Your email address will not be published. “Social media and Spotify and all this stuff had struck, and I just didn’t have the heart for it,” he says. So, Leo talked to John Stropes about selling some of the instruments he no longer uses in performance. “It came to life,” Gordon says. The records work for you, laying around somewhere.”, After leaving Capitol, Kottke recorded with a rhythm section on 1979’s Balance, which included an excellent cover of Buddy Holly’s “Learning the Game” — but for Kottke, playing with other musicians never felt right. “The labels always had trouble commercially because I don’t have a demographic,” Kottke says. “He’s like this iconic American treasure living in his own bubble,” says Mike Gordon of Phish. L.K: My first job was in ’63 for free beer. Two years later, he returned with Peculiaroso, produced by Rickie Lee Jones. “Mike was uncomfortable. Everybody I know who’s ever been here would rather be here than anywhere else. [7], Kottke received an honorary Doctorate in Music Performance from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee on May 18, 2008, where he gave the commencement address. Gordon got a little angry. “If I tried to do standard bass playing — like, if the song sounded a little bit reggae-ish, I’d play a reggae bass line — that would kill it, because what’s so cool about Leo is he’s just insinuating these genres and moods and patterns, and he’s just he’s just nodding toward them. He has a way of playing three against four rhythms. The Last Steam Engine Train – Kottke, Leo, Did you know that you should change strings on your guitar approximately every 4-5 weeks? And with this last one I got the first record that pretty much turned out to be. [2], In the early 1970s, he recorded with vocals and backing musicians on albums. In 2002, Kottke and Mike Gordon (the bassist from the band Phish, which was on an extended hiatus) collaborated on Clone, an album featuring instrumental work and vocals from both musicians. Required fields are marked *. So it’s impossible to market me. I became a huge fan right then.”), When they work on music together, Kottke stays at Gordon’s house. After that, he’d asked his label to let him out of his deal, even though he owed two more records. It’s extraordinary.”, It took Gordon and Kottke 15 years to make Noon. You want to keep your curiosity and your appetite to behave the way these guys do. R.P: I suppose after twenty albums you’ve got to reflect and filter out this, that and the other, and then look back and select the best? Gordon handed Kottke the package at one of his shows at Vermont’s Higher Ground. Kottke sat down and played everything he knew. You couldn’t get that group mind going which is kind of necessary, especially for solo performers. “Something just clicked, and I realized, ‘Oh, I could I could relate to this guy; I could do something with him.’ And I should give it a shot.’”. He currently resides in the Minneapolis area with his family. “I was like, ‘Well, fine, but what that means is I’m going to have to spend six months learning to play this bass line, which I recorded one bar at a time, a couple bars here and there. Milwaukee Guitar Collective (MGC) is a company created primarily for consignment sales of notable guitar collections with a focus on benefiting charities of the consignor’s choice. “The crews are real happy to see me, because they don’t have to do a goddamn thing.”, That formula has worked out well. I kind of figured out how that works. It was wonderful. Here’s some photos taken during the press event at the Pabst Theater. His mother heard him singing along to the radio one day, so she bought him a guitar. “The crowd, the event. “I rarely play with other people, because I’m not good at it. Stropes, John. And Leo eats the cheese and uses the maple syrup and never plugs in the boombox.”, He remembers Kottke saying that he can’t know whether a bass line is working from a recording; he needed to hear it in person. In 2004, Kottke released another solo album, Try and Stop Me (2004). And that wasn’t helpful at all.”, Then, as Gordon was putting away his instrument, Kottke played a short riff. He didn’t hear anything back for months. Probably the biggest and most formative influence was Pete Seeger. Instead of using a tour bus, the guitarist drives himself, piling his guitars into the back of a rental car. L.K: With “My Fathers Face” I got away from digital tape machines and used a lot of tube mikes. “I played it for Trey in the car, all these different friends. “I made an E chord, and I sat up, I mean, like, yanked up. Waiting 15 years to make an album doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy, of course.”, Kottke boils down the same story to its result: “It took me a while. I mean, it was bad.’”, “Everything I tried to do along with his playing didn’t sound right,” says Gordon. You kind of have to learn how to do that. We were lined up on the coach, like a bunch of stuffed fish, and passed the guitar around listening to some Gregorian hymns and laid back guitar. I was alive again. My first slide piece I came up with was a big big thrill. “As soon as your brain can see the pattern, he buries it.” Kottke sometimes sings in his endearing baritone, which he famously once likened to “geese farts on a muggy day.”, ‘When Mike and I are in a small room, no mics, no amps, it’s it’s an uncanny experience,” Kottke says. Actually, people were trying to avoid a lot of harmonic convention. “I was just slowly going into the grave. Fahey asked him to make an album for his Takoma label. He was coming down the hall playing a kind of pick thing; there was a pattern to it. I kept doing that and I said without thinking and without looking up, “Has anybody here killed a chicken?” There was some chuckling and this old story about killing chickens just came back.

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