Looking forward to CukoRakko Donnie was interviewed by Jessica Brasher for BhamRocks.com.
Following is the interview excerpt, you can read the full article here:
Recently we were given the opportunity to chat with Donnie Garvich, the band’s keyboard player. Donnie talks about their upcoming show at Cuko Rakko, a little about last May’s festival and their first EP that will be available later in October.
Q: How do you guys feel about being 1 of only 3 bands invited back for Cuko Rakko’s Fall Festival?
A: “The simplest way to say it is that we feel honored. We were excited to be involved in the initial Cuko Rakko in the spring and to be asked back was just some really nice icing on the cake. We’re really into what Cuko Rakko is doing and their approach to doing it, so being included with such a fantastic lineup of artists twice is something really cool for us.”
Q: When moved, due to a rain delay, from the main stage to the Pavilion back in May was your performance effected at all? As a result, were there any last minute changes made to the show you had planned?
A: “Every show has what we call a “twist” to it. There’s always something that happens that you didn’t plan on and Cuko Rakko in the spring was no different. There had been nothing but beautiful weather in the area leading up to the festival and then, that morning, wham… cold and rain. Keith, our drummer, hadn’t brought his own kit because we were back lining the drums. He was running around for an hour prior to the show trying to get the main stage kit, a kit he was unfamiliar with, ready and playable. Of course, Keith’s a pro so none of us feel like it impacted the actual show, but the normal preshow process we go through was… shall we say, a little more tense than normal. The only other thing, other than the obvious stuff like being cold and wet, was that I didn’t have my Hammond on stage. I chose instead to go with a two keyboard setup, so I had to make some creative choices to make the keyboard parts work. I think in the end, though, because we’re such an improvisational band we really don’t get too shaken over things going not according to plan. Because, let’s be honest, we don’t really get hung up on having a plan anyhow.”
Q: What was it like to have Wildman Steve sit in on the washboard?
A: “Oh that was fantastic. Chip and I originally met Wildman at an Umphrey’s McGee show a few years back. Chip has been a fan of his for years and after I met him I’d become a fan as well. We talked to Wildman before the set and asked if he would like to jump in with us at some point. He was a little unsure, because he’d never heard us play, so we told him if he felt that the music was something he wanted to participate in he could just jump on stage whenever. It didn’t take him long to reach that decision, which was cool. After our first song break, Wildman jumped on stage and just fell in lock step with Keith and Aaron. I think we ended up doing about a 20 minute jam with him… I think we did “What’s Mine” and maybe even ended up in “Steppin’ Out” by Joe Jackson at some point which was kind of hilarious and fun; there’s video of it somewhere. We’re all big fans of Wildman and what he’s done for years to push music that a lot of mainstream channels seem to ignore, so having him feel like what we were doing was something he wanted to jump in on was cool to us in a lot of ways.”
Q: How do you guys feel about being chosen to play first on Saturday on the Main stage?
A: “We’re definitely really excited to be part of that Saturday morning / afternoon lineup. Have you seen that thing? It’s insane. I think it’s going to be us, Rescue Dogs, who we love, and then The Madrid Express and the Colonel himself. How can you really want more than that? We’re looking forward to getting people moving around more as lunch time approaches, so we’re excited to see how that works out.”
Q: Do you plan on one long set or will you take advantage of a set break?
A: “We hate set breaks, we really do. They break up our musical conversation. If we’re given any time slot that we can physically play without compromising the music because of fatigue we’ll just keep playing.”
Q: Have you guys been working on any new material since you were at Cuko Rakko in May?
A: “Absolutely! We’ve been writing and recording pretty much nonstop since then, actually not playing any shows so we could get some of these songs close to complete. We finished recording our first EP and released two studio tracks in the time between the spring and fall festivals. The EP, “One Week” is now in the process of going through branding and marketing and all that stuff, but it should be out pretty soon after the festival.”
Q: What kind of covers could we possibly hear or have you done most frequently in the past? Would you say there is a specific band you generally go to the most for covers?
A: “That’s a tough one to answer, as we definitely focus on our original music far more than covers. A lot of times covers just happen with us, someone starts teasing a song we all know and we just follow them into playing it. Those tunes are always varied and will range from movie scores to Herbie Hancock to The Allman Brothers Band to Neil Young. There are also times, though, where we fall in love with a cover. In those cases we tend to gravitate blues / rock / jam bands like The Allman Brothers Band and Widespread Panic, progressive / jazz acts like Weather Report, Traffic or even classic rock acts like The Rolling Stones. We’re just kind of all over the map and anything, realistically, can and will happen during our sets. We just kind of go with it and our fans seem to like the variance and the possibility that any song may happen at any time.”
Q: Will you be touring or have any shows scheduled after Cuko Rakko?
A: “We will! We’re booking now for winter shows. We already have a couple on the books that we haven’t announced yet and we’re working on more. We’re going to be getting back out around the Southeast after this time recording and writing and we’re excited to reconnect with the fans we’ve met along the way and see if they like the work we’ve been doing.”