Episode 61: Rob Mercurio of Galactic
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Galactic bassist Robert Mercurio is featured in Episode 61 of The JamBase Podcast. Rob sat with JamBase’s Scott Bernstein aboard Jam Cruise 18 in January for a “My First Show” segment. Mercurio shares memories of the band’s first show but since so much has changed over the past four months, Scotty called Rob for a catch-up chat that comes ahead of “My First Show.”
First, Scotty discusses some of the features JamBase has added since the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic started including the JamBase Livestreams Calendar and the Gimme Shelter In Place video series. JamBase is the media partner of Osiris and Bernstein shouts out the newly launched podcast Eric Krasno Plus One and its must-hear first three episodes featuring Dave Matthews, Laura Lee of Khruangbin and Marcus King.
Additionally, on the JamBase Instagram page, longtime contributor Adam McCullough has been helping us get through a year without the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival by sharing amazing photos from his nearly two decades covering Jazz Fest.
Speaking of Jazz Fest, Scotty’s call with Galactic bassist Rob Mercurio came on what should have been the first day of this year’s event. Rob explained that it took him a while to get creative once the pandemic began but now he’s in more of a flow. The bassist talked about the process that led to their isolation videos for The Meters’ “Doodle Loop (The World is a Little Bit Under the Weather)” and the 1930s calypso song “Wash Your Hands”. In 2018, Galactic purchased the famed New Orleans night club Tipitina’s. Mercurio discussed how tough it is to run a club that has been closed down by the pandemic. The “Friend Indeed” fund has been established to benefit the venue’s bartenders, security, door and production staff. The call ended with Rob sharing memories from Galactic’s Jazz Fest debut before JamBase’s Andy Kahn shows love for Sweet Relief and its mission of helping and healing musicians in need.
Next comes the “My First Show” segment recorded during Jam Cruise 18. Galactic has played each Jam Cruise and Mercurio discussed what the experience means to him. Rob also detailed how a collaboration with Ryan Montbleau and Chali 2na on Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” the previous night on Jam Cruise came together. Then, the bassist recalled the band’s early days and their roots as “Galactic Prophylactic.”
Mercurio spoke of Galactic’s live debut, playing Tipitina’s for the first time and tapping vocalist Theryl “Houseman” DeClouet as a permanent special guest until health issues forced him off the road. Additional topics hit upon were why Galactic generally tours early in the year, what the band has in store for 2020 (at least before the pandemic) and what has changed in NOLA in the 25 years since the group first performed.