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Greg Nagy: Our Time Has Come

By Published: October 15, 2008
AAJ: You are personally putting together a live CD based on tracks taken from a gig Root Doctor did last fall. Is this the Live from the Cadillac Club, for which Root Doctor has video on its website? When will this live CD be released?

GN: We have two different shows at the Cadillac Club on tape. The most recent has some songs with Bob Seger's horn section from his Face the Promise Tour; The Motor City Horns. We are still checking out the audio. We had some technical equipment issues with the first show and worked those bugs out fairly well for the second. I am hoping we release something this summer. Maybe a best of, between the two shows.

AAJ: Who does the video work on your videos?

GN: Contemporary Media Works in Ann Arbor. Great bunch of guys.

AAJ: Where was Freddie during the filming of "Hip Hug Her"?

GN: [He was] flirting with the ladies. I am joking of course. We do an instrumental or two each night. Jim and I each sing a couple of songs now and again too.

AAJ: Your organist Jim Alfredson, has his own thing going with a self founded record label that supports his efforts. You are also working on a solo release of your own. Will the other members of the band eventually pursue their own things? Do you feel that this makes the band tighter, or do these individual efforts weaken the fabric of the band? Certainly as tight as the band is, you aren't experiencing internal problems among the band members.

GN: Some of us are full-time musicians. Fred is comfortably retired, and James works for M.S.U. [Michigan State University]. They don't mind having time off now and again, so it makes working part-time side projects easy for Jim and I. Also, they are both very supportive of our other projects. We take great care in making sure they do not clash though, of course, now and again they do. At some point one of us may go on to other things, but Fred and James are very cool about it all. They are kind of big brotherly with Jim and I in that regard.

The band really is like a family and we wish each other the best. Right now Root Doctor is a priority. But Jim and I have the time to do these side projects. We also have a side project called The James Brothers which is kind of a cross between Organissimo (Jim's jazz trio) and Root Doctor.

AAJ: Tell us about your solo release. What are you doing on this release that you cannot do with the band?

Greg Nagy / Root DoctorGN: Electric Tuba! OK, not really. I could do some of these tunes with RD, and still may.But I have more than enough material that I've written that seems better suited for me to sing and perform, enough for at least a record this year. So the band has been pushing me along to go for it. In fact, I will use the fellas on all of it, I believe.

My friend Tad Robinson has also offered his services on a track or too. It will likely be more guitar-istic and will have some more raw blues on it to boot. My friend Dick Shurman has giving me some inspiration to pursue a funky, jazzy, whatever comes, blues thing. I got to give it a shot. Fred and I also talk about doing an acoustic album. So who knows? We've got a nice collective going on.

AAJ: Root Doctor was recently nominated for an award for the BMAs [Blues Music Awards]. This is not the first award for which Root Doctor has been nominated. Other than what appears endless glowingly positive reviews, something Root Doctor genuinely deserves, what other recognition has the band received

GN: Man, just got a nice review in April's [2008] Down Beat. That's cool. Nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best Soul Blues. We are up against my friend Tad Robinson and The Holmes Brothers I am not holding my breath on that one.

AAJ: Has Root Doctor yet participated in the International Blues Challenge?

GN: We can't now, as we have been nominated for a BMA. And Root Doctor never really considered it as the band has always been busy and happy with its gigs. I believe the IBC should be for emerging artists. Root Doctor has been established and on its own terms for quite some time now. Hats off to the cats who brave that whole system though. It's a tough business, and if it works for them, I say go for it.

AAJ: What one thing does Root Doctor wish to do as a band that will really give it a feeling of accomplishment?

GN: Man, I shouldn't be telling you this, but Joe Cocker's former music director is also friends with James and thinks that the record has Grammy nomination potential. That would be huge. Not holding out too much hope for that one, but when someone of CJ Vanston's connections and influence makes that sort of statement it does feel good. He has worked with everyone man; Clapton, Mayer, Spinal Tap, really, he is there music director now. Maybe he was just talking, but it still plants a seed I guess.

On a more grounded level, I think that if we can sell enough copies to make another record then we will all be very happy. Feels good to make a record and have others listen to it. I love making records. I love sharing the music. Took me a while to get here, but sure glad I came.

Selected Discography

Root Doctor, Change Our Ways (Big O Records, 2006)

Root Doctor, Been A Long Time Coming (Big O Records, 2005)


Top Photo:Dianne Bruce Dunklau

Bottom Photo:Courtesy of Root Doctor Band

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