:: G. Love and Special Sauce :: Red Rocks Amphitheatre :: August 17 ::
By Heather Jarvis
Guitar slung over one shoulder, Garrett Dutton rolled up to his new bass player’s house on his skateboard for one of their first band practices. Drummer Jeffrey Clemens went outside to check out Dutton’s board, but before Dutton could show off the new deck, Clemens promptly snatched the board and locked it in his car for the next year. For reasons more selfish than big brotherly, Clemens didn’t want Dutton to end up riding that board under a bus somewhere, because to him, this kid was his ticket out of Boston. In that house, sans skateboard, the creation of a satisfying recipe known as G. Love and Special Sauce was born.
Thirteen years and eight albums later, the future proved that Clemens had put all his hopes in the right direction with Dutton, more commonly known as G. Love, with the hip-hop blues band now touring throughout the country, headlining festivals and shows everywhere.
The Marquee recently caught up with writer/rhymer G. Love as he was walking his home streets of Philly toward the studio, ready for his third day of recording their next album.
“My dream was to make a living playing music and to make one record, and then I achieved that,” said the man behind the vocals, guitar and harmonica. “I was lost for awhile, thinking I just wanted to make one record, now I’m on a third and fourth, and I wasn’t focusing enough to use the potential I had. Now I realize the things I do that people react to; I know my limitations and how to manipulate them so they aren’t limitations. My dream now is to rock the whole world. I want to bring my music to as many people as I can and make a record that’s going to be huge, and I want it to be an amazing record that’s viable and fun to listen to, but gets respect.”
G. Love and the not-so-secret Special Sauce, which consists of Jimi “Jazz” Prescott on bass, Jeffrey “Houseman” Clemens on drums and Mark Boyce (who joined the band in 2006) on keys, have ramped up for a summer tour that has been in the making for the last five years. Beginning in California, the Summer Haze Tour, with Slightly Stoopid opening, will be an intense trip, with the band playing 19 shows in August alone. The tour will end in Florida at the beginning of September, taking them from one coast to the other, stopping at Red Rocks for a show that G. Love says will be a milestone in his career.
“I’ve played at Red Rocks opening up for Widespread Panic and Blues Traveler and sat in with Jack Johnson, but I’ve never headlined a show there,” he said. “Most people go there to party and listen to some great music, which is what I’m doing too, but it’s a big thing for me because I’ll be able to do my thing for a bigger crowd.”
As G. Love ordered an iced latte with skim milk, he touched on his beginnings on the East Coast and his effort for originality.
“One day I was playing on the streets, doing my blues thing, and I started rapping over it,” he said. “I realized at that moment that no other white kid or anybody, really, was playing a blues guitar and rapping over it. That was like a musical epiphany for me because I always wanted to be different. In the back of my head, I’m always trying to do something that’s me, but sets me apart from the pack. I try to do my own thing. I’d rather be a leader than a follower.”
G. Love’s ripping harmonica licks can also be attributed to his effort to remain original, and has a lasting effect on their most recent album, released in 2006, Lemonade. The album he calls his “summertime groover” was a collaboration of name-brand artists such as Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Donovan Frankenreiter, Dave Hidalgo (Los Lobos), Blackalicious, Tristan Prettyman and Marc Broussard. G. Love said the addition of these artists lead the record from a frustrating beginning that was like treading water, to a record that was extra special for them.
“It really saved our ass on a creative level because having the guests come in the studio it made everyone behave. Musicians never grow up, myself included, so when you have outside musicians there you can’t act like a kid,” said Love.
G. Love and Special Sauce will release their first DVD, A Year and A Night, on Aug. 2. Love said that the DVD commemorates the ins and outs of a band that has been “on the grind” for the past 13 years.
But that grind is exactly what has fueled them and given both Love and the Special Sauce the drive to keep going “wherever the vibe is good,” said Love. “It could be a street corner, Red Rocks or some smoky club. To me, it’s all about what kind of vibe we have on stage and what kind of vibe the people bring.”
:: G. Love and Special Sauce ::
:: Red Rocks Amphitheatre ::
:: August 17 ::
Spectate if you Gravitate:
• Ben Harper
• Blues Traveler
• John Butler Trio