REED MATHIS | THE NEXT REVOLUTION | PART II

Read Part I of this interview!

Kayceman: So back to your bass playing. You started to realize that you needed to play a more traditional style of bass?


Photo by Zack Smith
Reed: I felt like I needed to understand it. I felt like that was an area of my playing that was lacking. I can definitely hear it on the first two Jacob Fred records. Especially the first Jacob Fred record. It's great, but it sounds to much like Ornette Coleman’s Primetime, you know? Eight soloists playing simultaneously. It's like a really dense tapestry. But I spent a couple of years where all I really listened to was Aston Barrett from The Wailers, Michelle Ngdecello and like all The Roots albums you know, especially the first one Do you Want More?!!!??!. Tons of hip-hop and Cuban music. Just like all the great bass players that really understood the whole “redwood tree” aspect. Deep, ancient shit you can drive a car through. And I basically learned all those tunes and I would just play along with those bass lines. Like Aston Barrett, I would just put on a Wailers album and play along with it start to finish and just try to actually receive that person’s spirit ya know? Do what they were playing. I would try to forget that it was me and just imagine that it was their hand and synch right up with what they were doing...every articulation and everything. I definitely feel that at that time, I became more of a musician and less of a kid trying to figure out what to do. I realized at that point that with that kind of weight you can actually control the whole band.

Kayceman: And when was this?


Photo by Kate Haas
Reed: This was like '97, '98. And I started to realized that through effectively sitting in the right spot musically, I could actually manipulate the band like I had a fucking joystick. I suddenly discovered that I could single-handedly make the band groove or not groove. You know? It was an exhilarating feeling. Especially because the drummers we used to play with were geniuses, but some of them had tempo issues and I really had to learn to be strong enough that the other seven members could sit on that. That was a really exciting time, and then I basically stopped taking solos around then until we became a trio. About two or three years after that we became a trio and Brian would be like, “Dude, I can’t solo for three hours. Come on, please?” (laughs) And I would be like “I don’t know man, I’m really into this thing I’m doing.” Brian would say, “Reed, please, you’ve got to.” And I would take solos and they would be super-boring. I mean not super-boring but bass solos have always been boring. It's like everybody stops, especially in jazz, you know it's like all my favorite bass players, Paul Chambers and Mingus and all my favorite jazz players...their solos, as incredible as they are, it would be the most boring part because suddenly there's no momentum and I hated that. And whenever we would play and I soloed it would be like that. And I would be like “that’s why I don’t like doing it.” It was boring, the crowd started talking. It's embarrassing. And I was like “OK, Brian...you just play in the bottom octave of your piano and I’m going to teach you some bass lines and I want you to play this shit and pretend you’re a bass player.” When he started doing it he played it like a keyboard player and it didn’t work. And I would be like “No man, come on, listen to Aston Barrett, pretend you’re a bass player, ya know...Family Man. Think Family Man (laughs) and eventually he got it. And there's a couple of tunes on Live at Your Momma’s House...because I never played with effects...ever. Like the first ten years I was a bass player I never touched them and I was just into bass and I would still get it to sound really weird but I would never use effects and Brian started playing bass lines, so on Live at Your Momma’s House there are times when Brian’s playing bass lines and I’m playing a clean-toned bass and it really sounds cool...soft, but it's cool you know and I really felt like we were on to something. And so, my friend James Plummley, who’s a really bad ass bass player here in Oklahoma had a Whammy pedal and loaned it to me. He was like “Dude, I really want to hear what you can do with this thing, just take it on the road with you.” This is like two weeks before we did Self is Gone. And he loaned it to me and I didn’t like it at first but I plugged a wah pedal in with it and suddenly I was like “Oh my god! I can be anything.” I’ve always wanted to play a high-register instrument. My senior year of high school when I had been in Jacob Fred for about a year I got an alto saxophone and I practiced it every day for a year just because I wanted to be able to play in that high register. I was listening to like Coltrane play soprano and I was like “Oh man, that’s the most lyrical thing I’ve ever heard, that’s what I want! I want Jimi Hendrix, I want Coltrane’s soprano sound...I want this violin sound,” ya know? I was hearing it but I couldn’t play those instruments. Saxophone...I didn’t take to it naturally so I let go of that and when I got that Whammy pedal I was like “Oh my god, now I can do it!”

