You've released a number of live albums in your career. What is it about the live environment that appeals to you?
Well, certainly that's where the rock & roll beast is in its primal scream. It's a social campfire, is it not? It's the consummate reciprocal snowball from hell inducement to pull the max energy, max attitude, and max spirit from the creative whitewater rapids. Playing live is the ultimate out-of-body/out-of-spirit experience that has no parallels that I can think of. This live album ultimately represents the celebration of our musical dedication and the equal amount of musical crave. We don't just like playing, we don't just enjoy playing - we f---ing crave it. You've gotta see us before we go onstage. We're like wolves that just saw a hamstrung moose in a snowdrift - all growling and guttural noises.
It's a shame to see some albums deemed "live" since they're so doctored in the studio.
Hello! They're some of the biggest frauds in the history of the world. We at least admit it on Double Live Gonzo , because there were some overdubs due to technical problems. I completely replayed the bass and vocals on "Baby, Please Don't Go" because I heard some horrible distortion and breakup.
Speaking of Gonzo, that was such a groundbreaking live record. Did you have any idea that it would have such an impact?
I never know. I don't know because I don't think of those considerations. I don't make music to think of what it might sell or what it might mean to someone. I do it for its single-minded pureness. I play music just to play music. I mean, when I go hunting, will I get something? I go hunting just to hunt. And I spend maximum time with my wife just because I like the stimuli of the spiritual dynamic.
But in the final analysis, I would like to think that the ultimate human dream is to get up in the morning because you can't wait to do what you do that sustains you, and eventually you get the maximum compensation and productivity from that endeavor. Every day when I go make my music, I don't even consider sales or compensation until I meet with the accountant.
So what made Gonzo such a hot live album?
I think it was in the human, physical, spiritual collision of the exuberance that was inescapable on the faces of the audience every night. It's the most dynamic pulse of that experience, and guess what? As it is today. I get more smiles, I have more teeth per capita at my events every night than anybody else. Nobody in the history of the world has had more smiles and more clenched fists - and I've seen Aerosmith, Kid Rock, and Metallica… not to take anything away from what they do, but all of them combined will not have more smiles brighter than at my events on a nightly basis.
Obviously, you feed of off that.
Absolutely. And more importantly, I am so at ease while being pummeled by the intensity of the event and the creative outrage of my collaborative adventures. I nonetheless absorb every glowing bit of sweat and admiration and every bouncing firm-ass clenched fist and maniac stare and I take it all in. It is filling my heart and soul. If they were megabytes, I'd be downloading now. It's just exciting as hell. It's the exultation - I'm growing wings.
Knowing how much you dislike pianists, I have one last question for you: How many keyboard players does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Probably all of them! Seriously, I think keyboards are great - if you're in church and somebody died. [laughs]
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