Adam Zwig is a blues/folk artist that has been performing for 12 years. His upcoming live album was recorded at the prestigious Wiltern Theater in LA and it definitely does not disappoint. We got the chance to chat briefly with Zwig about the album.
Lemonade Magazine: First off, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. The album sounds great. I can tell there’s a lot of Bob Dylan influence to your sound. Who are your other influences?
Adam Zwig: I started out as a blues guitarist, so my influences are all the blues masters – T-bone Walker, BB King, Albert King, Freddie King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters. Even though my music sounds like folk/Americana, to me it’s blues. It’s soul music. That’s where I come from.
LM: The blues influences is definitely there as well! You’ve played numerous venues, what was it about The Wiltern that made you want to record your live album there?
AZ: Everything can have soul, even architecture. The Wiltern is an Art Deco building from the 1930’s and playing in that venue feels very organic for what I do. When I play in a more modern room the sound is still great but it doesn’t feel the same. In addition, we filmed the concert so I wanted the visuals to have the same vibe as the music.
LM: That’s awesome! We can’t wait to see the performance! What was your motivation in making your lead single a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”?
AZ: When bands rehearse they often play cover tunes for fun before getting down to business and rehearsing the show. I started playing “Tom Thumb” and everyone jumped in. When we finished there was a weird silence and everyone looked at each other, like, “Woah…what was that!?” We all agreed the tune rocked and that we should record it live. I love the way we made it our own, and I dig the surrealist lyrics.
LM: It’s an amazing cover. I’m always a fan of things coming together like that unintentionally, it makes it a lot more organic. How different was it making this live album versus Live and Unplugged from 2004?
AZ: They were both me and my band playing a show, so in that sense, they were very similar. But there were a few differences. The Live and Unplugged gig was acoustic and recorded at a club with a few hundred people in the audience; the Wiltern is a theater and there were 2000 people there, and we rocked electric. So the Wiltern recording had a higher level of complexity and more potential for problems. In addition we filmed the Wiltern gig so there were cameras everywhere and lots of people telling me what to do : )
LM: The album from the Wiltern turned out great so it seems the problems didn’t hit too hard, thankfully. If you could record your next live album anywhere, where would you record it?
AZ: Royal Albert Hall in London. That would be awesome! It was built in the 1800’s and would be like playing the Wiltern but even cooler.
LM: As a musician myself, I agree with Royal Albert Hall. It’s a bucket list location for sure! Adding on to that, if you could tour with anyone, dead or alive, who would you tour with?
AZ: Neil Young. To me, he plays soul music. Nothing contrived. Nothing artificial.
LM: You’ve been performing for, what, two decades now? How has your audience changed through the years?
AZ: Actually, I haven’t been performing for that long. It’s been about 12 years. Before that I was the weird dude spending all his time in his basement writing and recording songs. Playing live was more of an accident. Blues bands kept calling me to do gigs with them and that’s how I started. After doing that for a while it occurred to me that I’d written all these songs and maybe I could try to play a few of them to people. I played one at a blues gig, and that lit the spark for me to take my music out of the cellar.
And to answer your question, yes, my audience has changed over time in one sense: there’s more age diversity. My early fans are still there, but there are also lots of new folks getting involved. Half of us are ten years older and the other half are the same age as when I started : )
LM: Your music is timeless, so it makes sense that there’s a little bit of something for everyone. One more question before we go, because we’re Lemonade Magazine, we have to ask – what’s your favorite type of lemonade and where can we get it?
AZ: Lemonade with rum. Fresh lemons with Zaya 12 year old rum. Or you can just drink the rum straight : )
LM: We’ll have to check it out! Thank you again for taking time to chat with us. Best of luck on your album release this fall!
Adam Zwig’s upcoming album, Adam Zwig: Live At The Wiltern Theatre, will be released this fall and you can check out our review of the album here.
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