Q&A with G. Love & Special Sauce's Garrett Dutton


We recently sat down with Garrett Dutton of G. Love & Special Sauce to learn more about him, the band and his thoughts on playing in Milwaukee. Check out the show at The Northern Lights Theater April 19, 2014 at 8 p.m.


Potawatomi Bingo Casino: Since forming in 1993, how has the band’s sound evolved and stayed relevant at the same time?
Garrett Dutton:

We have always followed the music and we have always reacted to the times. I think we've probably experimented with too many different styles on records—everything from reggae to honky-tonk country. However, I will say that whatever style we approach, somehow it all becomes uniquely “us” in the delivery. I think we react to the music and the social/political climates of the times we are living in. We have certainly done that.


Potawatomi: Your sound can’t be pigeonholed into one certain genre. Do you feel that has helped your exposure to wider audiences over the years?

G. Love:

It's interesting because of the fact that we created our own sound, which we have finally decided to call hip-hop/blues, the industry has never quite known where to put us. Is it blues or hip-hop or rock ‘n’ roll or pop or folk or what is it? It's all of that. We've been able to share the stage with everyone from Run DMC to Bonnie Raitt, from Dave Matthews to Cypress Hill, from Willie Nelson to Buddy Guy. It's amazing.


Potawatomi: You are known for your relentless touring. What is it about life on the road that keeps you motivated to tour?
G. Love:

Well, for one thing, it's our job and it’s how we support our families and the families of the people we work with. Our crew is a family. More importantly, on a spiritual level, music is our life and our love. You become addicted to the travel and to the euphoria of performing on stage for the people. It's just inertia, constant flow and movement. We are perpetually moving and chasing the perfect song and performance. Music is a journey and it really never ends.


Potawatomi: Since your career has spanned two decades, do you have a favorite song that stands out as special?
G. Love:

It's tough to pick favorites man! I always enjoy playing "This Ain't Living" from the first record. It's “upful” but not “upbeat,” and it kind of mellows out and lifts up a room at the same time. Like when you play it you have a moment where it's like, yeah everything's gonna be alright.


Potawatomi: Sugar drops later this month. What can your fans expect from the album?
G. Love:

This album is the real deal; greasy, raw, dirty hip-hop, bluesy stuff people have wanted to hear from us. Great songs and great inspired performances. As a group I think Jim, Jeff and I are really proud about this one and happy how it has come out. It's inspired by everyone from Bo Diddley and Elmore James to Cypress Hill and De La Soul.


Potawatomi: Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing songs?
G. Love:

Life and living. Reading and listening. Watching and wondering. You gotta keep yourself open and be ready to receive inspiration that's always floating around. As writers we have to observe and constantly be ready to snatch a hit out of thin air.


Potawatomi: What can your fans in Milwaukee expect from your upcoming shows later this month?
G. Love:

A killer show! The original trio is back. The first set is the debut record played in its entirety from start to finish. The second set features songs from our new record Sugar and other jams and nuggets.


Potawatomi: You’ve played Milwaukee in the past. What is it about playing here that keeps you coming back?
G. Love: Have guitar, will travel. I always do love Milwaukee. We've had amazing sets and huge crowds at Summerfest over the years. Turner Hall is one of my favorites and we've had amazing nights at the Rave. We've always had a lot of love from the good peeps of Milwaukee. And the food! AJ Bombers burgers and that amazing German place by Turner Hall. Awwww yeah.