INTERVIEW: 13-Year-Old, Umphrey’s-Collaborator Jaden Carlson & Co.
After seeing Jaden Carlson sit in with Umphrey’s McGee for an outrageous 30 minute “Der Bluten Kat,” I had always been so curious about how this young lady found herself shredding along guitarists like Jake Cinninger. That curiosity hit its peak when I had the chance to see the Jaden Carlson Band at this years Groove Music and Arts Festival.
Luckily I happened to find myself standing behind Jaden, her Mom Kelly, and band-mate Eric Luba while watching Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at the festival and started talking to them. Later that week I was able to have a chat with Jaden and her band to find out about how all of this came together. To find out more for info on Jaden Carlson Band and their upcoming shows check out
Jaden Carlson Band is:
Jaden Carlson: guitar and vocals
Will Trask: drums and backing vocals
Eric Luba: left-hand bass, keys, and backing vocals
DubEra: So Jaden, one thing I noticed at Groove this past week was that nobody in attendance actually knew how old you are. How old are you?
Jaden Carlson Band: Haha, I’m 13.
Could you tell me a little bit about how you started playing guitar?
(Jaden) Well when I was 6 at a Michael Franti and Spearhead concert and I was watching the stage thinking, “That’s what I want to do.” A week later I got a guitar and started taking lessons.
Did learning the guitar come easy to you?
(Jaden) Selfishly, yes but that was because I practiced so much. It was not because it just came naturally to me, just the hours I put into it.
Who are some of your favorite guitar players, and whom would you want to sit in with that you haven’t before?
(Jaden) Definitely Derek Trucks and Jake Cinninger. If I could, I would love to sit in with Snarky Puppy.
What’s life like at home being a touring 13 year old?
(Will) I don’t think normal house life exists in our little world. It depends on how many gigs we have each week and how much we have to get done. It’s more of a matter of prioritizing it while dealing with such a crazy schedule.
How did the band come together?
(Will) Well I met Jaden back in 2010 while I was working for The Motet as a drum tech and tour manager. Michael Franti had this bill at the 1st Bank Center with a kids show in the daytime featuring Jaden playing. Then there was a night show with The Motet.
Garret Sayers (The Motet’s bassist) was actually playing with Jaden during her daytime set, so when we met I told her I’m a better drummer then a drum tech and she should give me a call sometime. One day they needed a sub and called me in, from there I started playing with her a little more regularly and eventually quit the gig I was doing to make this a full time thing. Then I found Eric 2 months later and when we found out he could do left-hand bass and keys “Soulive style” we pretty much hired him immediately.
(Eric) Yea, basically after we met we started to geek out on music for over an hour showing each other different bands. Since then we have all been together for about 10 months now.
How old are you guys? (Eric and Will)
(Eric) We are both 23, but it’s funny that no one really knows how old we are because of Jaden. At Groove, Will and I sat in with the Drunken Hearts and during the set at some point their slide guitarist went to hand me a bottle of whiskey and hesitated as if he wasn’t sure I was old enough to be drinking. Will gets anywhere between 21-35, I get anywhere from 16-24, and people think Jaden is somewhere around 11-15 years old. It’s a mystery.
Is it hard to be accepted as a serious group compared to a band with a young prodigy?
(Will) As far as the long term marketing goes saying come see her while she’s 13 would only last so long and doesn’t make as much sense compared to saying Jaden is a very talented musician and song writer who could possibly do this for the rest of her life. We are basically in agreement that if we could earn a living by playing together in this band, then we would be the happiest ever.
Jaden, in the nicest way possible, how do you play with so much soul with so little life experiences?
(Jaden) I know what your saying, but I really don’t know. I just play what’s in my head.
(Will) If I could give my answer to the question; Jaden is complete and total music nerd. Something I really like about this band is that everyone has humongous ears on and off the stage. A lot of it I feel like she can play what she hears from guitarists like Eric Krasno, Derek Trucks or Jimmy Herring so it can be the most soulful sounds she knows. When you’re a touring musician at her age it can be so different and isolating that I think her playing is sometimes her way of talking things out without using words.
(Eric) In a lot of ways Jaden is like a sponge. If she hears something she likes then it’s just like, “oh I’m going to keep that in my head”. After we saw Umphrey’s McGee at Red Rocks the next few solos Jaden did you could see the influence from Jake almost immediately.
(Will) Your band-mates scaring you with musicianship is the greatest feeling in the world.
What’s next for you guys?
(Will) We have a release ready to go for fall, initially we were going to try and release it at our Fox Theatre headlining show, but we wanted to put out the album and have a tour to back it up. That way when people come and see us they have more then just a memory of Jaden doing a solo, but an actual hardcopy of our music for them to take home. We are still figuring out how extensively we can tour, but we want to premier it somewhere in Denver or Boulder.
Cant wait to hear it, thank you guys so much for taking the time to sit down with me.
No problem, this was fun. Thank you.