Singer/songwriter, harmonica player and friend-to-the-stars G. Love (born Garrett Dutton, hence the "G") might wear his heart on his sleeve. He certainly has little hesitation in putting his likes, dislikes, thoughts and emotions out there for the world — at least in the forms of candid images, video clips and virtual sound bites.
G. Love is one of those performers who embraces social media. "I know some artists don't like it at all. They think it's too much exposure and it kills the mystique. Some artists like myself get really into it and interact with their fans a lot," he tells Xpress from Tempe, Ariz. "When MySpace first came out I was really into getting on there and seeing who was coming to check us out. Then I started doing the blogs and I really found that as a good creative outlet for me as a writer … then Twitter came out and I really liked that even better."
For Xpress readers not familiar with Twitter, the online networking tool allows users to "tweet" short —140 character — updates on any subject. A Twitter user's followers then receive those tweets in a constantly revolving list of updates. Love has about 9,000 followers; his tweets run the gamut of music-business info, scenes from daily life, humorous anecdotes and food news.
Here, we've rounded up some classic G. Love tweets, and the musician's take on his own cyberspace musings.
On the new album
"Working on a new joint called 'I Ain't Finished Yet' with [British producer and songwriter Paul Simm] — one time is never enough — awww yeah, it's all about breaking the record." "Jamming by the swamp in Sanibel, Fla on a sunny day. Working up this new record. I'm saying it's gonna be the best."
"I want to get back to the roots of what I do, and do it better than I've ever done it before, so the new album is going to be really strongly hip-hop and really strongly Delta blues," Love says. The Philadelphia native started his career on the streets of Boston in the early '90s, inspired by blues, folk and hip-hop by the likes of the Beastie Boys and Schooly D. His blog reveals that, lately, he's been immersing himself in the swampy, juke joint blues of late Louisiana musician Slim Harpo.
"Since Superhero Brother came out [in 2008] I've written about 40 tunes. We're in the pre-production stage of picking out the best songs," he says. "A lot of times I'll go in the studio with 40 tunes and we'll cut whatever we're feeling and that's a good way to do it, too, but this time we really want to kind of know exactly what we want to cut." Love explains that, for the new album — which could drop as early as this August — he's "doing a lot of hip-hop style recording."
On famous friends
"Feeling mellow and positive on the first day of 2010. I jammed my guitar and then surfed with Jimmy Buffet and Anthony Kiedis on a nice point."
"We were in St. Barts as a guest of Savannah Buffett, Jimmy's daughter," Love says of that spectacular-sounding New Year's Day. Followed an A-list New Year's Eve party (written up by blogger Perez Hilton), Love and Jimmy Buffett ("He's a great guy and a good role model for me") were on their surfboards when Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kiedis paddled out. "It was funny 'cause I had one of those awkward moments. Of course I'm a big fan of the Chili Peppers. What do you say to these guys? I was out there in the water having an anxiety attack. 'Man, here's right there. He's just 10 feet away. It's just me and him in the water.' It was stupid, I felt like a kid. I get so star-struck."
But not all of Love's brushes with celebrity are so comical. He's actually responsible for discovering surfer/songwriter Jack Johnson, and Love, who is always jetting off to somewhere fun/exciting/exotic, often collaborates with other artists: Slightly Stoopid, Jason Mraz and Zap Mama, for example. Of the latter, Love relates, "A cat I used to play with in Philly, just one or two gigs on a side project, he was in her band and I got to meet Zap after her show. We stayed in contact … and she asked if I would do a song on her record. When I do the collaborations I find it always brings something great out of me because I want to step it up for the person I'm rocking it with."
On being a foodie
"Macking down the best burger in town at Diablo Burger in Flagstaff. Awww yeah." "With the leftover roast she made a roast beef, arugula, reggiano and gravy sandwich. Mmmmmm."
Many of Love's food-related tweets come with digital images of whatever meal or beverage he's discovered. Fish and cold beer in the Caribbean, salmon tacos and sweet potato fries in California, "Fried chicken, acorn squash, baby broccoli with garlic and lemon" on a chilly night in Boston. "My manager was like, 'You need to pick something that you want to do your Twitter about, not just 'I'm sitting on the patio,'" he mimics the Verizon commercial. "I was like, 'Alright, I'll do food.' My mom was a chef, my uncle was a chef, my sister works in the wine business, me and my girl love to cook." In fact, food is such a big part of the musician's life that he once recorded a pilot for a Travel Channel cooking show (it never aired) and recently posted a video on YouTube.com of himself cooking beef stew.
"So I do [tweets] around the food stuff. I think some people get it and some people could give a f—k," he laughs. "That's the thing — you're a person who makes music and writes these songs and people react to them and connect with them and that's why they like you. Now all of a sudden you throw your personality in there. Somebody might like my music but they might not like my personality, you know?"
On keeping it fresh
"Working on a new tune called 'Bad Habit' ha this one's good. Me have bad habits?? Naaaah."
While Love and his band like to road test new material ("As a musician, your favorite song is always the newest one"), the performer — who says that in the past he refused to play his singles just to appease radio stations — insists "I love to play all of our tunes."
He continues, "You want to make sure that you get to all those songs that people know and love and have been a part of their lives." Nearly two decades into making music, Love — a prolific writer — has an immense catalog and he says that deciding what to play and what not to play is his biggest challenge. "All the old tunes and the classics we've been playing for many many years, we always come up with new ways to make them fresh for us and fresh for people who've seen 10 G.Love shows."
For the full interview, click here.
who: G. Love & Special Sauce (with Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad)
what: Feel-good blues, hip-hop and soul
where: The Orange Peel
when: Wednesday, March 17 (9 p.m., $25. theorangepeel.net)