Sep 012004
 
Authors: Gabrielle Heise

When Garret Dutton, better known as G. Love, the soulful front man in the hip-hop blues group G. Love and Special Sauce, first picked up the phone for this interview, he seemed a little distracted.

I later found out he had just pulled into Berkley, Calif., to set things up for a show later that night at the Greek Theatre. This was only the third stop on his new tour to promote “The Hustle,” the band’s newest album and the first album under Jack Johnson’s Bushfire Record’s label. G. Love and his two-man band, Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens and James “Jimi Jazz” Prescott will be up at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre on Saturday to give us a little taste of what they do. G. Love took time out of his hectic schedule to chat about his tour, his influences and his friendship with Jack Johnson.

The Collegian: So Should I call you G. Love, Garret, G… What do you like to be called?

G. Love: I like to be called all those things.

You’ve only done two shows in the tour so far, is it off to a good start?

G. Love: Yeah, it’s going really well. It’s a pretty exciting tour to be on this summer.

You looking forward to it?

G. Love: Yeah, we just dropped our new record.

You’ve had fans for over a decade now. How do you think you’ve separated your old sound from your new sound?

G. Love: I don’t know, I think we just have a pretty distinctive sound. I actually kind of think our new record is really in the pocket of the original stuff we started with just kinda the hip-hop blues, pretty raw and unpolished, funky kinda front porch and hip-hop.

So are there any places you are particularly excited about playing on the tour?

G. Love: Um, well, we’re playing at the Greek Theatre tonight in Berkley.

Yeah I read that.

G. Love: I pretty much like playing wherever there’s a good crowd and this crowd’s been a good crowd the whole way down.

The Mishawaka is a really popular venue with the CSU students here. How do you like the Mish compared to other venues you play?

G. Love: The Mish is a chiller place for us. I really like it because it’s the size of a club so it’s really intimate but it gives you that outdoor feel like you’re playing at Red Rocks. It’s intimate but it’s an outdoor venue so, that’s a perfect spot for us to play. I love playin’ up there.

What should students expect to hear from you this year at the Mish?

G. Love: We’re definitely gonna be featuring a bunch of tunes off our new record and definitely mix in some classics. It’s nice to play a good bit of acoustic music at the Mishawaka it just kinda suites the environment. It’s gonna be me and Jimi Jazz and Jeff, the original Special Sauce. We’ll be doing our thing, ya know?

Right on, so I have to ask, do you tell every audience that you to love to come play for them or only when you sincerely mean it?

G. Love: I don’t usually say anything like that. I don’t really say “Oh, you guys have a been a great audience.” I guess I always just thank the crowd. There’s actually been just one or two times in my career that I’ve been pissed off at the audience.

You wanna tell us about one of those times?

G. Love: I don’t know, one time way back in the day in New York, it was just one of those really rude crowds that just barely even looked at us while we played. I just remember giving them the finger. Most of the time we have a pretty great crowd. So, I’m just thankful we have people come out to hear us play. That’s me. I’m just happy to be up there, getting to do my thing and any press is good press and any crowd is a good crowd.

Do you have a favorite tour you’ve done, or favorite show specifically?

G. Love: That’s kind of a tough question. We’ve played a lot of epic shows I’m just trying to think about one in Colorado that maybe some cats have been to. (yelling at someone else) What’s up, you ready? … Doin’ a phoner. All right I’ll see ya. (to me) That was Jack (Johnson) we’re just pulling into town right now.

I know Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker and De La Soul Have influenced your music. Is there anyone that most people wouldn’t know has influenced you?

G. Love: That’s pretty cool most people ask ‘what are your influences?’ you actually took the time to figure that out. That’s good. Well, lately I’ve been really diggin’ on the Shuggie Otis record called “Inspiration Information.” Some of my favorite newer artists are, well, ya know, I think Jack is awesome and Slightly Stupid, I think Jasper and the Prodigal Sons are influences on me.

What kind of influence has Jack had on your songwriting?

G. Love: Me and Jack have been playing together for, like, six years now. It’s cool, it’s like, well, our styles are similar, but our approaches are different. Jack is really, really laid-back and and I’m, well, I think I push it a little harder. From him I think I’ve learned maybe to not try as hard maybe just lay back in the cut a little bit, that’s just kinda by diggin’ on his music. It’s just interesting to see how different musicians can rock a crowd. I think just being around Jack has helped me just put a little bit more mellow edge on what I do, which is already pretty mellow.

Do you ever call him boss?

G. Love: (laughing) No, no.

OK, last year you said your style is urban but not ghetto because you’re not ghetto. You want to elaborate on that?

G. Love: Well, I guess I was just sayin’ how I grew up in the city of Philadelphia and I just always thought of my style as street-side blues, urban. I call it street-side blues, but lyrically it was kinda like street-smart blues. I was definitely really influenced by blues and the things that I knew like basketball and you know just watching the freaks in the city and stuff like that, I was claiming to be urban but I was definitely not claiming to be from the hood or something like that.

Have you ever said anything in an interview that upset a good number of people or something you regretted later on?

G. Love: Yeah.

(laughing) Are you gonna tell us about it?

G. Love: (laughing) No, why would I be that stupid?

All right, All right.

G. Love: I’ve definitely gotten in pretty good trouble on one or two occasions but I don’t care to talk about them.

Ok now we’re going to do the lightening round. Are you ready?

G. Love: Ah, you got an interesting technique here, I like this, this is good.

If I weren’t a musician I’ be a …

G. Love: A porn star, WHOA, whoa no … a teacher, an English teacher, an English teacher or a porn star.

After this interview I’m going to …

Do an in-store in Berkley to support my new record, “The Hustle.”

If I was dragged to karaoke night I’d sing….

(singing) Mamas don’t let your babies to grow up and be cowboys.

If I could live anywhere in the world I’d live….

I’d live in … uh …

It’s the lightening round. You gotta answer fast.

California right now.

If I could meet anyone alive or dead I’d want to meet …

Robert Johnson.

If I was a CSU student for a day I would …

Try and fall in love with a girl that wouldn’t ever talk to me…wait… (laughing)

Surfing or music?

Music.

Lover or fighter?

Lover.

Kerry or Bush?

Kerry.

The road or the studio?

The road.

21 and over or All ages?

(With conviction) 21 and over.

Favorite band to see live?

Allman Brothers.

OK and finally, do you have any advice or comments for aspiring musicians that are struggling to stand out?

You gotta stay on the hustle!

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