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INTERVIEW: Adam Zwig

Hi guys, welcome back to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks, I’ve been great. I’m in the middle of a deep song-writing session so I haven’t slept in several weeks.

Why from all the Bob Dylan’s singles did you choose to cover of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”?

I wanted to explore Dylan’s surrealist lyrics so I delved into his songs from the 1960’s when he was experimenting with combining images in an irrational way. I think “Tom Thumb” is a great example this. It shows an underlying order in lyrics that appear chaotic. It’s mathematical.

Did you try to stay loyal to the song or did you go for your own spin?

Definitely my own spin. If you listen to Dylan’s version it doesn’t quite sound like the same song. It’s acoustic and the lyrical phrasing is different from the way we rocked it out and I sang it.

How was the film experience?

The band and I did our best to ignore the cameras as much as we could and just play our show. Otherwise what you capture isn’t really you.

The single comes off your new material Adam Zwig: Live at the Wiltern Theatre – how did you come up with the idea for the live record?

I love the recording studio. You get to create and recreate and edit and re-do and analyze until you get what you want. But it’s a very different experience and a different art form from playing live. In a concert you’re in direct communication with the audience and you can’t take back anything you play or say or sing. It’s a relationship in real time and I love that. The audience influences what the band plays. It’s a social process whereas the studio is like my creative cave.

From all the venues, why the Wiltern Theatre?

I wanted to film in a venue that has some history, character, and beauty. The Wiltern is the old Warner Brothers Theater built in the 1930’s and has beautiful art deco architecture. In addition, the seats on the floor were removed so people can stand and rock out. Performing to people sitting in seats is a bit like being in a play.

How was the recording and writing process?

Since the recording is of a live show, the songs are all from our setlist consisting of tunes from my last three or four albums.

In what way did Bob Dylan get to influence your music?

Like the other artists of his era, he was very much attached to his musical roots. So those artists inspired me to explore where their music came from. And when you trace it back you find that all popular music comes from American blues and European folk songs. If you study and learn that stuff you get a sense of where all this comes from, and it informs what you’re doing. Otherwise, you’re creating art in a vacuum.

What was it like to work with David Bianco and how did he come on board?

I’ve been working with David for several years and always love his input. For the live recording he said something like, “Don’t try to play great, just be real”, and that was really helpful for everyone.

How much did he get to influence the album?

He didn’t influence what we played, but he made sure the vibe of the audience/ band interactions came across on the recording.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes, we’re planning a tour for later this year, but first, I have to record twenty songs…

What else is happening next in Adam Zwig’s world?

Sleep…

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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