DM:Like you, I'm an avid
guitarist, I can remember seeing Nirvana's "Smells like Tenns Spirit" music
video on MTV and that being an intergal factor in me wanting to play music. Were
there any notable motivations or inspirations that made you become a guitarist
RG:My first musical awakening was the
Beatles and then came the Grateful Dead-I was particularly moved by the
songwriting team of Robert Hunter and jerry Garcia-the melodies the lyrics and
the articulate story lines-they inspire me-I would love to meet Robert Hunter
some day and tell him how much his writing has effected me- Paul Simon also
inspires me termendously to be a better writer.
DM:A lot of solo acts
and bands get their start just playing small acoustic shows at coffee houses or
at their friend's house parties. Where did you start off gigging and playing in
front of audiences?
RG:You pretty hit the nail on the
head-I started playing coffee houses- I did it in high school-you know coffee
houses, school dances, talent shows- stuff like that.In fact I remember doing a
few musicial "numbers" as my grandmother would say, in elementry school. During
college ay UVM it was pretty much the same thing-coffee house deals in the
basement of a dorm called Slade,house parties-only we added the element of beer-
good lubercation and a sort of masking effect for the audience- you could play
really bad and everybody loved it. Eventually I started beggin for bar gigs at
the smaller bars first and worked my way up to the club scene the rest is
history-a X-rated history at that...
DM:Ok, you knew this question was
bound to come up...You were the front man of Strangefolk for many years. Can you
give us a brief history of the band and explain how you all first met?
RG:Strangefolk grew out of the scene I was just talking about. Jon
Trafton and I really met at one of those basement coffee house shindigs- I think
we both sort of eyed each other and thought... hmmmmmm... we could make a band.
We all grew up together musically and personally- what more can I say it was a
real musical love affair.
DM:How did you guys get noticed and signed
by a record company? Were there any specific proactive steps that you took or
was it merely by chance?
RG:We played as much as we
possibly could and built up popularity - when you reach a certain level in terms
of crowd size, record sales, and overall"buzz", the record guys have to take
notice-It's how they survive and really at the core of what record companies are
all about- swooping in and grabbing the next "big thing". Unfortunatly more
times than not they screw it up.
DM:Have you always wanted to do
something with music in your career?
RG:I guess-I never
thought about it as a concise decision-I just wanted to do music -had to
almost-it was so deeply a part of what makes me tick
DM:What is your
proudest moment in your career so far?
RG:Not sure, there
are several that stick out-I think playing a place called the Flynn Theater in
Burlington Vermont was up there on the list- I had always dreamed of it-it's a
beautiful theater. We, Strangefolk, sold out for Halloween a few years back-my
folks were there-all of our families came in fact-it was a real coming of age of
DM:What have been your favorite venues ( Besides Webster
Theater,Obviously) and cities that you have played in? Any interesting stories
or memories of them?
RG:I love the Great American Music
Hall in San Fran, the Crystal Ballroom in Portland OR, and as I mentioned the
Flynn Theater, and the Portsmouth Music Theater and the Somerville Theater were
always great places to play as well.
DM:Would you consider your first
"breakthrough" show that made you realize that the band had something
RG:Really hard to say-I guess it would have been
one of the early ones at college when we got done and listened to the tapes and
thought-"holy shit we are a rock band-it was like breathing for the first
time-really really exciting.
DM:What CD do you have in your car right
now? Which ones get the most airplay in your Cd player when your on the
RG:I have Drew Emitt from the Leftover Salmons
latest solo record in my car at the moment-I love it!. I just got a few new ones
that I have been enjoying a weird gospel record by an old group called the
Staple Singers, Trey's solo record and a new one by a guy named Jack Johnson-all
really cool in their own ways
DM:Why did you cut your imfamous long
RG:Way too much maintance- I was supporting the
hair care indrustry single handedly:)
DM:Have you ever run into Trey
or any of the boys in Phish in your travels up in northern Vermont?
RG:I have met them all at one point or another-I don't know any of
them in any real sense of the word-I have a ton of respect for them though. I
know some of the folks who work within the Phish organiztion
DM:What are you up to now besides touring as a solo act?
Skiing? Side projects? Family? How's Vermont? Dog?
dog is my master! All I can say is......