#006 Interview with CHRIS LUQUETTE  - Beyond the Fretboard by Sandi Millar Lesson Pros

#006 Interview with CHRIS LUQUETTE - Beyond the Fretboard by Sandi Millar Lesson Pros

(Guitar Player for Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen) 
by Sandi Millar

SANDI: How did you get started playing the guitar? 

CHRIS: Around the age of 10, I started noticing how often my Dad would put on the radio. Mostly the local classic rock station. While I loved all of the music, I took great notice of The Beatles and immediately had the desire to play the music myself. I asked my parents for a guitar, and they happily obliged with a student-grade nylon string guitar. At my first guitar lesson I learned some basic classical techniques and a few simple chords to start playing my favorite Beatles songs.

SANDI: What other instruments do you play? 

CHRIS: I play mandolin, Banjo, Bass, Octave Mandolin, and drums formally, but I love to tinker with all kinds of stringed instruments. 

SANDI: Who was your Inspiration?

CHRIS: Once I dug into music, and realized how much great music and art there was in the world. I decided to take influences from as many places as possible. However, I do keep coming back to musicians like the Beatles, the Allman Brothers, and Pink Floyd. Plus, all of the great jazz artists and almost any genre I can think of artists. Including bluegrass.

SANDI: Who were your musical heroes?

CHRIS: Too many.  Duane Allman, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, Bill Keith, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs...this list is endless really. 

SANDI: Have you played with other bands?

CHRIS: I had a bluegrass band that had some success on the west coast called Northern Departure. At the same time I played in a folk band called Folk Voice Band that would play ethnic folk music from all over the world for different folk dances and festivals.

SANDI: Are you a full-time musician?


SANDI: What is the one thing or series of events that led you to play bluegrass full-time?

CHRIS: Around 15, I was way into the Grateful Dead. While reading about their history as bluegrass and folk musicians and digging through all of that music, I discovered Bill Monroe’s name. Whom Jerry Garcia and the rest of the band really looked up to. I went to a library and found a Monroe live album. The Bluegrass Boys at the time of this recording had Bill Keith and Del McCoury in the band. I was hooked after hearing the band rip through Rawhide. I knew I wanted to try and play this music.

SANDI: What would you have done if you could do anything but music?

CHRIS: I might have pursued a career as a national park ranger. I love the outdoors.  

SANDI: Favorite stage you have played? Why?

CHRIS: I enjoy almost every stage I’ve played on, though Telluride, and the La Roche Bluegrass festival in France stand out in my mind. 

SANDI: What instruments, picks, strings, pickups, etc. do you use? Please describe your instrument in depth and where it came from.

CHRIS: These days, I play acoustic guitars made by Preston Thompson Guitars, a company based in Sisters, Oregon. I met them through a mutual friend. When I played their guitars, I knew they had the sound I was looking for. Plus, they were made in the Pacific Northwest, where I’m from. It just felt right. 

On live performances, I’ve been using Blue Chip Picks and Elixir Strings.

SANDI: Any mentoring workshops, instructional camps, etc, that you give, and/or do you teach private or group lessons?

CHRIS: I teach a fair amount of private lessons across the country. Since I’ve been in the band Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, I’d say I’ve done an average of three music camps a year. I enjoy those a lot.

SANDI: What would you say to someone just starting their music career?

CHRIS: Follow your heart and passions. Don’t submit to others’ wills or visions for you. Take advice, sure. But at the end of the day, play the music you were meant to play and sing the songs you want to sing. Be you. No one else is. 

SANDI: What is your favorite thing about The Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Music Association Festival?

CHRIS: Good vibes. All around. Excellent hospitality, and the bluegrass fans were very kind.

SANDI: How long have you been with Frank Solivan?

CHRIS: At the time of this interview, roughly six years. 

SANDI: Do you know how Frank came up with the band name?  What does it mean?

CHRIS: Frank loves to cook. Most importantly, we all love to eat!  Frank wanted to capture the essence of what it means to be together with your friends and family around the kitchen table. We like to take that vibe with us onto the stages we play.

SANDI: How is it working with your bandmates?  Dig deep on this one. Give us a little dirt on these guys.  lol

CHRIS: We’ve got a great crew: Frank and me, Mike Munford and Jeremy Middleton—the best dudes I’ve known. On the musical front, I get inspired every day playing with these guys. On a personal level, we have great hangouts and good times.  

Dirt? Hardly any. Well, maybe one of us has a hankering for too much salty fried chicken. But what are you going to do?! 

SANDI: Have you ever been interested in fronting a band?

CHRIS: Yep. I haven’t had the time or resources yet. But it’s not far off.

SANDI: Do you have a solo record, or have you considered doing one?

CHRIS: I have one recorded and in the can.  I'm hoping for a release soon. 

SANDI: Are you a songwriter? How long? Favorite song you have written? Do you belong to any great songwriting organizations?

CHRIS: I’ve dabbled in songwriting. I wrote a song with my friend Jim Faddis called Home To You, it’ll be on my record, and I hope FSDK can start performing it soon.

SANDI: Who is your favorite songwriter?

CHRIS: Another long list: Roger Waters, Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Kathy Kallick, and many more. 

SANDI: Favorite thing about being on the road?

CHRIS: I’ve always loved traveling. Visiting the entire country, plus Canada and Europe, has been a highlight. An Australia trip is planned for November of 2017. That’ll be fun.

SANDI: What is your least favorite thing about being on the road?

CHRIS: 3 a.m. wakeups to get to an airport aren’t fun, and not having a salad available after a late-night gig isn’t fun either. 

SANDI:  Have you ever or do you belong to any music associations?  Could you tell us about them?  

CHRIS: I’m an avid member of IBMA (www.ibma.org). I love what they are doing for bluegrass music. Anyone who reads this should become a member. 

Also, I’m a member of the Recording Academy, which is the organization that hosts the Grammy Awards.

SANDI: What is your favorite thing about being a musician?

CHRIS: It’s an expression of yourself through sound. I’ve always enjoyed that. 

SANDI: What is your least favorite thing about being a musician?

CHRIS: Sometimes, there is no substitute for time spent practicing. Which I never seem to get enough of. 

SANDI: What are your future plans as a musician?

CHRIS: Time will tell.  This is always a hard question to answer. With my influences being so diverse, it’s hard to pin down where I will head musically. 

SANDI: Any great road trip stories you can tell us about? List as many as you can think of.  We are preserving history right here, right now.. Lol :-)

CHRIS: Gosh, another hard one. Before I was in Dirty Kitchen, a band I was in played a festival a few days after the famous Captain Phillips rescue from the pirates. My friend and I stopped for grub and saw a picture of us playing on stage on the front of the local paper at the cash register. My friend exclaimed, “Hey, we are on the front page!” when the waitress heard that, she looked at the paper and, seeing the story about the ship captain instead of our band, looked at us in awe and said: “you were on that ship??!”  We didn’t know what to say! We busted out laughing. Then told her and she laughed with us. Good times. 

SANDI:  Is there anything else that you would like our members to know about you and/or the band? 

CHRIS: I’m quite a fan of vintage films. Think Hitchcock or anything Gregory Peck is in. I haven’t seen many films made after 1990. 

Visit Chris Luquette - Six Strings and Soul - Wow!  What a Guitar Player! by Sandi Millar Lesson Pros

For more information on Chris Luquette
Website: Chris Luquette
Email: chris@chrisluquette.com

For more information on Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, visit:
Website: Dirty Kitchen Band
Bookings: Quicksilver Productions

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