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Published: 2000/12/15
by Dan Alford

Soulive Year Two- Steppin’ Remix

Talk a bit about the evolution of “Jesus Children.” It started out pretty clean, the Lettuce arrangement.

Eric: Kind of. Originally I used to play it at Wally’s [in Boston]. I guess you could say Lettuce- it’s the same thing really.

Neal: It’s changed a couple of times.

Eric: We just started changin’ it up. It all stated one time when I started playin’ that Jimi Hendrix groove ‘cause I listened to Band of Gypsies on the ride up to Maine- we were going to Maine. And we started playing it over that groove. And then I realized that I could play “Jesus Children” over that. And then we went to Africa.

Alan: It really changed when we went to Africa.

Eric: Then Neal, was it you who came up with that?

Neal: Yeah.

Eric: Neal came up with a new way of playin’ it, the new bass-line for it. And then we started going into “Who Knows.” And now I don’t know what’s what. [laughter]

Eric: Now we still play it like that. We play it the way Neal kinda wrote in Africa. I like it ‘cause it’s just different. You can’t recognize it till you hear the melody, as far as the original. Sometimes I like that, sometimes I don’t, ya know? I like the way that groove kinda fits with it, but it will probably evolve more.

When you played it the second night at the Bowery, Alan, you finished your drum solo digging in with one stick and playing with the other. It sounded like a talking drum.

Eric: I think he played the melody.

Yeah, he played the melody and I almost fell over.

Alan: Yeah, ya know. that’s just like an old jazz thing ya know. Old jazz drummers, they’ll just go [sings up a scale] and come out. But it’s really hard to play the melody, to get the different notes correct. But as long as you can get as close as you can get to the intervals, then people can pick up on it, and it sounds pretty cool. It’s something fun to do. I like doin’ stuff like that also because of the instrument I play. I mess around with other instruments, like guitar and sometimes keyboards, and that’s what it is. Ya know, you can play melodies and they’re very distinguishable. And on drums it’s a lot harder, just because of the instrument. So, as much as I can, I like to throw in a little melody and stuff like that. Ya know, it’s just fun.

Speaking of instruments, Neal is anything special about your Hammond?

Neal: Not really. I just had the guts taken out of it and put into different casing. That’s basically it. I just had it modified a little bit. I had wires that ran to the bass pedals, the draw-bars that go to the bass pedals, I just had the wires go into the lower register on it. So instead of the pedals, I have my left hand.

And Eric, at the Congress benefit at the Wetlands, you were out there playing bass. Are you going to switch up instruments at all?

[laughter] Neal Yeah, actually I have a Rhodes that I’m gonna start bringing on the road.

Eric: Yeah, we did one gig, I played bass, Neal played Rhodes. I originally started out playin’ bass. I’ve haven’t played bass in a while.

Neal: You know most times we go out and have a jam session, I’m always playin’ keys and Kraz is always grabbin’ the bass.

Eric: We’ll probably start doing that more. Neal plays drums and I’ll play the guitar, maybe we’ll get a power trio goin’! [laughs] I play a little bit of keys too, just messing around.

Alan: We talk about doin’ it, ya know. We do it at sound checks.

Eric: I would say more realistically, I will play bass and Neal will play Rhodes in the future.

Let’s talk about New Year’s Eve. Your website says you’re going on at 2 AM for the late show.

Alan: Well we go on at 7 or 8, or whenever it is, the Mace goes on after that. And then the second show is the actual New Year’s Eve celebration, so then Maceo goes on first for the second show. And then we go after him. Gonna be workin’ that night.

Eric: You might see some switchin’ up on instruments that night. [laughter]

OK, last question, have you heard the new Allman Brothers’ disc? [editor’s note Derek Trucks addresses this same topic in his interview this month- Trucks quotes Soulive a few times on Peaking at the Beacon, for instance at the end of Every Hungry Woman]

Neal: Naw, but I know what this is about. Derek [Trucks] called me up one day down at Velour. He was crackin’ up. He was like “Yeah, yeah we gotta talk.” I still haven’t talked to him- I gotta give him a call. But he was like, “We gotta figure something out, get you some money or something ‘cause we play ‘Rudy’s Way’ all over the entire disc.” That was probably the night I was there, ‘cause one night I went and I was back stage and literally every couple minutes they were playin’ it. [laughter]


Dan Alford will recuperate from the New Year’s festivities by watching the 24-hour Iron Chef marathon on the Food Network.

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