L4LM: You’re a big proponent of limiting creative choices to spark the artistic process. Do you believe having less options makes you get more creative?
JG: I think that is a universal truth…You see it in all cultures, particularly when it comes to art. This is just me, my philosophy. There are plenty of people who have done great records and art with all the gear in the world. I like gear too, certainly. But there is a point, to me, when it becomes unnecessary. Sometimes you just have to look at what you have on hand and make something happen. When I was recording in the past I was using the tape machines, and you had a limited number of tracks and you had a lot of decisions to make. I am a big fan of committing to things early in the process.
By way of example…if there is an effect like reverb or delay that I really like for a part of a song, I will print it. That’s what it’s called when you add something like that, printing. I’ll do that early on in the process, so then it stays. It is always there. To me, making decisions early can help expedite the process. If I was to not make these commitments early, I would be stuck at the end making thousands of decisions and that kinda bums me out…It transcends disciplines. It’s basic simplicity.
L4LM: You put a “Vol. I” in the album title. Is this a true indication of a coming sequel, or is this a “History Of The World Part I”-type thing where it is just part of the title?
JG: Yeah, hopefully part two will be out in the winter. This is an EP, there are six songs on it. Originally I was gonna put this out all as one record, but there were a couple of tunes that I wasn’t quite finished with yet. When I was looking at what I had, I realized that these six go together pretty well and the other six work well together also. It became pretty clear that what I ought to do is put it out as two separate EPs.
L4LM: You’re releasing this on the Blue Rose Music label out of California. They do a lot of interesting charity work. How did you first get involved with them?
JG: I played one of their benefits a while back and the owner, Joe Poletto, has become a really good friend of mine. Now we are in business together. It was a truly organic relationship that started out there in Petalula.
L4LM: Blue Rose does a lot to help the next generation of musicians. Was that the attraction for you?
JG: Definitely a big part of it. The last benefit we did was tied into started a music scholarship for kids in Sacramento, where I am from. Music programs in schools are pretty much always the first thing to get cut [when budgets decrease]. Who the hell needs that right? But it turns out that music programs are good for more than just music.
Music is really important to the development of the brain. Sadly, I think mine is one of the last generations to be assured of having a music program in school. Even as basic as those programs are, they introduce kids to the idea that there are other ways to succeed in life. That is my angle on all this–to help kids see that there is more than one way to go.
L4LM: You just mentioned you were in the studio playing bass on a project right now. Are you going to get out and promote the EP with some shows?
JG: My friend Anders Osborne and I are going to be playing some acoustic shows together in October. Pretty much all of October I will be promoting that. It’s basically us, acoustic. Maybe I’ll bring a banjo. We did a few shows together earlier this year and people really liked it so I am excited to get out and do it again.
This summer in particular I have been taking a lot of time off to make some new recordings. I am starting to write songs for another record next year with my touring band that will be a straight rock and roll record. It is nice to have some actual time off to write and just be in recording mode for an extended period of time.
Check out a clip of Greene and Osborne performing “Ball And Chain” from their short run earlier this year (via Salt City Live):
L4LM: Now that you mention it, you do always seem to have a show around the corner. Is this your first really long break from the road?
JG: Absolutely. At first it was weird. I didn’t really know what to do with myself. In the past it has been that I had songs that I wanted to work on but no time to do it. This summer I have had enough time to work on things. It was scary at first but now I really like it. And I will have a lot of new tunes to share.
L4LM: Is it ever weird introducing songs you have written all alone to the musicians who will be backing you up on them?
JG: Not really. I am not that particular, and my band is really great. Sometimes I have to re-learn these tunes myself. I think after this time off it will be great to take these tunes out to the people!
For more information on Jackie Greene and his upcoming releases and tour dates, head to his website.