Q&A: Robert Randolph Talks to Knockdown Alley

Posted on Monday November 9th in


Robert Randolph and the Family Band make their triumphant return to Brooklyn Bowl for a two-night run, November 24-25. Robert recently sat down with us to answer a few questions about music, life, and love. Check out the exclusive interview here, and get ready for a soul-shakin’ good time with Robert Randolph and the Family Band.

What’s the last band you paid to see live? Stevie Wonder

What band have you seen play live the most often (excluding any you’ve toured with)? Phish

Which bands that you listened to growing up do you still listen to?
Red Hot Chili Peppers

What music or song always makes you dance? Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Freebird” and Allman Brothers, “Ramblin’ Man”

You’ve done several multiple-night runs at Brooklyn Bowl, the spiritual home of the NYC Freaks. Does playing here remind you of the Wetlands vibe back at the beginning of your career? Oh, yes, very much! It’s a bit nicer than the Wetlands was, but yeah.

Do you have any new music in the pipeline? And do you ever road-test new songs live before recording them? Yes, we’ve done it a lot. We have new music coming out very soon!

You’re playing two nights at Brooklyn Bowl leading up to Thanksgiving — usually one of the more fun weeks of the year — what can we expect at your shows? And will you be playing a different set list each night? Yes, we have always played a different set list each night. We always do a lot of improvisation, surprise guests and have a great time.

It’s pretty well known that Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of your main influences. But are there are any modern-day guitarists who continue to inspire you? Yeah there are so many. Trey Anastasio, Derek Trucks, Carlos Santana … those guys are really great.

Do you have any crutches when writing a song — are there certain words or styles you feel you lean on too much? Yeah, I can always lean on love too much. Whether it’s spiritual love, romantic love … it’s sort of the theme of my life to get people to love each other. Love is always in my pipeline of words.

Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you? You don’t have to be either or but I think life experiences will influence you the most. But if you look at the world around you, those things also influence you. Sometimes you think you’re going to write a song about what you’ve seen today, but sometimes a year or so will go by and you’ll think of a situation or someone else’s story.

At your after-party there’s an endless jukebox, and we give you a buck. Which three songs are you playing? Michael Jackson, “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough,” Stevie Wonder, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” and Phish, “Bouncing Around the Room”

It’s 4 a.m. and last call has come and gone. What’s your next move? Find the after-party with someone that has acoustic guitars and go jam! —R.Zizmor | @Hand_Dog


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