Calling from his North Carolina home, The Avett Brothers’ bassist Bob Crawford is stunned to hear about the magnitude of Super Bowl festivities around the Valley.
The 49th event brought to Phoenix musicians of every genre. But now that things have quieted down, the focus goes back to individual, quality shows. So what can The Avett Brothers give to Phoenix-area residents who are recovering from concert overload?
“It’ll be a little less hoopla,” Crawford says with a laugh from his North Carolina home. “But it is great for your town. It puts a lot of people to work.”
The Avett Brothers and special guests Chatham County perform at 7 p.m., Saturday, February 7, at the Mesa Amphitheatre. In support of the media darlings’ show, Crawford spoke to College Times about the performance, a forthcoming album and the songwriting process.
College Times: I understand you have a new album coming in 2015.
It’ll probably be 2016. We have an album that’s well on its way and we’re constantly working on it. We spent two weeks in Malibu in November and got it rolling and a week here in North Carolina. It’s on its way. It’s just going to take a little bit of time.
Are you road testing any of the new songs?
We have a lot—four of five—we’ve been playing live. Our songwriting process is a gestational one. It can take eight years from the initial inspiration to the initial finished product. A few of these songs we kind of got going last year, and got them rolling and we’re playing them on the road. We always record more than we need, so you never know what’s going to be on the record. We don’t hesitate to play new songs.
Do you ever worry that the unfinished tracks are going to end up on YouTube and kind of steal the forthcoming album’s glory?
It probably did at one point, but we’re entering a different age—we have entered a different age. It’s a different time. I think it’s something we need to accept. You can’t sacrifice the moment in the show for someone posting something online. Let’s face it: A recorded version of the song is going to be different anyway. It’ll be a different quality. For someone to be able to do that with our stuff, it’s part of the world. This is the way the world is. We’re not going to sacrifice what we do and how we like to do it for that live show. People pay to get the experience, right? People pay to get in the show and be in the room, to have that moment that can only be created when musicians and music lovers are together in person. It doesn’t bother me if we record a song and play it live. Or if we’re working on a song and play it live and someone records it on audio records or pops it up on YouTube. It doesn’t bother me at all.
It would be distracting, I would think, to perform live and have to worry about that.
It’s a form of censorship. We would be imposing a form of censorship on ourselves.
How have your shows been in Arizona in the past?
We’ve had some great shows in Arizona. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years. We placed this one place in Phoenix that’s literally a roadhouse. It’s a small, small place. That was the first show in Arizona. We played many since—not as many as a lot of places in the country. I don’t know, it’s not the easiest place to get to. We had a great show last time outside in Mesa. That was an outdoor amphitheater. It’s a great place to be able to come through, spend some time and play music. It’s one of those special places.
The Avett Brothers, Mesa Amphitheatre, 263 N. Center Street, Mesa, 480.644.2560, mesaamp.com, Saturday, February 7, 7 p.m., $36 adv, $41 dos