Lubriphonic is a 7-piece musical juggernaut hailing from the bluesy underbelly of the Chicago nightlife. Seemlessly fusing Funk, Soul, and good ol’ Rock ‘n Roll, the boys from Lubriphonic aren’t all flash – they’re one of the hardest working bands in the business! Often touring the nation more than 220 days a year, Lubriphonic has one self-appointed duty for all of their shows: to whip the crowd into a funk-fueled frenzy that doesn’t stop until last call.

Scott Feldman got a chance to chat with Lubriphonic front-man and guitarist, Giles Corey. Enjoy the interview! LISTEN to “Mixin’ In the Kitchen (Live)”, from their album, Soul-Solution!

An Exclusive Interview with Giles Corey of Lubriphonic

Scott: How long had you been working as a sideman to some of Chicago’s elite blues musicians before deciding to form something original?  Is that something you’d always aspired to do?


Giles: I’d been working as a sideman in Chicago from 1993, when I got to town. Through about 2007, into 2008, at that point, you know, Lubriphonic took up all of my time and I couldn’t do any other gigs. So, you know, when I got to town in ’93, going to school, I started giging all through college and once I graduated I was able to tour, you know, quite a bit more. That’s when I started playing with people like Billy Branch and Syl Johnson, Magic Slim, people like that. I’d always wanted to, you know, do something original, I’d always wanted to, you know, have a project that was delicately ‘I had my eyes on the prize’ to do it. You know, it just, it didn’t really pan out until later on, you know, further on down the road.

For one thing, I felt like I had a lot to learn as far as being a front man and a vocalist and songwriter and things like that. You know, you kind of get humbled when you work with people that are, you know, renowned, you know and people wanna hear them all over the world, you know, you’re up places like that. So, you know I figured I’d just kind of shed for a while and then, you know, as well, finding the right people to work with took a minute. But, you know, we finally got it together in the early 2000, just, kind of, as a side project, and then it really started taking shape, you know, like I said, around 2007-2008.

 

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Scott: How does one go about putting together a 7 piece band?  Is there a revolving door of musicians or is their a firm lineup for both studio & tour work?

 

Giles: I don’t know that anyone really sets out to do that nowadays; it’s just one of those things that just, kind of, happens. You know, when we first really defined our sound we were a 5-piece; you know, guitar, bass, drums and two horns and, you know, that’s what we’re back to now. It’s just… it’s a more direct sound, it’s rawer and it just… it fits where we’re at. You know, but at various times we were a 6-piece and then we were a 7-piece and, you know, you just have to be Zen about it, you know.

There’s… you know, 7-piece band, touring, it’s rough… it’s difficult, there are definitely challenges to it. And there’s people that kind of move in and out and always have in our organization. You know, people have other commitments to do, you know, the core members, you know, kind of stay in, you know, the rhythm section, you know, has been the core of the group and then, you know, we’ve had different horn players, keyboard players, percussionists kind of come in and out… which is fine. I think that that kind of change helps keep everything fresh as well. But yeah, you know, it’s definitely a challenge.

 

Scott: What’s it like being on the road with a 7 piece band for 200+ days/year.

 

Giles: You know, it’s not as crazy as you’d think. You know, people… we were fortunate that everyone got along, you know, cause it’s a lot of tight… you know, close corners and things like that. You just kind of learn to be patient, you know, cause… seven people, there’s seven personalities, you know. I think that the best way to describe it… one of the guys from the Jefferson Airplane, I can’t remember if it was drummer, whoever it was, said “you know, the biggest part about being in a band is learning to accept everybody else’s bullshit because you know that they’re accepting yours, you know. And I think that’s true. I think that goes a long way just in terms of personalities and creative ideas and all that stuff. So that’s… you kind of have to be Zen about it and be groovy with everybody.

 

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Scott: You guys have had the opportunity to open for some pretty big names in music, including Buddy Guy, George Clinton, Derek Trucks and plenty more.  Do you have a relationship with these guys?  Has your background as a go to guitarist in Chicago helped in finding industry support for Lubriphonic?

