My friends and I arrived in Happy Valley around 5 o’clock, on Monday Night. I couldn’t wait to See Leftover Salmon again. If you have never seen these guys, their blend of Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass will leave your legs sore from dancing. The nucleus of their stage energy comes from Vince Herman- Lead Vocals, Gibberish, Gibson Chet Atkins Electric Acoustic Steel String Guitar, Takamine Electric Acoustic Steel String Guitar & Larry Miller Custom Rub board. The following interview took place in a boiler room prior to a show.

Brett: You want to just introduce yourself, you can do the intro.

Vince: Yeah, Hey, I’m Vince Herman. I’m one of the guys who stands around on stage with Leftover Salmon. I jump up and down a bunch. We just turned off the engine here in our submarine, as you can tell by the sound of the microphone.

Brett: Ah, first of all, how did you guys come up with the name?

Vince: Ah we modeled it after a Scottish fishing organization that was going to have as its mission saving some near extinct Scottish salmon and we devoted ourselves to saving the few Leftover Salmon that were left on the planet, or you could just say it’s the combination of the Left Hand String Band and the Salmon Heads, those are the two bands that made up Leftover Salmon. Or of course it could be that it came out of a hat.

Brett: How long have you guys been together as Leftover Salmon?

Vince: Um, 8 years.

Brett: How often do you guys practice when you’re not touring?

Vince: Never. {editor’s note- for the record, since it is very clear that Vince is full of…let us say beans I think he is kidding here. I mean, he must be, right?}

Brett: Never practice? Nice. You all live in Boulder?

Vince: No, I live west of town about 25 miles, as does Drew. Mark lives out on the planes. Tye lives in Boulder, actually no, Tye lives in Lyons, and our drummer lives in Atlanta.

Brett: Ah, all right, we can narrow this down to maybe just a couple.

Vince: Most memorable stage experiences. I know there’s a few. Vince: A pretty good one was 2 nights ago at Ziggy’s with the Mayor McCheese flying around the crowd man, he got really worked up to warp speed which is really dangerous, ‘cause the Mayor, he’s about 40 pounds. And if he gets going at any velocity, he can definitely hurt people. So there was a pretty good Mayor toss going on at Ziggy’s. Luckily everyone was highly involved enough to keep him up in the air. That was pretty good. {editor’s note- the Mayor McCheese in question is a three foot high figure liberated from a McDonald’s playground. He can often be spied atop on amp at Leftover shows}. I also got a couple haircuts in the last month or so on stage. I Cut {drummer Jeff} Sipe’s hair in a pretty extreme way, I guess. I had it coming to me. I don’t know…good things, Good things going on most all the time, you know.

Brett: Have you guys ever had anyone sit in on a steel drum?

Vince: [a minute of silence] Wow! [more silence] You know man, it’s hard to believe man, but I think that’s one of the things we haven’t done. Damn. I know a couple really good steel players too. I don’t think, nope.

Brett: Have you guys ever considered breaking it down in like a 3 set night, like a calypso set, or have you done a calypso set before? Come out with Jokester, Mama Boulet, Who Put the Pepper…

Vince: No, never done that, that would be fun.

Brett: Back to Mayor McCheese, Will the Mayor be making an appearance tonight?

Vince: Ah yes, yeah, yeah. I think so, we were talking about maybe getting like a leash or something for him.

Brett: So he doesn’t get out of control?

Vince: yeah, yeah, he just, the Mayor’s out of hand these days, you know, you get him out, and it’s inviting turmoil, you know.

Brett: Where’d you pick up the mayor?

Vince: In ah, Crested Butte, Colorado, Probably seven years ago

Brett: So he’s been along for the ride?

Vince: He’s been a liberated Cheeseburger for about 13 years now. We’ve had him for probably half of his liberated life.

Brett: Is it true the Mayor actually is the Rodeo Geek?

Vince: No.

Brett: Just a rumor then?

Vince: Although that ride he had at Ziggy’s was definitely like a Rodeo, he stayed on for fourteen seconds, that’s for sure.

Brett: Now, who came up with the idea for Hotel Rockytop?

Vince: Um, I guess one of the Eagles. Good God man, we went through this phase of doing every song we could possibly do to the tune of Rocky Top.

Brett: What are some ones that didn’t make the cut?

Vince: I think Drew came up with that one. Aw man, some of them were just really hard man, they caused your brain to break down in the middle and leave you nowhere. You know, it’s like um, like if you try to do Paint it Black to it, you know, Your mind won’t do it. It’s too close. Everything’s Rocky Top, when there’s a banjo in the band.

Brett: Any Halloween plans?

Vince: Yeah, now that you mention it, I think we’re probably going to have to do an all calypso set.

Brett: Calypso set? You don’t have to wait until Halloween! You could break that out first set tonight.

Vince: [laughter]

Brett: So are you guys playing somewhere on Halloween?

Vince: Yeah, we’ll be in Boulder, at the Fox, our living room, our homeroom.

Brett: Same for New Year’s?

Vince: We’re not sure about New Year’s yet. It’s either going to be in Boulder or Chicago.

Brett: Nice…Leading in with the Fox there. What’s your favorite venue to play, in the East and in the West.

Vince: Well the Fox is in the middle so that doesn’t count. The Angel’s Camp Festival in California was way cool this year. With G Love, and Widespread, it was really fun.

Brett: Anywhere on the East, Wetlands?

Vince: Yeah, Wetlands is way fun man, action crazed. There’s always good interesting folks who show up to fit in because it’s the city you know. It’s pretty wild. Ah man, god, and the rest of the East Coast man were just dying to play at Green Acres, man, we just can’t get our schedules to work. You know down in Forest City, North Carolina that’s the place where we want to play.

Brett: Now what’s in your cd player, tape deck right now? What would you be listening to if you just walked in and popped on, you know.

Vince: At home or what’s on the bus right now?

Brett: Well that’s my next question. What do you have at home?

Vince: Probably as I left the cd at home it was, um the New Marc Ribot album, Los Cubanos Postizos, the prosthetic Cubans. That’s a good record man. I think I had a live recording of Sam Bush at the Walker Center, Wilkesboro, North Carolina on cd. Um, I think I had a Temptations record in there, and old best of the Temptations kind of thing. Ah, what else is in there? I think the Acoustic Syndicate record, a pretty good bluegrass band from North Carolina. And I had a Rolling Stones, Hot Rocks in there.

Brett: Good Deal.

Vince: That’s five, I remembered what they were when I get home. Wow!

Brett: I’m jogging your memory here, I’m putting you to the test. What do you guys usually listen to while you are driving around?

Vince: Um, our drummer Jeff Sipe just found a couple of new jazz records we’re listening to right now. Usually we like some Middle Eastern kind of stuff. It usually finds it’s way on. Um…Coltrane. Also, Bad Livers, good album, real good.

Brett: Who would you guys like to play with? I know you guys have played with tons, and tons but any ones that you would like to.

Vince: Bonnie Raitt someday, boy that sure would be a kick man, man that would be wild.


Brett Hartzfeld is a 20 year old Penn State student who can usually be seen at shows in Hawaiian shirts. He’s into Salmon, Hookah, Phish, Clambake, Keller William and the writings of Hunter S. Thompson.