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Q&A: Reverend Horton Heat

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The Reverend Horton Heat - Music in SF

The Reverend Horton Heat, aka Jim Heath, has been touring with his trio bearing the same name for close to 30 years now. The band mixes a ton of different influences so it’s difficult to stick it into just one category, but many have called Heath, “the Godfather of modern rockabilly and psychobilly music.”

Although, as we found out when we recently spoke to him, it’s a label that he’s not entirely comfortable with. “I wrote and recorded the song ‘Psychobilly Freakout’ but we do things that psychobilly bands don’t normally do…We can get bluesy, jazzy and country,” said Heath.

The loud and energetic trio with the comedic undertones recently launched a U.S. tour and will be playing next week at the Cornerstone in Berkeley. In between soundchecks, the charismatic lead singer took some time out of his day to answer a few questions for us. We talked about what he thinks explains the band’s longevity, what fans can expect to see at one of their shows, and what the craziest thing is that’s happened to them while on the road (you won’t want to miss this one!)

Having been around for close to 30 years now, how do you explain your longevity?

Whiskey. Haha. Actually, Jimbo and I had a long talk and decided that it wasn’t the partying that made us, but the music. After that, we didn’t feel compelled to party – we focused on doing the gig the best we could. That saved us.

You’re heading out on the road again and you’ve been quoted as saying that sometimes it feels like you’ve been on one big tour that started 30 years ago. Do you ever get burned out on it?

Yes. It’s a grind. But I’ve had real jobs so I know to be grateful for this. I actually enjoy playing music more now than when I was younger. There was more pressure back then as every new club was a chance for a steady gig and every industry executive was…so on and so forth. Now, none of that crosses my mind. I just smile and let it rip. I will say that I’m burned out on traveling though.

What can fans expect from the Berkeley show? Will you be playing only the new material or some of your old stuff as well?

We play stuff from pretty much all of our albums. We may have a song from the project that has yet to be released, but we’ll see. We will have our new drummer, R.J. Contreras with us and a piano player named Matt Jordan. We’re really having a blast with our new guys right now, but it’s still the Rev and Jimbo show…no one will be disappointed.

The Reverend Horton Heat - Music in SF
The Reverend Horton Heat

From all your years of touring can you share one of your craziest road stories for our readers?

One time we played in this very small town in Russia. The people were super glad we were there, but this town didn’t have a hotel, so they put us up in the insane asylum. We fit right in.

What is it about Rockabilly that you think has made it stand the test of time?

It’s high energy music designed to entertain a crowd of people. It’s funny and light-hearted even though it can be dangerous at times. I’m glad we helped bring it back. It’s never going away again now thanks to the Stray Cats, Blasters, Robert Gordon, us, Big Sandy, Deke Dickerson, etc.

Your particular style of music has been categorized as “Psychobilly.” Are you comfortable with that label?

No! I wrote and recorded the song ‘Psychobilly Freakout’ but we do things that psychobilly bands don’t normally do…We can get bluesy, jazzy and country. However, I have a lot of respect for that scene and I’m glad that they embrace us. The real inventors of psychobilly are the European bands like The Meteors, Guana Bats, Batmobile, Demented R Go and is still going in Europe – they’re very serious about it. But we love going and playing the psychobilly festivals in Europe and we fit in pretty well with that scene. We tour a lot in the states with the Necromantix. They’re great. And I love Mad Sin and a ton of other psychobillies.

Your relationship with Lemmy from Motorhead has been well documented, what do you miss most about him?

His knowledge of history was pretty immense. He knew a lot about World War Two, but he was really amazing when he talked about World War One and the trenches and such. I also just miss him every time we play Hollywood and he’s not there. He used to come out almost every time if he wasn’t touring.

What are you listening to these days? Anyone that stands out?

JD McPherson is great. I love his style, songwriting, guitar playing, and production. But, his singing is super good as well. I like Bloodshot Bill, the stuff I’ve heard. You know Big Sandy and Deke Dickerson are still out there making great recordings and touring the world. I love Dale Watson, Junior Brown and Jesse Dayton too. Actually, I’m not really that great of a guy to ask about new music as I still listen mainly to oldies radio. Hey, there’s a great young guy named McKinley James…he’s an up and comer.

