I grew up worshiping Saturday Night Live. I loved me some Church Lady, some Wayne and Garth, some Hans & Franz. My sister and I used to dance around doing "Sprockets" while we cleared the dinner table. And nothing was better than watching that killer guitarist with the floppy blond hair rock out before a commercial break like he was having the time of his life. (I know you can picture him.) If you had told my tween self that I would one day get to interview that pony-tailed cool cat, I would have told you to get back in your time machine, Looney Tune, because you’re talkin’ crazy.
But that ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I had the supreme honor of sitting across from G.E. Smith, guitarist extraordinaire and former SNL music director, for about two-and-a-half hours while he shared stories and played his axe. And this guy has tales to tell. G.E. was at Woodstock, toured with Hall & Oates, played with Bob Dylan, wrote the theme music for "Wayne’s World" (which he played for us - check out the clip below!), and that’s just barely scratching the surface.
You can learn about all of that and why G.E. wanted to be one of the "cats" by watching his interview, but I wanted to share a few moments that happened before our chat that made me an even bigger fan of G.E. Smith, if that's possible.
1. He Has a True, Mad, Deep Appreciation For a Good Love Song
I arrived in New York the night before the interview and G.E. had a gig in town, so I went to hear him play. Man, can he play. If you ever have the chance to see him perform, go. You won’t regret it.
I went up and introduced myself after the show and we got to chatting. I was helping him carry his guitars when the Savage Garden song “Truly Madly Deeply” came on in the background. G.E. stopped and simply stated, “I love this song.” It’s a good song. And I love that G.E. loves it. This guy who has played with some of the greats just appreciates a song that hits the sweet spot. It’s a song that prior to that night always made me think of moving into my Freshman-year dorm because that tune was on the radio every ten seconds at that time. Now it makes me think of G.E. Smith.
2. You’re Never High Enough
I always do an on-camera intro with an interviewee right before we begin, so as we were ready to roll I went over and crouched down next to G.E. I asked the videographer if I was high enough (to fit in the camera frame), and without missing a beat, G.E., smooth as silk, said, “You’re never high enough.” I burst out laughing and knew that the next few hours were going to be fun.
3. He’s Played Guitar with Emily Dickinson
As we sat down to start the interview, G.E. told me I look a bit like Emily Dickinson. He went on to explain that he loves Emily Dickinson and has guitar picks with her image on them. When people find them on-stage after one of his concerts, they get confused wondering if Dickinson played a gig at the venue.
So there ya go. G.E. Smith is an incredible musician with a love of great songs, great poets, and the high life. Do yourself a favor - postpone your binge watching for a night and treat yourself to G.E.'s interview. You’ll learn about musicality, honing a craft, and what Lorne Michaels' most impressive talent is (according to G.E., as successful as Michaels is at producing, he’s even more skilled at something else, if you can imagine that.)
I'm off to go dance to "Sprockets" now. Later, cool cats.
Watch G.E. Smith's full Archive interview here.
- by Adrienne Faillace