We are here to talk about Lettuce. Not the kind that crunches in your mouth, but the kind that crunches in your ears. The kind that is Grammy-nominated for their 2019 release Elevate and will bring the party to the Fillmore Auditorium on December 7.
Lettuce is a funk band that originated in Boston by a group of musicians at Berklee College of Music. Since their beginnings in 1992, the six musicians have produced seven studio albums and two live albums. They have made a name for themselves by being captains of genre-bending, progressive improvisations and futuristic funk jams. We spoke with drummer Adam Deitch about this exciting season for the band and what Denver fans can look forward to with the upcoming show at The Fillmore.
303 Magazine: You are based in Denver, correct? Elevate was recorded in Denver. Outside of working with legendary producer Russ Elevado (The Roots, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu), how did you decide to work on the album here?
AD: I sure am. Me and [Adam] Smirnoff, the guitar player, and Benny [Bloom] the trumpet player, all live in Denver. So, three out of the six live here. We love it here, it was beautiful out and we just wanted to record there. Smirnoff’s wife was pregnant at the time and we wanted to be near here. We’re glad we did it there, it was a relaxed, nice flow to be home. It all worked out.
303: Elevate is nominated for a 2020 Grammy, congratulations! What were your first thoughts on hearing this news?
AD: It’s just surreal. Unbelievable. We’re so thankful to the community and everyone who supported us. It’s such an amazing feeling.
I just — it’s always shocking because we’re outcasts. We don’t have songs on the radio. We’ve always been this little left-field band that’s playing funk music, jamming it out. We never thought we had the sort of juice to pull this off. It sort of legitimizes our mission.
303: You have said that Elevate stretches the boundaries, which is to be expected with Lettuce. How do you master this genre-bending while remaining true to your signature sound?
AD: By having Russ Elevado — which is not a small thing — helped shape our sound into the warmest version. Just having him in the room with us while recording, knowing the records that he has witnessed, made us play better, made us more in tuned and made us relax because he’s so chill.
303: How does the process of creating Elevate differ from previous projects?
AD: We were super prepared, I had written 30 songs. We only planned on recording about 12, which is usually what we do, and we ended up recording all 30. We were in such a good zone with Russ, the studio and Denver itself. The songs were fresh and they felt fresh.
303: You are bringing Elevate to your Denver fans on December 7 at the Fillmore. What is your favorite part of performing for your home base?
AD: It’s a dream to play in Denver. We have so many friends and family out here. We are all from New York and Boston, and that was always a hub of where we did the best. When we first started traveling outside, Denver was the first place outside of that to really represent this band and pack it out. It means so much to us and is a huge reason I moved here. Scott Morrill over at Cervantes — the owner and promoter — he’s been such an instrumental part of us being in Denver and being a part of this. We have so many friends in the industry who are huge supporters and we can’t wait to play the Fillmore to celebrate.
303: Do you have a favorite time playing in Denver?
AD: All of our Red Rocks shows are super memorable. I played there with Pretty Lights in 2010, 2011, 2012, and I saw Red Rocks sold out and it was so amazing. I thought, “Wow, I wonder if Lettuce could ever play here?” That was a total dream at that point, we were playing tiny venues. It’s a dream to apply that place.
303: What Elevate track are you most looking forward to performing live in Denver?
AD: We’re going to do a mix, play some classics and some new stuff. I’m not quite sure what we will play but it will be a bunch of tracks off of Elevate, it will be great to play any one of those tunes.
303: Will there be any surprises to come at the Denver performance?
AD: We’re probably going to have a guest or two, I’m not quite sure who that will be. We have a brand new lighting specialist who does a really killer light show. Everything is firing with all cylinders right now. Our team, everyone on tour with us, the sound guys, the tour manager, everyone is super locked in. We are ready to go in there and crush. “Elevate” that crowd.
303: Is there anything else you think our readers should know ahead of the show?
AD: Everyone needs to be there for our Grammy nomination celebration. At home! We’re going to party that night, the energy will be through the roof.