Q&A with Lukas Nelson: “You Can’t Get Mad at the Shark For Being a Crazy Killing Machine”
Lukas Nelson might be best known for being the son of Willie Nelson but, with last year’s self titled album album release from his rock band Promise of the Real, that is changing.
Over the last week or so I took the opportunity to get acquainted with the music of Lukas Nelson on Spotify and found myself digging deeper and deeper into his catalog. From straight up roots rock swagger to more tripped out psychedelic jams, every song constructs a small universe in your mind of how the world ought to be, and of course, that utterly unique voice.
There is a definite similarity between Lukas Nelson’s singing voice and his iconic father but, to my ears I was also hearing shades of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison as well. With a unique voice and gift for penning timely socially conscious lyrics stretched over muscular guitar riffs, Lukas Nelson is earning not only fans but, heaps of critical praise as well.
I had an opportunity to ask Lukas Nelson a few questions regarding his career and his thoughts on what’s going on today in regards to all of the protests and civil unrest. The answers Lukas put forth show a young man with a confidence and social insight that belies his age:
Why did you pursue the rock band path over the country music path?
Lukas Nelson: I pursued what felt right. It wasn’t really conscious…I love rock and roll…I love country too, but more roots country. It’s all about doing your own thing..with respect to everyone else’s thing, I guess.
What were your musical aspirations and career goals growing up?
Lukas Nelson: I just wanted to be able to play music for a living..because it’s so much fun and it’s something I love to do..It seemed like the best option for me. I would go crazy sitting at a desk…I am a gypsy..I like to move..play..come and go.
Your 2010 album talks heavily about people being down and out due to the economy, peaceful solutions, and taking back America so how do you feel about the current Occupy Wall Street movements going on around the country?
Lukas Nelson: There are some people who really have eloquent presentations of argumentative points. Take Robert Reich, for example..here is a link to his very well structured and easily understandable explanation of what the problem is:
However, there are people out there who are using this movement as an excuse to act a fool. On top of that, there are un-organized and ill informed types that are hogging the media (who already want to play the movement down), and I look at that and am saddened that the people who actually know what they are talking about are not being heard. It makes it easy for the media to make the whole movement look silly when people come on and make silly arguments against “Capitalism”, or “Corporate Greed” that have no substantiality.
Capitalism has always been a part of our American culture..rather than focus the movement on blame, I believe we should focus on change. Capitalism is like a shark…you can’t get mad at the shark for being a crazy killing machine. You can, however, build a net around the shallow section of the beach so that it can’t eat anybody. The reason we have government is so that we can create laws that are structured to regulate the corporate agenda. There are folks, like those mentioned above, who can hold their own when thinking and expressing ways to overcome the obstacles that present the country today. Other people give it a bad name.
Where do you see the Occupy Wall Street movement going?
Lukas Nelson: I see a great potential for change, if we can keep our wits about us.
The tone of your voice definitely is fairly unique – have you always embraced your unique singing voice?
Lukas Nelson: I have always recognized that my voice is a work in progress…I am still learning about and honing in on the details of my vocals..focusing on each syllable and trying to make the tone more rounded and full. As I grow and gain experience, so will my vocals.
Growing up, were you ever been guilty of trying to sing like someone else?
Lukas Nelson: Sure, I can do pretty good impressions of people singing…I think that we all take a little from everyone we listen to and it makes up who we are…I had to stop listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan when I was a kid because I was absorbing too much of his style…I stopped listening to music all together for a while, and focused on playing what was in my heart…I think that really helped me develop my own style..and it is still developing.
Name the best thing about having Willie Nelson as your dad:
Lukas Nelson: He is a good dad.
What’s the worst part of having Willie Nelson as your dad?
Lukas Nelson: There is no “worst part”. Name the worst part of having YOUR dad as your dad.
Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real are currently on tour through December 10th:
|Nov 25||Antone’s||Austin, TX|
|Nov 27||The Cambridge Room||Dallas, TX|
|Nov 28||Cain’s 2nd Stage||Tulsa, OK|
|Dec 01||Aggie Theatre||Fort Collins, CO|
|Dec 02||Larimer Lounge||Denver, CO|
|Dec 03||The Eldo||Crested Butte, CO|
|Dec 04||The State Room||Salt Lake City, UT|
|Dec 06||Humbolt Brews||Arcata, CA|
|Dec 09||The Malibu Inn||Malibu, CA|
|Dec 10||Birch North Park Theatre||San Diego, CA|