By Alec Wooden
Sad songs aren’t for everyone. Some musicians don’t like to write them; some find they simply can’t. Greg Laswell doesn’t fit either description. Laswell, a West Coast-born multi-instrumentalist now based in New York, thrives on them, producing ever-pleasant piano/guitar pop-rock from often dark origins (by the way, don’t make “sad” synonymous with “boring” or “soft.” Any particular Laswell song isn’t necessarily either). You probably know Greg Laswell, even if not by name. His music has been featured in a laundry list of TV shows — “Smallville,” “One Tree Hill,” “CSI: Miami,” “90210,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “True Blood” to name a few — from the handful of records he’s released since 2003. Halfway through a nation-spanning tour behind the release of his latest record, Take A Bow, Laswell talks about his approach to writing the new record, seeing his songs in on television and the souvenirs he gathers on the road.
Guitar vs. piano: which instrument is the most natural to you? Do you tend to write more on one than the other?
I feel more natural on the the piano and it is my first love, but I think I have written more songs on guitar.
You’ve hugely benefited from TV placement over the years. I know some artists don’t like seeing their work as part of another’s vision, but it’s such an undeniably huge springboard these days. What’s your take on it?
My parents taught me to share. I think artists who don’t like seeing their work as part of another’s vision are silly. Every single one of their listeners is doing just that. I believe that once a song is written, it doesn’t belong to me anymore … like raising a kid the best you can and then sending him/her off to college. I want the best for them and I hope I raised them right, but my job is done. I’d be a bad parent if I tried to control their future. I’d also be an asshole. Read more about Q&A with Greg Laswell; Playing Rock and Roll Hotel, May 24 and Vinyl, June 1 …