Feature, Interview, Preview

Rockin’ the Fresh Coast with Lazer Lloyd (Interview)

By Kevin Alan Lamb

Born Lloyd Paul Blumen in New York City, 1966, Lazer Lloyd lives on the precipice where sound meets spirit, or perhaps it is the other way around. In an era defined by definitions themselves, his music transcends our ability to define it as this or that, while intoxicating all who consume it’s unique combination of Mississippi and Moroccan tuning. Few so eloquently articulate and thereby elevate life’s joys and struggles in accessible form, accompanied by rock, country, folk, bluegrass, and psychedelic waves. Channeled from his heart to yours, Lazer Lloyd is a defender of the decent, fulfilling his obligation as a musician to heal, help, and offer hope while shredding his pretty ladies (guitars) on stage. 

Lazer’s spirituality and love of people is rooted in his early life at home where his family participated in the national A Better Chance program. Lloyd grew up in a house full of kids from all backgrounds all sharing music and family in a warm caring environment. “Music was always being played in our home” according to his father, Joel, who introduced him to blues, folk, rock, and jazz music, and took him to concerts by George Benson, Carlos Santana, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, inspiring him to pursue music.

“As a young songwriter and guitar player, I loved Neil Young with his super sensitive acoustic and singing just suddenly firing it up with searing guitar.  I first heard Stevie Ray Vaughn live at 14 and my father also took me to hear Santana live – those were life-changing experiences – seeing masters who performed on a level of prayer through music on stage.  That set my mind and heart on playing music for life,” Lazer says. 

At Age 14, Lazer heard Stevie Ray Vaughn and knew what his life’s work would be. We live in an age of options and distractions, where people rarely commit fully to anything. As capable beings, we are drawn to many paths, but until we embrace what it is to own our greatest gifts, and step into our power, we will be searching for something that has always been hidden in plain site. 

Lazer arrived to these United States just last evening, by way of Israel, and will soon drive across the state to Ferndale where he will begin his Rockin’ The Fresh Coast tour tonight at Otus Supply. The last time he was on that stage a fan gifted him a guitar made from the top of an ammunition box; after the show, Lazer plugged it into his amp and proceeded to dance with his newest pretty lady for another 30 minutes. Each time he takes the stage it is recommended you fasten your seat belt, and prepare for takeoff to a place where even he isn’t quite certain you’ll arrive. Because that’s what it is about. That’s music. 

Then he will wake up and do it again tomorrow night in Grand Rapids at the Tip Top. After one more sleep he will be joined by his band, The Tulsa Youngbloods, who will rehearse on Friday and prepare for their headlining set and debut at Dunesville Music Festival on Saturday in Lake Ann, following Rachael and Dominic Davis on the Main Stage. 

Each show will be special because Lazer takes the stage with a clean slate, awaiting to perceive the audience and vibe of each night. Each show will be special because this is what Lazer was put on this earth to do. Each show will be special because together, with just the love in a single room, we can change the world by helping heal the hurting heart and soul of a single person. 

July 24 – The Parliament at Otus Supply (Ferndale)

July 25 – Tip Top Deluxe (Grand Rapids)

July 27 – Dunesville Music Festival (Lake Ann)

July 28 – Harbor Sunset Series (Big Rapids)

August 6 – Wildwood Concert Series (Lake Orion)

Here’s my conversation with a growing legend who I’m grateful to call a friend.

You have a pretty good history in Michigan at this point, can you share some of your observations and connections to the people in the towns you’ve played?

Yeah Michigan people, it’s quite an interesting mix. It’s kind of like Texas up north, people have a real healthy attitude, free spirit, and there’s kind of a small town feel wherever you go, friendly feel, but open minded and it’s got a Michigan thing [laughing]. Good music lovers, and they like the combination I do of the rock, country, folk, bluegrass, psychedelic, all put together.

You have the special opportunity of living in Israel, and actively touring in the US. Can you share with folks how you were drawn there from the east coast, and the joy you experience playing in multiple nations?

