“The first time we did it [an after-show Grateful Dead tribute by local all-stars at Little Gem Saloon] was when the Dead & Co. show got postponed [December 5]. That was cool to see: All of New Orleans said, ‘Oh, that show where all these thousands of people wanted to go—that got cancelled? Well, let’s have all those people throw everyone a party.’ There was a huge turnout. Marc Stone was fronting the whole thing and putting it all together.
Marc called me up, and it was when Reggie Scanlan was playing bass. So I got to play a song with Reggie Scanlan—that was something I never could have thought would happen. Marc had me sit in for three songs. Midway through the second, ‘Franklin’s Tower,’ my finger split open from hitting the strings and I bled all over Marc’s guitar. Getting off stage, I patted him on the shoulder and showed him the blood. He said, ‘Who wants to see Blake bleed some more?’ So he had me play on another.
This last time we wandered over there after walking the lot [of the Smoothie King Center for Dead & Co., February 24]. I was still all wide-eyed and Marc said, ‘Come on up and jam!’ We didn’t jam, really, but we made a lot of noise.
Having Dave Easley in the Quickening is still so incredible to me because I’ve been a fan of his since college—so he’s been blowing me away for 10 years now. The band is five years old but this lineup has been solidified and super enthusiastic for three years. That’s why we’re calling our second album—which we hope will be out for French Quarter Fest—Begin Again. Because it’s basically a refresh for us. There are nine originals—the bassist, Al Smalls, wrote the instrumentals and all songs with lyrics are my material—and one cover: a tribute to Allen Toussaint and Lee Dorsey with ‘Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky.’
The energy we create as a band shared with an audience is what makes a live show. We follow song structures and we know who jams when, who takes a solo here, who takes a solo there. If we have time, we’ll make sure to stretch out those jam parts and allow it to become something completely different. Make it last a little longer so you get that extra cream-filling—double-stuffed.”
The Quickening plays French Quarter Fest at 12:30–1:45 p.m. Thursday, April 12 on the Jack Daniel’s Stage (600 Decatur St.).