Alan, Beau, and Danny, thanks for speaking with us today about The Alan Evans Trio.
Q1: Individually, who are the influences behind your music and the styles in which each of you play?
Alan – Everything in life influences what I play. The sound the car just made on the wet road that just passed my house may influence something I write. I feel that if you limit yourself to individual players or styles of music as influences, you’re limiting what you can say to other human beings with your music.
Beau – I was thinking the other day how strange it is that I am influenced fairly equally by Willie Nelson and Earth Wind & Fire. I love Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, and everything in between. Jimmy Smith and Johnny Cash. Bulgarian Wedding Music, the Soundtrack to “the Wiz” and Bob Marley, Dr. Dre, Coltrane, and the Beach Boys…love them all. All have influenced my greatly in every note I play. I discovered James Brown when I was in high school and later The JB’s, Parliament and Maceo Parker, I knew this style was where I wanted to end up. Feel Good Music!!!
Danny – For me, this is always an interesting question because the music/musicians I listen to have always seemed to naturally find their own influence within my playing. But in terms of what’s influencing me AS I’m playing, in the moment, it’s purely the vibe & emotion of that particular moment. Sometimes it’s bliss, sometimes it’s anger. Most of the time, I’m more influenced by what Al & Beau are laying down & how the crowd is feeling, than anything I’ve actually listened to that day.
Q2: Your debut album, Drop Hop, left fans in awe in front of their record players. More importantly was when they saw the shows live, in particular the show at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA back in May. Is the music off of Drop Hop going to be showcased on this tour for the most part, or do you have some covers or newer stuff you might bring out?
Alan – We are definitely going to be showcasing the tunes from Drop Hop and we’ll be throwing in a few new originals as well. I really like to keep covers to a minimum with this band. I’m just having so much fun playing the originals.
Q3: Most Wednesdays, fans who live in Western Massachusetts are lucky enough to be able to head out to Bishop’s Lounge late night in Northampton where Beau can be found tearing it up on the organ and if your lucky, sometimes an appearance from Alan on the drum kit or vocals. Is that where the idea for the trio first originated?
Alan – Well, in a way I’d say yes. I remember one night I was playing with Beau and it just hit me. I need to be in a band with this cat!!!! Then when I was hanging and playing with Danny out in California last November I could hear it all in my head. I just knew that Beau and Danny would get along as people and as musicians.
Beau – At Bishop’s we always get a chance to stretch out. That is the beauty of the hit…there is a lot of time to fill and its every week. So when Al & I do the show, we get to try new things, experiment, not worry if we miss something because the crowd is so generous…they support it and their energy kind of pushes you on. I think this vibe really allowed Al & I to get to know each other’s playing very closely. When it came time to make the album and tour, there was this effortless vibe that really carried the music and let it breathe….
Q4: At your live shows, the crowd can feel some serious on-stage chemistry between the three of you, as if you have been playing together for years. How did the trio come about and has the chemistry always been there since the beginning?
Alan – I’ve always prided myself on being able to hear what new music will sound like before it’s written or recorded. That’s exactly what happened with this band. The first time Danny and Beau hung out together, let alone played together, was the first day of recording Drop Hop. I just knew their styles would work well together along with mine. Indeed, the musical chemistry was there from the first note. Kind of like we were partners in some fashion some other time around. It doesn’t happen often and I’m grateful to have a few times in this life.
Beau – There are certain people that you just feel like you have known your whole life….that first day of recording we had a little “get to know you” warm up jam, it was CRUSHING….first time!!!! I remember thinking…”wow…Al really put something together here!!!” Of course now that we have spent so much time together and played a ton…it is just that much better, but chemistry was never a problem from the start. Beyond the music…we pretty much laugh the whole time we are together, so we have a wicked fun time on the road or in the studio just hanging out.
Danny – Well, I’ll just say Al is one damn good chemist. I remember him, very casually, saying to me when he was in Santa Cruz in December 2011: “Man, I really gotta get you & Beau together”…2 months later, I was flying out to MA, meeting Beau for the first time, on the first day of recording our first album together! I knew, right off the bat, as soon as the three of us were actually in the same room together, before we even played a note, that the band was going to have a serious amount of positive energy to fuel the music that Al was, & is, cranking out! The music Al wrote really provided a perfect template for a great vibe, & the rest is simple chemistry!
Q5: You guys will be making numerous stops around the Northeast on this upcoming tour including 8/5 in Norwalk, CT…9/9 in Fairfield, CT…9/21 in Portland, ME with Soulive…9/29 in Northampton, MA….and 9/30 in Brooklyn, NY. Tickets go on sale July 5th. Are there any new places you guys will be playing on this tour? Any returning gigs at some favorite spots?
Alan – There aren’t a lot of new cities for me, but certainly some new venues. That’s the one thing I really love about this band. We are playing a lot of smaller venues and we are able to really hang out with people before and after the shows. I dig that almost as much as playing the show.
Beau – Northampton is home and just like the spring tour…Iron Horse is right at the end, so we will be beyond warmed up and phasers set to destroy. That combined with all of the friends and family in the crowd makes Noho super special. Brooklyn Bowl is my favorite venue I have ever played at (the best music, bowling, bar, vibe & friend chicken)…so that is going to be a definite highlight.
