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Jeff Moehlis: Paul Barrere, Fred Tackett Returning for Benefit Concert for TRAP

Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett from Southern-fried favorites Little Feat will be playing an intimate show on Friday, Jan. 31 at The Adobe-Hill Building, 15 E. Carrillo St. in Santa Barbara starting at 4 p.m.

Their performance (plus an auction) will be in support of The Rhythmic Arts Program (TRAP), an educational program founded by drummer Eddie Tuduri that integrates percussion as a medium to address reading, writing, arithmetic and life skills for children and adults with intellectual and developmental differences.

Barrere has been with the legendary band Little Feat since their classic 1973 album Dixie Chicken, for which Tackett also played although he wasn't officially a band member at that time.

Other acclaimed Little Feat albums followed, including Feats Don't Fail Me Now and Waiting for Columbus, but things came to a halt when band leader Lowell George passed away in 1979. Little Feat returned with 1988's album Let It Roll, now with both Barrere and Tackett on board, and the band has toured and recorded extensively since then.

If history is any guide, at the TRAP show we can look forward to the duo's takes on classic Little Feat songs like "Dixie Chicken," "Feats Don't Fail Me Now," "Sailin' Shoes" and "Willin'". Tickets for the show are $60, and only a few remain so reservations are highly recommended; call 805.962.1442 or email [email protected] for more information.

Barrere answered the following questions by email; the full interview is available by clicking here.

                                                                 •        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming show?

Paul Barrere: Fun — that's the name of the game, whether it's in front of 100 or 1,000 folks. The object is to play the songs and have a good time. We'll do a bunch of Little Feat songs that are guitar oriented, or suited for guitar and mandolin, with a few covers as well, but it will be upbeat.

JM: This is the latest in a series of performances that you and Fred have done to benefit The Rhythmic Arts Project. How did you get involved with helping out that organization?

PB: Eddie Tuduri is an old friend and asked us the first time. I had no idea what the benefit was for, but since it was Eddie I said sure. Now that we've done a couple and I have a grasp of the TRAP objective, I told Eddie I was on board anytime and anywhere. What they do is so amazing, and the fact that Eddie started this all after drawing a bad hand himself, as life is want to do, he's made something so positive from a negative, that if you ask him I'm sure he would tell you that it was meant to be.

JM: If you don't mind going back in time a bit, how did you come to join Little Feat?

PB: I had known Lowell George since I was 14. He was in school with my older brothers, Hollywood High School. I had seen him play with everyone from the Mothers to the Factory to even The Standells. He liked the garage band I had in Laurel Canyon and came and asked me to audition for the bass gig as he was starting Little Feat. That was 1969, and I failed as the bassist, but told him if he ever needed a second guitarist I was ready, willing and able to join in. My break came when Roy Estrada left the band right after the release of Sailin' Shoes. They added Kenny Gradney from Delaney & Bonnie on bass, and he brought Sam Clayton with him on percussion and they decided they needed a second guitarist. I was very lucky indeed.

JM: The first album that you were in Little Feat for, Dixie Chicken, is rightly viewed as a classic, and was a bit of a new direction for the band. What inspired the musical style for that album?

PB: Lowell had been to New Orleans, I think that had a lot to do with it. We recorded "On Your Way Down" by Allen Toussaint and "Dixie Chicken" had a bit of a second line feel to it as well. Still, there was the eclectic side of the coin with "Kiss It Off," but overall there was a new funk fused into the band and I blame Kenny, Sam and myself for that.

JM: Can you describe the Lowell George that you knew?

PB: He was a mentor to me, also an enigma. He loved to play and record but hated the road, but could play and sing and write like no one else.

JM: What motivated you guys to revive Little Feat in the late 1980s?

PB: It just seemed like the right thing to do. Sad to say, but the legacy of the band grew after Lowell died, and we took so much time off. It was kind of like how Jimi Hendrix has sold more records since he passed than when he was alive. People just loved the music, so we said if we could do it without being a Feat cover band, and continue to grow as writers and players, it would be worthwhile.

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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