Oliver Wood of the Wood Brothers on Shuitars, Molecular Biology, and Sunshine Blues

Categories: Interviews
You and Chris are the Wood Brothers, but John O. is an honorary "bro." Aside from playing the drums for the band, he plays what is called a shuitar. For those of us who've never seen a shuitar, can you explain what it is?

Basically, an acoustic guitar that's been converted into a percussion instrument. So, instead of strumming it, you actually beat on it. A junky percussion instrument. Things all attached.

When we met John O. he was already playing one of these things. He and a friend sort of invented it. His friend actually put a website together where you can learn about them, or I guess even buy one. John O. really rounds out our trio.

So Chris is the Wood in Medeski, Martin and Wood, who tour a fair amount. What's the song writing process like when half the band is playing with another band? How, where and when do you make the time?

Medeski, Martin and Wood are scaling back their road time these days, so there's more time for the Wood Brothers, but Chris lives in New York, and I live in Tennessee. So, even when we have the time, we aren't always able to connect in person. A lot of the times we work on music while we travel. We find ourselves tooling around waiting for the show to start and we'll come up with something, and these days, it's as easy as pushing a button on your phone if we come up with something worth remembering. The technology we have available these days makes it pretty manageable to make music with anyone anywhere. Emails, MP3s -- it's challenging, but it works somehow.

You and Chris grew up in Colorado. Your father was a molecular biologist. How did either of those factors contribute to or shape your musicianship?

Our dad is a musician though. Growing up, he played guitar and loved folk music. When we were growing up, he exposed us to all sorts of music, and eventually we took up our respective instruments. You know, we'd spend a lot of time listening to him play around the house or we'd have a fire out back, and we'd all play what we could. There might be a part of him that lives vicariously through us because even though he was doing the biology stuff for work, he is a musician.

What musicians or bands are you listening to these days?

It always goes back to Ray Charles. There's a lot of good music going around these days, but if you're asking what we listen to on the road or what we take from the most, Ray Charles is hard to beat.

Rocky or Rambo?

Rocky. I'd rather drink raw eggs than run around killing people all day.

The Wood Brothers with Tedeschi Trucks Band and others at the Sunshine Blues Festival, 11 a.m. Friday, January 18, at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $49.50 plus fees. Call 800-745-3000, or visit sunshinebluesfestival.com.

Location Info


Mizner Park Amphitheater

590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, FL

Category: General

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The picture on the front page link is of Chris Wood and not Oliver...just saying.

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