JamBase Questionnaire: Soulive

Welcome back to JamBase's baker's dozen to the bright lights of the music world. Last time we heard from Rubblebucket.

New Album
Jazz has been mulling over The Beatles since the Fab Four first started cranking out hits. But unlike other forms of pop opportunism in the genre, The Beatles provided sexy grist for robust jazz musicians, providing the launching pad for some of the most enjoyable excursions ever from George Benson, Booker T & The MGs, Jimmy Smith and others. Today, The Beatles are no less relevant or present, with their story filling up books, video games and last year's remastered catalogue. So, the time seems ripe for Soulive, three of today's shreddiest, most sophisticated players, to wrap their talents and fertile imaginations around what Paul, John, George and Ringo wrought.

Rubber Soulive (released September 14 on Soulive's own Royal Family Records) is a total keeper on par with 60s gold like The Other Side of Abbey Road and McLemore Avenue. Like those landmark releases, Rubber Soulive finds Eric Krasno (guitar), Neal Evans (organ) and Alan Evans (drums) truly inhabiting the music, sounding equally at home on ballads "In My Life" and "Something" as they do on burners "Tax Man" and "Drive My Car." Rather than tackle the Rubber Soul album as implied by the title, Soulive's outing cherry picks Beatles tunes that fit the trio like a glove. The three longtime partners shine in this stripped down setting, too, showing off the chops and interplay that first brought them to folks' attention a decade ago. Soulive are stunning collaborators able to incorporate vocals, horns and much more, but there's something really satisfying about hearing the clean, crisp lines these three primo musicians draw together. Hearing them move inside songs that reach across our culture is to hear new passages and possibilities open up even as we get that sweet Beatles hit. Rubber Soulive is as fine a pairing of rock and jazz as anyone has ever produced, but one expects nothing less from top flight cats like Soulive. (Dennis Cook)

Soulive is currently in the midst of their fall Rubber Soulive Tour, which stops at the fan favorite Bear Creek Festival this Saturday before heading to Chicago on Friday, November 19. Find the full schedule here.

Here's what Soulive had to say to our inquiries.

Neal Evans by Rob Chapman
1. Great music rarely happens without…
Eric Krasno: Vibe. Not to sound cheesy but the best music is made when the people making it are friends and respect one another.

Neal Evans: Great ideas and great expectations.

Alan Evans: Inspiration

2. The first album I bought was…
Eric Krasno: I think it was Led Zeppelin 2. That band made me want to play music. Their albums completely blew me away as a kid; I would listen over and over.

Neal Evans: The Jackson 5's Going Back to Indiana, on vinyl!

Alan Evans: First album I bought with my own money was Men At Work's Business As Usual, and I still have it!

3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Eric Krasno: The song "Everlasting Light" by The Black Keys. I love the sound of their records - hard, gritty and his voice sounds great on that track.

Neal Evans: Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear. Absolutely one of the best albums I've ever heard from top to bottom.

Alan Evans: "Sin's A Good Man's Brother" by Grand Funk Railroad

4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
Eric Krasno: A hybrid of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page

Neal Evans: Probably a lot of things I don't remember, but I did want to be a football player at one point before realizing my stature and pain threshold was much better suited for musicianship.

Alan Evans: Professional basketball player

Eric Krasno by Chad Smith
5. My favorite sort of gig is…
Eric Krasno: I love festivals like Bear Creek where I get to see other good music and hang with friends. It's like a show and a reunion at the same time.

Neal Evans: A packed room of people that are hyped and ready to throw down. I feed off of the crowd's energy; it's the best performance fuel imaginable.

Alan Evans: When I'm not thinking, it's just happening.

6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
Eric Krasno: That I was actually a bass player before guitar (get me on the gig!!)

Neal Evans: I make a mean fish taco.

Alan Evans: I never really thought of myself as a drummer

7. I love the sound of…
Eric Krasno: A 60s Fender Precision Bass with old Flatwound strings on it.

Neal Evans: A great vintage drum set.

Alan Evans: My children laughing. Nothing tops that.

8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
Eric Krasno: Stevie Wonder's Fullfillingness' First Finale

Neal Evans: Michael Jackson's Off the Wall

Alan Evans: Marvin Gaye's What's Going On

Alan Evans by Rob Chapman
9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
Eric Krasno: A restaurant on the top floor of my hotel overlooking Tokyo, Japan. We had our own personal chef. It was ridiculous!!!

Neal Evans: Hugo's in Portland, Maine

Alan Evans: I can't even come close to answering that one.

10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
Eric Krasno: Japan. I love the States but in Japan they really know how to listen and appreciate the dynamics in a performance. We get spoiled performing over there.

Neal Evans: Cities that I'm playing for the first time. I feel that I have to work harder to prove myself and express that what I'm trying to do musically is well worth the audience's time and attention.

Alan Evans: NYC

11. The worst habit I've picked up being on the road all the time is…
Eric Krasno: Eating after the show. I've been recently cutting that out and exercising in the morning on tour, which makes a big difference.

Neal Evans: Eating food that I know is really unhealthy, especially late night after gigs.

Alan Evans: Honestly, I don't have any bad habits from the road.

12. The Beatles or the Stones? Por qué?
Eric Krasno: That's a tough one. The Beatles are the best studio band ever in my opinion. The Stones are one of the best live bands and have been around for over 40 years. If I have to pick I'd have to say I'm more of a Beatles guy myself because I love them so much as songwriters.

Neal Evans: The Stones, reason: "I Love Rock N Roll." -Alan Merrill

Alan Evans: Way too hard to answer. I'm not touching that one.

13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
Neal Evans: When the second plane hit the second world trade center tower on September 11, 2001.

Alan Evans: Stevie Wonder standing right next to me on stage playing with us.


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