Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jul 07th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Straight Strings

 

music LeoKottkeGuitar legend Leo Kottke tells it like it is
Leo Kottke ignited the passion of guitar players and music enthusiasts with his 1969 release, 6- and 12-String Guitar. Never before had such a rich, intricate, textured, slightly otherworldly sound emanated from the hands of one man.

Kottke had taken a step back from the mainstream of three-chord blues and rock songs, and dipped in the wellspring of old-time Americana music. The mid-western Kottke had an ability to merge genres with a lightening quick finger-picking bluegrass style that was distinctly American—imagine Django Reinhardt on Hee Haw seeing the world through a stoned Mark Twain’s eyes.

From opening for The Violent Femmes, to appearing on A Prairie Home Companion, recording with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, and phenomenal work with regional favorite Michael Hedges, Kottke has always been far ahead of the curve. Good Times caught up with Kottke on tour in Arizona, where he shared some quick wisdom from his many years on the road.

What drew you to the 12-String guitar?  Do you use picks?
I play with my fingers. No picks. The 12 first
hit me with Pete Seeger’s "Bells of Rhymney.”
That was it.
What are some of your favorite memories  of working with Michael Hedges?
They all count. He was once billed 300 bucks for all the vegetable matter he left in some motel—he carried two juicers at the time. 

In the late 1980s you opened up at Carnegie Hall for The Violent Femmes—do you find your audience to be a hybrid of rock-and-rollers and those who love instrumental pieces?
I can't define the audience, but they are diverse. Ages, backgrounds, criminal records—a good reflection of the act.

You've worked with director Terrence Malick in the past—do you have any recent/future collaborations with filmmakers?
Nothing on the table. Film can be tough because there are many opinions. Terry and I are close friends. I've spoken to him twice in 30 years: each of us is solitary … in other words.

Is your song, “The Other Day (Near Santa Cruz)” based on somebody you met, or general commentary about hippie chicks?
Just some guy I dreamed up and understand. We share some, but not all of his opinions.

Traveling around the country for decades you probably have a better view of what's happening in America than the nightly news. How has the last year been? Does it seem like people are struggling now more than in the recent past?
I can't judge. Except to say that Fox News is banned in Australia.

Where do you find inspiration?  Do you meet people on the road and immediately envision a song?
No, the guitar is enough. I can't stop. It's the “Red Shoes.”

You started out as an artist on a small label. Now, in the 21st Century, smaller labels and the ability to self-promote through the Internet are all the rage. Do you see this as a step-forward or are we throwing out the baby with the bath water?
All of the above, which is usually the way things work. There's no measure. But vinyl still wins.
You seem to have a knack for short, quirky answers.    
Believe me, I'm proud of the brevity. It's hard for me to get to the point.

 


Leo Kottke plays at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at The Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $35. For more information, call 423-8209.

 

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by LeoKottkeFan, December 04, 2011
Thanks for this great article, I love Leo Kottke, his music, his style, his humor, and I love the Good Times!! Thanks for this great interview/article!
...
written by Lynn McGuire, December 02, 2011
Thank you Leo for playing and interviewing in my Home town, I hope he got to ride the Big Dipper while he was there.? an absolute Santa Cruz experience!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food