Reverend Horton Heat is playing the Cornerstone in Berkeley w/Voodoo Glow Skulls, Big Sandy // Jan. 24, 2018 // 2367 Shattuck Ave Berkeley, CA 94704 // 7:30 PM //18 & Over //$20

Photo courtesy of Victory Records


Q&A: Lauv

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Lauv - The Independent - San Francisco

Lauv has just started a world tour and will be performing a sold-out show at The Independent in San Francisco on Jan. 23. The San Francisco born singer with the unique name – which means “Lion” in Latvian – is riding high on the success of being first an artist, but also a songwriter for some of today’s most popular acts.

The 23-year-old artist’s single “I Like Me Better” is in heavy rotation on MTV and has just catapulted past the 260-million mark on Spotify, and you all must have heard by now the hit he co-wrote that went on to be a gold-certified Top 5 smash “No Promises,” by Cheat Codes and Demi Lovato. Other impressive accolades include writing “Boys” for Charli XCX, as well as being featured on DJ Snake’s new single. And if that wasn’t enough, he just wrapped up a tour opening for Ed Sheeran in Asia.

While gearing up for his latest trek around the world, Lauv spoke with Music in SF™ about touring with Ed Sheeran, what it’s like to write music for pop stars, and what the differences are between U.S. and Asian audiences.

What’s going on musically with you?

I am currently home finishing new music for my playlist I met you when I was 18. The playlist tells a story about a big part of my life and is sort of the first chapter of my music, as well as the title of the world tour I’m about to start.

How was your recent Asia tour with Ed Sheeran?

Indescribably incredible. I mean getting to tour with Ed is an absolute dream, not only because he’s such an inspiring artist to watch, but he’s also one of the most genuine, down-to-earth person I’ve ever met. It was also my first time going to Asia and playing in arenas, so all around it was a huge moment for me. I’ll hold those few weeks in a very special place in my heart forever, you know?

What’s one valuable lesson you learned from him?

I can’t say there was one particular lesson, per se, but more so just watching him do his thing on stage. Creating such an amazing show as a solo performer. From the way he stacked all the parts musically live himself, to the way he controlled such massive crowds with absolute mastery. It was really inspiring.

What are some differences between audiences in Asia and here in the U.S.?

I had heard that the audiences can be way different in Asia than the U.S., but to be honest, it was not nearly as much as I was led to believe. The people were all really receptive and energetic, which I was not necessarily expecting since I was the opening act. There was a moment every night during my song “Breathe” where everyone would turn on their phone flashlights. That was when the whole playing in an arena thing really hit. I literally teared up.

I read that your mall shows in Asia were insane. Can you describe the craziest scene you witnessed over there?

Those shows were some of the most energetic I’ve played to date for sure. I’d have to say that the moment of walking off stage at the end of the first Manila show and people from the crowd immediately chasing me on my way out, was something I wasn’t prepared for. Having to have a team of bodyguards in a place that I’d never been to in my life kinda blew my mind. But the passion I felt in those rooms is a feeling I will never forget. Those mall shows were really special.

You’re going on a world tour soon. What cities are you most excited about playing?

I’m honestly just so excited for the whole thing. I’m playing in a lot of cities that I’ve never been to, which is always my favorite. I’m especially excited to go to Australia and Japan for the first time. Going to journey for the best sushi ever.

You’re hitting the Independent in San Francisco on January 23. Have you played this city before?

Oh yes! I love San Francisco. I was actually born there and have a lot of family nearby. I’m so excited to come back. And for two nights!

What’s it like to co-write with such big names as Charli XCX, Cheat Codes, and Demi Lovato?

You know, I’m really honored and humbled by the people I’ve been lucky enough to work within my career so far. But to be totally real, they’re all people. Like you, like me. It’s always awesome collaborating with other passionate people though. I feel like there’s always something I can learn from them.

You’re originally from Latvia, do you ever go back?

My mom’s side of the family is from there. I used to go every summer as a kid and it’s definitely a special place for me and my whole family. Now I try to get back there every couple of years. I think I’m gonna get to go again this year actually!

Your name “Lauv” is Latvian for “Lion.” Can you talk about the symbolism behind that?

Yeah, It comes from the Latvian word “lauva.” My birthday is in August, which makes me a Leo. And my real name, Ari, also means lion. So I just put it all together!

What’s it like to have 250 million streams on Spotify?

It’s insane to me that “I Like Me Better” just crossed 300 million streams. Like how do you grasp that number?! It’s insane. And the fact that some of my biggest cities on there are across the world. It just makes me that much more excited to go on tour and actually get context for the numbers. To feel that energy all over the world. I feel like the luckiest man on earth.

