[Learning] from Others

Paul [learns] from Lowell, and Roger [learns] from Glen Campbell and Paul himself!


Paul:  One of the best lessons I ever learned was from Lowell George.  When he asked me to join little feat he told me that the rule number one is there are no rules, and that I should try to start to appreciate other kinds of music in order to play them and play them well.  I had come from a blues background mostly, and thus wrote rock and roll songs around that format.  It was funny that he chose me to join the band mainly because I was playing in what at the time, was a very avant garde rock band, but mostly limited to the standard 3 chord changes, root, fourth and fifth, and mostly minor. Without that input from Lowell there never would have been All That You Dream, or a country song like Missing You. He not only opened the door for me into the professional musicians’ world, but walked me through it!

Roger: One piece of advice I thought was great was from an article I read by Glen Campbell.  I thought it was a really intelligent way of looking at stuff.  Campbell said when you are writing songs, don’t expect the songs to do something for you right after it is finished.  Don’t throw away anything that you write, just keep them in a box somewhere because you will never know when might be the best moment to use it.  Songs you’re writing right now hopefully will work out in some fashion, but songs you wrote 5 or 10 years ago might be the ones that are working for you right now.  Everything, even if you think it’s old, is new to the listener,  so you really never know when a song will work. So don’t write based on that, just write to write and if it has a place, it will find it.

Another piece of advice has actually come to me over time from Paul.  Before I started working with Paul, the stuff I was working on was a much heavier material, more intense.  My whole school of thought with that kind of stuff was to keep everything right solid on the one, real punctual.  It worked good, it was really intense…  as I started working with Paul more and more, his whole approach was always sometimes if it is this way or that way and just swings a little bit, it feels better, so a lot of times pocket is better than  intensity to deliver something in a song.  I consider that as something that’s really shaped how I think at this point.