Guitar aficionado and torch bearer of all things Grateful Dead, Jackie Greene enlightened us with his musical background, love for Brooklyn and more in this awesome Q&A. Give it a read and prepare yourself for two nights of rock at Brooklyn Bowl on October 25 and 26.
Brooklyn Bowl: This will be your first time headlining with your band at Brooklyn Bowl since 2011. What are you most looking forward to about this run?
Jackie Greene: Well, this is the first time I’ve been to the Bowl with my new band. I feel like the band is pretty hot right now and we are just eager to play. Even though it’s the middle of the week, we are excited to stretch out and maybe get into some stuff we haven’t done in awhile.
BB: The second night of this run is Grateful Dead Appreciation we Night. What can we expect and is there any secrets about the set that you’d like share?
JG: Sorry, I can’t reveal the set list! We will play some of our stuff, but it will mostly be Dead or Dead-related material.
BB: Having recently played in Brooklyn at the new Coney Island Amphitheater, what is it about Brooklyn makes you excited to come back?
JG: Brooklyn loves live music. That’s one of the reasons I moved here. The fans here are some of the most fun in the entire country. They like to get lose and have fun. We feed off that energy as a band and we look forward to thatS
BB: To add to that, are there any highlights or backstage moments you’d like to share from playing with Phil Lesh?
JG: I’ve had so many, it’s hard to count. I like the simple, human exchanges. The small stuff to the big stuff. He’s given me advice on anything from my love life to home stereo speakers. All topics are fair game.
BB: At what age did you know that music was destined to be your future?
JG: Pretty early on. When I was about 15 or 16 I decided it was what I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to do it, but I knew it was something that felt correct to me.
BB: Which musician or genre opened your eyes to the world of music as a musician? Can you name the exact moment when you realized it would change your life forever?
JG: I think like many musicians, there have been lots of those eye opening moments. I recall listening to Ray Charles for the first time. That was a big deal for me. I was 14 at the time. That set me off on a journey through American blues and roots music that continues to this day. After high school is when I first heard Tom Waits. I became intensely interested in songwriting after that.
BB: If you could have chosen another career path, what could you see yourself doing?
JG: Honestly can’t say for certain, but there was a time when I wanted to play baseball. I was a decent ball player when I was younger. I played in high school. I’m pretty sure I discovered both the Beatles and LSD at one of our games, though. So, maybe that path wasn’t for me.
BB: If you could create a night around music, dedicated to the music of one band (not the Dead), genre, or decade, what would it be and who would you play with?
JG: It’s probably a tall order, but most likely it’d be a curated night of really old folk and blues songs. Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, stuff like that. Traditional songs, Carter Family stuff. But, all done by modern artists. It wouldn’t be just me – there would have to be lots of people involved. That seems fun to me.
BB: If you could play a live show in outer space or underwater, which would you chose and why?
JG: Whichever has better catering. My guess is underwater, since the lobster would be fresh.
Of course, I hear Martian stew is pretty happening.
BB: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
JG: A thoroughbred race horse. But one that wins races. I’d get to have my tail brushed all the time and have my picture taken in the winners circle with really small humans.
BB: Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?
JG: Keep your nose clean and your socks dry. You’ll go far, kid! I think I heard that somewhere. Not totally sure what it means…
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