Kayceman: So it was the Whammy and the wah together that gave you the high register?


Photo by Zack Smith
Reed: Yeah because the Whammy sounds really shitty by itself. It’s a cheap-ass effect but the thing is when you plug the wah into it, you basically have a rotary EQ and you can isolate the frequency. Each note on the bass, you know, there's two and a half octaves and each register has different frequencies that the Whammy likes and some frequencies that it really doesn’t and it's different for each register. Every three or four notes on the chromatic scale, the frequencies kind of change a little bit, so if you take the wah and control which frequencies your putting on it, depending on where your hand is then the Whammy pedal really likes it.

That’s obviously what your doing when your playing that thing like a 6-string right?

Yeah, I mean I’m playing the exact same shit that I was playing before I had effects.

But that’s what's giving the sound, I imagine...the high end. The Hendrix-esque style...

Yeah and then I added a volume pedal to it and found that I could swell the notes and do this trippy flute-slash-violin thing and I just keep finding all these possibilities within those simple effects.

So what's your rig look like now? What do you set up?

Ummm, let's see. I’ve been using...well I’ve got my jazz bass which is the only bass I have and I used to play a fretless just like Marc Friedman (The Slip)...like on the first two Jacob Fred albums I’m playing only fretless. But then I found this bass that I’ve been playing for the last six years and I bought that and sold the fretless. So I have that and that goes into a wah pedal which goes into the Whammy pedal which goes into a little EQ pedal that I use to take a little high-end off of the sound when I need to and then I’ve got a volume pedal and then a digital reverb. So five pedals and that’s the most pedals I’ve ever had. It was just three for a long time and I just got the other two. And that goes into an Ashdown which is the sweetest new line of bass amps, oh my god! I’ve been lovin' them. Brad Houser from Critters Buggin is the one who turned me on. I played through his when we did some gigs with Critters last fall and I was like “Jesus, this is awesome.” So I run that, and that has a 16” speaker and I run that into a GK 4x10” cabinet. And I usually mic the GK and I’m so happy with my sound. For six years, no seven years I played an Acoustic 370...which is the amp that Aston Barrett used and also John Paul Jones used that amp, Larry Graham used that amp. It was the biggest amp in the 70’s. Jaco Pastorius used a different amp by that same company, it's like a really classic, fat sound and I used that for like seven years...that’s the amp on all the early records up to Self is Gone but I needed a change and the Ashdown is fuckin’ perfect. That’s what I’m running.

About your gear...there’s one thing that I’ve noticed. I went to that Mike Clark show at the Great American and I’m kinda curious, it seemed that you had a photo or something stuck underneath one of your pedals?


Photo by Zack Smith
Oh yeah, the wah pedal...it’s a floating wah pedal...it's like, some wah pedals like a Cry Baby you can rock it back and it will sit back. But my pedal’s not like that. If your foot is not on it, it falls all the way forward in the treble position. The treble position is so bright..it's like someone’s hitting you in the head with an ice pick so I stick four postcards in between the sensor and the pedal so it sits up a little bit and that just rolls it back away from the brightness. My girlfriend got me four postcards at the beginning of the winter tour and was like “Here, write me!” And after the first gig they ended up under the wah pedal. (laughs all around). Yeah, that’s the deal with those.

I wanted to ask you...we talked very briefly about Jazz Fest and Skerik and that whole week down there, which was phenomenal. One of the things that really made me want to interview you was the fact that I was down in New Orleans for twelve days, seeing some really amazing music, the cream of the crop, and the most enjoyable evening of Jazz Fest, potentially one of the most enjoyable evening of music I’ve ever had, amongst the millions of shows I’ve been to was SpazzFest. I couldn’t believe it. We actually just got the cds...I’ve been listening to them and I’m just...

Are they awesome?

Ohh, they’re fucking awesome.

I haven’t heard them yet...I’m sure it‘s...God, the vibe was so awesome.

