By: Greg Horowitz
We sat down and spoke with Alan Evans of Playonbrother (and Soulive) to discuss everything from the band’s new lineup, upcoming album, new name and more. Check it out.
Q1: Hey Al, thanks for speaking with us today. There is a lot on the horizon for Playonbrother. What started as a name change has led to a new album and new lineup for the band. Let’s start with the band’s new name. What led you to change the name from the Alan Evans Trio to Playonbrother?
So many people (promoters and audience members) assumed we were a jazz trio, so I thought it was best to change the name. I like that Playonbrother leaves things open. It’s just who I am.
Q2: You recently spent a week in Western MA recording the new album with guitarist Danny Mayer and Beau Sasser on organ. When do you anticipate the release of the album and what direction would you say the band is going with this new material? What influences helped you create this album?
Right now the album is supposed to come out September 30th and I’m going to do everything I can to stay on schedule.
The direction of the band???? Rock & Roll. It’s hard to point to one set of influences. I just write the music that comes to me. I grew up listening to everything, but rock always resonated with me the most, so I’ve fully embraced it. I was probably subconsciously trying to appeal to the Soulive crowd with the early AE3 albums. I’m not doing that anymore. If you like what I’m doing cool, if not, cool.
Q3: When we came in to photograph the recording session, I noticed you were recording everything on your own. Are you self-producing, mixing and mastering the album as well? If so, do you find it more difficult putting together your own album versus producing one for another artist?
I’ve written, recorded, mixed and produced all of the AE3 albums. I love doing it. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my music and I know exactly what I want, so I do it myself. It’s very easy for me to put myself in the producer seat with my own music as I would with another artist. I have no problem telling myself when something just doesn’t work. It’s all the same to me. I can always hear what the finished album is going to sound like in my head at the beginning of the process, so it’s easy to do what it takes to get to the finish line.
Q4: Recently, your organist Beau left the band and Danny’s former bandmate Kris Yunker will be taking his place. What brought about the change in the lineup and what do you think Kris brings to the band?
Like I said before, I’m a perfectionist and I know exactly what I want. Sometimes in the process of getting “there” things change for everyone involved. The music I’m writing now is universes away from Drop Hop. In the end, I guess we didn’t share the same vision and Beau has a lot of great things going on with his trio, The Z3, etc. I’ve known Kris a long time and the stars aligned for he, Danny, and myself. I love playing with Kris. Though he has his own style and vibe, the only other keyboardist that makes me play like him is my brother Neal. This has nothing to do with Soulive or AE3, it’s just like a mental telepathy kind of thing. It’s really hard to put into words, but it works really well and I’m sure when people hear us play, they will understand what I’m talking about.
Q5: You guys are currently on a big tour that includes numerous club dates and festivals. What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming tour?
Our first date with Kris was the first date of this tour. Kris moved out from Santa Cruz and arrived last Sunday. We rehearsed Monday and hit the road Tuesday. Our first show was amazing. I’m really looking forward to being out on the road for three weeks and seeing how we develop. If the first three shows are any indication, it’s going to be incredible.
Q6: When you guys are in the van on tour, what music are you listening to?
Well, I’m writing this in the van right now and The Doors are on. Before that, we were listening to Steely Dan, Alice In Chains, Men At Work, and Black Sabbath.
Q7: We noticed you will be returning to our favorite festival of the year, the Catskill Chill. This year you will be performing two sets. One original set and one performing the music of Cream. How did that idea come about?
Well the Chill approached a few bands about doing “tribute” sets. They suggested us doing Sly Stone, but I just wasn’t feeling that too much. We’ve been doing “Sunshine Of Your Love” and I recorded a version of “White Room” for the Japanese version of Drop Hop, so I decided to do a Cream set.
Q8: What other festivals are you looking forward to hitting this year with Playonbrother?
Well, we are dong the first annual Groovefest out here in Colorado in a few days. They have a great lineup and I’ll be able to catch up with some good friends. You can’t go wrong playing a festival in Colorado! Mazzstock is going to be fun. I met the cats running that festival a little while ago when we played Helsinki Hudson. I’m just looking forward to everything coming up!
Al, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. We wish you the best on the road and look forward to catching up with you guys soon!
Playonbrother Tour Dates
7/16 | Hodi’s Half Note | Fort Collins, CO
7/17 | Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom | Denver, CO
7/18 | Fly Me to the Moon Saloon | Telluride, CO
7/19 | Old Town Pub | Steamboat Springs, CO
7/20 | Groove Music & Arts Festival | Georgetown, CO
7/23 | Mike Kelly’s Westsider | Kansas City, MO
7/24 | The Gramophone | St Louis, MO
7/25 | The Mousetrap | Indianapolis, IN
7/26 | Brothers Drake Meadery | Columbus, OH
7/31 | Splash Salisbury | Salisbury Beach, MA
8/07 | Thirsty Moose Tap House | Portsmouth, NH
8/08 | Backwoods Pondfest | Peru, NY
8/09 | Harlow’s Pub | Peterborough, NH
8/13 | Larkin Square | Buffalo, NY
8/14 | Funk ‘n Waffles | Syracuse, NY
8/15 | Rusty Nail | Stowe, VT
8/16 | Mazzstock | Marlboro, NY
8/23 | Bella Terra Festival | Stephentown, NY
9/5 | Catskill Chill | Hancock, NY
Check out a full gallery of photos by Greg Horowitz from the Playonbrother recording session here – GALLERY