Q1: When did you first start playing music?
First started singing when I was about 24. Picked up the guitar a few years later. Been addicted ever since, trying to improve every day.
Q2: What bands/artists do you feel influence you the most?
Currently I would have to say Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Eddie Vedder, Sublime, Bob Marley, and Dave Matthews. Kind of a wide variety but I think it mostly has to do with their songwriting and passion when they play. I really dig when I can tell how much some verses mean more than others just from listening.
Q3: You are constantly playing shows all around the Boston area. Where are some places that people can come catch a show?
I currently in Plymouth. I play at 14 Union (every Sunday during the summer, Main St Sports Bar, and the BBC in Cedarville. I play at the Stadium bars in Quincy, Waltham, and Southie. I play so many different places, it’s hard to keep up. Haha. Best thing is to search Jeff Hilliard Music on Facebook. I list all my shows there and my web page (jeffhilliardmusic.com) should be up by the end of May.
Q4: Who would you say are your top 5 bands/musicians?
Number 1 has to go to Dave Grohl. Everything about him is absolutely the way a musician should act. He’s down to earth, got a great sense of humor (FRESH POTS!!), and has fun with his music. The show FF played at Wembley Stadium was nuts. He had that emotional surge during “Best of You”. It completely blew my mind how he brings you right there with him.
Dave Matthews is hilarious. If you’ve been to a show or seen a live taping, you know what I mean. He has so much fun on stage when he plays, it’s truly inspiring. I think he catches a bad rap with a few people because of his fan base.
Jack Johnson is inspiring on so many levels. His dedication for that ultimate laid back vibe is so cool. His attitude to help protect the environment goes beyond words.
Sublime (with Brad) has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Any style of music someone listens to, Sublime always seems to fall into people’s top 20 bands.
Last but definitely not least is Eddie Vedder. He, in my mind, is one of the greatest lyricists of all time. He pours all of his emotions into his songs which is so motivating for me.
And if I could sneak in a local for one, it would be Jimmy Pemberton. I’ve been lucky enough to be playing with him since I started. His drumming skills and work ethic for music is unmatched. He is a machine. Pure hustler. He always has so much going on, but takes his time on each aspect.
Q5: When you play shows, what kind of music do you play? Covers, originals, or both?
I play covers at most bars/clubs and usually throw in some originals. I’m working on my solo album as we speak. Heading into the studio soon, so I’m hoping to be playing a lot more originals.
Q6: What do you enjoy most about playing music?
I love everything about music. When I’m playing, I can just close my eyes and feel every word I sing. Feel every chord. I try to imagine I’m one with some sort of universal music when I’m closing my eyes and playing. Sounds a little sappy, but it’s the truth. Music is the one thing that can bring people from any background together. In my mind, it’s humanity’s greatest gift to itself
Q7: If you could play a show with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Depends on my mood. Haha. My chill side would say Eddie Vedder (solo). He’s a genius and would be stoked to share the same stage with him. On the other hand, Foo Fighters would be my ultimate dream band to play with. Something about the way Taylor and Dave play off each other, and the constant smiles and energy coming from them is what defines live music to me
Q8: Are there any festivals that you would like to play if given the chance?
I would love to play any festival. The gathering of musicians to bring people some great music is a cool feeling. But if I had to pick? Probably Gathering of the Vibes or Bonnaroo. Tough to say though. Every festival in my mind is a great experience.
Q9: Looking back on everything, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have started playing waaaay earlier in life! Haha. I would of liked to have my father see how far I’ve come with music. After he passed away, that’s when music became my therapy. Growing up with Grateful Dead, The Doors, and Allman Brothers sealed my eternal love for jam music. Haha.
Q10: Where can people find your music?
I have been really bad about posting to YouTube. I haven’t really taken any video at shows. I like people to experience it with me instead of judging from a computer. Hahaha. On Facebook it’s Jeff Hilliard Music, and like I said earlier my website jeffhilliardmusic.com will be up by the end of May (the latest). Also have a new project I’ve been lucky enough to be working on. Kinda along the lines of Mars Volta and Tool. But, the solo stuff is more laid back acoustic stuff. I’m a Gemini, so I got to fulfill both my musical needs! Haha
Jeff, thanks for talking to us and good luck with everything! We look forward to seeing you soon!
You rock. Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk with you.