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'Peace, Happiness' and G. Love
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'Peace, Happiness' and G. Love

MIKE PESCA, host:

When G. Love & Special Sauce first started, they had to explain to people, well, yeah, you could call it rap, and yes, I'm white, but we're not the Beastie Boys or anything like that, and later this name, alternative hip-hop, was born, which doesn't really describe G. Love's music either. Luckily, he - 10 albums into his recording career, G. Love can just say, hey, man, we're G. Love & Special Sauce. Don't you know us by now? The new G. Love & Special Sauce album is called "Superhero Brother." It drops, as they say, on Tuesday. G. Love joins us in the studio. Thanks for coming by, sir.

Mr. GARRETT DUTTON (G. Love, of G. Love & Special Sauce): Thank you for having me.

PESCA: So I know you're a big Philly guy, you've got a song called "I-76" with the chorus of "Get along, 76ers." Charles Berkeley dissed Larry Bird.

Mr. DUTTON: That's right.

PESCA: I know you performed at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies, last weekend. You opened for Jimmy Buffet there.

Mr. DUTTON: Yeah, that was amazing.

PESCA: How was that gig?

Mr. DUTTON: That was so cool. It was like definitely one of the biggest crowds I got in front of, and the Jimmy Buffet fans are these - it's just a whole culture, you know, and people are raised in it, you know, and from the first row to the very last row of the nosebleed sections, I swear to God, everybody was dancing the whole show.

PESCA: What does - because I have never seen anything like this, what does that many Hawaiian shirts in one place look like?

Mr. DUTTON: Soup.

PESCA: Yeah?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DUTTON: Vegetable soup.

PESCA: You also - because Hawaiian shirts...

Mr. DUTTON: You know, neon, neon vegetable soup.

PESCA: They usually clash internally. I'm wondering if you get, you know, 10,000 of them together, does - do the color pattern start to work?

Mr. DUTTON: Yeah.

PESCA: It's a thing.

Mr. DUTTON: It is.

PESCA: Like Jimmy Buffet, a lot of your tunes are really - they're upbeat, you could dance to them, but the inspiration for the new album "Superhero Brother," was about you going to the slums of Rio de Janeiro, which wasn't that upbeat an experience. How do you translate that into the songs?

Mr. DUTTON: Yeah. Well, I was on tour down there in Novem - last November with my good buddy, Donavon Frankenreiter, and I, went to this kind of a surf outreach program, like a community-center kind of vibe, and we played for the children that afternoon in the favela. And if you don't know, the favelas are, like, the - these, like, terrible ghettos that are, like - they're not neighborhoods, though.

They're cities, you know, and, you know, you'd never seen - I had never seen, you know, you know, poverty, like, a - like, these little cities, so poverty-stricken, and we went in and played for these kids and, you know, just the energy that these kids gave back to us, and just the whole day was just, you know, joyous. And I really just received a lot of energy that day, and I came home and wrote that song, "Peace, Love and Happiness," for the kids, and you know, with the mind that I wanted to have something that these kids, who, you know, are Brazilians speaking Portuguese, could sing along with, so...

PESCA: So let's hear something off the new album, "Superhero Brother," your 10th album. You guys have been together for 15 years. What do you want to play?

Mr. DUTTON: I'm going to play the title track right now, which is a song that I wrote about saving the world.

PESCA: All right.

(Soundbite of song "Superhero Brother")

Mr. DUTTON: (Singing) Yeah, everyone once in awhile, I got to use my superpowers, Even though saving the world out of style. It ain't my fault all this bad stuff is happening, But now it time I put my foot on down.

Oh, baby, my love don't seem the same.

Well, they say that love is all you need to heal the world, Plus a trillion billion dollars, have you heard? That President Bush saying the Claw's in Green Goblin. Saddam Hussein's by the man of bin Laden, Britney Spears, Jesus, and the whole cast of "Friends" Met for brunch last week to solve the world's problems? Well, they called on me.

Oh baby, my love don't seem the same.

Yeah. If they called on my name, don't you know I'd do it? Shine my signal over Gotham. I'd be true. It is my distinct pleasure to come down from my grass, Get off of my front porch and save all your asses, And in the nick of time, too.

Oh, baby, my love don't seem the same.

Yeah. Change is come over me, mama, so grow up. So I freestyle my ass across the U.S.A., Solve the economy, the homeless problem, Save what's left of the environment,

Create jobs for everybody be doing something that they want to be doing. But if you can't do smack, then you better do something, Because this is time when you sure can't do nothing, And that means you, And you, and you, and you, and me, too.

Oh, baby, yeah.

Going to fly overseas and set all the slaves free, From prostitution, sweat shop, child labor. Solve the myriad of problems in the Middle East Think of some type of (unintelligible). We have to fight for all your fears.

And I'll take all the troops back from wherever they roam And whatever they're fighting and whatever side they're on, And send them on the first plane home to their moms. We could make coffee tables out of all these bombs.

And save the whales and pygmy marmosets, too. Oh, baby.

Yeah, that seems kind of hard, but it really ain't nothing. All you got to do is get bit by a spider or something. We could change the world in a week or a day And if you got a problem, man, I'll sweep them away. Find yourself in a world full of trouble, Just call on G. Love, the superhero brother.

And I'll be there. Yeah. I'll be there. I'll be there. Mm-hm, I'll be there.

Oh, baby, my love don't seem the same. No. No. No.

Superhero brother.

