Home > Interviews > Adam Ezra Group: Influences & Recording



History of the Band

Writing & Recording

Playing Out & Boston's Music Scene

In Closing





BB:  How does the band go about writing original songs?


Adam:  Yeah, it’s mostly me plunkin’ out little tunes and writing.

Jeff:  This man writes and writes and writes.


BB:  How do you bring a new song to the band?  What’s that process?


Adam:  The process is a little haphazard these days.  I write a lot of music, and most of it we just don’t do because of everything we’re doing right now.  With the new album coming out we’ve been playing with other side musicians, and it takes a lot of time to rehearse people and get them up to speed.  We just don’t have enough time, so every once in a while I’ll break out a new tune and Jimmy or John or Jeff will say, “I like that” and we’ll start messin’ around with it.


BB:  What are some of your bigger songs?


John:  Anything from “Touchdown” to “Coverman” to “Come Around.”  A new song we’ve been adding to our set list is “Fit to Mine.”  You know it’s really amazing because we could really rock out a tune and people will dig it and then we can switch gears and throw out a really laid back tune.

Jimmy:  The song “California” is a really good example of that.  It’s really laid back with some hand drums, a little guitar and vocals.   It’s just a real nice song.  And like John said, we can go from a harder or more upbeat tune and then play something like “California” and the crowds really appreciate that.  It’s nice to see them go from that rowdiness, and then see them coming right down and swaying and cheering for that song. 


BB:  How do you structure your sets as far as where you put your higher energy songs?


Band:  (Laughter)

Jimmy:  Well it’s interesting you ask.

Jeff:  We start out with a set list that we never follow.

Band:  (Laughter)

Jimmy:  Adam will come up and say, “well, tonight let’s do this” and he’ll bring us some list he made on his computer.  And we’ll look at it say, yeah it looks pretty good, or we may go and switch one or two songs.  Then we get on stage.  We have this saying that Adam gives some subliminal message that says “follow me, just follow me.”  We deviate so far from the set list.

Adam:  And I spend like an hour working on that set list, too.

Band:  (Laughter)


BB:  What are your musical influences, and what are some of your favorite artists or albums?


John:  The first one that comes to mind is Sting. Not so much his recent stuff, but his older stuff.  I love jazz.  I have really an eclectic appreciation many different genres of music.  I can listen to Sting one time and the next time I can listen to country and appreciate that, too.  I love James Taylor.  I think that’s why when I first heard [Adams’s] music I really dug it.  It brings a lot of different genres together.  So you could say Sting, you could say Vince Gil, Patty Austin.  Folks like that.

Adam:  My mom is a folk musician and so I grew up with Pete Seeger, Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel. In high school I jumped over to the seventies classic rock like Zeppelin, Jimmy Hendrix and The Grateful Dead.  Some of my favorite artists to this day are Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson and The Band, Ani DiFranco.

Jimmy:  For me I started out as a drummer when I was in fourth grade.  I had an uncle who gave me a lot of Beatles and Stones albums and I was influenced by the drums, especially in the Beatles.  And then when I got into high school I started to play guitar and Jimmy Page was a huge influence for me as far as guitar playing, and then I ended up being a bass player in a band.  I stuck with the bass playing and from there it was Getty Lee from Rush and bands like Yes and King Crimson. And some eclectic stuff like ELP and Greg Lake.  Great songwriter and great bass player as well, Greg Lake. 

Adam:  What about your heavy stuff?

Jimmy:  Yeah, the heavy stuff too.  I enjoy a little of the new bands now.  Before I met Adam I was playing in bands that were writing stuff similar to Tool or Deftones, things like that.  So this was kind of a change for me to go from that to this acoustic rock gig.  And I’m having a blast, it’s great.

Jeff:  As far as influences, it definitely all starts with the Beatles.  The song structure and songwriting always blew me away.  Then I get into jazz, especially bee-bop jazz, Thelonious Monk as a composer is one of my favorites.  Dizzy Bird.  That whole era I really like.  And then groove music, funk, old school funk, New Orleans funk, especially The Meters, early James Brown stuff.  A lot of reggae too like Bob Marley and Steel Pulse.


BB:  How would you guys describe the style of the music you’re making now?


John:  I call it acoustic rock. I call it folk rock.  I think no matter what you call it, it is really grounded in the lyrics and the songwriting.  Everything else just goes around that.





BB:  What has been your experience recording music?


Adam:  Recording sucks. I hate it. I hate the process.  I get excited about getting music out there. I like writing the music and playing music.  I have a hard time paying attention to all the details.  This album coming out in March is going to be, as a band, our second album, and my third album.  When I first started, my first year playing, I came out with a solo album that I made in Chicago.  I just went into the studio for a couple of days and threw down a bunch of live tracks of what I was writing.  Barebones, me and a guitar.  And this last album that we did last year was with Johnny and Kristin and I was also pretty barebones, just the three of us.  We did a live concert in the studio actually.


BB:  And was that the album Sessions?


Adam:  Yeah, and the name Sessions came from the idea of having a number of different sessions that we did down there.  Either we did a live concert or we had times where John, Kristin and I would put some stuff together.  Our goal was whatever we could get out of it, we’d get out of it.  And the songs that we liked we put on the album. 


BB:  Tell us about the album coming out in March.


Adam:  We’ve been working real hard on it the past six months.  Still by industry standards it’s incredibly bare bones.  We consider ourselves a live band so we wanted to capture that feel.  We would come in and try and record live as much as we could and go back and either add or subtract different tracks.  We had a lot of really cool guest musicians that have been playing with us lately like Jackie Damsky, Eric Kilburn, Nicky Sanders, Rob Stone and Abbie Barrett.  So it was really fun, we’re doing a lot of different things.


BB:  Do you prefer the studio or playing out?


John:  Live.  I don’t mind the studio, but playing out is where it’s at.

Adam:  No question for me.  Playing out.

Jimmy:  It’s hard for me.  I like the recording aspect, the creative part of it, but definitely playing out.  There’s no other way to get the energy that we get from the people that we play for anywhere else.  You don’t get that playing in the studio.

Jeff:  Yeah, actually I love the studio.  Professionally I do other projects with other people too, but playing out is the reason that I do this.  That interaction with the crowd.  There’s nothing like it.




Part 1: History of the Band

Part 2: Writing & Recording

Part 3: Playing Out & Boston's Music Scene

Part 4: In Closing


*Pictures courtesy of http://www.adamezra.com/

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