Lauv, Ashe // Tue, Jan 23, 2018 // Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm // $15 ADV – $18 DOOR
Buy tickets HERE

Q&A: White Reaper

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White Reaper

White Reaper is heading to the Masonic in San Francisco on Jan. 17, as a direct support for Spoon. They’ll be promoting the album The World’s Best American Band, which was produced by Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Young Widows). About the title, guitarist/vocalist Tony Esposito said, “Because we are the best. Just like Muhammad Ali was the greatest, you gotta say it out loud for people to believe it.”

In between gigs, we spoke to Sam Wilkerson, the band’s bassist, and asked him if they are indeed the world’s best American band, what inspires them to write music, and how they came up with the band’s name.

How’d you guy come up with the band name?

We were like 18 and saw a prop in a Halloween store that said “White Reaper” and we thought it sounded cool.

Are you guys really the world’s best American band?


White Reaper
White Reaper

What’s “Judy French” about?

It’s basically a song about having a dang crush.

What was the writing and recording process like for “The World’s Best American Band”?

We went into the studio and wrote the majority of the album on the spot, with the exception of a few parts that were pre-recorded on Tony’s iPhone.

What inspires you to write music?

Just loving music and the process of writing it.

Which songs are your favorite from the album, and which ones are you most looking forward to playing at your show in San Francisco?

My personal favorite is “Crystal Pistol.” That’s what I’m most looking forward to as the bassman.

Do you have any crazy tour stories that you can share with us?

We just got stranded in Montana for three days because of a snowstorm. That was pretty crazy. Other than that we’ve been chased by a crazy man on a highway in Washington, and been in a few wrecks.

What’s something about you guys that most people would be surprised to find out about you?

We are from Kentucky.

If you could put together the ultimate rock n roll supergroup, who would be in it and why?

Frickin’ Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney, Gwen Stefani and Kanye West because they slay in their own different ways.

Spoon and White Reaper play The Masonic in San Francisco, Wed 1/17 @ 8 pm
Photo Credit: Jesse DeFlorio

The Hunna Releases Single and Announce Tour Date at Slim’s

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The Hunna - Slim's San Francisco

UK’s The Hunna just released the single “Flickin Your Hair,” taken from their forthcoming release, DARE. To support their latest release the band will be embarking on a U.S. tour with a stop in San Francisco at Slim’s. See below for complete tour dates.

The tour follows the success of their last tour, which included opening for their youthhood heroes Jimmy Eat World as well as co-headlining a tour for radio station Sirus XM.

US Tour Dates

3/9 –  Orlando, FL – The Social
3/10 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
3/11 – Charlotte, NC – The Underground
3/13 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
3/14 – Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry at The Fillmore
3/15 – New York, NY – The Bowery Ballroom
3/17 -Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
3/18 – Detroit, MI – The Shelter
3/19 –  Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
3/21 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
3/22 – Kansas City, MO – Recordbar
3/24 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
3/27 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
3/28 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
3/30 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
3/31- Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
4/2- Anaheim, CA – House of Blues – Parish Room
4/3 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues – Voodoo Room
4/4- Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
4/6 –  Austin, TX – The Parish
4/7 – Houston, TX – House of Blues – Bronze Peacock
4/8 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues – Cambridge Room

Sigrid Announces U.S. Tour with Stop at the Independent

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Sigrid will be heading out on a small U.S. tour in April, which includes a West Coast slot at Coachella and a stop in San Francisco at the Independent. The singer has been on fire lately since releasing her debut Don’t Kill My Vibe EP last summer, which has amassed over 100M global streams leading to the  BBC naming her the winner of the prestigious BBC Sound of 2018. 

Sigrid said to the BBC, “It’s a lot to take in to have won something as prestigious as BBC Music Sound Of. I feel honored as there are so many other artists I look up to who have won this before me, and honestly, I’m just really happy and proud of what my team and I have achieved together. I’m from a small town called Ålesund in Norway. I’m still 21 and it’s quite crazy to get this recognition. I’m very excited about the year ahead and sharing new music with everyone. I want to thank the panel for voting and the team involved in BBC Music Sound Of 2018.”

Please see below for complete tour dates.

