Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is just two weeks away. With a lineup topped by Elton John and Kanye West, the festival moves into its 13th year with aplomb.
American Songwriter caught up with festival acts Wiz Khalifa, comedian TJ Miller, and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger during a Bonnaroo teleconference to discuss the festival and more.
Krieger spoke about his upcoming plans with The Doors, and his take on modern music.
But first he discussed his plan for his appearance at Saturday’s Skrillex-led SuperJam, which will also feature Big Gigantic, Damian Marley, Zedd, Mickey Hart, Janelle Monae, Warpaint, Thundercat and Chance The Rapper.
Krieger assured us that no one will have trouble hearing his signature guitar during the performance.
“I’m bringing an extra amplifier,” he said. “I’ve been in too many loud situations. You just have to be either as loud or louder than the other guy. That’s the rule.”
He also said that he and Skrillex haven’t discussed the SuperJam at all.
“I’m trying to get a hold of him but, you know, he’s a busy guy,” Krieger said.
He also confessed that he isn’t familiar with most of his SuperJam collaborators, and isn’t very fond of modern music.
“You know, I probably should keep up more than I do, but to tell you the truth, I just don’t get most of the music today,” he said. “You know, the last guy who really knocked me out was like Bob Marley. I’m waiting for something, like some guy to come along who really will change everything.
“And I mean, I like John Mayer and I like The Killers and, you know, a lot of bands are good. But there’s nobody that’s really changing anything.”
Krieger said he’s in the process of building an all-analog gear studio, and voiced his displeasure with digital music.
“The whole digital thing, it seems like it makes too many of the songs sound the same,” he said.
There was also some good news for Doors fans. Krieger confirmed that he and John Densmore are in talks to pay tribute to deceased former bandmates Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison on stage, but said that it will take time.
“It’s just very difficult to get the kind of people that we want all together at the same time,” he said. “But we’re working on it, and it should happen. You know, we don’t want it to be half-assed.”
TJ Miller opened up his portion of the interview by introducing himself to everyone.
“Don’t be afraid to ask all of the thoughts that come through your minds. I was Ranger Jones in Yogi Bear 3-D — And yes, that was my best role,” he joked.
The actor/comedian is best known for his role on HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, portraying Erlich Bachman.
Miller promised a largely improvised set, and spoke candidly about his brief career in music.
“The music album was me making fun of the medium of music and we’re all making fun of the fact that I made one and then remixing that and making fun of the fact that, you know, those thing collapse upon themselves,” he said. “That’s part of the hierarchy and structure of absurdism.”
He also compared his improvisational approach to an Allman Brothers Band show he saw as a teenager.
“I’m like this — there’s no other time that you will see this show,” he said.
Wiz Khalifa was last on the line and promised the Bonnaroo crowd would hear an “appropriate” amount of new material.
He said he’s in the studio putting the final touches on his forthcoming album Blacc Hollywood.
He talked about playing his set Sunday right before Elton John.
“That’s pretty legendary,” Khalifa said. “It would be tight if he could see my set, or like a piece of it.”
He also gave his thoughts on incorporating live musicians into hip hop, and why he continues to do so.
“The fact that there are other musicians on stage, that gives it a whole other element,” he said. “My band is excellent at what the day. And they know how to really vibe off of not only me, but the original song and how to just, you know, make it their own. I think that’s really important with any band.
“So just having that and being able to improvise and do things where basically we can’t go wrong, man. It’s just music at the end of the day.”
Khalifa remained cryptic about any surprise guests, but said he’s looking forward to playing to some unfamiliar faces in the crowds.
“I just like the freedom that you have when you do the festivals, because a lot of the people — they might have one or two favorite songs, but to really get them to enjoy a whole set of brand new material and know that, you know, you’re winning them over, is kind of cool.”