Reggae at the park 

 

 
 
 
 

INTERVIEW WITH PETE DROGE - l998 

Q: How is your tour going?  

DROGE: It's doing really really good. It's a blast actually. Doing the Eddie McCain thing. It's nice to be opening for somebody in clubs as opposed to doing opening things up in theaters and basketball arenas. People who already like our music can come right up front and we can feed off their energy and get that excitement, as opposed to if you are in a basketball arena, fans are scattered all over, you know what I mean. It's nice to be at venues like the Filmore where people can come right up front and Edwin McCain's crowd is easy for us to win over.  
Q:  You really have an incredible connection with Jacob Dillon and Michael McCready of Pearl Jam, Neil Young  

DROGE: I have been really fortunate that so many musicians have asked me to come out on tour, like Pearl Jam, Busch, Etheridge, Live, Tom P  

Q:  What is the song "Spacey and Shakin" about?  

DROGE: The initial spark came when riding on a tour bus in mid-July and it was freezing cold from the air conditioning and we were sitting in the back lounge of the bus getting what I call "road burn", which where you get to this sort of mood of being fried out on tour, and that was the spacey part, and being chilled to the bone from the air conditioning was the shakin part, and exits are marked and there's the door, but I am not going anywhere because we are going 65 mph down the interstate type thing. That was the feeling I had at that time. And the precourse section is pretty much asking "am I losing my mind, what's more right than this ride". I am basically saying, nothing can be more - I am in the right place, I am where I need to be.  

The second verse is taken from "still got that flan stain on my jeans" is the story about our bass player Dave, when we were coming back from a Mexican restaurant and having a Mexican dessert called "flan" like custard and the whole container filled with flan and our tour manager splashed a puddle on him, and he went was going to go through the double splash with both feet. He went and jumped with both feet and and both feet went out from underneath him and he crashed to the ground and the flan exploded all over his crotch and he was unconscious for a minute. When the paramedics came, he was totally in shock and that's where that line came "I still got that flan stain on my jeans, ain't giving up childish playing". He's a grown man, yet he isn't giving up fun and games like splashing in puddles. Keeping you young. Old rock and roll keeping you young.  

Q: Your songs seem to be based on real life experiences.  

DROGE: That's true. But there is also a fair amount of vagueness to it at the same time.  

Q: The actual songs themselves, what comes first - the music or the words?  

DROGE: At lot of times they come simultaneously, or the music will come shortly before. Very rarely do the words come first for me. "Walking By My Side" is one where I have all the music together and then I wrote the words. A lot of times, I do them at the same time and try the melody and try the words out.  

Q: This song "Fourth of July", was this about Eugene, Oregon?  

DROGE: I was born there, but that didn't really have anything to do with the song. That came into the subject of the song. He went down there. He was working in the factory. That's what I felt about it. He had been seen down in Eugene working as a factory slave. That's what I had heard. He had just split town, he had just disappeared and I had wondered where he went and then I heard that's where he was.  

Q: Sometimes you can hear a song and interpret it totally different?  

DROGE: That's the beauty of the art. Really. That's the greatest thing about it, I think. That's the school of songwriting anyhow. Then there's songs that are so specific, there is way of misinterpreting them. And those are great songs too. But the school of leaving it open for interpretation, I think is where it's at. I love that.  

Q: On composing songs for sound tracks, did you visualize the movie first to make the songs?  

DROGE: Well the people from "Rudy", that was already done and on the record and the movie people came along and said they wanted to use this song, so there was no process there. With "Beautiful Girl", I hadn't actually seen the movie when I wrote this song. They sent me Dave Stewart's camera of the song. He had written it and wanted someone to co-write it, they wanted someone to finish it and record it. They originally wanted to get Bob Dylan and he said no. They tried to get Tom Petty and we had just come off tour and he said no. They also went to Johnny Mellancamp and he also said no and they came to me. I wrote the song after just a brief conversation with the Director. We talked about the movie and the characters in it.  

Q: Some of your songs sound similar to Neil Young.  

DROGE: That's what I am into, definitely. Just keeping it fresh for myself and branching out, and blend and become more well rounded. Bob Dylon and Neil Young are people that I admired for a long time. It is important to change and grow and to not worry about what people are going to think about it, just do what they want to do. That's cool to me.  

Q: What kind of guitars do you prefer?  

DROGE: I have been playing my Telecaster a lot lately. I always use my 335 Gibson a lot. Those are the two I am using right now. I use my 335 whenever I am touring around.  

---Randy Cohen 
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