Photo Courtesy of Joe Russo
Since we opened our doors, New Orlean’s finest, George Porter Jr., has been a regular among our artist repertoire. From sitting in with Soulive to many memorable evenings with the funky METERs, it’s always a treat when George is in our house. On Thursday, August 4th, he’ll play alongside his Runnin’ Pardners, Dumpstaphunk, Dr. John, Eric Krasno, and more for Aaron Neville‘s 75th Birthday Celebration! Before the funk festivities commence, we sat down with George Porter Jr. for an energy filled interview.
1. What do you love most about playing in Brooklyn? Is there anything you’re looking forward to when returning to Brooklyn Bowl?
Well, Brooklyn Bowl is a great music room and we are always warmly welcomed here. It also happens to be a bowling alley which is fun and is a great place to eat, too.
2. How do you think your music resonates in New York in comparison to New Orleans?
When a artist goes out on tour he hopes that what he or she is playing will hit a spot in the eardrums and hearts of those that are out that night. Some people in the crowd may be fans from back home but there are always new faces and new people to reach when on the road. We have done very well in NY so I guess here we hit that spot with the people who come to see us and I am looking forward to continuing to do so.
3. This show is pretty big in terms of multiple NOLA acts in one night. What are you most excited about for this show in particular?
Well, I am just looking to pull off one of our best sets yet. Being the first band to hit the stage, you sometimes are playing to just a few people, but with this band we play hard all the time so it does not matter if there are 10 people or 810 people… they will get the same hard hitting band every time. We hope to start the night off with some great energy.
4. How many times have you played with Aaron Neville and what are your most memorable moments with him either on or off the stage?
As I think about it, I think I sat in with The Neville Brothers at The New Orleans Jazz Fest one time and I played with Aaron on a New Years Eve gig in Boston for a few songs a couple of years ago. He is a very nice man and a talented singer. Aaron and I were never running partners, he is a little older than me and he was already an established recording artist when I was coming up.
5. You’re the king of amazing tie dye shirts. Do you make them yourself or do you have a source you can recommend?
(Smiling) No, I would not know where to start to make a tie dye shirt. There are a few people that have given me shirts over the last 15 years, there is Ben Jammin at jamminonhaight.com who has given me 80% of the shirts I own and wear right now and Greg and Lisa at Tie Dye Texas www.tiedyetexas.com. There is also Leonard Michael at Ez Dyes LLC and Richard Nebb who I always see at Suwannee Music Park. There are many others whose names I don’t know or have.
6. What do you think the most important part of live music is?
Well, you can look at it two ways: 1) Are you coming to see music? Or 2) Are you coming to hear music? Those questions are often misunderstood. 1) If you are coming to see music then you are looking for a light show, an artist that is moving across the stage with grace or some kind of moves… Or 2) If you are coming to hear music, then you are happy seeing an artist just stand in the middle of the stage, playing his heart out, and creating musical sounds that make your heart smile. That is what Runnin’ Pardners brings when we take the stage… there are no tricks we are going to play in the hopes of making the audience smile.
7. If you could play with one musician dead or alive, who would it be and where would you play?
I am not sure if I am ready to answer that question. When you reach my age, you realize how short life is. There are so many great players that have passed that I wanted to play with but can’t now. I don’t want want to pick one who is living and still playing great music because, truth is, I would love to play with so many of them. Though, then when will I have time to play my own music, LOL.
And finally, George left us with this sentiment…
We love to play for you. We have come to play for you and we won’t let you down when we are done.
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