Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Interview: Freddy J IV of Left Lane Cruiser "I play dirty blues and classic rock."

Freddy J IV of Left Lane Cruiser
The blues are a national treasure to me.

Before they came to be, America had little to say when it came to music in the world. It's the truest American art form.

It was also the basis of much to come. Later in America, it spawned rock'n'roll. In England, players took up the cause and created English blues, which later became blues based rock.

In 1970, an English Blues Band became the first heavy metal band in the world.

I think it's common in America to say that you're a fan of the blues, but how many people really are? A friend of mine once told me all of his favorite bluesmen have died.

Well, allow me to formally introduce you to Freddy J IV of the psychobilly blues band, Left Lane Cruiser.

Glacially Musical: For the folks that aren't familiar yet, what made you start playing music?

Freddy J IV: My father played guitar and his best friend, my Uncle Gary, played slide guitar on a 1932 National. 

All my life I heard them playing the blues. They played Muddy Waters and Rolling Stones records all the time. There were always guitars in our house. 

I remember starting to constantly play around the age of 10. I wanted to play the blues like my dad and uncle. I wanted to sound like Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones.

GM: Who are your musical heroes?

FJ4: Muddy Waters, Hound Dog Taylor, ZZ Top, R.L. Burnside, Jr. Kimbrough, Angus Young, Bon Scott, Levon Helm, Jimmy Page, Jon Bonham, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Otis Redding, Howlin Wolf, Joe Cocker, Bob Seger....

GM: How did you come to accept half of White Trash Blues Revival into the Cruiser?

FJ4: We had been touring with WTBR for a while and I had sat in many times and jammed on their set. 

I had a familiarity with Pete and Joe's style of jamming. Joe joined Left Lane first and then when Brenn told me he wanted to retire from the band, Pete was ready to step in. 

We learned how to jam and write together on the road, on tour, at shows. 

GM: What does Joe Bent bring to Left Lane Cruiser that wasn't there before?

FJ4: He's a bass player who plays skateboard guitar. 

He's also a great riff writer when he can remember them, haha. He wrote the riff for Cutting Trees.

The verse riff in All Damn Day. Obviously the riff in She Don't Care. He can drop a good groove when ya need one. 

GM: How would you describe the music you play?

FJ4: Dirty Heavy Drinking Blues.

GM: You have a hectic tour schedule. How do you travel?

FJ4: We drive. Pete has a van. 

We usually travel through the night to the next town to get the early check-in at the Motel 6.

GM: What are your touring plans for the new album? 

FJ4: We have a west coast tour in July and August and then we're in Europe for October and November.

GM: I thought Dirty Spliff Blues sounded different than Rock Them Back To Hell. Aside from the obvious personnel changes, how is the music different?

FJ4: Rock Them Back to Hell was written from a collection of riffs I had  been working on for a couple of years. 

The core group of songs on Dirty Spliff Blues were written at sound checks and gigs over the span of many tours throughout the U.S.A and Europe. 

Tres Borrachos was written at soundcheck in Bilbao, Spain. Tangled Up in Bush was written at a show in Lansing, Michigan.

The music sounds different because it was written in a jam. Someone might drop a riff or a beat and the others will instantly lock in with the groove and work their parts. 
Pete and Joe hold down the groove which allows me to come up with riffs I couldn't get to before.

GM: Do you think you're playing guitar differently than before?

FJ4: The force of rock n roll tends to take over more now. 

I always try to keep one foot in the blues and one foot in the crank that shit up. I play dirty blues and classic rock. Always have, always will. 

GM: Whose idea was it to put She Don't Care on Dirty Spliff Blues?

FJ4: Pete and Joe offered the song up. 
We were running out of time in the studio and needed one we could rip off in a hurry. Cutting Trees was a jam we did as a warm up for the recording of She Don't Care
We were just checking mic levels. Joe dropped the riff and we just took off with it. I added the vocals later. 
If we didn't record She Don't Care there would be no Cutting Trees.

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