Interview | Leftover Salmon

Leftover Salmon vintage press shot
Emmitt, Vann, Garrison, Herman, McKay, Martinez

Leftover Salmon has always been known for its fun loving approach to making music. Over the past twenty years, through the loss the band has endured – has your attitude about making music changed at all? Do you think you approach it the same way you did when you were starting out?

DE: There are similarities; certain aspects are almost the same as they were. But, a lot of time has gone by, we’ve been through a lot, and we’re a little bit older. It is definitely still exciting; I think we’ve all learned a lot as musicians and as people. The approach is probably a little different because of that. We’re not striving so hard like we used to when we were first getting it going, we’re enjoying a little more success now and that’s always a great thing. But I think, by and large, yeah – it’s exciting, and fun, and it’s in the spirit it’s always been which is having a great time, and really enjoying playing music together and whipping up a good party – which is what Vince Herman does everywhere he goes. That’s the definitely the same, hasn’t changed.

You’ve played many gigs from tiny bars to sold-out festivals. Are there any musical goals you guys still have?

DE: I want to go play the places we’ve never played. We’ve played Canada and in Mexico now, we’ve played Alaska, which seems like a foreign country – but it’s not. But we haven’t been overseas at all. I think that’s my next goal, to get over to Europe and Japan and play some different crowds and cultures. We’ve played every corner of the United States, and that’s great and all, but it would be really nice to go play somewhere else. That’s something that other bands in this genre have done, and we just haven’t really made it happen. I think that’s probably my biggest goal right now is to do that, and bring that music to some other cultures.

So, an international tour might be in the works one day soon.

DE: We are going to island hop the Hawaiian Islands in January; we are real excited about that. We are doing New Years up in Seattle, and then we are going to do three days in Alaska, and then we’re going from Alaska to Hawaii. It’s going to be quite a fun winter month. Doing Mexico and then doing all that. We are definitely getting to where we are branching out and starting to do different things. Because when you’ve been touring over 25 years as a band, I think, it’s time to get creative and do some different things. That’s what we’re thinking about.

Not many bands make it up to Alaska for a gig, what’s that like?

DE: Playing in Alaska is awesome, it’s really beautiful. We played up there last summer at a festival called Salmon Stock, strangely enough. We’ve been up there a few times, and Billy and I also played up there and it was really, really great. People just love live music up there because they don’t get a ton of it. People are always very enthusiastic and excited, so it’s always really fun.

What music are you listening to now?

DE: My favorite bluegrass band is the Del McCoury Band. We also love Hot Rize and anything that Sam Bush does. Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck and all those guys. We are definitely fans of the Yonder boys. As far as up and coming bands, I think that Greensky is really sounding good. Another band, out of Colorado, called Head For The Hills that is really sounding good. I got to produce their last record, before this new one, and so they’re really sounding good these days. There’s a band out of Austin called Milk Drive, a bunch of young kids, really good. Another band called the Deadly Gentlemen, who we just were at a festival with last weekend in Kentucky. Sounded really good. Just really great pickers in that band. And also, Sarah Jarosz, she’s just amazing. We’ve been kind of around her, watchin’ her grow up since she was about 12, back in the days at RockyGrass, sitting in on jam sessions. She had an amazing set at Telluride this year, just really really great.

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[Published on: 7/24/13]

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