Talking Rubber Soulive with Eric Krasno
BR: And then you do that wild-ass break at the end, with the only point of reference being Neal’s descending chords in the background … somebody’s always holding down the fort, but it’s right on the verge of going out into space at any moment.
EK: And when we play it live it does go out there. (laughs) I think of all the songs on the album, that’s the one that has morphed the most live – it’s like a whole beast on its own.
BR: When did you actually lay down these tracks in Alan’s studio? I’m wondering how long since then that things have had a chance to “morph.”
EK: It was almost a year ago now – last fall, actually. So we’ve been playing this stuff live since then … some of those tunes have become staples in our sets. Like “Eleanor Rigby” – we don’t play it every night, but I want to. (laughs) That one and “I Want You” are the ones I have the most fun playing.
BR: Nice segue into the next question, man. (laughter) You really nail that bite that George Harrison had going on “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” when he’s echoing the vocal with his guitar. Was that one of those things that you worked on?
EK: Yeah – that tune and its parts have such a classic sound that’s so crucial … I love what they did and wanted to play pretty close to what was there while putting my own vibe on it, too.
BR: Which you do – your wah pedal solo at the end is just elegant.
EK: Oh, thanks, man – thanks.
BR: “She’s So Heavy” also features the only human voices on the album – the off-mike choruses.
EK: Yeah, that was at the end of the thing when we decided, “We should just do it.” The three of us just put a mic in the middle of the room and went for it. Just kind of a last-minute add-on.
BR: You pull off another great wah solo on “Come Together”, but it’s a totally different feel and tone from what you do on “She’s So Heavy”. To my ears, the earlier one sounds like “Presence of the Lord”-style Clapton, while “Come Together” comes off more like a Jeff Beck-flavored workout.
EK: You know, I wasn’t thinking about it that specifically, but I’ve listened to so much of both of those guys and they’re influences, for real. I can’t always pinpoint it, but it’s there. It’s cool that you’re hearing the difference in the two breaks.
BR: As far as your arrangement of “Come Together” goes, you guys stay pretty close to the original pulse.
EK: We kept it pretty true. That’s an example of us saying, “Okay – how would we play this melody? How would we play this groove?” Pretty much our interpretation of their arrangement.
BR: The keyboard break at the end is another great example of Neal: his left hand is working that constant, slamming, pounding bass line – while his right hand is going absolutely ape, ripping off that crazy-ass solo … it’s like two different people.
EK: (laughs) I know!
BR: And it’s all happening live, right?
EK: Absolutely. I’ve been watching him do that kind of stuff for 12 years or whatever and I can tell you, man – it never gets old. I still freak out about it. (laughter) I know where it’s coming from, but I don’t understand how it’s happening … I really don’t. Both he and Alan are just amazing players.
BR: Well, you all are, to pull off what you do with just the three of you.
EK: Thanks, man.
BR: “Something” is another one of those tunes that’s just too sweet to mess with, isn’t it?
EK: You know, I keep saying this, but … (laughs) That’s another one of my favorite tunes, you know?
BR: Yeah, well, you and the rest of the world. (laughter)
EK: And it’s such a strong melody – such a crucial melody – that you don’t want to mess with it too much.
BR: And then there’s “Revolution”, where you’ve got the melody line going up against Neal’s big ol’ walloping chords on the keys.
EK: Exactly. And we went double-time with the beat on that one, as well. It was kind of funny: Neal just started playing that groove and we suddenly realized that “Revolution” worked with it. It was one of those times when we get to the studio in the morning and we just play; Neal just started playing and Al was bringing that beat – that’s one of his favorite beats to play – and I started doing the slow “dut-dut-dut-da-dut-da” over top of that and realized that it worked that way. The original was like a shuffle – we made it into a breakbeat kind of thing.
BR: That one takes you by surprise – for the first few moments, it’s not obvious what’s happening.
EK: That’s such a fun song to play live – people don’t realize what’s going on until you start playing the melody. Until then, they’re going, “What is this?”