Stefani M.C. Janelli, The MIC, interviews Sean Kelly of the Samples, who will perform Thursday, Aug. 17 and Friday, Aug. 18 at Krogh’s in Sparta.
Q. You’ve played Krogh’s before for a solo set. What are you looking forward to most about playing with the band there?
A: I have played with many people over the years, but my Jersey guys are really incredible! So I can’t wait to play with these guys.
Q: You do tour both as a solo acoustic act and with the Samples. What is your favorite part about getting the band back on the road again?
A: It’s a ton of fun playing acoustic and intimate shows, but the full band is so much fun and sounds terrific.
Q: What is different today compared with the days playing in the college rock scene?
A: Absolutely nothing. Ironically, we are still playing for super cool people who like our music and its authentic sound and feel.
Q: You’ve been playing with the Samples since the ‘90s. What has changed most for the band?
A: Just age. Nothing else, really.
Q: Do you have a favorite part of your live set or a favorite song to play?
A: If the audience is rockin’, then every song is my favorite!
Q: At this stage of the game, you’re seasoned with more than 35 years of performing under your belt. You recorded 20 albums and have over 1 million records sold. Do you get any flutters of performance anxiety or is it just pure excitement?
A: It’s always different. But for the most part, it’s like riding a bicycle.
Q: Have your musical influences changed? Have the influences of the Samples collectively changed?
A: I haven’t been into anything lately because the radio and TV are not interested in anything deeper than a birdbath. Maybe music that has a critical thinking slant is too threatening to the machine.
Q: Which do you think is the best song of the Samples?
A: I think the song “New World Order” is my favorite because it’s 1,000 percent true.
Q: One song you wish The Samples wrote?
A: “The Long and Winding Road” by Paul McCartney.
Q: What would be your message to your younger audience about attaining longevity in the music industry?
A: Is there actually still a music industry?! I guess I’d say, “Keep your eyes on the prize.”
Q: The last Samples record was back in 2019. Will there be a new record in the future or a Sean Kelly solo record?
A: Absolutely; I’ve written so many new songs I don’t know what to do with them.