By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)
Often time’s fans get lost in the fact that a musician is just a musician, but in most cases that is the furthest thing from the truth.
Take Chris Robinson Brotherhood guitarist Neal Casal. Though known for his musical mastery in bands such as Ryan Adams & The Cardinals and Hazy Malaze, the guitarist also thrives in photography.
“Photography is my passion, I love it,” said Casal. “Unfortunately now days people use it in impure ways and it ruins the art.”
Though in recent memory the paparazzi and others have used photography as a weapon rather than a tool, Casal uses it to complete the experience of life.
“For me it helps complete the full experience. I take a lot of photos backstage and on tour because a memory is only a small part of the story. With pictures, I can document and see the full experience of what happened,” he said.
In 2010 Casal released a photo-book titled, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals: A View of Other Windows, which documented his time spent within the band.
Though his photography is a constant work, he also finds time to help spearhead the psychedelic blues-rock of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.
The band is currently embarking on a tour that will span through the end of the year, which is nothing new for the hard working band.
But does it ever get tedious?
“No not at all, sure certain times of the day are rough, as we are all piled in close together, but overall I love touring and I love my band mates and being out on stage is exciting,” said the 45-year-old. “That’s the best part of the day, especially with this band because the set list is different every night and the songs give us room to experiment and have fun with.”
Chris Robinson Brotherhood will be out supporting their new effort, Phosphorescent Harvest, and will be playing back-to-back nights at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in Cleveland on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10 and 11.
Casal said he and his band mates love the new album.
“We are happy with how it turned out and that comes out of how well we work together as a whole. As far as the reception of the album, it’s hard to tell. When we make an album we make it how we want it to sound, not how the general public may want it to sound,” added Casal.
Later this summer the Brotherhood will be touring along side one of their hero’s, Bob Weir, as he and his band RatDog will be hitting the road, including a stop at Cleveland’s Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica on September 10.
Bob Weir’s influence, as well as his former band the Grateful Dead, on the Brotherhood is undeniable and Casal said their admiration is even deeper than many think.
“The Dead are a huge influence on us, not just musically, but also with their lifestyle and beliefs. All of us have kind of adopted these things from them, we aren’t trying to copy them by any means, but we just highly respect them.”
“There are a lot of bands that have influenced us though, not just the Dead. We even listen to a lot of the jazz bands that influenced the Dead,” Casal added.
After the Chris Robinson Brotherhood wraps up their touring duties at the end of the year, Casal, who has 12 solo albums under his belt, said a number of things are possible.
“After the tour is over we are just going to kind of see what happens next. For me personally, Chris Robinson Brotherhood is number one on my priorities list. We will just see where it goes and maybe we will record some new music once it’s all said and done,” finished Casal.