Q&A With The Avett Brothers

Q&A With The Avett Brothers

October, 05, 2010 , by Ladye Jane

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The past year has been a busy one for The Avett Brothers. Following the release of their first collaboration with Rick Rubin, the time spent touring with I and Love and You has been full of pushing artistic boundaries and stepping out of their comfort zone. The Brothers have also recently taken on their first producing gig for another artist, G. Love.

With a new CD/DVD release, Live, Volume 3, coming out today (Tuesday, October 5) and a Triangle tour stop at Time Warner Pavilion on Friday (October 8), we caught up for a few minutes with Scott Avett to chat about what these North Carolina boys have been up to as of late.

It was exactly a year ago today that I and Love and You came out [interview took place on Sept. 29,2010]. What has the past year been like for the band?

We have literally circled the planet and half way around again. Any time you do something like that, you’re bound to change your perspective a bit.

It’s been really great to develop the songs of I and Love and You. We changed gears to make that album, and had to hand over some control we had hoarded in the past. We were excited to do that – to let go of some things and enjoy the process of throwing ourselves into the wind and seeing where it would take us. We learn a lot doing that letting go both literally and metaphorically, traveling in the movement we do through our songs.


What were some high points along the tour?

We really wanted to look at things in more of a content manner – to let some songs breathe and focus on them and play them more than once a month. The big pro to that is that the songs change quite a bit.

It’s great to go to Oslo, Norway and have people extremely excited about hearing a certain song, or, being really angry that you didn’t play one that they had been waiting on since they don’t know when you’re gonna be back in Norway again. There’s so little time, and the number of songs have accumulated to where it’s very difficult to fit all the songs in, and certain songs drift away, show up and develop, then disappear again.


Do you remember the first shows that you played in Raleigh?

Yeah, I went to ECU so I was popping into Raleigh a lot early on. Seth and I would play anywhere we could. I remember Sadlack’s, the sandwich place [starts laughing]. We probably had our worst heckler there ever. Ever. There was a guy that sat there during the first 8 or 10 songs. He didn’t bother with getting creative with his insults, he just went straight to the bone and told us how terrible we were. Of course we said nothing, we just played and probably trembled a little bit. Eventually, the great people at Sadlack’s caught on to what was going on and told the guy to get out.


You guys played at King’s too, right?

Man. What a great time. Back in 2003, we were playing at King’s quite a bit. That was terrific. It’s funny how places like Sadlack’s and Kings, even though they’re both Raleigh, feel like two different worlds.

King’s was great, I remember back in 2003 playing a show there with Just About to Burn, and thinking “ This is what it’s all about.” It was unbelievable.


It’s crazy to look at how the size progression of venues goes up every time you guys come back to town. The progression from Sadlack’s to Time Warner Pavilion is pretty amazing.

It’s exciting to see that happen. With the way that I’ve always viewed shows, there are so many things that haven’t changed about them a bit. In a lot of ways, that Sadlack’s show is just as, or even more, potent in my memory. That King’s show with Just About to Burn may be more of a memory than some shows that we’ve played for 5,000 or 10,000 people, you know? Those shows are just stamped in my memory, and helped teach us a few things we needed to learn.


What do you miss most about North Carolina when you’re gone on tour?

This time of year; the smell of fall. Man, I just can’t articulate how close and dear that is to me. It’s always painful to be away in October.


How did you choose the songs you wanted to feature on Live, Volume 3?

Anytime we play a big show, we really try to throw outside persuasions and requests to the wind and say, “What is going to make the best show? Period.”

That show was the beginning of when we started to write set lists. We had not been doing that in the past, and it marked the beginning of a new kind of organizing and a new level of, I guess you would say, professionalism. The neat thing about that show is that being home, with all the strains that come along with playing for so many people that know you so well, keeps it honest.

At that point, weren’t at all comfortable yet with the size of the crowd and venue. We were very young to it, and we’ve learned a lot this year about crowds that size and how to work a stage that big. So, there were vulnerabilities about that performance that are evident on the recording, and I think that’s great to document. It’s very real, and something that we’ve always been lucky to tap into.


