Music is a powerful force, especially for musicians. You don’t touch it… It touches you. In 1992, the young group of like-minded teenagers studying at a Berklee music program met up and started jamming. Though probably unaware of the opportunity and effect they would have in the future, they, like so many other aspiring players, undoubtedly dreamt of their chance to come.
Fast forward to 20 years later, the band Lettuce, who got their name by asking bar owners and musicians onstage a very simple question (“Let us play?”) has left an indelible mark in the world of Funk, Soul, and Hip Hop. Now, instead of the band asking the question, it’s the fans yelling a command. Ala Bad News Bears, “LET THEM PLAY!!!”
Needless to say, Lettuce followers were eager to get a taste during their short run of upcoming dates, including a Syracuse stop at Westcott Theatre on June 7th. I got in touch with Adam Deitch via email prior to their show, and let them know that 315 is ready!
Lettuce Interview: Adam Deitch
1) What’s up and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Upstate LIVE! It’s been a while and you guys are back at it… How does it feel to get back on the stage together again? Any fun surprises we can look forward to?
We’re back and ready to FLY. We will be playing some of our newest, freshest cuts from our new record, “Fly” as well as our classics.
2) Lettuce has been a group for 20 years… Did you imagine the band having such a positive impact in the music world when you were first sitting down and getting started? How does it feel knowing your creations have inspired so many bands to start jamming?
We hope to inspire young musicians around the world to get together and explore the magic of playing FUNK music. Its a team oriented style of music that when properly “locked in”, can bring people together.
3) Your last release “Rage!” dropped in 2008. Everyone in the group is active in other projects, so it’s been a long wait for new material? What can you tell us about the new album ‘Fly’?
The new album, Fly is our greatest work yet! We spent the year working out the songs at our gigs to get them to a point where they feel just right. We recorded the album on 2 ” tape, so it has the sound and feel of a classic record.
4) You played Westcott Theatre on June 7th, and the next day you opened for Dave Matthews at Saratoga performing Art Center. What is it like going from a 700 capacity venue to a 30k+ venue? How does the onstage dynamic change for you?
We will definitely be using that big stage in Saratoga! Our bassist, Jesus Coomes likes to run around the stage and get the crowd hyped, so we’re looking forward to that one. Musically, we approach the shows the same.
5) Lettuce incorporates a wide range of old and new influences in your sound. How important do you think it is to have a background and understanding of the forefathers of a particular genre when forming a new project?
I think in ANY field that one chooses to dedicate oneself to, having a deep understanding of the forefathers in that field can only expand your understanding and help you succeed.
6) So, Lettuce members are all very accomplished players who’ve worked/are working with a “Who’s Who” of top-notch artists and performers, and all have their own projects that they work on. Are there any new collaborations in the wing for the band as a whole or individual members?
Right now, we are concerned with the eight members of Lettuce and how we can take over the world. Eventually, you will see more collabs with guest “golden era” MCs and maybe some more shows featuring Maceo, Fred, and Pee wee of JB fame. Kraz is writing and producing for EVERYbody right now.
7) Can you hip us to some of the artists you are currently digging on? What does Lettuce listen to during those long drive between venue stops?
We listen to a lot of classic hip hop, 60s and 70s reggae/dub music, 60s and 70s (some 80s) soul and funk, as well as rare movie soundtracks from the 60s and 70s as well. Neal Evans, our keyboard player is the authority on that stuff.
8) Lettuce has opened for some of the biggest acts in the music biz… Are their any groups that you hope to share a bill with in the future that you haven’t yet? Any places in the world you are looking to perform that you haven’t already?
I would personally like to do some co-bills with the Budos Band, And we REALLY want to get to Europe at some point, as well as South America, especially Brazil. We’re all fiending to get back to Japan again, also.
9) What’s the craziest or most memorable show Lettuce has played to date? What was it like?
We had a great show at Electric Forest festival as well as at Camp Bisco last year, which really helped introduce us to the younger fans who normally listen to electronic music. I think we converted a few of them 🙂
10) Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands out here in Syracuse, in NYS, and everywhere that listens to Lettuce who hope to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
Listen all day and night to the records that paved the way for the music you play. Know all the musicians that were significant in that style. Watch the musicians on YouTube and study their body language on stage. Keep writing new ideas and recording music. Stay together and make people DANCE!! Spread positive vibes whenever possible!