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At Day 3 of Bonnaroo, I had the pleasure of sitting down with guitarist Steve Gunn*- friend and former member of *Kurt Vile and the Violators, who is also closely connected with musicians like Meg Baird and Mike Cooper. Here’s what he had to say:
CONNOR BURGESS: So you’re close with Meg Baird! All you Philly guys seem to be really interconnected, I find that to be really cool.
STEVE GUNN: Yeah, she and I are pretty close. Her new album, Heron Oblivion, is really good too, I’m not sure if you’ve had the time to listen to that or not.
CONNOR BURGESS: You’ve had an expansive career, going on, what, 15 years?
STEVE GUNN: Yeah, haha, something like that, I can’t quite recall.
CONNOR BURGESS: Surely you must’ve had some kind of musical influence early on, do you have any siblings?
STEVE GUNN: Two actually, yeah, both sisters. The oldest and I are 9 years apart. I don’t think she really influenced my style, per say, but she would always take me to concerts and shows, and really got me interested in the whole thing.
CONNOR BURGESS: I read somewhere that one of your main influences is Indian music- and chance you can elaborate on that a bit?
STEVE GUNN: Yeah! No, I always have really appreciated the “old masters”, they’re like virtuosos of their time, you know?
CONNOR BURGESS: You’ve played anywhere and everywhere, all across the U.S. and internationally, how does it feel being at Bonnaroo?
STEVE GUNN: (laughs), Well to tell you the truth, I haven’t really been here for that long, we only got in a couple hours ago, but it seems awesome, if a little hot.
CONNOR BURGESS: So do you enjoy, you know, this? I head touring is either a love or hate relationship with many artists.
STEVE GUNN: I like it, it isn’t too bad moving from place to place, you fall into a routine. The only problem is when you want to say somewhere for like 3 months, but you have to leave the next day. I was playing in Portugal, and I could have stayed there forever, you go and see all these cool old towns, but you can’t stay in one place for too long.
CONNOR BURGESS: So your songwriting, correct me if I’m wrong, goes back to thoughts and little details about your life, and people you meet back at home. How do you keep it organized? Does it just flow?
STEVE GUNN: I actually keep a journal where I jot all my
little thoughts or things that I’ve noticed down, and when I go to write a song, I just refer back to that, and everything just kind of clicks into place.
CONNOR BURGESS: So that’s honestly all I have for you… Is there anything to do before you go on set today?
STEVE GUNN: I’ll try to get out to see other sets, it’s a shame, because Kurt and I don’t overlap, but we’ll hang out at home.
CONNOR BURGESS: Thanks so much, Steve, really looking forward to your set.
STEVE GUNN: Hope to see you there!
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