story of hardship. Do you feel you incorporate your own “hardships” into your music – not just in the lyrics, but does the overall sound reflect your feelings?
G. LOVE: Blues is a celebration of life – the good times and the rough times. You can feel it. You have to bring the feeling and expression to it. What can you emote with these simple changes? That’s what always got me.
VOID: You have done very unique shows in which you integrate much art. How did this idea come about?
G. LOVE: I love the visual arts. I can’t do it so well, but goddamn, I love paintings so much I could eat them. I collect art now and I feel so good supporting arts with gig money I’ve made by people supporting my own art. One of my favorites is Greg Haberny.
VOID: What gave you the idea to bring Jay Alders on stage to do a live collaboration with him?
G. LOVE: Jay and I have been working together since a surf-art tour in Brazil in 2005. He’s a tremendous artist and we are happy to have him paint live onstage
VOID: Is there anything else you would like to include?
G. LOVE: Check out my new hot sauce: www.gloveshotsauce.com. Put it on your food, not your baby!!!