Interview with Dave Johnston of Yonder Mountain String Band

LMD: Tell me about the tour.  How’s it been going?

Dave: Well we’ve kind of, we’ve been off for a bunch. First part of April we were home for a while and we were just kind of were out for the weekend.  We played Minneapolis last night and then we got in the bus to come down here [Summer Camp Fest] so just a couple shows for the weekend. Summer tour starts in Telluride and it’ll go until String Summit which is, you know, mid July.

What are some of the stops you are looking forward to?

The summer tour for me is really fun because my family comes out for a couple of the shows, my wife and kids come out for Telluride and they’ll come our for String Summitt.  I look forward to both of those festivals.  They’re both so different but they’re both really great anchors and big parts of our summer and we look forward to getting to see our friends at both and so we’re excited for those.  And I look forward to Romp in Kentucky in Owensboro.  I used to go down to Owensboro when I was attending the University of Illinois I’d go down there and party for the  games and stuff like that so we’ll have fun with that.

How did you guys come up with the album name Love. Ain’t Love?

You know, it’s sort of a mystery how that happened but, like I can’t remember how we came to Love. Ain’t Love.  We were just thinking it would be If She Loves Me Not, She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not.  I don’t really know the subject came from.  I mean, there’s some love songs on the record. I mean, I’m a like total grammar nerd so for me, like a big part of what was exciting about it was the period after the word love, you know, I’m goin’ whoo that’s perfect.

And the single ‘Alison’ was shot in Telluride?

Allison’ was shot in Telluride as well as ‘Bad Taste’, they were both shot in Telluride.

That seems like a special place for you guys.

It is. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve every had an opportunity to go…..

I was there at Pretty Lights last year for my first time.  It’s breathtaking.

Yea, it’s pretty amazing and so we like it there and so our career sort of started there.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival, how many times have you guys played there?

Well I think our first time playing on the stage was 2000 maybe or 99, so yea, I think it’s been 18, which just boggles the mind.  (Laughs)

I’m actually out of Tulsa and so I’ve been seeing you guys at Cain’s Ballroom for almost as long.

Yonder Mountain String Band loves Cain’s man.  It is like the f****ng best.  We remember Steve and like the old school guys and we love it there.  Got to play with a guy name Mikey Bear…..

Mikey Bear?

He used to make us chili, serve us in the bar next door. He makes really baller chili and chili dogs…

That’s awesome. Back to the tour, what do you guys like to do to relax?

Well I mean, I like to noodle, you know, like on my instrument, or write or read. I like to have a few drinks too, that’s nice. Watch some baseball maybe.

Any artists you’re trying to see this weekend?

We just got here this afternoon really and so we really haven’t seen anyone yet.  We’re gonna watch Trey. He’s great man, he’s one of the greats.

Speaking of greats, Greg Allman recently passed away,  was wondering what kind of influence he had on you if any?

Man the Allmans in general, like yes, very much so.  My favorite guitar player right now, aside from Mike Campbell who plays for Tom Petty, is Duane.  I think people steal playing from him all the time. Trey has a lot of that sustain, those really long sustaining notes and the first guy I really heard do that was Duane Allman. But I could be wrong… I love it.

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