Michael League

On-stage interview includes Snarky Puppy story and so much more. Is there nothing this man can’t do?

Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
March 27, 2017

Born in Southern California into a musical family, Michael League is a Grammy-winning bassist, guitarist, bandleader, composer, arranger, producer and record label owner. He is best known for forming and leading his wildly successful band, Snarky Puppy.

Michael spent much of his formative years in Alabama and Virginia, before enrolling in the Jazz Studies program at University of North Texas. League formed Snarky Puppy at UNT while seeking an outlet for his own music. “I put the group together after my first year of college just to play music that I was writing,” he says. “I picked guys that I thought wouldn’t be too snobby about the fact that it wasn’t straight-ahead jazz, which is what we were all kind of being injected with all day, every day.”

The music of Snarky Puppy can be described in a number of different ways, not easily slotted into a single genre. “I don’t know; it’s just music without words,” League explains. “It’s a sound that we’ve created over many years of playing together and it has influence from a lot of different places, primarily from jazz and funk and R&B vocabulary. But there’s a lot of World Music stuff happening, in music from Brazil and from Cuba, a lot of American forms of music, like blues and rock & roll and gospel. I mean it’s just a mix.”

To date, Snarky Puppy has received three Grammy awards and released close to a dozen albums, while delighting audiences the world over (the band had just arrived from a run in Australia when we met with them).

Outside of Snarky, Michael League is also involved in several other projects, including producing and arranging for various artists, performing in a long list of NYC-based groups and leading a new band of his own, called Bokanté, in which he plays baritone guitar.

Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Michael is the founder of GroundUP Music, a record label under the Ropeadope imprint.

FBPO’s Jon Liebman sat down with Michael, for an on-stage interview, at historic Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Watch our interview with Michael!


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