April 11 // Toronto, ON // Velvet Underground
April 14 // Indio, CA // Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
April 17 // San Francisco, CA // The Independent
April 21 // Indio, CA // Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
April 25 // New York, NY // Bowery Ballroom


Shaun White Announces 2018 Lineup For Air + Style Los Angeles

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The lineup for the fourth-annual Air + Style in Los Angeles has been announced and will feature Phoenix and Zedd, along with Gucci Mane as headliners. The festival, which is part music, part skateboard and snowboard competition, will take place March 3, 4 in Exposition Park at the Los Angeles Coliseum. 2-Day General Admission Tickets ($149) and 2-Day VIP Tickets ($239) are on sale now at

Festival founder and snowboarding legend Shaun White said about the festival, “I can’t wait to come home from the energy of the Olympics to Air + Style Los Angeles. The festival is a combination of all my passions sport, music, art and culture and the fact it happens in my home state of California and in Downtown LA, makes it even more special.”

Zedd, Phoenix, Gucci Mane, Cashmere Cat, Cut Copy, DRAM, GRiZ, Mura Masa, Phantogram, Tinashe, Washed Out, BADBADNOTGOOD will also join the 20 bands performing on two stages.

Show Preview – Tommy Emmanuel at the Great American Music Hall

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Tommy Emmanuel plays the Great American Music Hall, January 12th

Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel will be playing the Great American Music Hall on January 11th and 12th. Now in his sixth decade of writing and performing on the acoustic guitar – starting at the age of 6 – Emmanuel might be the world’s greatest player of fingerstyle guitar.

If fingerstyle guitar isn’t something you’re familiar with, we recommend you get familiar with it; it’s as far from twangy, over-strummed beach renditions of Wonderwall (ironic or otherwise) as you can get. It might just revolutionize how you think about acoustic guitar. Emmanuel’s signature style is a way of using the whole guitar – the whole symphony of sounds you can make with wood, strings, and frets – to create a sound that’s organic and percussive, driving and lyrical.

As a genre, fingerstyle is a perfect example of what happens when a musician takes an instrument seriously, no matter how overlooked or dumbed-down it might seem; and Emmanuel is one of the best and most technically-skilled artists you’ll hear.

Emmanuel’s first brush with music can be traced down to when he was four when he received his first guitar. Over the years, although he’s gained experience as a singer and songwriter, the acoustic guitar is what he’s returned to. His first steps as a performer were as part of the family band that his father created after selling their home. He spent the better part of his childhood touring the Australia of the 1960s and 1970s, playing rhythm guitar and occasionally going to school. By the end of the 1970s, he was the drummer in the group Goldrush along with his brother Phil, and making money as a session artist, before becoming part of the Southern Star Band in 1979 as lead guitarist, playing as the backing group for vocalist Doug Parkinson. And then, as the new decade arrived, Emmanuel joined the reformed lineup of the 1970s rock group Dragon. He toured extensively and was a vital part of their 1987 tour with Tina Turner.

But over the years, even as the apparently-archetypal touring hero, Emmanuel’s technical skill began to grow larger than the mid-level rock circuit he was playing; and he moved back to the acoustic. Since then, much like before, Emmanuel has been unstoppable.

Like many artists of his generation, Emmanuel hasn’t had any formal training in music; he’s started with feeling and built a career of huge technical ability on top of it. All we hear stems from natural music ability, an inherent sense of rhythm, and a charismatic persona that has gained him fans from all over the world.

And in the age of the hyper-managed image and the carefully-planned live spectacle, Emmanuel is something special: someone who plays to the room rides the feeling and never has a setlist – choosing instead to let the show go where the show wants to go. Stripped-back, low-fi, but formidably skillful anyway, what this means is that Emmanuel delivers original shows every night. If you’re going to be there at the Great American Music Hall this week, you’ll probably witness a performance that he hasn’t delivered anywhere else before.

Tommy Emmanuel/JD Simo play the Great American Music Hall Thursday Jan. 11, Friday Jan. 12 // Doors @ 7:00pm / Show @ 8:00pm // $46 advance // $51 door // $70.95 dinner  seated show

Photos courtesy of MSO PR

Tommy Emmanuel plays the Great American Music Hall, January 12th
Tommy Emmanuel plays the Great American Music Hall, January 12th

Bonnaroo Reveals 2018 Lineup

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Bonnaroo has just revealed the lineup for this year’s festival. The bands expected to play include:

Eminem, The Killers, Muse, Future, Bassnectar, Sturgill Simpson, Bon Iver performing two unique sets, Khalid, Kaskade, Paramore, Alt-J, Dua Lipa, Sheryl Crow, Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, Sylvan Esso, Rebelution, The Revivalists, Virtual Self, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Rufus Du Sol, Chromeo, STS9, Alison Wonderland, Moon Taxi, Carnage, BROCKHAMPTON, Old Crow Medicine Show, Playboi Carti, The Glitch Mob, Broken Social Scene, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Thundercat, Mavis Staples, Amadou & Mariam, Midland, SuperJam, Grand Ole Opry, T-Pain and much much more.

