Read our interview with Luke below.
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Tell me a bit about how you came up with the idea of Covers Under Covers.
“You have to come up with something that’s kind of catchy, so people do cover songs, and people tend to like it when people like myself do them. Plus, we could do it in bed under some covers, and there would be a mental association that will make people remember it and like it, and that kind of thing. It’s in my actual bed in my actual bedroom, so there’s a behind the scenes, intimacy quality to it, that I thought that people would like.”
Is it easier for you to play sitting down or standing up?
“Standing up is much easier. It’s really hard to sing laying down or sitting with your legs out. But, sometimes to do a thing that’s a pun, you have to sacrifice.”
Do you have a favorite song that you’ve covered?
“I love the Try a Little Tenderness that I did on the Voice. It’s a really cool arrangement, and I feel like it’s one of the best songs in the world for my voice.”
You were on the Voice, but we’re actually not going to talk about that, since you’ve talked about it so much. We’re going to focus on other things, if that’s okay.
“Let’s talk about Star Wars, or the Hunger Games, or the video games I like to play.”
We are going talk about all those things. Speaking of Star Wars, did you see the new pictures they released?
“I did. With all the huge sea of characters, the storm troopers?”
Are you excited for the new movie?
“Oh my god, yes. I saw Episode 1 five times in the theaters, and it was terrible, but I watched it that many times, just because I’m a loyal fan. I’m a big JJ Abrams fan. I loved the Star Trek movies that he did. I thought that they were genius. I bet that they do an amazing job at redoing the universe.”
What’s your favorite JJ Abrams project?
“Oh gosh. I hope Star Wars, but I really think the first of the Star Trek reboots was my favorite. it reinvented Star Trek, and it reinvented the way movies are rebooted. The way that they used time, the way that things made sense seamlessly, and it was such a complicated plot, when it relaunched, it made the world different, because it killed Captain Kirk’s parents, and he was this orphan, so it made him extra wily, and Spock lost his parents, and didn’t have a home world anymore, and he’s half human, so it plays that element in his desire to understand the Vulcan part of him. It’s so many genius things, it’s great. It’s really great the way that they did it.”
You are trying to decide a team name for your fans. Do you have a favorite that people have come up with?
“People keep coming back to ‘Waders.’ I feel like it’s cheeky and dorky enough to be fun. I’m into that!”
Most bands are the standard bass, guitar, drums, and vocals, but you have a sax, a flute, a trumpet. What other instruments does your band play, and what instruments do you wish they played?
“I love the instrumentation. My guitar player plays pedal steel, which is a traditional, classic country instrument, and he puts a lot of reverb on it, and gives songs an interesting, cool sound, which I think that’s a really cool element. I think that live horns are a luxury, but they’re extremely important.”
You’re very engaging with your fans on Twitter, but do you get to be as engaging with them at a concert? How do you interact with them at a concert?
“Yeah, that’s a part of who I am and how I do things. After the show, I meet everyone. I stay out there until everyone who wants to meet me has met me, and take all the pictures, and give everybody as much time as I possibly can. I think that music is better when you have a personal connection to the people who are writing it and performing it. And when the people who are writing it and performing it have a personal connection to the people who are listening.
It needs to be a human thing. I don’t like that I have to decide what kind of music I’m going to make, based on what the radio seems to be playing. I like making it based on how my interactions with my fans go.”
Do you have a favorite region to visit? Is there a certain area that makes you feel the most at home, while on tour?
“I love Chicago. I love playing Chicago. I love Seattle. I love playing Seattle. The Northeast is great. California, too. Texas, I mean obviously it’s my home and I love playing there. I love the people in Louisiana, and really, there’s something so great about almost everywhere.”
Do you have a favorite fan moment?
“Yeah, there was this gentleman in Oklahoma City several years ago, and someone sent him my album to Afghanistan, and he said that he listened to it every night that he was going to sleep. It was the only thing that would calm him down, and he said that it got him through his tour there. It was a really emotional, and intense moment, that I’ll never forget.”
What do you do to keep yourself sane, while on the road?
