Well… I'm doing pretty good this summer. I did a couple weeks of Phish tour with a group of friends and I'm getting ready to do more of that in the beginning of August. I'm going to catch them about 14 or 15 times this summer‚ which is pretty good. Umm… I'm a huge Phish fan. I'm a freak‚ you know? I've been seeing them since '91. So‚ I'm a big fan and I get to go out with a group of guys‚ really coolest guy friends of mine‚ and we have gentlemen's weekends and dance our asses off and enjoy each other's company. You know‚ just the right amount of debauchery and the right amount of steak houses. All these things add up to a good time. But yeah‚ actually this summer I've been doing pretty good catching a lot of music. And it's basically been the boys.
That's been really fun and yes‚ festivals are lining up. Tonight we do the late night and tomorrow we play right before My Morning Jacket‚ which is good‚ because‚ we -- thank god we don't play after them. That would be terrible. That would be -- I don't want to play after them‚ they're so good. But tomorrow‚ finish the set and crack a cold delicious beer or make a little margarita and sit and enjoy watching Jacket crush it and dance‚ once again‚ my ass off like a fool.
Right on.
I've been doing pretty good this year. I'm… live music right now for me‚ it's really -- I just ran into the same tree branch. I need to focus.
Why are you walking in circles?
I'm wandering in circles because it's really hot and it's a shady tree‚ so‚ but I'm gonna go under this tree‚ cause that's twice now‚ that's ridiculous. I uh‚ is this interview going exactly how you had hoped? Because it is for me‚ I was hoping to run into a tree branch twice. [laughter]
But‚ right now I'm on a huge live music kick -- it's a really inspiring thing. Getting to go out and do those couple of weeks of Phish tour with my friends really‚ really fills me up in a pretty amazing way. And it's really inspired me‚ like when I was onstage in Telluride it really resounded how much it effected me‚ by the way that I felt while I was playing and the way that it felt to interact with the band‚ and with the crowd and with everything in general‚ you know?
Totally. Speaking of that‚ I'm a huge fan‚ and I love the energy that you guys summon up between yourself and the audience.
Thank you.
What's it like to feel that onstage and can you describe how it feeds itself?
How it feeds itself? Is that what you said?
Yeah‚ you come in inspired‚ and you're playing and you've got great energy‚ the crowd feels that‚ they give it right back‚ and it's a circle.
Yeah‚ and that's the way we describe it‚ it's a continual circle. We come out and are fired up and pushing right back at the crowd and then they dance their asses off and push it right back at us. When that wheel starts rolling‚ faster and faster‚ that little cycle starts getting faster and faster and faster. It's powerful -- you can taste it almost‚ you can feel it in the air. It crackles. It's just really intense. You can almost see it and touch it. And especially over the last chunk of time this year -- as a band‚ we're almost 14 years old. We've been around for a long time. You go through cycles in a band and where you're either getting along great or you're not getting along so good or there are differences or this or that. And where we're at as a band right now -- it's like one big inside joke -- it's laughs‚ and we're cracking each other up onstage‚ and we're messing with each other‚ and we're like a great unit right now‚ and where we're all at -- healthier‚ and kids‚ and this and that‚ just mentally in a better place with each other and with ourselves. And‚ so that part has been really fun to take onstage and show people. It's like having a cool new toy. Hey‚ check this out! Look at how we're getting along‚ look at where we're at‚ look at how in love with what we're doing and this new found energy that we've discovered for the music -- for both the fans and for each other. Our love for what we do‚ our caring for our craft‚ and who we are‚ and for the audience and for getting to go out onstage with that and then seeing the audience go‚ "Wow‚ check this out man‚ they're getting along like kids again" and you know‚ "Jeff and Ben are laughing‚ what are they laughing about?"‚ "Dave just did something weird‚ what did he do?" you know‚ it's always an amazing thing and it's something I've never ever lost sight of and that's why I think we still do it after this long. Through thick and thin‚ but especially recently‚ just where we're at‚ you know‚ as friends‚ and working together‚ and making new music and stuff like that. It's… fun. I feel like a fucking kid in a candy store‚ and every‚ every audience member is a different flavor of some sort of awesome gummy bear and I go out there and eat them and then they turn into one big cool‚ multi-colored‚ multi-flavored gummy bear‚ and then they eat me‚ and I eat them back‚ and this constant cycle of consuming and nurturing. You know‚ I think I hit that tree too many times. But‚ consuming and nurturing‚ you know‚ and it's‚ like I said‚ you can feel it; it's very‚ very real.
Yeah‚ like a giant gummy bear Voltron.
A giant gummy bear Voltron! I would eat the shit out of giant gummy bear Voltron. I'm a gummy freak.
What's your favorite gummy?
Oh‚ man. My favorite gummy… actually there's a place in the Denver Airport called the Candy Shop and they have these little strawberries‚ that smell so like a killer artificial strawberry-like-popsicle‚ but it smells so… you're like "I know that's strawberry but that doesn't smell like a strawberry at all‚" but they're so awesome. They got like little green tops and then the little red strawberry. They're um… I'm buying a bag today! I will be purchasing a huge bag of that and giving them away at High Sierra after we're done and right before Morning Jacket's starts. I will be the Strawberry Man.
You should sell them.
You know‚ I could actually. I would work for the company. I really would. I would sell the shit out of them. I would sell‚ strawberries. That's crazy.
Speaking of being around so long‚ is the songwriting process these days different than it was back during your humble beginnings? Are you writing about the same things?
No‚ no‚ I can't imagine. Life has taken on so many‚ you know‚ when we started I was like [high voice] "I'm this little innocent hippie boy with a super-high voice and I'm super-thin and that's who I am" and since then you know‚ fucking divorce‚ and this and that and ups and downs and lots of ups and lots of downs. I can't imagine that somebody would write about the same thing‚ you know‚ 14 years later. You'd have to be‚ I think you'd have to be in a bubble‚ you know‚ and I don't exist in a bubble. I kind of used to. I used to kind of try to shut everything off‚ but I'm really living in the now‚ and embracing what's happening right now. I'm writing about incredibly different things‚ like life's changes and I just went through this massive life change where… I just got out of this poisonous 5-year relationship that I could just never get out of and I finally got out of it. And I lost 30 lbs. since October last year. I've been training -- I had a personal trainer. So I'm in this whole different phase of life and writing about that. I never‚ and the thing is‚ there's times when I'll sit down and go‚ "Alright‚ I want to write a bluegrass song in C‚ and I want it to have a cool little bridge" and that's all I know. And I don't know what it's going to be about or what the content's going to be about. That's the open part of the book‚ you know? I write about incredibly different stuff. But I don't‚ I don't ever‚ I don't filter myself‚ you know? I really don't. Sometimes for better or worse I don't do a lot of self-editing. I just write it and worry about it afterwards. You can get caught up in the process in a pretty major way. You can't just sit there and choke yourself to death. That's just not the way that I write. I try to get it out and then look at it afterwards and work on stuff that needs to be worked on afterwards.