Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse Band, Flying Colors)

AF: So this should be a lot of fun Dave. I've seen you live a few times and you've always seemed like an interesting guy. I guess I'm first curious about what your first big break was and how it came about.

DL: My first break was getting the Dregs gig, and it's a typical music business story. I was playing a lot of "fusion" gigs in New Jersey and New York in the '80's, and I got on a record date with T Lavitz, the Dregs keyboard player. We had a good time playing and hanging out, and he used me on other projects. I recorded one of his CD's with Rod Morgenstein, and was recommended for the Dregs gig after that.

AF: You've been on some amazing tours playing with The Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, and the list goes on. Infact I think you just got home from tour. So what are some of your touring essentials? I.E. your iPod, favorite DVDs, etc.

DL: Yeah, I just got home from a year and a half of Joe Satriani/ G3 tours, with some Dregs dates thrown in. When I'm on the road, I have to have a lot of books to read, and I bring my laptop to check email, and to surf the web. I jut recently got a small Pro Tools interface so I can record on the road. I practice when I can, so it is absolutely essential that I have my Korg Pandora, and my iPod. The Pandora is great, it has a built-in tuner, drum machine and an aux input for the iPod. On the last European run we did, there were a lot of days off. Fortunately, Jeff's drum Tech, Jose, had a hard drive full of videos. I watched the entire season of "Heroes", and the Showtime series "Dexter".

AF: When you're not on tour or in the studio, how do you like to spend your free time?
DL: I love playing tennis, I usually play 5 times a week when I am home. There are always a lot of things to be done around the house, as well, so that keeps me busy. My wife and I love to watch movies, we travel when we can, and we like to take our Golden Retriever on walks and to the dog park.

AF: This is kind of a survey I'm doing in all my interviews; Where is the best IHOP and/or Wafflehouse?
DL: My favorite Waffle House is in McDonough, GA, a little town outside of Atlanta. Van Romaine and I would go there late at night after working all day on Steve Morse Band records.

AF: What are some of your favorite movies?
DL: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Braveheart, Silence of the Lambs, there are too many to name. Those just spring to mind first.
AF: If you weren't a musician, what would you be?
DL: I thought about going to Law School after college, but decided to try and make a living at music. Fortunately, things worked out.

AF: This question is based of a conversation I recently had. What was your favorite toy as a kid? DL: That's a tough one - I had a couple of really cool bikes that were Christmas gifts, I really liked those.

AF: What is your most memorable experience that you have from the road thus far?
DL: There are many, recording Bring 'Em Back Alive at Center Stage in Atlanta was really exciting. I played Madison Square Garden this past year with Joe Satriani, that was huge. I think my favorite memory, however, is from the Ritz Theater in NYC. I played there soon after joining the Dregs, and I had seen Jaco play there a few years before. I remember walking on stage for sound check and standing where he stood, it was a great feeling.

AF: When you're touring all over the world, do you ever get time to sight see?
DL: I try and make time when possible. The guys in Joe's band are really into it, so I get to go along with them to see the sights quite often. Most of the time, however, the schedule is too demanding.

AF: Where is your favorite vacation spot?
DL: My house.

AF: A great friend of mine, Ken Walker is a big fan of yours. I told him I was doing an interview with you and thought I'd give him the opportunity to ask you a few questions, so these next few are from him. Say hi to Ken!
DL: Hey Ken. These better be good!

AF: Haha. No pressure buddy.

KW: Considering the many artists you have recorded and/or toured with, which project(s) did you find particularly musically challenging?
DL: The Planet X set is the most difficult music I have had to learn. The Dregs/Steve Morse Band music is also very challenging, but there is usually a bluegrass tune to provide some relief.

AF: Actually, Ken has seen you several times. Even when you guys recorded the California Screamin' album. Anyway, he and I saw you with the Dregs and SMB at the Madison Theater in KY. I think I speak for both of us when we say, AMAZING show!

KW: What was your most rewarding musical experience?
DL: That's a tough one - I have been very blessed and played a lot of great gigs with many great musicians. Listening to some of the tracks I've done on the Dregs or Steve Morse Band recordings has been rewarding. It's a great feeling to learn one of Steve's tunes, then cut the track, and possibly contribute a solo.

KW: Who are you main influences?
DL: My main bass guy is definitely Jaco Pastorius. There are so many other great players that I have listened to and been influenced by - Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, guys like John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, the list goes on and on. I've also had some great teachers, a wonderful jazz guitarist named Mike Santiago was very influential, as was my teacher at Berklee, John Repucci.

KW: What have you been listening to lately?
DL: Dream Theater, some old Metallica, Pat Metheny, the latest Jeff Berlin CD. I always listen to a lot of classical music, as well. I've been listening to the Ossad Brothers classical guitar duets lately.

AF: Is it hard to keep up with your personal relationships (friends/family) when you're on the road so much?
DL: Yes, that's the toughest part of traveling. I don't like being away from my wife for too long, so I try and get her on the road with me for a while if I'm out for more than a few weeks.

AF: What is your biggest touring pet-peeve.
DL: Either having to pay for Internet access at some hotels, or European bathrooms.

AF: What is your favorite late-night tourbus snack?
DL: Cookies (or Entenmann's donuts) and milk. I have to have my sugar fix.

AF: Walk us through a typical day of Dave LaRue (on tour).
DL: Most every day follows the same pattern. Get up and off the tour bus and check into the hotel. Depending on the hour, either sleep for a bit or make calls, answer emails, or practice. Go to sound check around 3, grab some food and back to the hotel to chill and shower before the gig. Play the show, clean up and get on the bus and travel all night.

AF: Walk us through a typical day of Dave LaRue (off tour).
DL: This can vary, depending on what needs to get done on any given day. Generally, I get up and have coffee, watch the news and check email. Then I'll do paper work, or office stuff (shipping, whatever) until I go play tennis. If there is nothing outstanding, I may practice piano or bass for a while. After tennis, shower and then into the studio to write, record, practice, whatever. We usually eat around 8, maybe watch a movie after that.
AF: What's next on the agenda for you?
DL: It's great to be home working on my own music for a change. I want to finish my CD this year, and there are several other recording projects that I am interested in getting to, as well. We would like to get the Dregs on the road soon, that is being looked into.

AF: Dave, thanks so much for doing this interview. Its a true honor and pleasure. Best wishes!
DL: My pleasure, the questions were good, not the usual stock interview questions. Thanks!

AF: You can read more about Dave on his website: www.davelarue.com
Be sure to check his tour schedule, this is one guy you do NOT want to miss live.