G. Love loves sound waves, ocean waves

March 21, 1996|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

As far as G. Love is concerned, his job has great benefits and he's not talking health care, either.

"One of the advantages of being a budding young musician is that I get paid surf vacations in California," he says over the phone. "I was booked in San Diego last night, you know? Played solo, turned out the house, and now I'm going to Mexico with a big wad of money."

He chortles. "Surfing, basketball and guitar are my favorite things to do," he says. "But I can't really play too much basketball now, 'cause I don't want to jam my fingers. I always got gigs."

In fact, Love's current tour finds the guitarist and singer doing double duty, opening the show with a solo acoustic set of country blues, then closing it with a funky, New Orleans-style performance with a full band. Sandwiched between the two is his "opening" act (in Baltimore, blues musician Kelly Bell).

Why is he doing so much music in one show? And why is he doing it without his usual backing band, Special Sauce?

"Well, I've been on the road with Special Sauce now for almost three years, and it's time right now in my life to be mixing it up a little bit," he answers. "For my soul and my music. 'Cause I really have a lot of different kind of music that I do. Although it's all me."

Part of what makes Love's music "all him" is the way he brings a hip-hop style and sensibility to the blues. "I'm a kid, so the aspect of hip-hop that comes into my music, that's part of my culture," he says. "I'm not saying I'm from the ghetto in New York, which is where hip-hop is from, but look I traveled worldwide, from Japan to Scandinavia, and they're all listening to Ol' Dirty Bastard and Dr. Dre and the Beastie Boys, you know? It is kind of the music of our times. So of course I know it."

Love never set out to blend hip-hop and blues, though. "It just kind of happened one day," he says. "I got this song called 'The Product of the City,' and it goes, the last line of the song goes, 'Yo, it just kinda happened, it wasn't thought up/This is the city, and I am its product.' You know?

"I grew up on South Street in Philadelphia, and there's all different kinds of people there. Crazy people, street musicians, black people, white people, gay people, straight people, the left wing, the right wing, the dudes, the chicks I mean, everybody's down there. And all that different music and energy and stuff comes through in my music."

Nor does he find that older blues musicians look down on the hip-hop element in his blues. "I think the older guys get a kick out of it. Like I was playing, you know the song 'My Baby's Got Sauce'? Well, the original version of that is on my G. Love 'Oh, Yeah' tape, and it's kind of more country blues with a rap over it. I played it with John Hammond, and he was laughing the whole time, just getting a kick out of it, you know?

"Musicians can tell, man. They can tell where the music's coming from. It's coming from a good place, and we're trying to give it up as much as we can to the people. Get it loose and have a good time. And if you got the blues, you lose 'em. You lose 'em through singing 'em."

Pub Date: 3/21/96

When: Tuesday, 10 p.m.

Where: Eight by Ten Club

Tickets: $10

Call: (410) 625-2000

Sundial: To hear excerpts from G. Love's new release, "Coast to Coast Motel," call Sundial at (410) 783-1800 and enter the code 6161. For other local Sundial numbers, see the directory on Page 2A.

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