It was like everything was perfect that night. There were people there but it wasn’t too crowded, the venue was great, you could go outside and get some air...everything. I was leaning on the fucking stage...it was perfect. I’m wondering what your impressions of that evening were?


Photo by Phil Stiles
My impressions of that evening...I slept all day 'cause I sat in with Fareed Haque the night before until like 8am. So I slept all day and I got up and the people I was staying with made this huge dinner...these gorgeous people who were already being so big-hearted to let us sleep at their place. There were like twenty people sleeping at this place. They made this big dinner, so the night started off great. Then we went and got some great coffee and headed down to the Old Point...and Chris Wood and Johnny Vidacovich were just finishing up and I’m super tight with Vidacovich after that Charlie Hunter tour we did with them. He sat in with us tons of times...he’s awesome...he’s one of the best drummers alive and Chris Wood is obviously a hero of mine and we’ve done gigs with MMW and I’ve hung out with those guys, especially Chris but that was years ago, ya know? And so I haven’t seen him in awhile and I walked right up to the stage and him and Brad Houser were talking because Chris had been playing through Brad’s Ashdown and Chris was flipping out about it. So I walk right up to him and he goes "Reed, what's going on?! How you doin'? I haven't seen you since Atlanta” and I was like “Wow, crazy memory...you didn’t even have to think.” And he was like “damn you guys have been kicking so much ass!” I don’t know, it got the night started off right! Hung out with him & Johnny V and then after about an hour of talking with Chris suddenly Les Claypool and John Medeski show up. I guess Les and Brian had just finished playing at The Howlin' Wolf. So they all show up...I didn’t get to talk to Medeski too long...I saw him the next night but Les showed up and I got to talk to Les for awhile. I don’t know, it was like God, three of my biggest heroes were all assembled there.

I did a huge write-up on Jazz Fest that I worked on for a long time and basically that was how I summed up that evening (SpazzFest) of music. You know that if Les Claypool and John Medeski show up just to watch, you know that’s where your supposed to be...that’s where you need to be.


Photo by Jeni Cooke
That freaked my shit out man, so I don’t know...the Black Frames are incredible. I saw them in Denton, Texas in February and there were eight people in the room...eight hundred seat room. Exactly eight people including the tapers. They played they’re asses off...Skerik...I couldn’t believe the shit Skerik was playing. I’ve been a huge fan of theirs ever since. They rocked so hard!

I don’t even remember the first hour of our set, to be honest. I know we started with “Thelonious (Monk is my Grandmother)” and instantly it was like so fucking crazy. I just remember going out of my body within the first thirty seconds. The next thing I remember is Skerik walking on-stage.

I’m kind of in the same boat with you on that. Honestly...it was definitely a very deep evening. I have to agree with you about having this "out of body experience," which is generally what I’m trying to achieve with music. I’m hoping that’s what the musicians are trying to achieve as well.


Photo by Matt Earhart
It's like a timeless state...it's like where there's....you feel other-worldly...you feel like you stepped out and your in this other thing, really an alternate plane of existence...different vibrations.

I agree, and that’s how it fits into what we’re talking about earlier. I feel music is very much a pathway to a higher being, to something more, to leaving this physical world that we’re so dominated by.

Totally. So Skerik walks out with three tenors and a bari...come on! I couldn’t believe it man. That was the richest sound! I got to stand right in the middle of it. I felt like I was bathing in it..it was NUTTY.

That was such a phenomenal evening.

Everybody was listening so close...nobody was over playing and it seemed like we improvised with the horns for a good, like forty minutes. Maybe thirty..it seemed like a long time.

It was a long time. I’ve been listening to it and I’m not sure how long it was, but it was a while.

It was completely improvised...none of that was even discussed. All we said was “hey! Did you bring your horn? We’ll have you up toward the end of the set.” So they came out and I don’t know what it sounded like on disc but I remember it sounded like Beethoven. It was so coherent and lush and expressive and definitely not your usual. Usually it's like musicians who are sitting in, they’re all friends they get together and they’ll get a C7 chord with a good funk beat and they’ll jam for twenty minutes and everybody will take a solo and it will be like “Hey this guy rocks” and everybody screams and then “that guy rocks” and everybody screams again, but there was none of that! There was no one-chord vamp. There was none of that! But neither was it a free-jazz mess. It's coherent music! That’s the most exciting thing about music to me, when it comes out sounding like a composition. When it comes out sounding orderly, like the universe is orderly...you know? The whole weird thing that happens when something is simultaneously accidental and also completely orderly.


