Touring behind ‘Unify,’ the band’s U.S. tour stops at Kalamazoo State Theatre on Tuesday. Drummer Adam Deitch talks to Local Spins about the band’s musical exploration and love of Michigan.
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As Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch puts it, the funk band’s past tour stops in Kalamazoo rank at the top of the list when it comes to its most memorable live shows.
“There’s something about that place that brings out the best in us,” he insisted. “We’re going to bring it, man.”
The band founded in Boston more than 30 years ago has cultivated a loyal Michigan fan base over the years, fueled in part by Detroit’s soulful traditions.
“We’ve been building it for years – the whole soul thing, the whole Motown thing and it even stretches out to there (Southwest Michigan),” Deitch reasoned. “The whole state is a big part of soul music and what we do. People just get the funk and understand what we’re about.”
Fans will get plenty of funk come 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (March 21) when Lettuce plays Kalamazoo State Theatre. Band member Nigel Hall opens the night with a DJ set. Tickets are $30-$40 and available at kazoostate.com.
For 2023, the band (Deitch, Hall, Eric Coomes, Adam Smirnoff, Ryan Zoidis and Eric “Benny” Bloom) is also all about promoting its latest album, “Unify,” while “bringing something new every night” in improvisational, funky fashion – something appreciated by diehard fans who catch numerous Lettuce shows on a single tour.
“The goal is, if you’re going to see multiple Lettuce shows on a run, you’re going to get a different experience every night,” Deitch said in a recent Local Spins interview from his home in Denver.
“To give them the best experience, you’ve got to change it up every night. They get something they might not ever get again.”
VIDEO: Lettuce, “Shine” (Live in the Studio)
FUN ON THE ROAD AND ALWAYS ‘BEING READY TO EXPLORE
For Deitch, that musical exploration began at age 3 or so when he got his first drum set, a full-fledged kit adjusted for his height by his dad who sawed down the stands so he could play.
He went on to play gospel music at church, along with high school rock bands inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus.
The seeds of Lettuce first sprouted in 1992 when Deitch joined other teen members of a Berklee College of Music program in Boston to play funk and soul music, eventually reconvening as a band as undergrads and releasing their first album in 2002.
The band’s 2019 album, “Elevate,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for instrumental album of the year, with Lettuce releasing its eighth album, “Unify,” last June.
For that recent recording, the band brought in bassist and funk pioneer William “Bootsy” Collins as a special guest in the studio, “which was amazing. That was a major experience. He is a funk god,” Deitch said. “We instantly became best friends. It’s as if we’d known him for years. It was just an all-around beautiful collaboration.” (Scroll down to view the video for “Keep That Funk Alive” with Bootsy Collins.)
Lettuce’s spring U.S. tour includes festival appearances at Florida’s Resonate Festival in March and Arkansas’ Backwoods Music Festival in April, with a busy summer of amphitheater and festival gigs extending through late August. That includes a June 30 date at the much-revered Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, performing along with Dirty Heads and Tropidelic.
“We’re so lucky to play these festivals that we’ve been working for years,” Deitch said, noting the band also plans to head back into the studio this year to record another album while continuing to push boundaries and improvise on stage.
“That’s part of the fun of being on the road,” he said, “and being in the moment and being ready to explore.”
VIDEO: Lettuce (with Bootsy Collins), “Keep That Funk Alive”
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