 

Giles: Yeah, we’ve been fortunate to open, you know, for a lot of really cool acts. You know, some we’ve had relationships with that went on, some, you know, not really. You know, it’s just a matter of where everyone’s head is at, I guess. You know, I’ve only opened for Andrews Osborne, I’ve opened for Cedric Burnside and these are folks that we’re still in touch with just cause, you know, we also come from that same background, that roots and blues kind of background. And, you know, sometimes you get a chance to meet people, sometimes you don’t.

You know, has my background as a guitarist in Chicago helped me finding industry support for Lubriphonic? Not really, you know, it’s… you know, the music industry in general doesn’t have a long memory. I guess that’s one way to put it or they’re just not really interested in what you’ve done, they’re really more interested in what you’re doing. You know, so if you’re a sideman, you know, that’s all well and good and you may have had some wonderful experiences but the music industry is really more interested in what you’re able to do at the moment.

And in that sense, what I did as a sideman or session player or whatever does not translate into putting bodies in seats, so to speak, you know, not that what I did in the past is not important… it certainly informs what I do now, but as far as helping find industry support… not really.


Scott: Where do you see soul/blues/funk fitting into the very uncertain future of the music industry? How do you reach a youthful demographic, who is most likely not exposed to what you guys are doing anywhere else?

 

Giles: Well, the future of the music industry is uncertain… in that it’s not gonna stay as is. You know, people are always gonna wanna have music and it might, sort of, revert back to, you know, really more of a live format, you know, to a larger extent than it has been over the last few decades. Since… whatever, the 50s and 60s to now, you know, musicians have made more money than they ever have in the history of the world… you know what I mean? You know, before that, you know, you might write something and, like, get published but you weren’t really gonna get wealthy off of it. Most musicians just made their living traveling around and playing music. I mean, you know, everything we know about Mozart is from letters that he wrote and all of the letters are him basically asking people for money. Right? And this is… pretty much everyone acknowledges now, in his own time, that he was the greatest musical mind ever and the only record we have of him is him basically asking rich people for money cause he didn’t have his own.

So, you know, but I digress, you know, where soul and blues and funk fits into it… you know, I don’t know. I know that it does fit into it and that it’s something that is best served live, you know, blues, funk, rock’n’roll, things like that. And people, hopefully, are always wanna go out and see that stuff. You know, no one’s ever gonna be… there’s never gonna be another Beatles or Stones. You know, no one’s ever make a whole lot of money playing blues or soul or funk or even rock’n’roll, you know. But hopefully, you know, everyone doing it would be able to beat out an honest living. You know, how do your reach a youthful demographic? You know, I’m not really all that concerned about that. I mean, you know, I play for whoever will listen and certainly it’s good to have younger people get into that… get into that kind of music, the music we play. You know, most people… I really… it’s not gonna touch their palette, I don’t think, until they’re either in college or out of college, you know. If you’re talking about teenagers, you know, there’s maybe one in a hundred of them that can sit through a “Howlin’ Wolf” tune.

And that’s always been the case, you know. So, it’s just not necessarily a type of music that is, you know, built for teens. That being said, I got into it as a teenager, but we tend to attract an audience, you know, between people in their early 20s to, you know, into their 40s. It’s cause it’s bar music, it’s nightclub music, it’s live music. So, it’s not really meant to be packaged and videoed and, you know, blitzed and glamed, it’s what it is and it’s real. Hopefully there will be a future for that in the new order of the music industry.


Scott: Your guys’ music is a melting pot of rock ‘n roll, blues, & funk (in my opinion) – Do you feel more influenced by certain of these genre’s than others?  Is this what the band listens to, or does it just happen to be what you guys end up creating?