Yes, when I was doing demo recording for Atlantic Records after doing my showcase, they brought me to live in Manhattan and I played with someone who really liked the way I played as a sideman who asked me if I would go and try and play in Israel, which I did not want to do because I was in the middle of recording, had a serious girlfriend, a day job, but he just convinced me and I fell in love with the place. It’s just mind boggling to live in a place where you are exposed to life threatening situations and at the same time, a lot of peace, and beautiful people and a mix of a lot of cultures. It helps your mind grow and how to see the world better. 

How would you describe the Lazer sound to someone who isn’t familiar?

It’s a combination of roots, rock, Americana, soul, folk, blues, psychedelic bluegrass mixed in together

When were you first drawn to the Hero’s Journey you continue to traverse? What routines do you practice to maintain your connection with source and spirit?

I was first drawn to the Hero’s Journey when I was 14 and saw Stevie Ray Vaughan play live, I knew that was what I wanted to do. At 16 I was playing on the stage, and that’s what I’ve been doing since. To keep me connected, I spend a lot of time in nature, and I spend time doing different meditations, some with the guitar, some without, and some prayer. I have different searches that I do – searching philosophies and religions, and my own soul, with a lot of listening to people, and I try to keep my body healthy with exercise, healthy eating. You have to do that to make the road, and you have to be prepared to go with change, and know that you’re being drive, and you gotta let go of the wheel sometimes, that helps you survive on the road. 

You regularly make tour stops to support fans who are struggling with health, loss, and regions who have suffered tragedy. Why is this important to you?

I don’t like to advertise those things, but music was brought into the world for healing, and if you’re involved with music you have to be a healer, so that’s the job of a musician.

Tell us about the new album, and some songs we might hear from it on your upcoming Michigan run?

Oh wow, about the new album, number six, just so blessed to be able to work with some incredible people, Eric Paul, the guy who produced Townes Van Zandt album, brought us into Ricky Skaggs’ studio in Nashville, and it was a dream playing with some of the best players for my type of music there. We did some of the songs there then finished the album with one of the producers of The Eagles, Chris Bell, in Wimberley Texas, at an unbelievable studio Called Blue Rock with the band from Tulsa and it’s just a dream album. We finished it off with a single at The Hit Factory, Criteria Studios where they made “Hotel California”, that’s where we wrote the song “Stay With Me Woman”, which we will perform, and we will perform our version of “Midnight Rider” for sure, and “Backstreets” along with some other surprises off the new album, and probably the title track, “Help Is On The Way” which is about struggling with addiction.

You are headlining Dunesville Saturday night, on a lineup filled with great artists. What are your thoughts, feelings, leading up to your performance?

It’s a great festival, and always a great vibe in Michigan, but the truth is, until I actually get on stage, and see what kind of audience it is, and see what the vibes is, I don’t like to make too many plans because I like to be in the moment. 

If you could share the stage with any artist (living or dead), who would it be?

Well, any artist alive or dead, it would have to be Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix, and I’m a huge Chris Stapleton fan.

Tell us about your home, and life in Israel. 

I live in a humble apartment in the woods, in the mountains, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with my wife and five children. My studio is between my bed in the bedroom and the wall. There’s enough room for my guitars, and a chair. I play basketball with the kids, and tour in Israel when I’m home. Songwriting on the back porch, looks over the mountains where Sampson in The Bible got his strength from, so it’s an inspiring place.

Who are some people you would like to thank for your continued rise in the scene?

There’s so many people I need to thank. Of course, my manager Yo, from Chicago. The great Kevin Lamb, from Michigan has really helped us. The fans, we’re grassroots, so there’s so many fans who have spread our music around, so they’re the ones we really need to thank. 

If you are searching for a reminder of how brilliant, capable, and wonderfully human you are, I recommend spending a few hours with Lazer Lloyd, live on stage. Or maybe you just want to vibe with another human who is as potent and powerful as you’ve grown to be. Either way, we’re better together. Just in case you were listening for one, This Is A Good Sound. 

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