Reader question: Who DJs on your tour bus?

Oddly enough, there’s very little music played on the bus. More times then not it’ll start with one of us playing just a straight melody. Then we’ll trade verses—singing and just cutting on each other. We’ll have Travis [Hilton], our merchandise guy, give us a thumbs up or a thumbs down. We’ll sit there and play a chord progression and just talk [Scott starts cracking up laughing at this point] bad about each other and make fun of each other. It’s less about who’s the DJ and more about who’s going to perform for us.


Reader question: What’s motivating your music these days? Now that you’ve settled down a bit and are (presumably) no longer the Wayward Sons of Bluegrass, what’s on your mind to keep you writing?

The fact that we are, at any point, in a ‘career,’ as youngsters or as old men, never really plays a factor in why we do what we do. And it shouldn’t. We haven’t really thought about it before, and we should just keep the blinders on. If you’re an artist of any sort, which many people are, you don’t know why you are drawn to the studio. You don’t know why you’re drawn to the paper. You just do it and follow that drive. That’s all there is to it. If it’s driven by anything outside of that pure drive, which is sometimes there, sometimes not, it’s headed for disaster if it’s done for the wrong reasons. I don’t know that we need a reason to write. It’s just what we do. I think I would need more of a reason not to write.


Live, Volume 3, a live CD/DVD collection recorded at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, is available today. See below for video clips of the DVD. The Avett Brothers play Raleigh’s Time Warner Pavillion on Friday, October 8 at 7:00. Tickets are still available here.

Want a chance to win 2 free tickets to Friday’s show at Time Warner Pavilion? Comment below that you want them, and a winner will be picked at random on Thursday, October 7 at 12:00 p.m.


Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise


I And Love And You

Article Photo Credit: Crackerfarm








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  • Michelle Lefavor
    10/05 10:49 AM

    I would love to see the Avett Bros. I am a new fan. I think they are extremly talented and I love that they are from NC+)

  • allie schatz
    10/05 10:50 AM

    I and love and you so very much for wanting to give me the tickets to friday’s show. And if you really do give them to me…. I get to take my six year old little girl and she’d like to hear die die die (its her fav!).
    please. please. please.

  • rachel
    10/05 11:01 AM

    great Q&A w/ the Avetts. I’d love to see them on Friday. thanks!

  • Adam Mitchell
    10/05 11:12 AM

    I want the tickets!

  • Fred
    10/05 11:14 AM

    I am a HUGE Avetts fan, and have seen them in small clubs around the midwest over the past 6 years or so.  Haven’t been able to see them since moving to North Carolina 3 years ago.  It’d be fantastic to see them in their home state.  Please PICK ME!  PICK ME!

  • CEA
    10/05 11:31 AM

    would love to go and take my daughter!

  • Ben
    10/05 11:32 AM

    Free tickets? Yes, please!

  • Dave
    10/05 11:33 AM

    I would love the tix to the Avetts this weekend!

  • Mike
    10/05 11:34 AM

    Obligatory freeloader post- I want those tickets.

    Maybe a live show would convince me that their latest work is as great as their early albums?

  • claudmia
    10/05 11:38 AM

    Would love to see them
    Enter me please!

  • BIRD!
    10/05 11:48 AM

    They have great stage energy and are as goofy as I am.  They are multi-talented and I would ELLL-OH-VEE-EEE to see them as I haven’t had the opportunity in years!  I also have a crazy dog.  No really.  c_r_a_z_y_h_u_n_d.

  • Oberlin
    10/05 12:05 PM

    I would just love to see the band that has been a soundtrack to my road trips for the past 5 years. If you ever get the chance you need to take a slow drive on the Blue Ridge parkway while listening to ‘Souls Like the Wheels’ and you’ll know why I love the Avetts so, and why it would make my year to see them play..

  • shannono
    10/05 12:08 PM

    Swept me away was our wedding song :)
    I would love some free tickets!

  • Dump
    10/05 12:08 PM

    I want to see the Avetts even though it is in such a huge venue!!!