Photo by Hallie
You know? Like my friend Jason Smith who’s been a total guru and teacher to me since I met him in 6th grade. He was telling me this thing the other day about how he only likes music that reminds him of the Big Bang. (laughs)...I was like “Dude that’s awesome”...it's like that thing. It's totally spontaneous yet at the same time it makes perfect sense. Like that was the kind of shit we got into. There wasn’t even anybody soloing most of the time. It wasn’t like that...it feels innovative to me. I haven't really heard that in history. I haven't heard that at all in music history. I’ve studied a lot of music, I’ve studied a lot of diverse kinds of music. Whenever I’m getting into some music I always try to listen to the masters of whoever played that kind of music. I want to hear the masters, ya know? And I haven't really heard anybody doing that shit...it's like a new thing. Something that our generation created.

Yeah, and I think that’s why I left with what I left with that evening and that’s why I was there with all my friends. That evening was THE evening that sticks out in our minds, twelve of the most amazing nights of music you could hope for, and that's the one that remains.

No doubt! My mind was blown every night at Jazz Fest, every single night.

Me too, and for that to be the pinnacle of my mind-blowing, certainly says quite a bit, I think.


Photo by Zack Smith
Yeah definitely...you hear even more music than I do. I listen to the same band every night (laugh), you listen to different bands. Your definitely more objective about it than I am. I don’t even know what we sound like, I just know what it feels like. I have no clue what we sound like.

Well I’m glad you sound like what you do.

I’m glad people like it. That’s like the biggest blessing in the world because we’re really not in control of what we’re doing. The fact that people gravitate towards it and it makes them feel good and positive.

That’s the thing...the way it makes you feel. I’d say my three favorite bands, and I would be hard pressed to put them in order, for a long time it's been Sector 9 and The Slip and ever since seeing you guys and connecting with what your doing on a musical plane, I put Jacob Fred into that category. It's these three bands that dominate...and I listen to a lot of stuff that isn’t band-oriented...a lot of downbeat and DJs and producers and stuff like that, but as far as bands are concerned. I don’t think anyone can touch Sector 9, the Slip, and JFJO right now. The reason for this is you all make me feel differently but you all make me feel this divine, this...man it's so hard to put words to what I feel.


Photo by Hallie
I know man, I’ve hung out with those guys and we try to talk about this shit and we can’t even talk about it! Every time I hang out with the guys in Sector 9 or the guys in The Slip, I don’t even really know them, but I feel like we’re all brothers. I feel a different thing when I hang out with those guys than when I hang out with any other musicians.

That’s really cool that you say that because I feel differently when I listen to these three bands as opposed to anything else I’ve ever listened to.

It's crazy man, honestly. There's this weird understanding between us that we don’t even know what to say to each other. When I run into Brad Barr or any of the guys in Sector 9 or The Slip...we look into each others eyes and we don’t even know what to say! It's like we’re all in love or something!

Yeah, I feel that. So when are we going to have the full Sector 9, Slip, JFJO tour for a year?


Photo by Aaron Kayce
We’ve been talking about it since Berkfest last year...we all hung out after the last night of Berkfest at Sector 9's hotel until like 8am and we were like “How are we gonna do this?!” We were actually talking about buying a bunch of land somewhere and moving all of us onto this land and instead of touring we would have a huge venue there and we would bus cities to us. We would have a fleet of busses and we’d send the busses to Chicago...fill them up and then drive them to our land. Everyone would hang out for four or five days, we would all play music and eat food, then they would leave and we’d have a week off and then the next week Boston would drive down, ya know?

Let me know when I can show up! I’ll bring a lot of nice organic fruit and food..it’ll be a good time.

