Interview with Joe Pritchard of The Recipe

"Delivering vocals that add shivers to your spine to go along with the groove that's already shakin' your butt, The Recipe is selling out venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and expanding across the country.
Interview by Micky Marotta

HGMN: What's the best show you've seen?
Pritchard: That would be Stockholm Syndrome at the All Good Festival last year. They became really cohesive very quickly. I know they are great musicians but it did surprise me. I really enjoyed the show.

HGMN: What's your dream venue?
Pritchard: Suwannee Park in Langerado, FL is absolutely beautiful, with the white sand, 400 year old oak trees, Spanish moss....I love that place. Indoors would have to be the State Theater in Falls Church, WV. The sound is so professional. Their monitors are superb and being able to hear yourself is 80% of the battle in a live performance. I like the 930 Club in Washington, DC for the same reason. Of course, any Walther Productions event has great sound's like coming home to play one of their events... it's very comfortable for us.

HGMN: If you could only have one of the big three utensils (knife, fork, spoon) to use for the rest of your life, which would be?
Pritchard: I've got to have the spoon, or perhaps a ladle. I could get by with a 12-ounce mug too!

HGMN: Do you prefer sitting in with other bands or having someone sit in with you?
Pritchard: This is not something I plan for either way. I think it's fun to sit in with other groups, and sometimes it will help an opening act if someone from our band sits in with them. I've had a lot of fun playing with Leftover Salmon. Vince Herman loves to try and trip me Nelson's Ledges Quarry Park he not only tripped me up but also got himself and three band members into a big train wreck. I think it is hard for someone to sit in with us. I have a very technical method (Beatles roots) and it's not something everyone can do, especially if they are not familiar with the tune. Usually with guests we'll play an old standard that everyone knows.

HGMN: Do you have a favorite guest of the all the musicians that have sat in with the Recipe?
Pritchard: Jason Crosby is wonderful; he's really good at reading other musicians and knowing where they are going to go with something. He went on a few runs with us and we all really enjoyed it. Gordon Stone is great too, when he sits in with us, he doesn't want to leave after a song or too, and we don't want him to either.

Historically, you've played so many shows in a year - how to you psych up for a show when you are really tired and how do you wind down after a show?
Pritchard: In 9 out of 10 years, we've played 200 plus dates. We are thinking of getting more balanced and keeping it at no more then 150 dates in a year. To get motivated, we look back to our first headlining gig that had maybe 24 people there. We crushed it for 3 hours and no one left until we were done. That example serves as a motivator, if we could play to such a small crowd and give it our all, we can do anything. As far as winding down, it takes me a while. I stay wired for several hours and it can be difficult to fall asleep. If that happens, I usually take a walk.

HGMN: What's the best entertainment on the road?
Pritchard: Vegas - I like to gamble. I also love playing festivals, because there is so much to see and do at them. Playing on the beach is great too.

HGMN: Of the songs you've written, what is your favorite to perform?
Pritchard: Typical Angel, Wrecking Ball and Holy Dice are all right up there. I gave it my all from a songwriter's point of view and I feel it shows. Make Time For Love is another one I am very proud of - it worked from the first time we played it!

HGMN: How do you feel about Clear Channel?
Pritchard: I would hate to start up a band at this point - it is very difficult to get heard, get airplay, or survive in today's market. Sometimes I think they forgot that it is about the music. I wish they were a little more open and honest. I also think organization is not a bad thing and they do have that going for them.

HGMN: How do you feel about Home Grown Music?
Pritchard: I think HGMN is the BEST thing that has happened to independent music in the last 100 years! We were in the first 25 bands to become an HGMN band and that is a bit of history for us, a legacy of sorts. The Night of the Porch People did great because of HGMN. Lee has been in our corner all these years and keeps us in the game. The grass roots efforts of promotion and music sharing has certainly helped us too. It's kind of funny, because we are pretty popular on the jam-band circuit, but we are not about the "space"...we are about the song. We are starting to get even more popular on the slam-grass circuit because of Leftover Salmon being out of the game now. I hate to move up the ranks that way, but we have to play the hand we're dealt.

HGMN: What sticks out as a stellar performance?
Pritchard: The show in Raleigh, NC about a month ago was really great - we did a lot of our new songs and it was very special. Another was the Gathering on the Mountains in the Pocono's Mountains...Magnolia Fest a few years ago also sticks out. I also really enjoyed the acoustic shows Julie and I have been was a smart thing to do, people realized that The Recipe is still kicking and it kept our music out there. A couple of those shows were really great. It also seems like some promoters were getting to the point they preferred just me, as it cost them less. That was okay while we were working out some changes, but that is not the direction we are taking. The Recipe is still going strong, and we're not done yet!

HGMN: Who are you listening to these days?
Pritchard: Johnny Cash has been getting a lot of play over the past couple of weeks. I am listening for something Julie & I can do a duet to, and there is some material that Johnny and June covered that appeals to me. I also have been listening to another HGMN band, New Monsoon - both my wife and I really enjoy their music. Some musicians write over people's heads and that is not something I want to do, I want the audience to connect and have a good time. We are in the business to make music that makes people feel better - forget about life's worries for a couple of hours and just enjoy our music. We are an ensemble that likes to focus on the basics. We have found that just going from song to song is the most effective for the audience. I think I like to listen to that kind of music too.

HGMN: What is your best road trip story?
Pritchard: A woman came up to me at a festival and did not have any idea who I was, but invited me to hang out with her....I ended up marrying her!

HGMN: What's the worst road trip hazard?
Pritchard: Bad routes are every band's nightmare. Sometimes I think booking agents do not know what an atlas is. Fifteen-hour drives to get to the next gig are very frustrating. Then, there's the dead vehicle, when you are in the desert 150 miles outside of Amarillo, TX and there is no cell phone reception and the trucks flying by look like they are going to hit you as you work on the van.... that's pretty hazardous.

HGMN: What's the ideal fan?
Pritchard: I want our fans to enjoy the music, maybe buy some merchandise, and have a good time. I would prefer if they didn't care about my personal life. I am giving them a large part of me with every song I perform and that should be enough - keep the focus on the music. The band has the obligation to play the best possible show every time we are on stage, and I think we do that. It's all about the music.