JR Hevron

HT Interview: Galactic’s Rob Mercurio

This week, Galactic releases its second live album, The Other Side Of Midnight: Live in New Orleans. “It was a good time in the band’s career to take a snapshot and have it documented,” says the band’s bass player Robert Mercurio. “We had been touring with Cyril Neville and felt that we had a really good show and wanted to capture it.”

The album was recorded in front of a sold-out audience at Tipitina’s a few days before Halloween 2010. “I just remember it being a classically great, high-energy time,” says Mercurio. “Tipitina’s always feels like home. You feel like you don’t have to put out that much effort, but it just happens, and that’s how that night felt. It just oozed out.”

Guests on the album include vocalist Cyril Neville, Trombone Shorty, trumpet player Shamar Allen, trombonist/rapper/vocalist Corey Henry, the Soul Rebels Brass Band, and bounce rapper Big Freedia.

“For the first live album [2001’s We Love ‘Em Tonight], we recorded two nights and picked the best stuff. I don’t think we even had any guests,” remembers Mercurio. “But for this one, we started thinking about the songs and put a little more effort into getting special guests and rehearsing with them.”

READ ON for more of our chat with Rob Mercurio of Galactic…

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HT Interview: Ron Johnson Returns To The Road With The Warren Haynes Band

“When Warren calls, you take the gig,” says Ron Johnson, the Brooklyn-based bass player, best known for his 10-year tour of duty with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

His new, high profile gig is with the Warren Haynes Band and it brings him back to touring after a one-year break from the road.

[Warren Haynes Band – Touring Edition by Allison Murphy & Dino Perrucci]

The seeds for his involvement with Warren Haynes Band were planted three years ago. “I just remember hearing from J. Bau (part of the Warren Haynes’s management team) that Warren was making a solo record,” recalls Johnson, “and without even hesitating, I said, ‘if he tours that thing, I want a shot at it.’”

By chance, album bass player George Porter Jr. was not able to make the band’s first performance at the 2010 Christmas Jam. For Johnson, it was less of an audition and more of a one-off gig. “I’m not sure if they knew if Porter was going to do any touring following the record. I just know that Porter couldn’t do Christmas jam and he gave me his blessing to fill those shoes.”

READ ON for more of JR’s chat with Ron Johnson…

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Free Downloads: Studio Tracks From Scott Metzger’s New Wolf! Trio

Wolf! was born from a need to just play music—to get the blood flowing,” says guitarist Scott Metzger about his new instrumental trio. “We do it to stay in shape creatively, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun.”

[All photos by Scott Bernstein]

With a busy schedule of stage and studio work with people like Anders Osborne, Stanton Moore, Kelli Scarr, Erik Deutsch, Adam Levy, Eric McFadden, and Jason Crosby, Metzger has enjoyed taking over bandleader duties.

“Playing with and becoming friends with these musicians has influenced this music and given me the confidence to go out and front a guitar trio playing the kind of music I have always wanted to play,” says Metzger. “That’s where it’s at.”

Wolf! allows Metzger to show a musical side that fans of his more rock-oriented bands like Bustle in Your Hedgerow, Some Cat From Japan, RANA, and the Gene Ween Band might not have seen before.

“In Wolf!, we play country, boogaloo, soul, blues, western swing, and more,” says Metzger. “It’s all music I’ve always played in my living room or rehearsal space but never in public.” The band proudly wears its influences on its collective sleeve, not attempting to fool anyone. “We’re definitely old school kinda guys,” explains Metzger.

READ ON for more on Wolf! and to download studio tracks…

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