Thanks to some cool cats, we were able to connect with Lukas Nelson recently for some quick Q&A via email. Lukas and his band PROMISE OF THE REAL – is getting ready to release a second full-length LP entitled ‘Wasted’ on April 3, 2012. And after a spot on Letterman that night, they’re going to follow-up and kick-off the tour and celebrate the release at Antone’s in Austin, no less – this Friday April 6th!
If you’re unfamiliar with Lukas and POTR, these cats are quickly establishing a name for themselves with gigs nearly every night, spots on some pretty big mega-events such as Farm Aid, Bridge School, and Stagecoach. They’ve played on national TV on Letterman, Leno, and Kimmel and they’ve gotten rave reviews for two simple reasons: Great songs and even BETTER live shows.
With Neil Young in tow providing creative inspiration and mentoring, Lukas and POTR recorded ‘Wasted’ live at Moose Lodge Studios (Nashville, TN) in analog – on full moons. And they also mixed and mastered the record on a full moon, and purposely chose the April 3 release date because it’s yet another full moon week.
Lukas penned all of the tracks and produced the record with his band – Anthony LoGerfo (Drums), Tato Melgar (Percussion) and Corey McCormick (Bass) – and Jim “Moose” Brown.
As Lukas tells it, this record was all about capturing a moment. He wrote the album’s 14 songs in the back of the band’s tour bus. And much of the subject matter is focused on that time spent on tour, on the road.
“Wasted is a snapshot of this last summer on tour when I wrote most of this music,” he says. “It was the summer of debauchery. I was socializing a little too much and not really being true to myself. So the whole record was a snapshot of me making one of the many mistakes I’ll likely make throughout my life. There were a lot of pressures on the road and there are a lot of people who view touring as just one big party. I started staying out until 4 in the morning. It was like summer camp. It took a toll on me. I soon realized I wasn’t really being myself and I had a big wake-up call and it’s during that time that I wrote this record.” – LN
RT: Explain your relationship with Neil Young. As a ‘distant mentor’ – what does that really mean?
LN: Neil is like an Uncle. All of us in the band consider him our hero and he has given us good advice. Rather than call him a “Distant Mentor”, or something I think it is better and he would probably prefer to be called “Uncle Neil”.
RT: What was it like recording at Moose Lodge Studios? Is there a funny/interesting story you can share from the experience?
LN: Tato was giving me shit about my driving one morning on the way to the studio the first day. I’ve known him the longest out of all the band members and we are like brothers. Anyway, we were borrowing my sisters truck and he and Corey were in the back. I thought I was driving ok…he thought I was taking the turns a little hard. Hehe.
Anyways we’re driving and I’m a little steamed and so is he but we aren’t saying anything cause he’s in the bed of the truck and he can’t hear me. When we get to the gig we get out of the truck in the parking lot and look at each other and next thing we know I grabbed him and tackled him into the gravel and we’re wrestling around, trying to pin the other one down…all of a sudden, Moose pulls up and sees us rolling around on the ground and we jump up and start laughing. That’s his introduction to the band! After that, all the tension was gone…and we had a perfectly smooth session. Nothing like a little fight to cool the blood of old friends.
RT: For you and the band, what is the significance of the full moon?
LN: During the full moon, the earths’ magnetism is affected and energy is altogether high. Anything you do – recording wise and electronic wise – will have a special vibe to it during full moon times.
LN: No. I love the road.
RT: ‘Wasted’ sounds like a pretty personal and revealing set of songs. Can you shed some more light on what you were going through and what ultimately inspired you to write those songs?
LN: Well, I’ve said it before that I was going through a period of wastefulness. Wasting the love, talent and health given to me. The album is a snapshot of what I was going through at that time.
RT: You obviously have a great vibe going around family and positivity. What’s your fondest family memory growing up? What was your family’s impact on you as a musician?
LN: I was taught to surround myself with family in order to survive on the road. But one part of family that I believe is important to respect – is privacy.
RT: Describe your band as a family, for us – not as musicians per se, but outside of the band, and tours, etc.
LN: Well, Tato I’ve known the longest. He came to Maui when he was in his early twenties from Argentina and Urugay…and I was about 8 years old. We started playing music together back then. Anthony and I met at a Neil Young concert, and we went surfing that night under the pier at Seal Beach with all of his friends and I got stung by a stingray on the ankle. I kept surfing because it was so good and fun that night. We became good friends. Corey is the newest member but he’s known Anthony for a long time and they have played together, having gone to the same music school. We all have become brothers.
RT: What are some of your other hobbies and interests when you’re not making music or on tour?
LN: Surfing. Being in Maui.
RT: Who/what are some of your other influences, inspirations as an artist and musician?
LN: I got to play with Bob Dylan a couple times, and he is a really cool guy and a good influence. I sit in with him sometimes. Bob Weir is another uncle, and we have been hanging together a lot and have become really good friends. Bob Weir has a studio called TRI in San Rafael, California that we are working with a whole lot. He is a good friend and a good mentor. When we first started touring, BB King was a huge mentor to us. We learned a lot from him and his band. Kris Kristofferson for me is family and a huge influence. And of course Neil.
RT: You added a lot of new instruments and musicians into the mix on this record. What was that like? Is it possible to have too much of a good thing going on, sometimes?
LN: I don’t know. I think it’s possible but I don’t think it was too much on this record. We took out a lot of licks and chiseled it down to what I believe is the best music we’ve put out to date.
RT: Can you comment about kicking off the release/tour in Austin? That’s gotta be pretty rad. Can you share any “weird” stories or memories you’ve had from Austin over the years?
LN: Austin is a great town, but I don’t have that many “weird” stories. I wish I spent more time there but I’m hardly there anymore. I grew up more in Hawaii.
RT: What are your plans while you’re out on the tour? Will you be writing more? Making any fun stops along the way?
LN: We’re going to have a lot of fun, and I am writing a couple new songs about every week now. We have plenty of new material.
RT: Can you leave us with a good tip or piece of advice for other artists and musicians out there? Is there an “a-ha” moment you’ve had recently, or something you’ve done or tried that may have worked (or didn’t)?
LN: Stay Healthy and Have Fun.
LUKAS NELSON & PROMISE OF THE REAL: http://www.promiseofthereal.com/