  • MCC
    10/05 12:11 PM

    Heck yeah!  I’d love a chance to see them live!  Thanks for the chance!

  • Ray
    10/05 12:12 PM

    I would love to get tickets to the show on Friday night.  Man they were good at the Miller High Life Bluegrass festival out in front of the Lincoln so many years ago.

  • Cassue
    10/05 12:13 PM

    PICK ME! I’d love to go! live music, fall night, great venue. I’m in.

  • Adam
    10/05 12:19 PM

    do it to it avetts! Lemmy score some free tix

  • Dan
    10/05 12:27 PM

    Love to score some tix for me and a girl who just might be sportin’ some jelly shoes.

    Dan

  • ed mckim
    10/05 12:29 PM

    I want them!

  • Casey
    10/05 12:39 PM

    tickets! tickets! tickets!

  • Rosalie
    10/05 12:50 PM

    thanks again new raleigh! i’ve been an avett’s fan since waaaaay back in the greenville, peasants day. i’d love the tickets!

  • Evan
    10/05 12:57 PM

    I’d love to have Avett Brothers tickets!

  • CPA1
    10/05 01:06 PM

    I want those tickets, please.

  • zach
    10/05 01:13 PM

    i want them!!!

  • Allison
    10/05 01:13 PM

    it’s not the chase that i love it’s me following you…

  • Alex H.
    10/05 01:15 PM

    I remember that last King’s show. It was the rambunctiousness of the crowds at those last few “small venue” shows that kind of turned me off to seeing them live for awhile, though I’ve really enjoyed following their musical progression since the first time I saw them on one of the small stages at Merlefest.

    Sign me up for those tickets.

  • Jeff White
    10/05 01:23 PM

    I would love to hear the incredible music and lyrics produced by the Avett Brothers live in Raleigh.

  • annie
    10/05 01:30 PM

    Would love to see them in Raleigh!

  • jay_sikes
    10/05 01:35 PM

    hey great interview. i haven’t had a chance to see them since the NCMA show in ‘07. its been way too long and i’d love those tickets.

  • Jason P
    10/05 02:00 PM

    I’d love tickets to see the Avett Brothers!  This concert would be my first chance to see them.

  • danimal6000
    10/05 02:20 PM

    i could use some free tickets.

  • MikeB
    10/05 02:35 PM

    Apparently the wife thinks its wiser to spend $120 on “baby stuff” instead of Avett Brothers tickets so free ones would be outstanding!

  • Jesse
    10/05 02:57 PM

    Oooooh, free tix - yes, please!

  • Marc
    10/05 02:58 PM

    I’ve known SnS for a few years now. Seen their musical maturation into “The Avett Bros.” Hell, they’ve practically been the soundtrack to my life for the last decade. It’s wonderful to see friends succeed and rise above the slings and arrows of petty jealousies. They are still humble, appreciative artist whose only hope is to play you a tune that will touch your musical soul and make it smile. Give the tickets to someone that’s never seen them before

  • Jay Brooks
    10/05 03:12 PM

    I would love to go to Raleigh to see the Avett Brothers. They are by far my favorite band and would love to see them in their home state of North Carolina!!! Nothing better than free tickets!!

  • Jaclyn
    10/05 03:13 PM

    I’d love tickets to the show!

  • zzpuppas
    10/05 04:20 PM

    I’d love some free tickets! Enter me, please!

  • allisonharris
    10/05 04:38 PM

    I would love to go! Pick me!

  • Sarah
    10/05 05:23 PM

    OOOO I want them!

    I saw them at King’s in 2003 for the first time and have taken every oppertunity to see them since, whether that is Nash Community College, or Portland, OR. I will be there on Friday even if I have to purchse tickets, but would love to win them instead.

  • Tim Moore
    10/05 05:25 PM

    I’ve been following these brothers for many years now and it is simply amazing how their popularity has grown.  I saw them play in the street outside the Lincoln to about maybe 60 people one summer and I was the Koka Booth where there were over 7,000 people.  I once went to a wedding where they played for over two hours.  I don’t think this the band does weddings anymore. 
    I enjoyed the old days and am excited about their success now.  If I were to win the tickets I would invite two people that have never seen The Avett Brothers and take them with me, because that is how “the word” is spread…..

