Townie Q&A: Pedro Arévalo

Pedro Arévalo, 32, could be called the bass player of Sarasota. Odds are, if you’re out and about and you see someone plunking away, it’s Pedro.

How many bands do you play with around town?

My father has a band called The Acoustic Pete Blues Trio, which despite its name, ranges from four to 10 people. He also has a bluegrass group called Swamp Grass. I have a flamenco group I’ve worked with for many years called The Lotus Fire. I’ll have a project with my brother starting December called Los Mosquitoes. I’ll be playing a few Saturday evenings at the Oyster Bar under my own name. I’ve been playing also with Rastus Kain; he’s a prominent blues guitarist that’s been in the area off and on for decades. The main groups I play with are not local though. Dickey Betts (of the Allman Brothers) lives here in town. I’ve been his bassist for the past five years. We did two tours in Europe over the summer. … Aside from that, I’ve been playing slide guitar with Greg Allman’s son, Devin Allman. The band is called Honey Tribe. We also did a tour of Europe this summer as well. I suppose I’m on the road between 200 and 250 days a year.

What’s your favorite type of music?

I like variety. I played in a number of West African groups when I lived in Boston. I got to travel with them to Africa. I played in a salsa group around town called the Vine Street Rumba Band. I love blues, country-blues, and all kind of hillbilly music like bluegrass. I love jazz, just improvisation. I consider myself an improviser. That’s my profession.

Do you have any advice for the Sarasota music scene?

It’s a tough scene. There’s plenty of work, but most of them don’t want to hear a lot about original music. Pandering to the tourist is the nature of the game. It’s nice downtown having the luxury to play foreign music. There’s a nice international interest, even on Lido and St. Armand’s you can get away with it. On Siesta it’s much more difficult, they want to hear Buffett. My advice is not to give in to the bars and do what you need to do to gratify yourself. Otherwise, everyone will be playing Jimmy Buffett at every venue.

 

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