Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Cocaine and Chicken Fricasse”?
Cocaine and Chicken Fricassee is a song on my latest CD, River’s on Fire, which was released in August of last year. I was afraid it would be the most controversial song on the record but as it turns out, everybody loved it! They liked it so much, we decided to make a video for it.
What’s the inspiration behind the song?
My previous band, Papa Grows Funk, played on Monday nights for 13 years. Over the course of those years, I saw all kinds of crazy things. I saw so much that that type of craziness became the norm. So, when something REALLY crazy happens you can’t believe it, you have to write a song about it. Cocaine and Chicken Fricassee is a composite picture of the good, the bad and the ugly of playing 13 years of Monday nights.
Who directed the music video? How was the experience filming?
Lee Fritz of Calmdog Productions, a young filmmaker in New Orleans, wrote, directed and produced the video. We shot it at Le Bon Temp Roule, which is a great neighborhood bar in Uptown New Orleans and right around the corner from where The Neville Brothers grew up. It was my first experience with being the main character in a video shoot, so I was a little nervous and worried that I wouldn’t know how to act. He told me to be myself and act like I normally would act in the situations or scenes he set up. So that’s what I did.
What role does New Orleans play in your music?
New Orleans as a city and a culture is the central force in my music. It is the sound that shaped my childhood memories of family celebrations. I have been hearing the sounds and rhythms of Fats Domino, Dr. John and the Meters since I was a young boy. So when I began to perform music, the music I loved playing and the music I was good at playing was the New Orleans Rock n Roll and Funk Music. Since it made me happy and it made others happy, I dedicated my life to playing it.
How important is touring for you as an artist?
Touring gives us the opportunity to play for different people and see their reaction to New Orleans music. It also allows us to experience how other cultures are similar and different to ours. While it’s easy to get excited and appreciate different cities and cultures, I am also reminded how much I love New Orleans. It’s a great international city. The best part about leaving to play music is I get to come home to New Orleans every time.
What else is happening next in John “Papa” Gros’ world?
Right now, I am preparing for my upcoming summer tour. Towards the end of the summer I plan to start writing new music for the next recording. Beyond that, I am always working on getting my music in front of as many ears as possible within the U.S. and abroad. I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have achieved so much in music, but feel there is still a long road ahead of me.
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