Melvin Seals‘ musical history is one we only dream of living. From playing with Jerry Garcia to mastering the Hammond B-3, he’s truly a force to be reckoned with. In preparation for his daytime and evening show with JGB on Sunday, October 2 at Brooklyn Bowl, he took the time to answer a few questions for us. Take a read and feel inspired from this heartfelt interview with Melvin Seals!
Brooklyn Bowl – Your history in music is beyond impressive. At what age did you know that music was destined to be your future?
Melvin Seals – I knew at the age of 7 that I wanted to play music for a living. At that time I began to live and breathe music and it was such an important part of my upbringing.
BB – Was the Hammond B-3 your go to when you initially started playing music? If not, what gravitated you towards playing it?
MS – When I first started playing music it was the piano that I gravitated towards. My dad played the piano as well and there was a piano in our house at the time. There was a man that played the organ at the local church, that really inspired me. I started listening to more organ players like Billy Preston, and Jimmy Smith, and my love of the organ took off from there!
BB – Who was your biggest influencer when it came to music? Did you have a hard time getting into the industry?
MS – Starting out my biggest musical influence was Billy Preston. I started playing for my church, then in high school, I played in various bands then transitioned into working on Broadway plays which led me to Elvin Bishop. From there I was introduced to Jerry Garcia and the rest is history!
BB – It’s probably a huge accomplishment to have played with Jerry Garcia for 15 years. What are your finest memories of him?
MS – There are some many great memories, we’ve shared many moments on stage when the music is high and we were just jamming and he would look over at me and give me a great look. My finest memory is when we played at Madison Square Garden. I truly felt like I finally arrived.
BB – You frequent Brooklyn Bowl and New York regularly. What do you look forward to most when you come back?
MS – Brooklyn Bowl is one of my favorite places to play, it is such a unique experience watching everyone have a great time bowling and playing while we jam. It’s like we fuel the fun.
BB – Are there any New York spots you’d recommend for those that may not know about it already?
MG – Capital Theatre is an awesome spot!
BB – What do you think the most important thing about experiencing live music is? What are your favorite parts about it?
MS – The most important thing is the energy that transpires from the audience to the band and vice versa. My favorite part is when we walk on stage and the audience is so receptive and excited for the show to start.
BB – What’s the hardest part about sleeping, eating, and breathing the music industry? Do you have any advice for those who are trying to pursue it?
MS – Sometimes all the travel can be the challenging part but it’s worth it to look out and see the audience. My advice to someone trying to get started in the industry is you have to work very hard and be one of the best at whatever instrument you are pursuing. That means you are constantly sharpening your skills. And have patience!
BB – Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to leave with our readers?
MS – If you are going to do anything in life, try to stand out and be the best at whatever it is. There is always room at the top for those that are the best. Everyone has a gift, the journey is finding it and honing in on it to be the best.
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