G. Love and Special Sauce at Culture Room January 26 and 27

Back in the summer of 1994, college radio stations every so often played a song that sounded old yet kind of new. It started with a drumbeat, followed by a guitar and bass riff. Then came a voice, a lazy drawl somewhere between rap and song. This was the era before Shazam and even Internet music downloads. But it didn't take detective skills to figure out the song was called "Blues Music," because those were the two words uttered most often.

Nearly two decades later, G. Love & Special Sauce continue to kick out their hip-hop, rock 'n' roll, funk, and blues. And with two upcoming shows at the Culture Room this month, the cordial and enthusiastic G. Love spoke with New Times about music and spicy condiments.

New Times: How did you get the name G. Love?

G. Love: When I was coming up, all the old blues and hip-hop guys, like KRS-One and Guru, had nicknames, so I started calling myself G. Love. When we put the band together, the drummer was like, "I want to call the band Special Sauce." I said, "No, it's got to be G. Love." So he said, "All right, it's G. Love & Special Sauce."

The first song many listeners heard from you, "Blues Music," had a nostalgic sound. Now it's been around long enough to have its own nostalgia.

It's cool. This is our 20th year being a band. It's been a crazy road. The catalyst for keeping things going is working on new material, new songs, new arrangements on the old tunes. We like to keep it fresh and keep our live sets spontaneous.

Nowadays, since nobody is selling any records, it's a really liberating place in a way, because you can be as raw and dirty in a studio as you want. You don't have to worry about the commercial aspects of getting on the radio. We're gearing up to make a new record in the spring, so we're looking forward to being creative, real, and honest, using old-school-style recording.

The last record was going back to my roots as a coffee-shop singer. It was cool to go back and reconnect with all those old blues. This next record is going to our more funky, hip-hop-oriented sounds. The new material is really cool and uplifting.

Are you going to play some of the new songs at your concerts in Fort Lauderdale?

Absolutely. Now's a really fun time for us to be doing shows and for fans to be seeing shows, because we're really mixing up the sets every night since we're not out promoting a new record. It's more of us digging deep into the catalogue, playing the hits but also trying out a lot of new material to see what's working. Playing live is a good way to see how certain arrangements can increase the power of the songs. It's an experimental time where anything goes.

You sell your own hot sauce?

Yeah. We've had it since 2008, but we have really turned it into its own thing. We're in the process of doing a deal with another company to produce and distribute the sauce. It's going to have new artwork, a new flavor. So it's going to be pretty exciting and pretty spicy.

Did you come up with the recipe for the sauce?

Yeah, actually we did. There are three sauces: The legacy sauce, our take on Louisiana hot sauce. We're going to have a green sriracha sauce and also a yellow Caribbean hot sauce. Later we'll add a chili relish. It's been real fun to mess around and get the flavors just the way we want them.

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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland

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