People are always trying to get me to listen to new bands and it makes me laugh. I’m the most devoted 1960’s soul/blues freak that ever was, and that’s all I really love to listen to. The guitarist in my own band showed me a Youtube of some people doing a version of “I Want You Back,” by Michael Jackson. While I sat there and watched, I got chills as soon as the music started. I’m talking a straight up badass chick on a stand-up bass breaking the sound down to the most simplistic, powerful beat. Then this fiery redhead starts singing. On a sidewalk. In Boston. Damn.
The more I learned about them, the more I loved them for who they were as a band, not just their unique sound.
And then they came to the Troubadour in LA and I knew I had to meet them. We were granted a press pass and interview, that really happened. I couldn’t believe it on so many levels, considering they had just done Ellen the day before and it’s just little ol’ me, with my brand new magazine.
I couldn’t wait!
I also need to take a moment to thank our Californian HaveHeart photographer, Benjamin Perkins for capturing the best live band shots I’ve ever seen. It’s incredibly hard to get a great shot of someone performing in a dimly lit, live experience. These photos are simply incredible.
So I step into the historic Troubadour, and I thought the night was electric and almost couldn’t get any better. But then Rachael Price, lead singer, got on stage, joined by stand-up bassist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese and trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson (who actually changed and tuned his guitar onstage, mid song). It rocked. The feeling of their music is like holding your partner’s hand- a little bit sweaty, sweet or passionate and best of all, the sensation of coming home.
No matter what song she sang, Rachael put her all into it. I had to know what her favorite was. “Well, choosing a favorite song to sing would be like picking a favorite friend. All of the songs feel like my best buddies and it’s just awesome I get to hang out with them every night. It also depends on the night. Currently, singing “Just Ask” has been one of my favorite parts of the show,” she replied. I asked her how their music is written, because with tunes like “Bobby Tanqueray,” they had to have been personal experiences. “Everybody in the band writes separately and then teaches their song to the band- from there, we do all the arranging together. For the most part, everybody writes from personal experiences but it’s often a more fictionalized, fantastical version of whatever story we are telling,” Rachael says.
Since their onslaught of fame, it might seem to many this happened overnight. In reality, they’ve been together for almost a decade. “We’ve played to a lot of mostly empty rooms and all had to work a lot of other jobs to get by, says Rachael. “But since the beginning, we’ve always wanted to be a band no matter what and I think it’s our friendship that’s pushed us forward over the years. We’ve had a lot of growing pains as a band but we’ve always been painstakingly aggressively democratic! We make all our decisions together and with a lot of consultation. We want to do this for a long time so right now we are focusing on improving our live show and making this a sustainable career for everyone. I’m not sure where we want to be in 5 years but it definitely involves a lot of recording and a lot of touring!”
Their latest album, Bad Self Portraits, has been selling like hotcakes and features groovy, soulful ballads, funky tracks and at times, a broken-down, simplistic sound. Since so many bands start to change their sound to a pop beat as they become more popular, not to mention their appearance and style. I had to know what kept Lake Street Dive’s feet on the ground with who they are as a band. “We’ve felt some pressure but we have that childlike mentality in that if we are told what to do, we just do the opposite,” says Rachael. “The majority of the time we’ve been a band, there weren’t a lot of people paying attention so even though we’re finally getting attention, we’re pretty good at ignoring all that pressure and just doing our thing. We just love performing and watching people dance at our shows. It’s the best! Hearing them sing along to our songs is even better!
Trust me, even if you don’t know their songs you won’t resist the urge to dance with the crowd and belt their songs out along with them, not that I would know, or have ever done something like that. Lake Street Dive is one to listen to, people. Check out their latest album here. -HH