Oteil Burbridge Appears On Chris Pandolfi’s ‘Inside The Musician’s Brain’ Podcast

By Scott Bernstein Feb 16, 2021 8:58 am PST

The Infamous Stringdusters banjoist Chris Pandolfi welcomed Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burbridge for an interview on his Osiris Media podcast, Inside The Musician’s Brain With Chris Pandolfi. Today, Pandolfi shared the first of two consecutive Inside The Musician’s Brain episodes featuring Oteil.

Panda begins the latest Inside The Musician’s Brain With Chris Pandolfi by discussing his recently released Trad Plus solo album, Trance Banjo. Chris goes on to talk about inspiration, musical influences and the legacy of different artists. Pandolfi notes Earl Scruggs and Tony Rice as two specific influences on his sound and bluegrass in general.

Chris runs through abbreviated bios for Scruggs and Rice. “He develops this Scruggs style with finger picks on the thumb, index and middle finger playing these rolling, rippling patterns of notes with the melody woven into that pattern. No one was doing anything like this before Earl came around,” Pandolfi says of Scruggs. “As an instrumentalist, Tony’s guitar playing has undoubtedly touched every guitar player in bluegrass since he came on the scene,” Chris adds about Tony Rice, who died on Christmas Day 2020.

The first part of the banjoist’s interview with Burbridge begins around the 15-minute mark. Oteil is no stranger to podcasts as he co-hosts Osiris Media’s Comes A Time with comedian Mike Finoia. Pandolfi and Burbridge talk life during the pandemic to start the chat. The pair appreciated the break at first but now are itching to return to the road. Oteil and Chris discuss whether the music industry will change from such a heavy focus on touring post-pandemic.

“We’re in a great period right now, I have a little cushion thanks to Allman Brothers and Dead & Company. But a year from now, if we’re not gigging, I’ll start to worry,” Oteil reveals. Burbridge talks lessons he’s learned musically over the past few months, projects he’s working on and how his crew has adapted to this new normal. The pair discusses the role of Spotify and streaming service with Oteil imploring musicians to “own their own stuff.”

Oteil recalls a dark period in his life that led to a spiritual/religious awakening. He notes the birth of his son, Nigel, also led him to reevaluate his self-worth. “Now I have two kids,” Burbridge says. “My life just completely flipped” before discussing the different path his late brother Kofi took.

Pandofi and Burbridge speak on their love for the banjo towards the end of the episode. Oteil was introduced to the instrument by his former Aquarium Rescue Unit bandmate Rev. Jeff Mosier. “The deeper I got into banjo and playing acoustic, it really made me not want to play so loud,” the bassist says. Burbridge talks about how he developed his fondness for the banjo and the role his wife played in his learning the instrument.

The second and final part of Chris’ chat with Oteil will be featured on the next Inside The Musician’s Brain episode, due out on March 2. Listen to the first installment below:

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