I think it was actually Hunter’s (guitarist for Sector 9) idea. Doesn’t it sound incredible? We were thinking about doing a tour which would be more reasonable but the thing is all three of those bands are really having a good time doing their own thing.

Totally, it's really tough to try to schedule something like that. Everybody has their own agendas and it's hard to make that work.

In thinking about JFJO, The Slip, STS9 and the whole music scene today, I remember being like 18 or 19 years old and saying “oh I wish I grew up in the 60’s” or something and now I look back and whenever I talk to people and I hear somebody say that I’m like “don’t kid yourself, look at what's going on! Your in it.”


Photo by George Lyons
People are more informed and more culturally aware because of the information revolution. I mean everyone and their dog has heard tons of crazy music that in the 60’s was totally underground. You know there was no way your average concert-goer in the 60’s was hearing the diverse amount of music that your average concert-goer nowadays hears. So there's more music...it’s a much more intense thing...I love it! It's one of the best times to ever be in the business.

I think it’s a great time to be alive...just in general.

Totally...there's a lot of exciting shit going on in the middle of this sinking ship that is modern human society.

It’s a very intense period..there's a lot of shit going on and I’m sure your well aware...good and bad it’s a very intense time period right now.


Photo by Jeni Cooke
It's an acceleration...I forget what the dudes name that proposed this theory in the 20’s about the whole acceleration of information. I have a chart of it somewhere it's really fascinating, but it mirrors population too because information creates population in a direct way and the acceleration of the average information that the average person has at their fingertips is doubling every couple of years. So that is going hand in hand with the nutritional stuff that we were talking about, a crazy next-level human entity. It's also in one way or another going to change the population of the planet drastically over the next hundred years. First it's gonna get way, way to big then it's gonna shrink really quickly.

We’re in the middle of the “way, way to big” right now I think.

I think we got a couple more years of “way to big” ahead of us. In about 20 years we’re going to really start running out of oil.


Photo by Hallie
I agree with you entirely on that. Also if you look at the belt at the center of the world, that goes through South America and Africa, the population is grossly out of hand and it's gonna start filtering more. I mean we’re way over-populated here and the Asian continents but there's areas in Central Africa that are just ridiculous, they just don’t know about birth control.

They don’t know about birth control but they do have antibiotics.

Exactly, so your population is jumping enormously, it's really scary. We don’t have to deal with the water factor quite as much and it may become a bigger issue and I’m sure your at least relatively aware, but the droughts that are occurring in Central Africa are a clear form of population control, your just killing off thousands of people in blinks of an eye because you have no water.

That’s the activity of Mother Earth. That’s just what she does, it’s not personal or anything. It's like people have visions of the apocalypse and they call it a curse, it has nothing to do with that, it's the simple activity of the earth organism balancing itself, and it's out of balance. It started 10,000 years ago with the agricultural revolution and it's out of hand. Humans are going to have to go to the next step and as with any species only a few of us are going to do it. It’ll look like a mutation at first...individuals that look like they’re not right, they’re not in step and eventually that mutation will become the norm in the next few hundred years. I don’t know but I definitely feel like what we’ve been talking about music, nutrition and spirituality and all this is part of that ya know?

I whole heartedly agree...

I feel like definitely heroes of mine, through studying their lives and their writings and stuff, people like John Coltrane and Beethoven and Jimi Hendrix and Ravi Shankar are aware of that. They were aware of that, and their music was a part of that, they were doing it consciously in line, they were a part of evolution, and most people didn’t understand it, and they didn’t understand what they meant by that, and a lot of people still don’t.

I was curious as to who had been influential on you. You named a few musicians and I can gather from your style a few who have been influential, but I was wondering outside of music, what has laid really heavy on you, whether it be religion, or books you’ve read or people you’ve met outside of music. What has been really heavy for you?


Photo by Zack Smith
Well, man...a lot of shit. I've been relentlessly searching since I learned how to read, but I mean the shit that really...well one of the main influences on my life is Brian, who he is and what he’s about, it can’t even be spoken about how much its determined the course of my life. And Sean Layton. Basically me, Brian, and Sean started the group and Sean’s dead now but Sean basically put me and Brian on the path we are on. He was the first person to talk to us about nutrition, the first person to talk to us about breathing, African music, jazz, he was just...he set us on the path that we’re on. So those two dudes basically have a lot to do with who I am and the music that I make and how I look at the world.

