Like‚ in the show‚ there must be -- there's gotta be some sort of pyrotechnics‚ or‚ I don't know exactly what he's getting into‚ but you can see like… Lady Gaga is quite a bit of a step in a different direction than bluegrass.
But I know that somewhere‚ that Jeff has seen something in a Lady Gaga show‚ right? That isn't going to be identifiable in any way as "Oh‚ that's a Lady Gaga thing." And he's going to take it and create it in his mind and twist it upside-down and take it apart and put it back together again and then come back‚ and have a song‚ or a jam idea‚ or whatever‚ that is going to be totally inspired by that‚ and you'd never know it‚ and I'd never know it‚ and he's probably never going to tell us.
Yeah‚ would he ever admit to that?
If I twisted his arm‚ probably. If I held him down and beat him with apples‚ he might admit it. But you know‚ that's the nature of the beast for us‚ I'm afraid‚ is that all of these influences that we had in the past and that we continue to have‚ which for me‚ look less and less like bluegrass every day. Those influences will have to find a way to be channeled and rebuilt and put back together and express themselves through the instruments that we've chosen. You know what I mean? Being banjo‚ acoustic guitar‚ mandolin‚ and upright bass. Sometimes electric bass if I'm feeling funky.
You do whip that out sometimes.
I enjoy it. I think I'm going to not bring it anymore‚ on the road.
Why is that?
Because… I think I'm over it. I grew up playing electric bass guitar‚ I still love it‚ I adore the 4-string electric bass -- I think it's the greatest instrument ever to be invented‚ but you know… I don't know if it's my thing anymore. I think I've kind of made my thing be that upright bass that I play.
The electric bass -- do you think it changes the vibe onstage?
And in the room? Do you think the audience reacts differently to it?
Yep. It just produces different tones. It sounds different‚ it's not as effective -- for my band. For other bands the electric bass is the only way to go.
If I went to see the Flecktones and Victor [Wooten] was playing an upright - actually‚ that's a bad example because I'd totally love to see that.
[laughs] Like moe. If Rob [Derhak] came out and decided he was no longer touring with an electric bass‚ it would change everything.
Right. Precisely. So‚ I think we're going to continue to find that Yonder will continue to sound sort of new and progressive‚ because we're drawing from new and progressive influences‚ but at the same time‚ or maybe on the other side of the coin‚ I'm also feeling this return to the acoustic thing from the guys. With respect to the new record we briefly talked about. And I am starting to wonder if this next record is going to be a real acoustic‚ sort of throwback to our first record. Something that has way more relationship with Elevation than it does with The Show.
A return to basics?
My gut tells me it's going to be really acoustic‚ and kind of like that. I don't know why I'm feeling that‚ but I think it might be. And we're certainly not going to break the bank on it. We're going to do a very humble‚ honest record. And I think the acoustic instruments and that‚ lends itself to that kind of thing‚ that humbleness. Because you're sitting around pickin'. There's your microphone‚ there's your instrument‚ okay‚ go! Try and play all the right notes‚ try and sing all the right notes. That honesty‚ I think is something that we're -- there's something. I don't know‚ I don't know quite how to express it or explain it‚ but I know there's something going on that even with all of these outside influences that are very‚ very modern‚ the trend‚ that acoustic sound is starting to come back as an interest for us. Even listening to a lot of the music that people will share on the bus‚ I'm hearing a lot of acoustic stuff. And I don't know if that's just because Earl Scruggs passed away‚ and Doc Watson passed away‚ and when something like that happens‚ you realize that the people who are responsible‚ the first generation‚ the old guards‚ that there's not many of them left. I mean‚ Ralph Stanley. That's it. So‚ go out and see Ralph Stanley if you can. I wish I had seen Doc Watson again. So‚ there's that‚ because we are in the bluegrass world too‚ in losing people of that magnitude‚ and importance‚ we I think‚ again‚ we're forced to look at the tradition of the music and to try and find more ways to respect it and come to understand it in our own way and honor it with what we do. Even if it's going to sound different. You know what I mean?
Yeah‚ it all goes through your own lens‚ but you're reflecting your roots.
Yeah‚ and I think that has a part‚ something to do with it too. But it's interesting -- you know‚ you've really caught us at an interesting time in our lives. Because I feel like there's this… almost like‚ they've revved the engine up‚ we're doing the brake stand‚ you know? And by god we've got that engine ready to go‚ all we've gotta do is kick the e-brake off and VOOM! And it kind of feels like that. And yeah‚ they could go -- yeah‚ we've got all these progressive things and I talked about Lady Gaga‚ but I also talked about Earl Scruggs and how can these two influences reconcile each other? How can they come to the same party and be cool?
That would be a really interesting scene.
Yeah‚ I don't think they can directly‚ but as the secondary‚ tertiary influences of those people‚ how they impact your experience or -- and maybe Lady Gaga's not a good example‚ because I think even just mentioning her will be very polarizing‚ you know? In the same way that I think bluegrass music for a lot of people -- if you say "bluegrass" or "banjo" it's very polarizing.