fans into the Grateful Deads Workingmans Dead back
in 1971 were probably equally turned on by the hippie country rock
sounds of New Riders Of The Purple Sage. Featuring guitarists
David Nelson (lead guitar) and Buddy Cage (steel guitar)
backing up the songs of John Dawson, the New Riders were signed
to Columbia by mogul Clive Davis and went on to record 12 albums selling
4 million. A revived New Riders lineupfeaturing Nelson and Cage
along with a new rhythm section and Hot Tuna guitarist Michael
Falzaranohas yielded the bands first new studio album
in twenty years. Most of the tracks on Where I Come From were
co-written by Nelson and his long time good buddy, Grateful Dead lyricist
Robert Hunter. An air of spontaneous psychedelia abounds on
Where I Come From, with Nelson and Cage recreating that magical
New Riders guitar sound that so many Deadheads tripped out with back
in 1972. www.TheNewRiders.com
MWE3.COM SPEAK TO NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
GUITARIST BUDDY CAGE
MWE3: The new CD Where I Come From is great Buddy. How would
you compare the chemistry of the New Riders studio sound and live
band of 2009 to the original early '70s New Riders band?
BG: Well, with the current personnel and Nelson and me, it's so functional,
expedient. After all, David and I have been at it for 38 years. The
rest of the guys, Falzarano, Markowski & Penque brought so much
new skill and energy to the table that we all just fit in together
with an assurance and ease that even eclipses the old configuration.
MWE3: Can you say something about the guitars and amps you performed
on and recorded with on the Where I Come From CD?
BG: Old Grateful Dead Wall-of-Sound gear. Fender Twin chassis with
Hard Truckers speakers.
MWE3: Whats your favorite guitar?
BG: Whichever one I'm playing at the moment of creation. In this case,
an Emmons all pull S-10 with 4 pedals on the floor and 5 knee levers.
MWE3: What got you interested in playing the pedal steel guitar and
how would you compare it to the steel guitar?
BG: They are one in the same. 'Steel guitar' dictates that one changes
frets with a 'steel' bar in one's left hand. Pedals are mechanical
devices used to obtain special chord structures, licks and so on.
MWE3: Can you say something about your big guitar influences and favorite
BG: In the beginning I took licks from the great country and western
steel players of the fifties & sixties but soon molded my playing
into a far more unconventional style, of a personal nature. Besides,
the 60s were upon us, all sorts of mind busting innovation was exploding
around me, producers were keen on people like me who could offer some
really twisty ideas. I got work, lots of work including Garcia's kind
offer to have me replace him in New Riders in 1970.
MWE3: Can you mention the other guitars that David Nelson and Michael
Falzarano featured on the new CD?
BG: No, not with any degree of authority. Contact David and Michael,
they'll fill you in!
MWE3: With a lead and steel guitar mix, how do you and David Nelson
work together on the guitar arrangements on the New Rider songs?
BG: Yeah - we've been paying attention to each other for nearly 4
decades! It comes naturally to us...
MWE3: What did Michael Falzarano bring to the table as the CD producer?
BG: Everything!! He is perfect for NRPS - he left nothing out.
MWE3: What was it like working with the legendary Grateful Dead lyricist
Robert Hunter on the new CD? He's such a genius with words.
BG: We've been working with Hunter for a long, long time. Nelson goes
back to 1963 with him & Jerry. And when Hunter writes songs for
you specifically, his good energy picks me up and kicks me into high
MWE3: Upcoming plans for the New Riders in 2009 and beyond?
BG: Immediately, simple tour support for this new album, Robert. This
is keeping busier'n a one-legged man in a ass-kicking contest.
MWE3: Thanks very much Buddy...
BG: My pleasure, Robert! Anytime. We'll see you at BB's June 6 - Buddy