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A Dirty Dozen with ANDREW STERN from 3 PAIRS OF BOOTS – October 2019

| 5 October 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “San Francisco, CA-based Americana husband-and-wife duo 3 Pairs of Boots (Andrew Stern and Laura Arias) released its debut album, Gone South, on July 12, 2019.  Produced by Stern and recorded in the band’s own studio, the music is an amalgam of twangy two-step, gritty guitars, dusty pop, and bluesy, bittersweet folk from the Left Coast.  While Tennessee and Texas reap most of the Americana glory, one cannot discount California’s contributions to the form. After all, the wide and deep genre’s roots reach back into the West Coast’s folk-rock scene just as much as they do the South’s blues and country tradition.” We get Andrew to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We’ve put a lot of meat on the bone so to speak here, lots of ear candy that may not sink in the first listen or two, but there’s a lot of depth and hooks and subtle pieces to the puzzle on each and every song, things that will sustain a listener over repeated spins. They will continue to discover different parts of the song as the layers of the onion reveal themselves.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

The Beatles got me started, and I quickly went to the other British musicians – The Who, Cream, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Peter Green’s Fleetwod Mac, The Animals. I didn’t know it, but I was taking a deep dive into the ’50s American blues artists vis-à-vis these British musicians who were inspired by them. And the king of rock ‘n’ roll guitar (in my opinion), Jimi Hendrix, was a major early influence and still is today. Not sure what the exact moment was when I knew I wanted to be a musician, but it was probably from the first month of playing the guitar and listening to all of those incredible influential musicians. I was 13 years old when I started; by high school my hair was down below my shoulders, I was playing in multiple bands, and my school grades were trending in the wrong direction.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

The first Jimi Hendrix Experience record. When I first heard “Purple Haze,” it was, “Can you really do that with a guitar?” That record wears the test of time really well and still sounds great. His drummer, Mitch Mitchell, was a great jazz drummer which really added something unique to the music, gave the music flow and spontaneity. It’s not just the hits on that record, the well-known songs, but the ballads on that album – “Hey Joe,” “The Wind Cries Mary” – that were just so interesting, different, melodic, fluid, and the other side of Hendrix. Kind of like John Coltrane, who was known for his blazing technique but his ballad playing is incredibly special and some of my favorite music he has ever played. Trane played with such heart and sensitivity – his sound was one of a kind.  There was no road map for Hendrix to follow before him as a guitarist – no one played like that. He was a true innovator.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, J.S. Bach, and Debussy/Ravel.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

George Harrison, maybe my favorite amongst the post-Beatles careers. He was a great songwriter, interesting person, and melodic guitar player. I think our styles would mesh well.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?   What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

3 Pairs of Boots is the unexpected, unpredictable mash-up of rock, folk, blues, country, and Americana.  Fortunately, we haven’t had a cringe-worthy one yet. We’ve been getting nothing but positive feedback.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I am the one who cooks. Laura is the first one to mix up a batch of margaritas. I am the one who will pick up the acoustic and play some songs.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Marty Stuart, wow! Not so much star struck as mesmerized. I stumbled upon him at a big festival playing on one of the smaller stages (there were 6 stages). I had never heard of him, never heard or seen him play, and he and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, blew me away. Since then I have become a huge fan, seen them two more times.

9. What is the best part of being a musician?  If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The unexpected nature of it – you never know where it’s going to lead you. The incredible feeling you get when you write a song that really works, that you can listen to and play over and over – that’s the magic. When you write a song, when you play a gig, when you work in the recording studio, you can have expectations, but it’s always different than what you think it will be. So much of life can be a Groundhog Day repetitive experience, the same thing over and over, but so far music has never been that for me. It still feels fresh, new, exciting, thoroughly satisfying. I think I’d want to be a writer. A writer has many of the same qualities, such a wide variety of subject matter to choose from, whatever you’re interested in, places to go and observe. The world is the canvas for writing whether it be books, articles, blogs, etc. It can be constantly unexpected, new, and challenging.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Why do you keep playing guitar and writing songs? What’s the motivation? And how do you feel when you do? The answers are:  keep playing because I can’t stop, and it feels too good – very satisfying and sustaining. I keep writing because it feels so uplifting, and there’s something so basic and special and connecting about playing an instrument, and in taking all the influences that have affected you and creating something unique that you can call your own. It all just feels so good and so urgent, and it’s always something to look forward to. I’m not tired of answering questions.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not so much one incident, but while playing music is a great gift to have, the business itself in many ways is an unpleasant experience. It’s hard to trust industry people who promise to help, and they turn out to be Jekyll and Hyde, users for their own advancement.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The first Hendrix record.  Watching him create that music out of thin air, watching him play the guitar like no one ever had, with no one before him to lead him in that direction – it was truly groundbreaking. No one played guitar like that, ever, before him. And I’m not even talking about the showmanship – play behind the back, with his teeth, light the guitar on fire – that stuff was spectacular, so visual and breathtaking.  I’m just talking about the music he created, and he was so much more than a guitarist. He sang and wrote songs. He did it all.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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