“There’s no sanity. Mainly the fans … The only thing we do a similar show every night, and it’s at a similar time, and a similar place, and then we drive through the night, and it’s a routine. The thing that changes from place to place are the people. It’s really the fans and the people who keep me sane.”
Do you guys drive a bus or a van?
“It’s a bus-van. It’s a Sprinter, so it’s got bunks in it, but it doesn’t use a million gallons of gas.”
Who’s the messiest on the bus?
“My brother, the sax player.”
What is something that you learned about touring while being on the road, that you wouldn’t have learned unless you went on tour?
“It doesn’t matter who … Unless you’re a legend, or huge, there are nights when you’re going to be surprised at how few people show up, or how many people show up. It has to do with so many factors, like it’ll be tax-free weekends, so everyone’s shopped all day and they’re all tired, so no one comes. Or we were going to Memphis, and Aretha Franklin was doing a free show in a park, and so eight people showed up, or something. It’s one of those things. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter who you are, almost, there’s only a few people who are exempt from this, but sometimes people don’t come. And sometimes everyone comes, because there’s one person who’s really good at marketing who loves you, when you’re not expecting anyone. You never know.”
Do you have a favorite place to eat while on tour in each city, or in one city specifically?
“Oh gosh, a place that I really love. Salsa and Beer, in LA. There’s a few locations. I like the one that’s in Encinitas, or maybe it’s in Reseda. It’s in the valley, and it’s so good. It’s incredible.”
Do you read or watch TV or play video games? What do you do in the bus/van, while you’re travelling?
“I play video games and I listen to books.”
What is your favorite video game now?
“I play a lot of Call of Duty.”
What’s the last book that you listened to?
“I listened to, I believe it’s called … It’s a Jack Reacher novel. I think it was called, A Wanted Man.”
Did you see the movie?
“I did. People really complained about how Tom Cruise didn’t fit the part, but it was really interesting, because he’s such as small guy, and Jack Reacher’s supposed to be a giant. It was weird, because you never really thought about it, because he acted like a giant.
They do a good job of angling around his height. There was a part in Jack Reacher, where part of one of the plot points was that they killed a girl with one punch, to frame Jack Reacher because he was the only one who would’ve been able to kill someone with one punch, but unless you know that, it doesn’t make sense in the movie, because he shows up to the hotel, and they’re putting her in the ambulance, and they look at him, and he runs. You realize it’s because that he’s been framed, but you don’t understand that aspect of it.”
What is your guilty pleasure?
“I love pop music and pop production. I love Katy Perry, and One Direction, and I love pop music. The mindless songs, and whether it’s girly, or really catchy, I love it.”
Can you tell us a bit about your show coming up on the (September) first with Mia?
“That’s going to be the release of a new song that we do as a duet that’s going to raise awareness and benefit Susan G. Komen.”
Do you personally have a history with cancer?
“I actually do. Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer. One of them passed away, and one of them recovered. Really kind of the way that it happened, is I work with children’s hospitals, and when I’m on tour, I try to visit, what are called, Child Life Zones, where they try to give children who are in-patients the things that they would get in the normal life of their development, and make them more than just their disease. As a kid, you don’t know yourself really well. Eventually you think you are what’s wrong with you, as opposed to all the things that are right with you. I was in and out of hospitals as a kid. I had a number of different ailments, and that’s a thing that I really believe in, and I was very honored to receive, this last year, the healthcare heroes volunteer of the year award, and I was there with some folks from Susan G. Komen and we started talking and we ended up coming up with this idea.
I don’t think, as an artist, you can stay sane and emotionally healthy without finding a way to do what you do for others. If you’re concerned solely with the business and the industry of making music, it’s a very self-involved thing. Everything from scheduling your own photo shoots to scheduling your own video shoots, it’s a very seemingly, narcissistic process. You need to humble yourself and you need to do things for others, otherwise, you don’t feel fulfilled.”
You are also going back on tour, so can you, in general, tell us about your tour coming up?
“This will be the last full band tour of the year. It’s expansive. We’re going all the way up to the northeast!”