Robert Randolph and The Full Trilogy
Musicians talk about how they communicate through their instruments, but Hendrix actually did. Are you ever tapping into that language vibe when you’re on stage? Do you also feel that historical resonance coming through when you are playing, like all the musicians that came before you are linked with you in a way?
I guess it’s sort of that, too. It is sort of that same feeling that the guys who came before me are coming out and doing that. You know…it’s such a cool…you can’t explain it—when you hit that moment, and you’re on stage, and the crowd is cheering, and everything is clicking, it’s this out of body/out of mind experience where you’ve entered this other dimension. Because, don’t forget, as musicians and recording artists, that’s what we all dream of. We all dream of sitting in a house one day and writing a song, taking it to the studio and recording a song, and having the full trilogy, which is the fans and the writer and everybody singing along and happy about the material. There’s no better feeling. (laughs) There’s nothing else to live for.
And you’ve had some time to think about that, too. It’s been ten years since your first club dates, with some rather legendary appearances at Wetlands Preserve, too. Your music has evolved over the years, but you still remain quite grounded. Again, would you credit that to your upbringing and its impact on your live persona?
Yeah, I guess it is the upbringing and church, and being around that atmosphere, knowing not to take things for granted, and this is what we’re here for. We’re just individuals that are a little different than somebody else. (laughs) Everybody’s got their own craft. If a pipe breaks in your house, you can’t fix it, and you have to call a plumber. When the plumber leaves, everything’s fixed, and you go, “Wow, man—how’d you do that?”
[Musicians] have a musical gift from God that’s able to go out and tell a story, talk about the influence, and go out and be an influence to younger artists, as well as older artists, to keep this musical legacy going. Music is a universal language that we all turn to when we need a change or something, when we need to relax, or need to be upbeat, or need to be picked up—that’s what we all turn to music for.
You played with a fine group of collaborators in the past decade, as well. Do they bring new ideas to you that are influential to your own music?
You never know until you’ve been around somebody like Keltner when it comes to playing drums, or creating music, and watching him do it. Nobody’s better. Watching him create drums and surrounding the thing is so unconventional to what we are all used to seeing. Even Steve Jordan, who is a world-renowned drummer and has played with everybody, even he was blown away. He walked into that studio session because he was down the hall mixing the John Mayer record. He walked in there and saw Keltner doing his craft, and he said, “Man, what is goin’ on there?”
When you see stuff like that, with all the stories, taking it all in, and really having fun…it’s just being a part of something. It’s really cool and great to have him really tell me a lot. You know what’s funny? He can tell you about a life story that then just changed how we approach music. It’s just little things like that. He talked about Dylan and T-Bone and all of them in the studio years ago, and you just think, “Wow, isn’t that something.” Just certain stories. (laughs)
You’ve got your stories, too, and ten years down the line, your eyes are open, your ears are open, your mind is still wide open? Ready for another decade?
Yes, sir. I hope so. (laughter) Definitely. Probably another twenty years because we haven’t even reached a full-on…whatever we’re going to do. There are so many ideas that I’m ready to crank out another record now.