the AU interview at SXSW: Dave Schulz (USA)

At the SXSW Stimulus day party at The Parish, I was introduced to Dave Schulz – perhaps best known for his work on the keyboards with the Goo Goo Dolls. He’s here in Austin promoting his debut solo album Connect, and I had the chance to chat with the artist before he hit the stage. Here’s what went down:

Larry: So you’re here celebrating and promoting the release of  your album Connect, can you tell us a bit about it?

Dave: It was a culmination of a lot of different sessions over the last four years that sort of was burning my heart – so I needed to get it out there… I was doing a lot of work helping others, playing keys in other bands, producing, session work for them – so I finally decided to get my own record out there. So that’s why I’m here! And I was lucky enough to work with some of my heroes that I look up to, to play on it, which was amazing.

I read that Daniel Lanois was one of those people?

Yeah, he’s definitely a mentor of mine. Tony Levin was also on there, bass player from Peter Gabriel and King Crimson. Bernard Fowler from Rolling Stones, he’s been singing with them for 25 plus years. Awesome players. I was really humbled to be surrounded by them. The album has turned out great.

How are you finding audiences to respond to the album at SXSW?

So far there hasn’t been a dud in the set! So that’s a good thing! *laughs* I played last night at Lucky Lounge down the street, that was a really good show. Looking forward to rockin’ it here today, and then doing another one tonight. It’s been good. Doin’ a couple of shows in LA. We’ve only done about 10 shows so far with this material, so we’re planning on touring over the next couple of months.

How many people do you have touring with you?

There’s 5. 4 of them recorded on the album with me, on various tracks over the years. It’s really a family-friend band, a really tight group of people. I was in these hired guns situations for so many years that I decided I wanted to have a band. You know, people who actually know each other *laughs* so it’s a really good vibe we’ve got.

So while it’s your first time as a solo artist, I imagine you’ve played SXSW before?

Yeah I’ve played in a couple of bands here before.

Can you tell me a bit about what SXSW means to you as a festival?

It’s great. It gives you a reminder that people still dig live music. When the DJs are slowly dominating the club scenes, where it used to be bands – it kind of gives you a reminder that people are still digging it, and I love that! So I’m here pretty much every year, even just hangin’ out. There’s a lot of great bands, you get to see a lot of talent. And what’s wrong with that? I support it fully.

Far away from Austin, Buffalo is where you grew up and met the band you’re most well known for working with – the Goo Goo Dolls. Where do you call home now?

Yeah, well I’ve been living in LA now for about 10 years, and I was touring with the Goo Goo Dolls, they kinda gave me my first major professional tour/gig – ever since then I’ve been in LA, and hittin’ the grind ever since, working with as many people as I can, soaking it all in.

What have been some of your highlights so far as a solo artist?

Basically just playing my own music is a high, period. So I’m gonna try and push it as far as it will go. Musical highs, definitely working with Daniel Lanois was a big one. I was sitting in the studio kind of mute, I was dumb struck! *laughs* He was a really nice guy, too. Opening up for the Rolling Stones with the Goo Goo Dolls was a high. Never thought that would ever happen. That was crazy. Playing for 96,000 people was unfathomable. There’s little sparkles of highlights that go on here and there, it’s an interesting life… and hopefully lots more to come…

For more on Dave, and to hear tracks from his acclaimed debut album Connect, check out http://www.daveschulzmusic.com/

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.