Q&A with Nils Lofgren of E Street Band on Blind Date Jam Project
No rehearsals, no second takes - NIls Lofgren's Blind Date Jam music project brings improv back to live performance.
2014 Inductee Nils Lofgren's longtime idea of creating purposeful and spontaneous jam sessions is coming to life - on November 17 he'll release an 80-minute Blind Date Jam session video for fans. Nils filled us in on how the idea came to be and what rock fans can look forward to with this inspired release.
Rock Hall: Was there a specific jam session that spurred the idea to create Blind Date Jams? How did you name the idea?
Nils Lofgren: On tour with Patti Scialfa, in her great band, I started noticing our impromptu jam sessions at sound checks and TV studios. Someone would start a cool riff no one ever heard and we’d all join in with inspired, free jamming. I realized this type of free form playing was rarely if ever shared with audiences.
This lead to creating Blind Date Jam, setting out to share these unrehearsed, spur of the moment interactions with the audience. For musicians to gather and play with no idea what will happen as the main theme, which led to the name.
RH: How many different musicians have you jammed with in this relaxed way over your career?
Lofgren: Into my 50th year on the road, there’s realistically hundreds of players I’ve had a version of this experience with and I’m blessed to say they all helped mold the musician I am.
RH: How did you assemble the group that appears in this release?
Lofgren: For this current release of Blind Date Jam, I assembled local musicians I knew would shine in this setting and enjoy the “set of your pants” aspect of it. Greg Varlotta on guitar, keys, trumpet, trombone and tap dance, Gary Bruzzese on drums, John Willis on bass.
RH: How do fans receive the recording - is it a video only or an audio track? Does the format change per jam session?
Lofgren: This 80-minute Jam will be sent as a video download Nov. 17th. With pre-orders, which we encourage, you’ll immediately get a home Blind Date Jam version with me jumping around in my studio with a variety of instruments having some reckless, musical fun.
RH: How will these spontaneous sessions affect future touring - will you want to incorporate these kinds of sessions live for fans?
Lofgren: At present, I hope people enjoy this raw musical interaction enough that I can offer a new one every few months. Of course, I have a long list of friends I’d like to fly in to participate and I hope the audience interest and enjoyment leads to that.
RH: Tell us about using the Pledge campaign - what are some of the items fans can receive for signing up for the jam?
Lofgren: PledgeMusic is a great avenue to be able to offer some exclusives and autographed items to my fans. Everyone who Pledges for the Jam gets the bonus home jam, as well as some updates from me along the way.
We’ve also made some unique items available like a handwritten lyric sheet to “Keith Don’t Go” as well as an autographed physical DVD of the Jam, an autographed copy of the audiophile double vinyl “Acoustic Live” album, my 10 disc career spanning box set “Face the Music”, autographed shirts and the like.
To order the Blind Date Jam session, visit Nils' PledgeMusic page.