Q & A with Mike Bont of Greensky Bluegrass
You’re coming to Macon and the Cox Capitol Theatre on Thursday, May 11. Have you guys played Macon before?
I don’t think we have, I think this is our first time.
You guys recently played at the Paste Magazine studios and your track ‘Past My Prime’ was featured on their recently released sampler, what was that experience like for y’all?
It was cool, just to be around the Paste studios, that whole thing and the archives or really great music that was recorded a really long time ago. Just to play surrounded by all these bulk recordings of all these live shows was pretty cool.
You’re one of the founding members of Greensky along with Dave and Paul. Tell me about when y’all brought in Devol and Beck and what their additions did for the band.
First we brought Devol into the band and that was basically because we started playing some touring shows and we needed a bassist, and he was down for it and he fit the bill, so he got the job [laughs]. Anders, he was playing with a band called The Wayward Song, and they broke up, and he basically wrote us a letter saying, “Hey, if you guys want another member, I’m game.” And the rest is history.
Something that draws me to a particular band is different types of sounds and on your newest album Shouted, Written Down & Quoted there’s a lot of that, what influences y’all to experiment with the different styles you incorporate in your music and this album?
I think all musicians are trying to search for their own unique sound, and with this album and our last two albums, I think it’s been a good culmination in development of what I would refer to as the ‘Greensky sound’.
Y’all worked with Steve Berlin on this new record. He’s a member of Los Lobos and he’s worked with John Lee Hooker, REM, Dave Alvin, The Replacements, and many others, what was that experience like having him in the studio?
Really, really nice guy to have in the studio. He was really good as far as a go-between between the band members in the studio coming up with new ideas, trying to create an art piece in a way. To have that outside influence, from someone who’s not a member of the band, is really nice, to be able to look at someone and say “Is that good?” [laughs] you know, because you never know, you just keep going and going.
You’re playing Red Rocks in September. This is a legendary venue that y’all have been playing for several years now. What’s it like to be a regular at such an historic place like that?
There’s certain things that you never expect to cross off your life list, and then all of a sudden you keep crossing it off your life list over and over [laughs]. Jamie, you know it’s such an honor to play a place like that that’s hosted so many great bands over the years.
You guys play a lot of covers when you do shows, ranging from The Band, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, The Grateful Dead and a lot of others. Is there any new tracks that you’ve been working on or trying to fit into the rotation?
Not recently. I’m currently driving down to Nashville, Tennessee, we’re starting our tour tomorrow, and we’re going to go rehearse this afternoon, so maybe there will be something new, but as of now, not that I know of. There are always ideas, and they always just pop into fruition, and all of a sudden we’re playing a new cover on stage [laughs].
Any plans to record another live album anytime soon? Where or what venue would you want to do that?
There’s been talk but, nothing set in concrete yet. We’re just trying to keep the ball rolling with coming up with new material.
Maybe Red Rocks someday.
Maybe Red Rocks [laughs], that’d be great