Danny – A lot of the place we’re playing on this tour are new to me, actually! In New England, in particular, I’m looking forward to playing Northampton again! We had so much fun last time, & being AE3’s home base, it felt like a homecoming celebration, in a way! Nectars in Burlington is actually an old favorite of mine and the Brooklyn Bowl show is already standing out to me as being an incredible night just because of the heavy Royal Family vibe that just has to be smeared all over the walls in that place from the past three years of Bowlive.
Q6: What do you enjoy most about this trio aside from you other music projects?
Alan – Rolling around in a Chevy Suburban with Beau and Danny. We show up, load our own gear (I love the workout), we play a hard hitting night of music, we hang, then load out. Off to the next town. There’s just something magical about that for me!!
Beau – The music, the people, the travel, the FOOD! all incredible…we have such an effortlessly fun time with everything we do in this band that it really makes it special. There is an energy swirling around this group that you don’t see in every band.
Danny – What stands out about this band for me is how functional & easy it is. We’re just 3 guys, with all our gear, luggage, and merch, rolling around the country in a Chevy Suburban. It just feels so tight & self-sufficient! We all get along so well & always have each others best interests at heart. We are all free to just be ourselves, we just do what we do, and it all just seems to work, with synergistic ease. Then there’s the music! I absolutely love playing with Al and Beau. They both play with so much authority and soul. They’re both so solid and grounded, yet they allow the music to move freely! Really, I get to listen to two of my musical heroes play every night. It’s a beautiful thing.
Q7: Do either of you feel that the music you make with your other bands influences what you bring to the table with the Alan Evans Trio?
Alan – Like I said before, everything influences me. So yes….
Beau – Yes…I feel like I have been training my entire life for this. Every note I play with any band strengthens and makes me stronger and more ready for the next performance. I love Al’s take on this style and his vision for the trio. What I have done with other projects and bands just adds to the experience level and ease of performing the parts and improvising concisely.
Danny – Absolutely. Mostly when it comes to the more improvisational aspects of the music. With On The Spot Trio, there is a heavy psychedelic, almost loose, vibe. Almost like if you try to make something happen, it won’t. You have to be patient, and let it unfold, unforced. Which is actually hard to do. It requires some patience and letting the ideas come to you. Also, with my former band, 7 come 11, I had the opportunity to play a weekly gig in Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place for two years. That really helped me learn how to feel out a room and reciprocate that energy back into the music!
Q8: What are you looking forward to most about getting back on the road?
Alan – I felt that towards the middle to end of the first tour, we really hit out stride as a band. we all knew the tunes really well and started to expand on them. Then it was over. I’m psyched to start where we left off and keep moving up.
Beau – We definitely have unfinished business after the last tour…we all felt like we were warmed up and then it was over. I am looking forward to taking it to the next level on this tour. We are super comfortable with the material and each other’s playing so now we push it over the edge!! Also looking forward to MORE BBQ!
Danny – Everything! Getting to play this music and hang out with these guys. Traveling. Playing shows in different venues, different towns, up / down / & across the entire country. I’ve always been a big road tripper, and there is really no better way to do it than with your great friends, playing great music, for great people, every night!!!
Q9: We’d like to take a second, and feature your music outside of the trio here. Could each of you name some of the bands you are in an describe the music you create?
Alan – Soulive is a band I’ve been in for almost 15 years now. Although it is another organ trio, it is very different from AE3. Funny thing is, I don’t know how to describe the differences. Different musicians, different experiences, different vibe….
Beau – Akashic Record (trombone, bari sax & organ trio…great Boston funk fixture for many years)…..Sparkplug (music of the late, great Melvin Sparks…organ trio)……The Z Three (Zappa tribute in the style of organ trio with Tim Palmieri from Kung Fu & Bill Carbone from Max Creek)…Beau Sasser Trio (Bishop’s Lounge every Wednesday in Northampton, MA and a handful of festival appearances…organ trio).
Danny – On The Spot Trio, is actually another Hammond Organ based trio featuring Kris Yunker on organ, bass keys, clarinet & rhodes, along with Jeff Wilson on drums! We have some heavy Afrobeat influenced tunes, which I think is really rare for a trio! Al recorded and produced both of our full length albums, an EP, & a 45 recently released on Colemine Records! We play regularly in the California Bay Area! You can check us out at www.otstrio.com.
Q10: If you had to describe the music of the Alan Evan Trio in a few words, what would you say?
Alan – The soundtrack to many of my dreams come to life.
Beau – The train comes into the station and its the baddest, sleekest, loudest, fastest, shiniest thing with the best paint job you ever saw in your life. You look up and Al is driving the train…sunglasses, hip chain on his neck, black vest…the works…you get on and the train levitates off the track like in “Back to the Future” then shoots off into interstellar space…ride of your life man!
Danny – Infectious pocket and super deep groove. Screaming Hammond Organ, wailing guitar, & driving, hard hitting drums.
Guys, good luck on the road and we look forward to seeing you a few times on the upcoming tour! The Alan Evans Trio will be on the road through August and September. All of the dates and information about the band can be found on their website: www.alanevanstrio.com . Don’t forget to “like” The Alan Evans Trio on Facebook to keep up with the latest updates from the band and Creative Solutions Music Promotions to keep up with our latest interviews and show news!
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