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G. Love: The Angelica Interview

article by John Powell
photography by Gabrielle Coughenour

Between solo records and those with Special Sauce, G Love is 10 records deep into a strange and legendary career. Many accomplishments make him familiar to most music fans: songs like “Cold Beverages” and “Dreamin’” have become summer classics, and G Love helped Jack Johnson find his footing with “Rodeo Clowns”. Even if they don’t love his songs, most people will say there’s something about G Love that is uniquely appealing.

Well, who thought a white kid out of Philly could play old school blues and then rap over it? Who thought a guy named G Love could gain street cred? Who thought it would only take a trio called Special Sauce (featuring, by the way, Jeff Clemens on drums and Jim Prescott on bass) to fill your speakers with endless grooves?

G Love, for one, who, embarking on a tour with Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad supporting, reflects on his beginnings. Here’s one example of a musician that has had radio hits and underground popularity, who has hit fast with catchy choruses and dug deep with pushed musical limits.

While he knew he’d always be a musician, G Love never anticipated where he is today. We’re both fans of Giant Panda, so we started there:

Tell me about bringing Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad with you on tour.

We toured with them before, and they put out that record, Country. They [do] a reggae thing, which is great, but every day they’d be jamming on the bus, playing not reggae, but it’s kind of acoustic rock n’ roll to me. It sounded so good. I said, “You need to make a record like this.”

G. Love

I wanted to produce it but we didn’t end up connecting in the studio, but they made this record. Man, they nailed it. I don’t even listen to that much new music, but they sent it to me on vinyl. It was on my record player for a solid five months. The music, the lyrics, really brought it home for me, so I asked them to come out on this tour, and I never do this, but I asked them, “Hey, can you come play this record?” I know they were working on a reggae record, but they’ve stumbled upon a sound and style with this Country record. I’m psyched my peeps will get to hear it.

Panda might get heard by a new crowd.

The bottom line is, the people listening to their rootsy reggae stuff also listen to the Grateful Dead or anything else. It’s not like it’s a bunch of Jamaicans living in Jamaica. They’re white kids living in Vermont. That’s one thing I realized over the years, because so much of what I do is hip hop, and then I mix in other styles, but I originally was a blues player. When I bring back that blues shit I’m like, “Man, people are still dancing to this.” Well, no shit, because these people listen to every kind of music and love every kind of music, so, that’s interesting because there’s no boundaries right now within genres.

Tell me about your tour. When were you last up here?

I was last up during the Nor’easter Festival, and that was a year ago. It’s been a hot minute. Burlington is where I have a lot of history. My manager went to UVM. My sweetheart went to UVM. I went to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. We used to come up to UVM to get our herb. [Laughs]




 

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