Bringing the bass to Big Sky
Catching up with Greg Garrison of Big Sky Big Grass headliner Leftover Salmon
Bassist Greg Garrison and his band Leftover Salmon will headline the first night of Big Sky Big Grass on Feb. 8 and
again on Feb. 10. He recently chatted with the Lookout in anticipation of his upcoming Big Sky shows.
LPL - Leftover Salmon plays on the opening night of Big Sky Big Grass. What do you and your bandmates enjoy about playing this event?
GG - Most of us really love to be there because of the skiing! Such an amazing mountain. If the snow is good, I’ll be giving the Big Couloir a shot this year I think... Plus, the opportunity to play for the incredible Montana fans and the hanging/picking we get to do with our musical compadres from all of the other bands makes it really special.
LPL - Tell us a little about the instrument you play - do you have more than one, a favorite? What drew you to the bass?
GG - My primary instrument right now is a Lakland 5 string P-Bass. They made it for me earlier this year. I have a 1978 Fender P-Bass I love to play, but it weighs like 13 pounds, which gets to be unmanageable on long gigs, so I wanted something that had the same type of sound/vibe, but in a modern package.
I’ve been a Lakland endorser for a number of years, and they did a great job building a light, high-quality instrument to my specs. I’ve got some others at home as well, Mike Lull 5 string jazz that is fun to play, a reissue Kay hollow body and a couple of upright basses.
I was originally drawn to the bass because a family friend played it. I thought it was cool, and I played the upright bass in the fifth-grade orchestra. Once I got an electric and started shredding Motley Crüe and Iron Maiden, it was all over.
LPL - How’d you get involved with Leftover Salmon? What do you enjoy about being part of the band?
GG - I started playing with them in 2000, basically worked my way through the local Colorado scene and was in the right place at the right time when Tye North left the band. It’s a great gig...really laid-back people, fun experiences (like playing at Big Sky!!) Good pay. But no health insurance.
LPL - What’s the most memorable performance you’ve ever been involved in? Why?
GG - There have been so many, but playing Carnegie Hall when I was a member of Punch Brothers might top the list.
LPL - What’s your favorite locale to perform in? Why?
GG - Red Rocks because it’s Red Rocks!!
LPL- What advice would you give to someone thinking about trying to make it as a professional musician?
GG - You have to love and buy into the process—meaning you really need to love practicing, playing with others, traveling, writing, working your ass off and making very little money. And figure out exactly what kind of music you truly love and want to play.
Leftover Salmon is dropping a new album, “Something Higher,” May 4. Check out their official launch video on YouTube and see them perform live at Big Sky Big Grass Feb. 8 and 10.