How did Sean die?

He killed himself. Yeah, he was a very unique individual. He was simultaneously the most enlightened person I’ve ever known and the darkest most tortured person I have ever known. He was truly schizophrenic in the most literal sense...he was two people. And it was horrible to witness, absolutely horrible. It was like having your heart broken again and again and again. I played with him for five years and I lived with him for a few of those years and I produced an album of his work which I didn’t even get to put out while he was alive. I’m putting it out posthumously sort of as a testament to him...he’s such a genius. Most of the music he wrote never got released and I’ve got a cd that I’ve actually produced over the last few months and I’m putting out myself, just a few copies. So those two dudes for sure. I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve read a lot of the words of Jesus and I’ve read them a lot..over and over.


Photo by Hallie
Are you particularly religious?

Umm, not really...not in any particular way that can be described. I mean I think that a lot of the religious material that I’ve studied is very useful. But I’ve read the Tao Te Ching, many times, over and over because I was a waiter and I had a pocket translation of it and I basically just read it all day while I was waiting tables. Past the point of memorization, way past that point where I was basically trying to reprogram myself.

It's funny, I was a waiter myself and I used to carry around a small pad of paper and I used to write all the time when I was working. It was just stream of consciousness, because it's tough to be a waiter. It's obvious that we are two very intelligent people who are searching for much more, that’s very clear of you and I know that of myself...so to be in a very mind-numbing situation (such as waiting tables) it's very challenging.


Photo by Kate Haas
You know there's one thing about being a waiter that I really liked, babies. I got to hang out with babies. I don’t get to hang out with babies very much, but as a waiter I got to hang out with three or four a day. There would be this gorgeous infant sitting at the table and their parents would more than likely be ignoring it and this kid and I would make eye contact and it would be the most exhilarating thing, and I miss that.

That’s just a good, a good bar for me, not to judge you, but insight into you. If I meet someone throughout a conversation and they mention “oh I really don’t like kids,” I am very skeptical of that person. I mean how can you not like kids, what do you mean? They’re the most pure form, they haven't learned what they should or shouldn’t do yet.

Exactly...and that’s the most terrifying thing to the domesticated human. Krishnamurti have you read Krishnamurti?

No.


Photo by Scott Smith
Krishnamurti was a 20th century enlightened person. And he’s amazing. I first heard about him in a Coltrane biography...I didn’t really think much of it and I was working at a bookstore for awhile and the Eastern Philosophy section was right near the men’s room so every time I walked into the men’s room I would see Krishnamurtis' face and eventually I started reading his shit.

I’ll look into that for sure.

That’s the heaviest stuff ever written down I think.

Wow, I’ll definitely have to look into that.

Any of his books are great.

Cool.

I studied Buddhism for a few years, where that was all I read and I read it all day and both Brian and I have been really fascinated with Huang Po who was the 5th Chinese patriarch and the translations of his stuff, there's various translations. That stuff is incredible. Yeah I definitely have read a lot, but I don’t really read a lot anymore. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m going for more of a first-hand thing.

There's a certain need to read and touch base with other people’s experiences but then I think it's very important to become very fully involved in your own.

I think that’s s step that a lot of people don’t take. I think that, you know, all the religions even talk about that but the preachers don’t even bring it up!

I think that has to do with control. I think mass religion has just gone the wrong way.


Photo by Zack Smith
Totally the wrong way. There's a story about Jesus where he gets arrested because he’s not in church on the Sabbath. He says some shit about the Sabbath was made for man, not MAN for the Sabbath, you guys are confused...your not experiencing the stuff directly, your missing the point. That’s kind of my approach to religion in general. It has incredible valuable to study, but it’s the direct experience that should be the first and only real priority. That’s the mistake that musicians make too. They don’t make their actual personal experience the primary thing, they make their second-hand experience the primary thing. That’s what music school in general tells you to do and it makes drones out of us.

