JAMBASE: Who from previous Bowlives is an example of a person you knew well and had
always wanted to play
with but hadn’t previously?
[Photo by: Jeremy Gordon]
EK: Ledisi, who I’ve worked with a bunch. People in our scene may not know her but
she’s an unbelievable
soul singer. We’d all known her for a while and I produced one of her albums – that just
totally made sense.
But I’ll say again, we know a lot of people who make sense for this. Living Colour, we
were out with those guys way
back, they’re good friends of ours. George is in the stable like I said, every year we’re
going to try to get George. And
then we build things around that.
Last year, for example, we had Bill Evans and John Medeski and that was absolutely one of
my favorite nights. A lot of
times during Bowlive we’re playing other people’s material because it just makes sense to
do that, but Bill and Medeski
actually learned our stuff – we took Soulive songs and re-arranged them and really got out
JAMBASE: Those guys in particular are known for just being able to inject
themselves in a situation like that.
But would you say you’re rehearsing almost every show and learning the guest material more
often than not?
EK: It is different every time. There are some guests who are familiar with our
music or have the ability to
learn some of it ahead. But we also look at people and decide to learn a few of their
songs and maybe do a quick
rehearsal with them before the show.
I will say that the guests who come back we get to do a little more with, and make it a
little different every time. I mean,
George, we’ve got a little catalog with George now. Although, he just called me and he was
like, I don’t want to do any
of the stuff we did last year! [laughs] But I dig that about him. He wants to give people
a good show, he doesn’t want
people to see the same thing they saw last year. With him, it’s a lot of spontaneous stuff
anyway. We’ll plan some things
but then he’ll get up with us and half of it will be decided right there.
JAMBASE: Another guest announcement that caught my eye is this joint set with the
London Souls. You guys
obviously wouldn’t do that with just any band, and I know you’re tight with them, but why
did this one make sense?
EK: We know them, as you said, and I also made a solo record where those guys are
pretty much the backing
band. We hang out all the time. I produced their record, and it’s just one of those things
where they’re young dudes but
they’re on the same page as us. There are things we can do together that just work.
They did New Year’s with us in Boston and that’s when we first tried that: they did a set,
we did a set then we all came
together for London Soulive. All of us are up there, and it was more or less random covers
we put together but we also
did some original things and really mixed it up. Al [Evans] played some guitar, and Chris
their drummer plays all these
instruments and we just got up and did it.
JAMBASE: Who’s on your Bowlive guest wishlist that you haven’t been able to get
EK: Gary Clark would be cool. I’ve talked to him about it a few times and it’s
always been a timing thing. And
I’d love to get D’Angelo one day.
JAMBASE: Questlove can’t hook that up for you?
EK: Ha, I guess not. D’Angelo doesn’t come out that much, but we’ll try. And George
Benson is another one.
I’d love to do some George Benson stuff with him, but that’s another timing issue.
JAMBASE: Looking past Bowlive, what’s next for Soulive?
EK: Next for Soulive is a new record, maybe this spring or early summer and then a
late summer, early fall
tour planned with some festival dates. We want to get the record done and keep out there.
We’re also going to keep
doing the Bowlive thing and probably try to take that concept to some other cities,
especially as the Brooklyn Bowl thing
grows into different markets. But the next phase is a new record, and I’m also keeping up
with Lettuce and I have a solo
album on the way.
JAMBASE: You have all these commitments but you do seem to leave time for pickup
collaborations, too, like
the recent Stirrers performances with Joe Russo and Neal Evans. How do you decide what to
make time for?
EK: Generally, in a case like that, it’s we’re all available and an offer has come
in, so yeah let’s do it. That one
we want to do again. We want to record that project and maybe add another member to it.
Joe and Neal and I had such a
blast doing that. It will definitely happen again.
JAMBASE: And the plan is to keep Lettuce active, too?
EK: Absolutely. It’s been cool to see the growth out there, especially on this
tour. People are now coming out
to see Lettuce in all these secondary markets, and I mean weeknights with really good
crowds. We have to keep
supporting this band right now and keep this going.