PESCA: Well, you convinced me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: You've raised awareness. I wasn't really aware of the pygmy-marmoset problem, and now I know.

Mr. DUTTON: It's my kids' favorite at the zoo, man.

PESCA: They are so cute, the pygmy marmosets. That's G. Love of G. Love & Special Sauce fame. The title track off his new album, "Superhero Brother," and rhyming green goblin and bin Laden, that's - I mean, that's genius, isn't it?

Mr. DUTTON: I think so.

PESCA: So does that mean - is the point - let's not over-explain it, right? But is the kind of point of the song, be inspired to do with what you can? Or is it more like, hey, that sounds like fun, but we're not going to be able to solve these world problems through a song?

Mr. DUTTON: I don't know. All that, you know?

PESCA: Yes.

Mr. DUTTON: It's all that. It's utterly serious to me, and utterly making fun of myself and all musicians. Oh, you know, we must save the world with my music, you know, that's kind of the ultimate goal, right?

PESCA: Yeah.

Mr. DUTTON: Can you save the world with your music? Well, that's kind of the dream, right? And at the same time, it's - you're probably going to save the world with better foreign policy and a good economic game plan, but - yeah, so, that's kind of a, you know, a tongue-and-cheek state-of-the-union address, I like to call it.

PESCA: That's pretty cool. I like that.

Mr. DUTTON: All right.

PESCA: Tell me about your guitar.

Mr. DUTTON: This is a Gretsch guitar. It's - this is a White Falcon acoustic, and I actually recently kind of jumped into bed with Gretsch, and they just put out my signature series guitar, which is the G. Love Corvette, which, when I found out I was possibly going to get a - my own guitar, I mean, to me, that was as big a deal as getting my record deal in 1993. You know, it was one of those where, wow, you know, that's really making the grade, man.

PESCA: Yeah. Ten years ago, you were one of the first guys to throw a hidden video on a CD. There was a cooking show...

Mr. DUTTON: Right.

PESCA: Where you did a little cooking as you put the CD in the computer.

Mr. DUTTON: That's right.

PESCA: We want to know, have you kept up with it? Are you still cooking? What are you cooking for yourself on the road?

Mr. DUTTON: I cook. I don't cook on the road. I cook when I'm home with my kid, and man, I cook some good stuff up. Actually, I'll tell you why I cook, because we've been trying to do this piece for Bon Appetit Magazine. So, I've had to submit, like, all my recipes that - and the summertime is time for grilling.

PESCA: Yes.

Mr. DUTTON: And we've just been grilling up a storm. So, like, you know, grilled wild duck, season it with like this provincial herbs, and rock salt and pepper, and even some, like, truffle oil put on there...

PESCA: Cool.

Mr. DUTTON: With, like, you know, grilled leeks in arugula salad with goat cheese, and you know, some real gourmet stuff here, man. I'm talking about - you can't beat that. It's so good. Mm, it's making me hungry right now.

PESCA: What's G. Love's favorite sauce?

Mr. DUTTON: My favorite sauce is G. Love's special hot sauce ,for sale now at philadelphonic.com.

PESCA: There you go. Let's get another song off the new album. Let's hear the song you talked about, "Peace, Love and Happiness."

Mr. DUTTON: All right.

PESCA: And this is a song for the kids from the Rio de Janeiro slums?

Mr. DUTTON: Yeah. This is. And this is a song that I wrote - my thinking was, God, you know, I said, why let this world weigh on your shoulders? If these kids that are living there can be so full of life, and love, and hope, you know, then anybody, you know, anybody can. And that's why I wrote this.

PESCA: All right. Let's check it out.

(Soundbite of song "Peace, Love, and Happiness")

Mr. DUTTON: (Singing) Why let this world just weigh on your shoulder? Pick it up, push it off, before you let yourself get colder. Just look into the eyes, the good eye of a child, To see that love ride like a river and fall for a thousand miles.

Give me some peace, love, happiness. Peace, love, happiness.

Breathe in deep, and feel your heart beat, and know that life's worth living. Feel your feet on the Earth. you better love it while it's still here spinning. I got no time to worry about trouble or misgiving. You can let it flow, let yourself go, if you hating then you sure ain't living.

Now, peace, love, happiness. Peace, love, happiness.

A lot of people talking, need somebody to listen, Lot of people struggling, yeah, well, you better start giving

A little peace, love, happiness. Peace, love, happiness.

How can we eat this daily bread? So many people starving. How come the president just builds more bombs, when they should start disarming? With all that money spent on guns, instead of food and education, We need to buy a little peace and love instead, and start a healing for the nation.

Give me peace, love, happiness. Peace, love, happiness.

Peace, love, and happiness. Peace, love, and happiness.

PESCA: G. Love of G. Love & Special Sauce. His new album is "Superhero Brother." Thanks a lot for coming in.

Mr. DUTTON: Hey, my pleasure. Thank you.

(Soundbite of song "My Baby Got Sauce")

Mr. DUTTON: (Singing) Cooling out, cooling out, Waiting for my lady. Got the special sauce, That's why she's my baby...

PESCA: We've got video - bonus video, if you will - of G. Love performing in our studio, and we will put that up on the web. So we just don't have the video, we're going to share the video with you, is what we're saying. That will be on npr.org/bryantpark, because we give and give here at the Bryant Park Project, and we are always online at npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Mike Pesca. Have we said it enough? This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

(Soundbite of song "My Baby Got Sauce")

Mr. DUTTON: (Singing)

My baby got sauce. Your baby ain't sweet like mine...

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