Wake up to Soulive | VailDaily.com

Wake up to Soulive

Laura A. Ball
Special to the DailySoulive brings their blend of soul, jazz and hip-hop to the dance floor for Hot Summer Nights today at 6:30 p.m. at Ford Amphitheater in Vail.

VAIL – If Alan Evans had one wish, it would be that people could see the world through his eyes.The Soulive drummer grew up north of Buffalo, N.Y. When his white mother, Roberta, and his black father, Willie, settled in Park Side in the early ’70s, the first interracial couple to move into the neighborhood, the newspaper wrote an article. Surprisingly though, Evans grew up without measurable consciousness of his ethnicity.”I honestly don’t remember when I realized what color was or how it affected people,” he said. “I had cousins, white, black and we all hung out. I listened to music regardless of who made it. I just never saw color or race as being an issue, so when it came to music and the people I sought to make music with, it was never an issue. I just played with people I liked. Some people don’t have a huge problem with it, but it’s in the back of their mind. I just never felt it was anything. How we grew up, it has a lot to do with our sound.”Listen to a Soulive groove and try to rattle off the band’s musical likeness of just one or two, and you’ll end up coming up with a list as long as Evan’s influences: from longtime favorites like Michael Jackson, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield to more recent inspirations like Jack White of White Stripes, Radiohead, StereoLab, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Gnarls Barkley.

Evans, his brother Neil (B3, bass keys, clavinet) and Eric Krasno (guitar) form the funky trio of hip-hop, soul music. When they first started Soulive, the musical vision was very focused, Krasno said, but they felt in order to stay fresh, they needed to really integrate all of their influences into the music they made, evident on their last release, “Break Out.” Not only can the band members hear a difference in their sound, Evans said, the musical pastiche creates a more diverse audience not just in regard to race, but lifestyles, too.”With us, there’s no distinct lines,” Evans said. “That’s what I’ve always strived for, to bring people together. Whatever I do in my life, that’s what I want to try and achieve. You can do that pretty easily through music. It’s an amazing feeling to feel a room where everyone’s getting along, and really it’s because of the music.” Evans has thought about changing careers – he’s dabbled in writing and fancies technology – but his impression on the world, he said, wouldn’t be as great. He wants race to become a nonissue.”There’s nothing wrong with being proud of who you are or where you come from,” he said. “Everyone at some point in their life should find out who they are and where they come from. But you can take it too far. It’s crazy. There are people who just can’t hang out with people who are a different skin color. It’s just bizarre. To me, you’re just missing out on an opportunity to learn.”

Continuing to spread the message, the band splits to Japan and North Korea in September before touring to Australia in November. They’ll take time when they return to the states to finish writing and recording a new record, which they expect to release sometime in the spring, Evans said. They won’t be back on tour before then. In the seven years they’ve been around they haven’t taken a serious break, he said, but when they come back, expect newer, fresher Soulive jams.”We just want to chill out,” he said. “We’ve been playing the same tunes for so long, we just know it’s time, and then we’ll come back with a renewed energy and better-than-ever.” ==========Soulive6:30 p.m. todayFree show for Hot Summer Nights

Ford Amphitheater in Vail==========Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached 748-2939 or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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