Is this celebration concert at Tipitina’s something you’ve been planning a long time?
I always try to book a gig on or near my birthday which is actually January 26th so at midnight it will be legit. It’s gonna be a lot of fun playing the set of songs from the year of my birth, 1969.
How did you determine who you wanted to join you in this special show?
I have so many friends that play music it was very difficult to limit the number of guests. Availability had some effect on the outcome as well. I do expect other players not listed to show up.
You have developed musical relationships with a number of New Orleans musicians over the years, perhaps most notably with Anders Osborne. How did that friendship develop?
Anders has been on my radar since the early ’90s when we toured the same circuit. The first time we played together was the Richie Hayward Benefit Concert I helped organize in 2010.
We continue to play together occasionally and we text about parenthood, football woes and victories with each other. We really connect in a musical way in the live setting. It feels very natural, we never seem to step on each other on stage. Our daughters are best friends and Snapchat every day all day.
Tipitina’s is a special venue and now that it has been taken over by Galactic it will begin a new era. What are your best memories of playing on that stage?
Two that come to my mind are when we opened for one of my favorite bands of all time, Steel Pulse, and one of my first shows as a new resident.
My old band Brides of Jesus released an album in ’97 and we had Fred Wesley as a special guest.
It is my favorite venue in America. Tipitina’s surpassed my expectations as once a “bucket list gig” to now my home stage in my home city. Through my history here Tip’s has been there for me to express myself musically.
You have become a fixture of the New Orleans music scene in its post-Katrina reboot. How have you seen it evolve and what do you think of its future?
This city seems to always continue to grow and re-invent itself without losing its historic musical identity. Although the times have changed the heart still beats the same. We live in a magical place and I think it will always be magical. It’s bigger than all of us.
Billy Iuso hosts a birthday bash at Tipitina’s on January 25th that will include Russell Batiste, Brian Stoltz, Johnny Vidacovich, Reggie Scanlan, Papa Mali, Mike Doussan, Michael Fouquier and others.