G. Love & Special Sauce, known for being the inventors of hip-hop blues, have created a loyal fan following with their raw and ever-changing sound that has lasted 20 years.
Garrett G. Love Dutton, who will perform with bandmates Jeffery Clemens and Timo Shanko at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Saturday, spoke with The Oracle about his upcoming show, tour, albums and hot sauce.
The Oracle: How did you come up with the band name?
G. Love: When I was first coming up, I always thought I had to have a stage name. So I gave myself the name G. Love, because people always called me G. Special sauce was a phrase I have always liked and I always wanted to call my band Special Sauce. An original name always jumps out and throws a reaction like either I love it, Thats stupid or What is this? I remember when we were looking for a record deal one of the responses we got was, We really like you, but well only sign you if you change the name of your band. So obviously we didnt sign with them.
O: How would describe your sound to those who have not heard your band?
GL: I like to call it the Hip-Hop Blues. We are like a garage band that is influenced by hip-hop and the delta blues. And we have a really raw sound, a dirty sound. The songs are about everything from falling in love to falling out of love to breaking hearts and getting your heart broken and everything in between.
O: Who is your musical guilty pleasure?
GL: I mostly listen to really authentic stuff, like thug hip-hop like Wu-Tang Clan or something old delta blues like Muddy Waters. Sometimes a pop song is so catchy and you cant help but like it. … Its kind of embarrassing. The one on the top of my head is Miley Cyrus Party in the USA. You cant help but like that stuff sometimes, but you dont want to your homies to catch you playing it though.
O: What is your favorite song from your most recent album Fixin to Die?
GL: My favorite song to perform is Milk and Sugar, its a really fun song to perform. My favorite songs to listen to are Pale Blue Eyes or Katie Miss, two really mellow songs.
O: Whats in store for you next?
GL: Right now we are out for two months, and we have about 45 shows. Then we will go in to make a new record in April, which will come out the end of this summer. I have another cool thing happening in a month or so Record Store Day. Im releasing an acoustic EP that is called Bloodshot and Blue and thats available on vinyl only and its produced by Jack Johnson.
O: What is your favorite thing about being on tour?
GL: I have a routine. Its important for me to sleep and rest my vocal chords because we do about five shows a week. I try to get some sleep on the road and I hit the gym every day. Then I do a band rehearsal or a sound check every day and then the show. So its a pretty tight schedule. The shows for me are about partying and really being inspired by the people. When Im on tour I am living for the show. … When I get on stage I just have to be the best me I can be.
O: What do you miss most while on tour?
GL: The only tough thing about my life is being away from my family, and especially my son who is 11. Every time I have to leave, it never gets easy. I try to never be away more than two weeks at a time. I fly back and forth every week or every other week. When Im home, Im all the way home.
O: You have worked with a lot of artists like Jack Johnson, the Avett Brothers, and Jason Mraz. Who is your favorite person with whom youve shared the stage with?
GL: There has been so many over the years. There are so many I cant pick a favorite. I will say that is one of the best parts of my job to become friends and musical friends with so many great musicians. Its a blessing. I always have to pinch myself. I realize how talented my friends are and how their music has enriched my life.
O: Will we be hearing any new music in your upcoming show?
GL: Oh yeah. Its a nice time to be on the road right now. We are working on the material that will be on the upcoming albums. So its good to do it on the road because you can see what is working and what a crowd reacts to. Our fans really enjoy hearing the new tunes. We always play all of the hits, but I think the fans are just very supportive and interested in what were currently doing. And thats how you can tell your real hardcore fans.
O: What made you decide to manufacture hot sauce?
GL: The two things that kind of go along with my music is lemonade and special sauce. I just have always wanted to have my own hot sauce. I love hot sauce and I love to eat, and I thought it would be the coolest thing ever and so I convinced my manager to start bottling it and weve had it since 2008. Now its turning into its own business. I got the inspiration from people like Paul Newman and Jimmy Buffet people who have taken their art and have done things aside from acting and music. It kind of goes with things the things Im singing about.
O: How hot is your hot sauce?
GL: Its really not that spicy. Its pretty mild like a
Louisiana kind of hot sauce, so its more vinegary than it is spicy. We actually have three flavors
coming out in the next couple of months.
O: Have you thought about coming up with any other products?
GL: I want to do just about everything. Maybe by the time I am 50 or 60 years old I will have my own supermarket full of stuff.