We had the pleasure of talking with Eli Gardiner in Fall of 2020. While he’s pretty firmly planted in Minnesota these days, he bring an interesting perspective from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He’s coming out with new live album in the next month or so. You can preorder the album and/or hear the first single on Bandcamp. Mark your calendars for live shows for the single release (May 11 at the Icehouse and June 30 at the Green Room.)
Your upcoming album (Live in Minneapolis) is recorded live. Exciting! What is an advantage and disadvantage to recording live?
Thanks! I’m happy that this live album has worked out. It has been really fun to play full band shows the last year or so and the guys have really found a groove with these songs! I wanted to record a live album to capture the energy and inspiration that happens live. The advantages of that are, well you can’t fake it! Guess that could be a disadvantage as well. But really some of my favorite albums are live. so much music that’s in the popular realm is all processed and perfect. Life isn’t perfect and music certainly doesn’t have to be.
We spoke to you in 2020 about The Fire and the Medicine, which at the time was newly released. You have a song on the upcoming live album (The Right and The Wrong) that is also on that collection. As I recall, the original impetus of the song came from playing some shows solo and wondering if anyone was listening. What made you choose to include this in a live record?
I chose to include “The Right and the Wrong” because its one of the songs we usually play at shows and its changed from how it was recorded on the latest studio album. Yes, the original inspiration to write that song was because I was playing some spots that people were not the most attentive, but the song meaning for me has changed into more of an anthem about putting art out into the public and accepting that we have no control over how its perceived.
I’m listening to Bad Weed just after the MN House voted to legalize cannabis, so my listening may be tainted. I love the storytelling tempo of the song. Who (or what) is the bad weed? I can paint several scenarios that would provide different answers.
Bad Weed always gets an interesting reaction when I announce the title of the song, but its actually not about that kind of weed at all. This is a really old song I wrote when I was in college back in Michigan. Its about getting though rough life circumstances, alcoholism, broken homes, divorce, and learning and growing all the time despite all that, like a stubborn bad weed.
How did you choose to record the new album at the Aster? Did you know which songs you wanted at the onset or did you play a bunch and then select?
This live recording came about because Johnny with Alchemy Audio asked if I wanted him to record our set. He was running sound that night and it worked out great. All but one song from that set made it on to the live album.
Please tell us about upcoming shows, especially the single and album release shows.
The single release show is May 11th at Icehouse with Stacy K and Roz supporting. Doors at 5 and show starts at 7. Tickets are still available. The album release show will be at Green Room June 30th with GoatRoper and Willow Creek Brothers. Tickets will be announced soon.