Bonnaroo will take place June 7 – 10, on “The Farm” at Great Stage Park, in Manchester, TN, across 10-plus unique stages. All tickets go on sale this Friday, January 12 at 10am ET, exclusively via

Bonnaroo 2018 Lineup:

The Killers
Sturgill Simpson
Bon Iver (playing 2 unique sets)
Dua Lipa
Sheryl Crow
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Sylvan Esso
The Revivalists
Virtual Self
Nile Rodgers & CHIC
Rufus Du Sol
Alison Wonderland
Moon Taxi
Old Crow Medicine Show
Playboi Carti
The Glitch Mob
Rag’N’Bone Man
Broken Social Scene
Grand Ole Opry
First Aid Kit
Tash Sultana
Manchester Orchestra
Brothers Osborne
What So Not
Rich Brian
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Billie Ellish
Daniel Caesar
Kali Uchis
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Mavis Staples
Hippie Sabotage
Big Wild
Shiba San
Sir Sly
Denzel Curry
Moses Sumney
Tyler Childers
Mr. Carmack
Valentino Khan
Amadou & Mariam
Japanese Breakfast
Jessie Reyez
Noura Mint Semali
Gogo Penguin
Chris Lake
Billy Kenny b2b Mija
Durand Jones & The Indications
Space Jesus
Manic Focus
Boogie T b2b Squnto
Ikebe Shakedown
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
Said the Sky
Alex Lahey
Knox Fortune
Lewis Capaldi
Ron Gallo
Conway + Westside Gunn
Chase Atlantic
Leven Kali
Everything Everything
Taska Black
Mikky Ekko
The Spencer Lee Band
Justin Jay’s Fantastic Voyage
Blank Range
Bruno Major
The War and Treaty
Spencer Ludwig
The Brummies
Jalen N’Gonda
Jaira Burns
Zeshan B
The Regrettes
Tobi Lou
Shey Baba
Chastity Brown
Topaz Jones
Kyle Dion
The Texas Gentlemen
Michael Blume
Post Animal
Southern Avenue
Larkin Poe
Colin Elmore & The Danville Train
The Blue Stones
Michigan Rattlers
Matt Maeson
Matt Holubowski
Victory Boyd
Oliver Hazard
Jade Bird
John Splithoff
Colin MacLeod
*repeat repeat
Low Cut Connie
Hundred Handed

Bottlerock Announces Full Lineup

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Bruno Mars - Courtesy of Atlantic Records

BottleRock Napa Valley has announced its 2018 lineup today, which includes headline artists Bruno Mars, The Killers and Muse. The three-day festival will take place at the Valley Expo in Napa. Calif., May 25 – 27, 2018. Festival passes go on sale at 10 a.m. PST on Jan. 9.

Other bands sharing the stage that day include The Chainsmokers, Halsey, Phantogram, Snoop Dogg, Incubus, Earth, Wind & Fire,Billy Idol, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Thievery Corporation, The Head and the Heart, The Revivalists, Bleachers, E-40, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Oh Wonder, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Lake Street Dive, Natalia Lafourcade, Manchester Orchestra and many others.

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records.

Q&A: Legendary Bassist Victor Wooten

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The Victor Wooten Trio

Bassist extraordinaire and founding member of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Victor Wooten is set to play the Regency Ballroom this coming Friday, Jan. 12. The five-time Grammy award-winning bass player and producer is touring in support of his newly released, TRYPNOTYX, which is his 10th solo album and first in five years.

Produced by Wooten, the album features legendary drummer Dennis Chambers (Parlament Funkadelic, Santana, Steely Dan) and veteran saxophonist Bob Franceschini, who are on tour with him playing as a trio. Named “one of the Top 10 Bassists of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine, he has been voted “Bassist of the Year” three times by Bass Player magazine reader’s poll, and in Feb. 2017 Huffington Post named him one of “50 Iconic Black Trailblazers.”

In anticipation of his San Francisco show, Wooten took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to Music in SF™ about what inspired him to pick up the bass, what he thinks of the current state of the music industry, and what artists he’d stll like to collaborate with.

When did you first pick up the bass?

I’m the youngest of five brothers and was taught by my oldest brother, Regi, when I was around two years old. They were already playing music and needed a bassist. That became my role as soon as I was born.

