Below, you can read our interview with Adam Strelow, and listen to his latest album, Gone To Stay. Check out our full music review of Gone To Stay by Adam Strelow, HERE.
Q: Your roots are in the music-rich Winona, MN. How has that kick-ass little town influenced and inspired your music?
A: Winona certainly is a kick-ass little town! But it wasn’t always rich with music. The music scene here has grown to what it is over the last 10 years or so. Before Midwest Music Fest and Ed’s No Name Bar there really wasn’t a “scene” at all. Especially not for original material. Seeing what they, and many others, have done to bring arts and music into the community really inspired me to get serious about my music. I can’t for sure say that Winona has influenced or inspired me artistically but I can say that it has brought me a ton of great musician friends and one hell of a music scene to tap into.
Q: On that note, why do you think Winona is such a music-mecca? (We recently interviewed fellow Winona native musician Jake Ilika of The Heavy Set and asked him this very same question.)
A: Jake Ilika is one of my favorite dudes. Love that guy! As Jake said, I think the music has always been here. There just wasn’t much of a platform for it. I touched on this already I guess but it’s worth mentioning again. It is one of those “if you build it they will come” kind of things. It took a while, but after it was built they came in droves!
Q: You’ve been performing since the 6th grade! Much of that time was spent in different bands. Now that you’re in a solo stretch, do you prefer it?
A: I have to be honest here. No, I really don’t prefer it. I love collaborating, feeding off of other musicians and exploring ideas with more than one vantage point. I also play in a local cover band so I get some of that there, but not in the way I would if I had an original band. I am working towards putting a group together now. To me, a band is a group of people with their own unique voice that no single person, or other group of people, can truly emulate.
Q: Despite all your years of songwriting and performing, “Gone To Stay” is actually your first official album. What made you finally want to pull the trigger and record?
A: I basically got to the point where I thought I had some decent material and I wanted others to hear it. I’m sure whiskey and divorce were also a factor!
Q: How long did “Gone To Stay” take to record?
A: It is hard to say specifically because I did 4 of the songs on my own and the other 6 at Justin Bell’s studio (Justin Bell & The Lazy Susan Band). I do know that the 6 songs done at Justin’s studio took very little time. Two weekends of me showing up around dinner time on a Friday and taking off before lunch on Sunday.
Q: Your songs are refreshingly straight-forward tales of love and loss. Are these songs coming from your life, or the lives you’ve observed in others?
A: I am glad you asked this, because it comes up often. These songs do come from my life. But they are not necessarily exempt from outside forces. Two songs on this album were written with friends of mine in mind. Anna Lee and I Saw You With Him. Neither one of these songs were written exclusively about someone else’s lives. I guess you could say that these songs were derived from adding my life experience with other people’s lives that I have observed.
Q: Can you tell us about the first moment you picked up a guitar?
A: I can. I was really pissed off! I believe I was 9 or 10 years old. I honestly thought that you just picked it up and started strumming away! Looked pretty easy on MTV.
Q: What was your first guitar? Do you still have/play it?
A: My first guitar was a Fender Bullet. I do not have it anymore but I really wish I did. I do have a ton of pics of my 9-10 year old self posing with it if you are interested in that!
Q: Perhaps in some unspecified amount of time, your musical career explodes in the best of ways. What does that look like for you?
A: In a more realistic sense that would look like no more slaving at the stone quarry and providing for my family the same as always while I do something I love. In a “Taylor Swift” type of explosion I would be looking at helping the poor anyway that I could.
Q: You get to collaborate with anyone of your choosing. Who is it?
A: Tom Petty. Hands down. Or Eric Clapton. Or maybe Ryan Adams. Damn, I am screwed if I ever have to actually choose.
Q: Your favorite album of all time? (Yup, you gotta choose one.)
A: Impossible to answer. My tastes evolve daily. Also I am not an “album” guy. My favorite album at the moment is probably Nathaniel Ratecliff and The Night Sweats.
Q: Your favorite song of all time? (Again, only one!)
A: Again, impossible to answer. This can change within minutes. I will say that some of my favorite artists right now are Erik Koskinen and Justin Townes Earle.
Q: What would you like fans to know about you that they’re most likely unaware of?
A: I love playing basketball. Although I suck pretty hard these days.