Written By: Chad Berndtson
:: The Art Of The Sit-In - Eric Krasno ::
Welcome to another edition of The Art of the Sit-In, where we mix it up with the
scene’s most adventurous
players and hear some stories from the road. For more, check out our recent interviews
Kral and many others.
How best to introduce this column’s subject? We don’t have to. As one of the best-known
and most ubiquitous players
in the jam scene, beloved by fellow musicians as well as fans, there aren’t many stones
unturned by Eric
[Photo by: Michael Kaiz]
Krasno’s is a restless spirit. He remains core to Soulive, Lettuce and the whole Royal
Family apparatus, but still manages
to take on countless other projects, from production duties, one-offs and sit-ins to his
ongoing solo work, which
includes a forthcoming album and a very interesting new band to support it.
With the fifth installment of Bowlive – Soulive’s annual Brooklyn Bowl residency – about
to kick off, we had Kraz fill us in
on all the details.
JAMBASE: So I remember talking to you about the first Bowlive back in 2010 and here
we are, wow, it’s Bowlive
5. Has the success of this surprised you at all?
ERIC KRASNO: You know, I guess so. It’s one of those things where we didn’t have
any idea if it was going to
work out. The venue itself surprised me a lot, not only how great it became as a place to
play but how much support it’s
gotten. Pete Shapiro knows how to put together a good team, and he’s fearless, it’s all
“let’s just do this and reach for
I sat in with the Allman Brothers – this might have been even a year before the first
Bowlive and before Brooklyn Bowl
had even opened. I ran into Pete at the show and he told me about it and he was like,
“It’s going to be this bowling alley
and music venue and I want you guys to do two weeks.” And I’m nodding and thinking, yeah,
that’s never going to
But then as it got closer, and I saw the space, I remember thinking, I can see this
working out, oh yeah. I’ve played there
now, I can’t even imagine how often, maybe 100 times. I think I’ve played there the most
out of anyone who’s played on
stage, although Questlove has been there almost every week as a DJ. It’s pretty crazy. I
live down the street. I’ve seen
the neighborhood change all around it and all these things happening.
JAMBASE: It seems like you guys have settled on eight shows as the Bowlive format.
You could do more and
probably still pack the place or do fewer and really load up the nights. How did you
arrive at eight as the number?
EK: I think it was [manager] J. Bau’s idea. It’s a good number. It’s hard to do the
Tuesdays and Wednesdays
twice and fill it out like that, and it’s also taxing for the band, because we’re learning
music every day. I like the idea of
starting on a Thursday because you know it’s going to start off with a nice vibe, whereas
if you start off earlier in the
week, it’ll still be great but maybe not a sell out and not quite the top level we can get
to. I think eight worked well last
JAMBASE: Talk about selecting the guests. How much of it is bringing back people
you know are going to be a
good fit – like a Nigel or a John Scofield or George Porter Jr. – versus inviting people
you haven’t had before.
EK: Some of it just comes down to who’s available and who’s around. Some people we
want there are touring,
and we don’t book people like a year in advance or anything so we’re looking at who might
be around and who could we
fly in for a day or two.
We try to mix it up. Some of the best times are when it’s people we know and have hung out
with before but we’ve never
played with them before and have always wanted to try it out. We have a couple of those
this year. Nicki Bluhm played with us in California, but that’s going to be a really cool
But then there are people like George, who we know well, and we know how it’s going to be
and how much we love
playing with them and how much fans like them. People like George bring in a certain vibe
and they change the band.
When Soulive plays with George Porter Jr., it’s a whole different sound. But there’s no
exact way we do it. A lot of it is
me reaching out to see if people are available and how we might fit something together.