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Fortunate Youth in their new bus: Music, Touring and the Fortunate Youth Smoker’s Club.

It isn’t often you get the chance to hang out with up and coming musicians in their element. It is even more rare when those musicians are the nicest and coolest guys you could hope to meet. MJW Photography and the While on Tour live music blog had the opportunity to chat with the guys of Fortunate Youth in their new bus to discuss music, touring and the Fortunate Youth Smoker’s Club. Here is what they had to say.

WOT: I follow you guys on social media and every day I am so blessed to be greeted by a positive message from Fortunate Youth whether it be on Facebook or Instagram. Who runs that and how does one keep such a bright and positive outlook all the time?
Dan: A big part of our band is we are a team. We all run everything, we’re tight. Our biggest message we wanna bring is Peace, Love and Unity. It’s three words and it’s more than anything. We’re Fortunate Youth because we named the band after the fans because they will be here long after we will be. It’s simple and it’s grand.

WOT: Fortunate Youth Smoker’s Club. Tell me a little bit about how that got started.

Dan: You know there is a stigma on smoking in America. We’re in a spot where I don’t want to talk too much about it. Here in Florida there are too many crosses and you just can’t bare them all. We want to try to seperate the smokers in that department. We have a lot of kids. I have kids, Greg has kids and a lot of our friends have kids. I want to be part of it as well as they all do. I’m sure the Grateful Dead did their own thing just as well or maybe they didn’t. It was their own time and era and this is our time and era. We don’t want to be stigmatized, we’re trying to come up. So for us creating the smoker’s club is a way for us to let loose on one side and be corporate on the other side. We don’t want to flood the whole scene with it. Our message is peace, love and unity but if you kids want to rage, we’ll go knock it down.
WOT: So what is Fortunate Youth’s favorite strain?
Greg: We’re all OG. We actually have our own strain. We’re lucky enough to have people who care about us enough to do cool things like that and include us in their process and what they’re doing out there. There are a lot of great farmers.
WOT: Yeah we have friends who run a dispensary called Kind Pain Management in Colorado.
Dan: We have a song Pass the Herb and what that is really about is state by state you see these lines fall. It is really important because state by state we see a lot of our friends get in a lot of trouble.  It is state by state where it’s okay or it’s not. I am from Mississippi and I can have a relative come from Colorado with a roach and get arrested in Mississippi. They will do time for that joint.
WOT: End prohibition on marijuana already.
Dan: It’s just crazy.

WOT: What state has the best green?

Dan: Man that’s tough.

Greg: We’re from California so we’re biased. But we love local contributions.

Dan: Well there you go that was easy.

Jordan: Oregon. All of the legal states are really coming into their own.  We have a lot of fans that come to the shows and give us gifts.

WOT: I heard recently someone here is a violent sleeper.
Dan: Oh yeah. In Flagstaff once I had like Pneumonia and we did our set. We stayed above the bar at a place called The Green Room. After our set the guys still partied there was like karaoke or something going on. My buddy Travi was in the room and he is a loud sleeper. I don’t know that night maybe he had too many shots. I swear I woke up and he was heading for the door. I knew he was going for the bathroom. He couldn’t turn the knob cause it was an old knob. So he turned around and then there was luggage he stepped on between me and the door then he stepped on the night stand then the wall and all the furniture in the room was shattered. Then he stepped on his bed so I got up and opened the door and he walked out the door into the bathroom.

WOT: And that was it?

Dan: If there was a story of disaster….We didn’t get invited back to that place for quite a few years.

WOT: Where is the craziest crowd you have ever played for?

Dan: Last night. They almost ripped him off Free Bird’s stage and he plays bass.
WOT: Jacksonville almost ripped your bass player off stage?

Dan: Oh yeah they were grabbing his legs and girls on shoulders.

WOT: So like panties and bras being thrown.

Dan: Everything you can imagine. Honestly it was the last few nights of that bar and everyone was having the time of their life knowing the place wasn’t going to be there. It was pretty cool.

WOT: So your album, It’s all a Jam was given some Grammy attention which is huge of course. What makes it an even bigger deal is that you guys don’t have a major label. That’s a big deal.

Greg: We are happy to be part of the independent movement. There is a lot of support out there.

WOT: Do you guys intend on staying independent?
Dan: You know there is no reason not to be from the offers and things we just have a big vision. Once we can find a partner that can envision the same vision we got there is no reason to say no but, until then we aren’t partners. We’re independent.
WOT: I like that. There is no reason to hook up with someone that doesn’t share your vision.
Greg: As long as you are willing to do all the work. Dan isn’t just the singer, he is the business manager. Jered isn’t just the keyboard player, he’s the routing/tour manager. Greg’s not just the guitar player, he gets the sponsorships. Everyone has to go above and beyond. If you don’t want to do all that work, you need a label. Being a part of the movement gives us the ability to make decisions one way or another.
WOT: I always ask when I interview. If you could create your dream line up who would be on tour? Any genre, anyone.
Dan: Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Matt Corkill: Tool.
Dan: Tool, that would be cool. I’ll throw in Tool for Matt.
WOT: So the Festival Circuit is really where it is at now a days. The fans get so much bang for their buck and time. Not to mention the bands get to reach fans they may not normally reach. What is your favorite festival to play?
Dan: You know every festival has a different flavor. There has been a huge surge in festivals in America right now. Cali Roots has been really good and Kaaboo was so sick.
WOT: I think I already know the answer to this question but, if there was one message you would want people to get from your music what would it be?
Dan: Peace, Love and Unity.
WOT: That’s what I thought you were going to say. Thank you so much for your time, I look forward to seeing you on stage tonight.


MJW Photography: Fortunate Youth- Don't Think Twice Tour &emdash; Jered Draskovich of Fortunate Youth at Propganda in Lake Worth FLorida

MJW Photography: Fortunate Youth- Don't Think Twice Tour &emdash; Greg Gelb and Corey Draskovich of Fortunate Youth at Propaganda in Lake Worth, Florida

After the interview Martin and I stuck around and had a killer time at Propaganda photographing the show. A full gallery of Fortunate Youth images can be viewed here. http://www.mjwphotographyfl.com/p837035626

Support independent musicians and stop by Fortunate Youth’s website and buy some merch herehttp://www.fortunatemusic.com/#!store/c6js



Unitl next time, See you at the show.
Interview by: April Whitney
Photo Credit: April & Martin Whitney

About the author
April Whitney

April Whitney

April Whitney- Photographer, music lover and overall gypsy soul. I found my passion for photography, music, writing, and travel. While on Tour was born out of a desire to combine all of these things and become the wandering soul I have always wanted to be. I love to travel to different festivals, meet new friends and vibe out wherever the music may take me.

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