 

Giles: Yeah, this band is definitely a melting pot of all that stuff. So, the sound that we get it’s just kind of what happens, you know, when you get, you know… I come out of a blues background but also, you know, I grew up with rock’n’roll, I grew up with my Lez Zepp and my Stones, you know, that stuff, you know. And… which is, you know, our band is interracial, which makes it multicultural as well. And, you know, there’s a lot of stuff that I grew up listening to that sort of… you know, Canada is the second nature to me that, you know, some of the guys of the band, being African-American, are just not hip to. You know, a lot of black people don’t know anything about Zeppelin, you know. Just like a lot of white people don’t know anything about Teddy Pendergrass, you know.

So, I think that kind of collection of not just musical influences, but just backgrounds, makes for a unique mixture that we have, which is, you know, it’s a blessing and a curse. It makes something that’s really different and cool, but it’s also, you know, it’s not easy to put into a box. And things that are not easy to put into a box, you know, sometimes meet resistance, you know, in terms of people either wanting to listen to it or people wanting to sell it, you know. A lot of times, you know, people tend to resist things that are not easily categorized. So, like I said, it’s a blessing and a curse but, you know, I’ll take it… I’ll take it over being generic any day of the week.


Scott: Lubriphonic looks, sounds and feels like the quintessential live band with off the charts musicianship & energy – do you feel the need to reign that in at all when you get into the studio?  Do you prefer to be on the road or in the studio?

 

Giles: Yeah, you definitely have to rain yourself in when you go into the studio a little bit. Only because, you know, what you do live, you know, when you play, you know, with a certain amount of ferocity, let’s say, on some tracks, you know, or whatever; anything you do live, even if it’s subdued or mellow feeling, is gonna be exaggerated because you’re playing to a stage and you need to project throughout that whole room whatever it is you’re trying to express, which, you know, is great in the moment but if it’s recorded, you know, the sort of imperfections of that become kind of glaring.

It’s kind of like the difference between a stage actor, you know, and a movie actor. You know, on stage, you know, stage actors talk very loud, they use big hand gestures, they move all over the place and this is because they have to project what they’re doing to, you know, whatever, 800-1,000 people in a room or a building. You know, with screen actors, they use the technology, you know, it would be ridiculous for a screen actor to act the way a stage actor does. You know, it would be comical, right? So it’s kind of the same thing in the studio. I mean, you want to have a live feeling, a live passion, but you can’t, you know, you can’t necessarily have the extremes that you would have in a live show cause it would just, kind of, sound ridiculous, you know.

And, you know, the recording is, sort of, unforgiving in terms of that, in terms of, like, tempo shifts and things like that. Things that people don’t necessarily notice live but in the studio you definitely have to rain that in. So, it’s just a different way of playing. And you kind of have to find a balance of it. I… you know, do I prefer to be on the road or in the studio? I prefer to be on the road, I should say I prefer to be playing live. And of course, the only way to do that really is to be on the road. You know, I’d love it if someone could invent some sort of transporter that could just get me to the gig and home after the gig. And, you know, I could just, kind of, be like Elton John, and just drop in and out.

But yeah, you know, there’s… when you play a live show, you know, you just get that energy, the juice back, you know, everything you give out you get back from an audience. In the studio, you know, you’re pretty much in a cave, you know, a windowless cave, you know, for hours and hours, you know, just playing songs, you know, with headphones on and you feel really isolated, you know. And then you stop playing and there’s just silence and then you do another take and it’s just a very isolating feeling. So, I definitely prefer the live experience.

 

Scott: What’s up for the future?  More tours/records?

 

Giles: Well, yeah, I’d like to make another record, you know, pretty soon. We’ve… you know, I’ve been writing, we’ve been doing a lot of new songs on the road – that’s pretty much how we tend to work, you know – we make sure the thing kind of matures and grows and breathes on its own, on the road, in front of a live audience and then that’s when we know the song is done and ready to record. So, yeah, you know, like to put the new things down, put them into cyberspace for everybody. And, yeah, keep on touring, keep on brining the music to the people. That’s what I’m looking forward to.


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