I just had an incredible phone call with the one and only John McEuen, check it out!! He is playing his solo show on June, 30th!! –Tickets–
How did you get involved playing with Phish? What was that like?
Several of my kids were telling me about this upcoming band “PHISH” while I was living in Salt Lake City. I missed a couple opportunities to see them playing at a local club. I asked my son Ryan what he wanted for his birthday, and he said “I want you to SEE PHISH!” I told him I’d pick a city and meet him there. Sacramento it was, and I found that they were playing Arco Arena. It was a sold out 14,000 seat show, and I went “wow, I guess they are doing well.” I told my son to meet me at the loading dock around 4pm… sure enough the bus pulls up and Trey says “JOHN MCEUEN!! Are you going to sit in with us?” and I responded “Sure, as long as you can get me and my son some dinner”… so I sat in half a set with them. I was shocked that they did two 2hr sets, and during the break Trey was writing out a set list. He said he didn’t want to play any of the same songs… “from the first set!?” Trey responded… “no from this week.” This was their 7th 4hr show of the week. I thought, damn these guys are good!
Things just kept going from there. After all these years of being in the music business, and really loving it, the reason I do this is to play and see what I can bring to the audience. Now both with the Dirt band, and solo. The real “impact” of my years doing this might have been best stated by a Phish Phan. On the way to record with Phish in Las Vegas, we pulled over at a rest stop on the high way and there were some Phish fans in a VW bus. This cute girl came over and said “Aren’t you the old folk dude who sat in Sacramento?” I said “Yes, I’m the old folk dude!”… I was proud to claim the title of “THE OLD FOLK DUDE”. Hahaha!
What was it like working with the Sesame Street team?
In the 44 years of NGDB and solo albums and shows, film score work and other productions, I’ve worked with a lot of people. But out of all of them… when I got a call that said “John, would you like to do Oh Suzanna on the banjo with 50 goats and a cow, and have Elmo introduce you?” my response was, “LetmethinkaboutitYES!” It was one of the most fun productions I’ve ever done. What a bunch of pros, oh my god. (The dvd is called “Kid’s favorite country songs”)
35 albums with Nitty Gritty Dirt band, another 10 by yourself… not to mention the countless other projects you’ve worked on! Long road… more to come?
Oh yeah, I’ve got too much to do. I’m very thankful that I feel like there is not enough time. The Steve Martin album I produced/arranged/played-on won a Grammy this year!
How did you hook up with Steve Martin?
Well I’ve known Steve 45 years, wait a minute… 48 years, holy crap! We worked in Disney land together during our teenage years, went to the same high school our senior year. When he started doing stand up, working on being a comedian, I told my brother Bill (he was managing the NGDB at the time) to check him out.. that he was really funny …he ended up managing him for 20 years, produced all the albums and several films. All along the way Steve was playing the banjo. We started at the same time, and I have always been glad he says I helped him learn to play. So let’s fast forward to now: Steve Martin wrote banjo songs I only wish I had. I said, you play the banjo, let me produce it. I think these banjo songs off this album will stand the test of time. I’ve never seen him so happy as he is taking his music out there! Although his music tour is not a comedy show, regardless, funny stuff like… “My wife wrote this song, it is called… When are you going to stop playing that damn Banjo!?” is all through it.
We look forward to seeing you again at Infinity Hall! We loved your show with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band last October!
I did my little 10 minute solo in the middle of the show. And I was hoping I could come back solo. I tell people all over the road about this audience… you have to ask them to stop applauding. I like all the gigs you know? I’m playing with Poco tomorrow night in Kansas city, that will be fun. But for me!? Playing Infinity hall will be MORE FUN!
If I was going to add anything to this… it would be. What I do with the Dirt band is about 20% of what I actually do… I’m looking forward to running my banjo, fiddle and strangely tuned guitar through some paces, into some faces. Point is, I do a lot more than what I do in the framework of the Dirt band, that is why I play solo.