  • butterbiscuit
    10/05 05:29 PM

    I remember cutting out of work to go see them play in-store at Schoolkids the day Emotionalism was released - Would love to go see them at Time Warner!

  • sf79
    10/05 05:46 PM

    Tickets, please.

  • frannie
    10/05 08:24 PM

    i would looovee to win the tickets for fridays show! the avett brothers are my faveee and i have never gotten the chance to see them live, but have had to listen to my brothers brag to me about how good they are live! it would make my life to win the tickets!

  • Tracy Morain
    10/05 11:09 PM

    My husband and I would absolutely LOVE to see The Avert Brothers this weekend!

  • Matt
    10/06 12:41 AM

    Yes, I very much want free tickets.

    Very much so.

    Very.

  • Chris
    10/06 02:58 AM

    hi there

    The reason you should give me the tickets is that I sit next to Marci Leffingwell at Namaste Solar in Boulder and it sure would be a great story to talk about over the years ;)

    My buddy Dean and I are in town for a solar class and we leave on Saturday.  Marci shared your killer website and we plan on using it exclusively to make plans while in Raleigh.

    Thanks!

  • Michael Powelson
    10/06 11:33 AM

    Definately want’em.

  • Alicia
    10/06 01:59 PM

    The Avett’s are the soundtrack to anyone’s life who lives in NC and is in love, wants to be in love, was in love or just loves the idea of love!  It will be an awesome concert! 
    Would love free tix…

  • Behki
    10/06 02:12 PM

    October in NC is pretty magical

  • brian
    10/06 03:30 PM

    I love bros and I love NC! Tickets!

  • Holster
    10/06 03:48 PM

    Would love tickets!  Just missed their free concert in CA by a day and would love to see them in Raleigh.

  • jworonka
    10/06 06:17 PM

    please please pleeeeeeze let me have some tickets!  It’s been too long since I’ve seen them at Peasant’s in Greenville.

  • Hunter Gardner
    10/06 06:30 PM

    I’m a longtime fan of the Avetts and remember those small shows, but can’t afford a ticket to their show on Friday… The Avetts make me proud to be a Carolinian. Please help me out!

  • Justin
    10/06 11:27 PM

    Please, please, please…Ill with wanting for free tix!

  • Aaron T.
    10/07 12:26 AM

    Free tickets? I’ll play.

  • ron
    10/07 07:27 AM

    oh, I want them because my daughter is going and if she saw me there, she would freak out. Free tickets would make it even better!

  • jsumner
    10/07 09:15 AM

    yes! tickets please!!

  • jram
    10/07 09:21 AM

    I’ll take ‘em!

  • Kate
    10/07 09:57 AM

    Oh yes I’d like to take my rap-listening teenage sons and show them there ARE other forms of music…

  • mtunc05
    10/07 12:15 PM

    I would love to go and see/hear/find a Pretty Girl from Raleigh

  • stacytiki
    10/07 12:43 PM

    free tickets! yes, please!

  • Dave
    10/07 12:58 PM

    I would like some free tickets!  No, I would love some free tickets.  PLEASE!

  • Beth
    10/07 01:19 PM

    Me! Me!

  • Ladye Jane
    10/07 01:51 PM

    Just had a friend pick a random number between 1-65, and he picked 31, so Jason P., you are the winner! Will shoot you an email at the submitted email address on ticket details.

  • danimal6000
    10/07 03:06 PM

    32 is a much better number

  • Tuff Jew
    10/07 06:31 PM

    @LadyeJane- the silent majority sure got loud quickly, huh? haha.  nicely done.

  • chissy n
    10/07 11:32 PM

    oh geez i love the avett brothers. just got live, vol. 3 and it’s my favorite album

  • Rebekah Phipps
    10/08 12:43 PM

    give me them tix. puhhleaze

  • Transou Forsyth
    10/08 06:47 PM

    I too want the tickets.

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