It does, it's much easier to control people who are all in that mindset.


Photo by Zack Smith
Yeah for sure, that function of Art. Joseph Campbell says that the artist is the modern-day Shaman. Joseph Campbell is a genius, he’s one of those geniuses that most people don’t even know about. I worship Joseph Campbell. That guys got that weird look in his eye. He says often in his writing that the artist is the modern-day Shaman. What the artist does for modern-day society is what the Shaman used to do for primitive society which is to remind everybody that there's more here than what we’re seeing, there's more dimensions to being a human being than society is telling us. The Shaman invites the individual to leave the ordinary universe to discover that which can’t be told, ya know? That’s what the musician does too.

There’s one other thing that I wanted to touch on. Thelonious Monk, obviously a huge influence on you and the entire Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. I feel like that with many visionary artists and people who are seeing the bigger picture, sometimes I feel that these geniuses are often overlooked until years, decades, lifetimes later. I wonder if you see that and think it could be the future for Jacob Fred?


Photo by Hallie
I don’t know. I think that many things are possible. And I don’t know. I’m sure whatever happens will be the right thing. I really don’t know. I believe very strongly in manifestation and what I am manifesting in my life at the present time as far as what I want my future to be...I want to be very happy. I want to not have anything to worry about and part of that, part of not having anything to worry about is making enough money to not depend entirely on other people. I have basically been depending on other people more or less my whole life. Of course through high school I lived with my parents but even after graduation I got an apartment. But even three months after graduation I was only able to pay for myself for three months before I had to move in with a girl. I’ve basically been living with girlfriends or sleeping on Brian’s couch for the last seven years. So I’m basically trying to manifest a way to be a musician and be self-sufficient and not be in debt, not be owing anybody money, not needing other people to support me, that’s definitely a goal. Beyond that I just want to be able to play. I don’t really care what happens as long as I am happy, ya know?

I’m obviously putting words in your mouth right now and if I’m wrong please inform me, but I feel that one of your goals is to affect people, to affect the audience to show them that there is more.


Photo by George Lyons
Well somewhat. I mean that’s not my primary intention, that’s just inevitable. My primary intention is my own sanity. That’s the bottom line as far as me as a person and a musician. I’ve definitely flirted with non-sane points of time in my life and been terrified by the experience. I basically made it. Music is the main force that brings positivity into me as a being. That’s really the main reason I’m doing it. I think it's really an incredible, wonderful, blessed, thing that other people have a positive experience but that’s not enough to live in a van for two years. The thing that makes me live in a van for two years is the fact that basically playing music is the only way I can stay on this planet.

It's good to have a purpose, a lot of people don’t have a purpose or don’t know their purpose and they’re very sad and confused and frustrated, so at least you know.


Photo by Hallie
Well I’ve never really been given a choice in the matter. I’ve really been on a straight path since I was like 12. Simultaneously knowing that music is the only thing that I want to do and also needing it in a very immediate way. Needing to play music like I need to eat food. Literally, that if I didn’t play music I would go completely nuts and wouldn’t want to be alive. It's therapy. I know it's that way for Brian too, that’s why we do what we do. If we didn’t do what we do, we wouldn’t be able to handle existence.

That’s cool. To know what it is that makes you whole, some people lack that. I’ve been trying to do that. Kudos. Do you have anything else you want to talk about? I’ve pretty much touched on everything I’ve wanted to touch on.

I feel that we’ve talked about a lot of stuff, I don’t think there's anything else. I just think it's awesome that you wanted to write about us.

Like I said, it’s a whole new thing for me to feast on. I didn’t realize the depth of what you individually and Jacob Fred as a whole were capable of. Obviously music is a huge part of my life, definitely the dominant thing in my life, so to have a new band that I can love is great.

I thank you! If people didn’t enjoy what we do, we’d be sitting in Tulsa waiting tables.


Read Part I of this interview!

The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey are in the midst of a 30+ show tour and will be blowing minds in your neck of the woods any day now. Check the tour dates for your chance to see the future.

The Kayceman
JamBase | HeadQuarters
Go See live Music!

[Published on: 8/30/02]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!


You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!