Eric George may be one of Santa Fe’s lesser-known musicians (for now), but with his roots-rock duo, Man No Sober, he’s been steadily making a name for himself within the local scene. I’d seen George at one of his Monday night residency shows at El Paseo and enjoyed the cut of his jib, so I finally caught up with him and asked a question or two.
So, where does the name come from?
Man No Sober comes from a Steel Pulse song about a drunk. But, for me, it’s about being intoxicated by your life’s pursuit. When shit gets bad, you gotta keep going because I’ve learned over the years [that] it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, it’s gonna be hard, so [you] might as well chase your passions.
As a relative newcomer to the local scene, have there been any challenges in terms of being accepted, gigs, etc.?
We don’t do the typical dance music most clubs want, so yes, some venues exclude us from certain nights. The nice thing about Santa Fe is [that] there are a few listening rooms where people will sit and just listen to the show, and we’ve been able to engage people on several occasions because of the intimacy of some of the venues. High attendance at shows is what every musician wants, but in Santa Fe, that’s not always the case. I just try to rock as hard as I can for the time I’m allowed, and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.
Your act has been described as roots-rock, but this is kind of vague. Can you elaborate?
“Roots-rock” seems to be a term coming out of Austin for anything louder than Americana. There are songwriter qualities—but with loud guitars. It’s blues-influenced, but [it’s] not blues. There are definitely reggae undertones, and rhythm is a big part of roots-rock—and that’s easy for us because Mikey [Chavez] and I are both drummers. I started playing drums when I was really young, in my family’s band, and did that throughout my school days. So, with that foundation, rhythm for our group is everything…that’s why we gel so well as a duo. We tried a few bass players, but, at the end of it, drummers speak the same language.
You were one of the first to get involved with the new Musicians Alliance. How is that going? And do you have any thoughts on the organization?
I think it’s crucial to come together as a music community. Not only the musicians, but the media, local promoters, the club owners and maybe even the landlords need to know what dreams and aspirations artists have for Santa Fe. We all know of the hardships of living here, but there are too many talented people here to not try. And not just musicians, but sculptors, painters, tattoo artists, music writers, chefs, bartenders are all artists and suffer from the same cyclical ups and downs and shitty times [that] we all face. If we know we are all suffering, then what better time to come together for the hopeful outcome of a better scene? It may be naïve, but just understanding that when times are funky, you’re not alone.
What’s next for you and your dudes?
I loathe being the booking agent for the band, so I took a trip to Nashville a few months back and shopped our stuff to some agents and managers I knew from when I lived there a few years back. We had good feedback and one of the contacts is coordinating a trip for us for spring 2013 to go back and do a few showcases and see what happens. In the meantime, we’re just trying to stay busy and get the live show as good as possible. We released one six-song EP on Frogville Records a few months back and are anticipating another EP [in] early 2013.