How has that helped shape the musician and person you are today?

Every child looks up to their older siblings. In my case, I was lucky to have four older brothers. They have shaped every part of my life. Regi taught Joseph to play keyboards and me to play bass, but all of my brothers have taught me much more than that. The life lessons from them and our parents were the most important.

Victor Wooten
Victor Wooten

How do you think the music industry has changed since back in the days?

Good or bad, every generation brings new changes. How we learn music, how we access music, and in many cases, how we think about music has changed. All of these changes affect the music industry.

As a child born in the ’60s, we didn’t have access to our heroes like we do today. We would often have to wait years for a new record to be released or even longer to see them perform live. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, every release and every concert was a huge event. For my family, listening to a new record was a group event. We would read every word on the album cover. To learn a new song, we would have to listen to the vinyl or cassette, or we would have to wait (sometimes all day) for the song to be played on the radio.

With the invention of Cassettes, CDs, and now MP3s, accessing music has become easier and easier while the audible quality of the music has diminished. So, in a way, every advancement comes with a cost.

Currently, because of technology, the internet, and social media, we have more access to songs, musicians, our audience, and each other. Recording and releasing a record is much easier, and we can promote it ourselves around the world with very little costs. We can even make our own money doing this. Good or bad, this has helped level the playing field. It has also made record companies have to be more honest. Because of this, many record labels no longer exist.

Change is inevitable, but it seems that changes are being made faster than ever. How we use them is the key.

You’ve come out with a new solo album, can you tell us a little about it?

The new record, TRYPNOTYX, is a special record in many ways. I’m really happy to have recorded it with two of my musical heroes: Dennis Chambers on drums and Bob Franceschini on sax. I treated this record as a band record instead of a solo. Including all of their ideas have made it better than if I’d done it alone. We also used some new technology that has allowed us to make our instruments produce different sounds. This is really fun and cool to witness at our live shows. This record will cause you to listen, imagine, and think. And it’ll definitely make you groove.

We’ve also included a few special guests who’ve added their voices to the record, but not in ways you would expect. Michael Winslow, who became popular using his voice to make sound effects in movies like Police Academy, Space Balls, and others, starts and ends the record. He also takes a James Brown type role on the song “Funky D.” Also on the record is a woman from India who I found on the Internet. Her name is Varijashree Venugopal. She’s a unique vocalist who can sing in unison with anything I play. On the song “Liz & Opie,” she sings melodies but also sings along with a crazy bass solo I played. She’s amazing! The Internet is also amazing because we did her parts remotely on different sides of the earth. I haven’t even met her in person yet.

How do you feel that your sound and style has evolved over the years?

Like looking back at childhood pictures of myself, I can tell that I’ve grown. Hopefully, I’m better.

What’s one act or artist that you’d like to collaborate with that you haven’t already?

I’ve been very lucky to have collaborated with many of my heroes, but there are still some I look forward to making music with. I still hope to work with drummer Billy Cobham one day.

How did you first meet Bela Fleck? How did you guys come to be in a band together?

In 1987, I visited a friend in Nashville, TN who introduced me to Bela. Bela and I jammed (just the two of us) for an hour at his house. Soon after, he asked me to perform with him on a television show. Bela, assembled Howard Levy, my brother “Future Man,” and me for that show. We expected it to be a one-time performance. It went so well that we’re still performing together 30 years later.

You’re playing San Francisco on January 12, what do you like most about playing this city?

San Francisco has always been a city that has supported my musical adventures starting with The Flecktones. There’s a history of great musicians and great music in that city and the public continues to support. I love that. It’s always much fun every time we come back.

Through your career, you’ve gotten the chance to play with some big names like Stanley Clarke and Boosty Collins. Any valuable lessons you learned from playing with those cats?

Yes! First of all, after meeting and working with them, they continue to be my heroes. Of course, they make wonderful music, but in most cases, they are also wonderful people. It’s also good to get to know them and realize that they are humans who, work hard, struggle, and sometimes make mistakes. How they deal with them is what makes them so special.

What is one thing that most people would be surprised to find out about you?

There are many: One thing is that I’d love to take a few years off from playing music and lead people on nature hikes and camping trips. That would be awesome!

The Victor Wooten Trio featuring Dennis Chambers & Bob Franceschini plays the Regency Ballroom Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 // 8:00 PM – Doors 7:00 PM // $30.00 – $35.00

Photos courtesy of

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