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The Todd Wolfe Band

An interview with singer and guitarist Todd Wolfe

Todd Wolfe at Tobacco Road CD: Stripped Down At The Bang Palace
Record Label: Blues Leaf Records
by Tina Hall
September 2010

Todd Wolfe currently has a radio show at http://wlvr.org Mondays 12 noon - 3 p.m. Todd is probably best known from his previous work with Sheryl Crow. While working with her he has shared the stage with artists like Emmylou Harris, Steve Winwood, James Taylor, Jackob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Marty Stuart, and Sara McLaughlin.  Over the years he has opened for some of the biggest names in music including, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan,Peter Frampton, Johnny Winter, Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. He now works mainly with his solo project The Todd Wolfe band.

Maximum Ink: How is your radio show going? What can fans expect from that? Did you ever think you’d have your own show?
Todd Wolfe: I enjoy the radio show and it’s been going on for over ten years. When I first started, I did the “community” sessions meaning when school was out, but some years back I just stayed on through both schedules. I have taken a couple of “sessions” off as I was traveling with the band, but I’m still there. It’s very enjoyable playing music for other people and I guess I always kind of played as DJ growing up when friends would be hanging at my house, but never thought I’d have my own show! I did dream about if from time to time ‘cause after seeing “Play Misty For Me” an early Clint Eastwood flick, where he plays a jazz jock, I thought what a cool job that would be! As far as tuning in and what you would hear. Mostly roots rock but it can be anything from Howlin’ Wolf to Stone Temple Pilots, to John Coltrane to The Rolling Stones!

MI: Your solo work has been described as bluesadelic rock. How would you describe it?
TW: Funny, that was my phrase ... yes I penned “Bluesadelic” and would sometimes add the word “rock” or “jam” in essence we play rock the way it was played or established from approximately 1966 to 1972.We called it “rock” back then whether it was Cream, Grateful Dead, Cactus, Jimi Hendrix, Hot tuna, etc. Ya know, there were different ways of jamming as the bands mentioned above along with others such as Allman Brothers, Mountain, The Who, The Rolling Stones and many others, having their own style of jamming. Unfortunately now it seems that “jam” is more Dead or Phish and the style we play is thought of as more “blues” and naturally, the blues guys will hear us and say, “that’s rock”! There seems to be more of a compartmentalization or rigid categorization of music these days then there was back in the 60’s and 70’s so, I gave it that name to state that we have a blues foundation, can jam and rock in a way similar to sixties bands.

MI: Which genres of music do you consider your favorites?
TW:  I reckon anything along the line of roots or American style of music from straight up jazz or blues or rock ‘n roll to country (more of the Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard style) or bluegrass and folk. And if anything else as a favorite, I do love Reggae but more of the 60’s and 70’s artists. I guess I’m taken by that period of music.

MI: What was it like to have worked with the artists you have? Which of them stand out most in your mind?
TW: As far as working with different artists, I’m fortunate enough to have worked with all the people in my band whether it was recording or performing live. As far as in situations other than my band, I guess, there’s three that come to mind, working and recording with Leslie & Corky of Mountain, Sheryl Crow and Carla Olson. Performing with and recording with those were very special and memorable.

MI: When you formed your first band in 1979 did you ever think you’d still be doing what you love today?
TW:  Yes, couldn’t imagine doing anything else really.

MI:  You occasionally play Hemp festivals. Do you consider hemp a useful resource?
TW: Well, so far we’ve only played one official “hemp fest” and we were scheduled to perform at our second hemp fest in Seattle but the scheduling was difficult. I have also performed at festivals that promote the use of hemp. Yes, hemp is a very useful and resourceful and hopefully sometime soon the general public will realize that and start to pressure large corporations, their lobbyist and Washington to think along those lines and think more about what’s good for “the people” and the environment and not necessarily what’s best for big business.

MI:  What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
TW:  Giving it your all and putting your heart into something and I’ve heard it several times through the years but the first I can remember was my nanny/housekeeper sometime ago. Her name was Flo and she was very encouraging and acted more like a mother to me than anything else.

MI:  What do you like to do when not on the road?
TW: Well, what I’d like to do and what I’m doing are two different things! Lol, unfortunately, we’re in tough times and things need to get done, so, lots of work, booking, promoting, planning etc. As far as what I’d like to be doing, spending more time writing, time with my sons, hell, maybe even playing tennis! We do perform constantly when not on “the road,” usually on weekends, but sometimes during the week as well… from private parties to small holes in the wall, it seems to be constant and at some point I’d like to cut that back.

MI:  What is one little known fact about you that people might not know?
TW:  One of my best friend’s is a miniature poodle!

MI: What aspect of the music industry appeals to you most? What would you most like to see changed?
TW: Hmm, I reckon the community of musicians/writers appeals to me most and definitely not the business of music! Better conditions and pay for the musicians out in the trenches, the larger body of less successful musicians scratching and scraping to just to get by and pay bills!

MI:  What projects are you working on for the future? Where can fans go for the latest on that?
TW:  Well, a few things on tap. Besides the constant touring. we are “wrapping” production of a DVD that was shot earlier in the summer. We will also will release a portion of that show on a CD of our original music as well. Look for both in the fall. We will be making two trips to Europe before the end of the year. We’re also starting to get material ready for the next album so, keeping busy! You can always find out what’s the latest with the Todd Wolfe Band at our website.

Purchase Stripped Down At The Bang Palace on Amazon.com
Download Stripped Down At The Bang Palace on Amazon.com

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