There aren't many musicians today who could get away with calling an album "It Is
Time for a Love Revolution," but as a throwback to another generation in all the right ways, Lenny Kravitz pulls
it off with aplomb.
The 44-year-old Kravitz has been
drawing fans for almost two decades with a stripped-down
style of straight-ahead rock 'n' roll that earned
him Grammy awards four years in a row, from 1999
to 2002. His latest album, which features him
on every instrument, gives back more of the same.
But music encompasses just one aspect of Kravitz's creative output, as he recently started Kravitz
Design, a furniture and interior design firm that works on everything from hotels to residences to items such as
Bankrate spoke to Kravitz about these two beloved aspects of his life.
Rock 'n' roll seems really marginalized these
days. How do you feel the music-loving public's
hunger for the sort of straight-ahead rock 'n'
roll you play compares with how it was when you
Lenny Kravitz: When I started, in 1989, when "Let Love Rule" came out,
there was rock 'n' roll going off, but it wasn't presented or recorded the way I do it. It was very affected, because
the technology at the time was moving in that direction. It wasn't a pure sound. So I came with a record at the time
that was very in-your-face, recorded on tube equipment, very pure and raw, and that's what people started to like.
In the past few years it became a very manufactured world, the rock world, and rock 'n' roll took a
back seat. But now it's coming back very strong. People realize that rock 'n' roll is something you just can't deny,
with the power of the guitar, the drums and the bass.
Bankrate: Why do you choose to play every instrument on your albums?
It wasn't intended to be that way. When I made
my first record, I didn't have any money. I had
no musicians, no record deal. I made it on my
own. I was auditioning some players, and my engineer,
who has worked with me from before I got signed,
was listening, and he kept saying, "You sound
better than guys who have been here auditioning.
Why don't you play the instruments? It'll have
more personality -- more feel." I wanted to have
a band experience, but I ended up doing it because
I had to, and that became my sound. When you listen
to certain records, like when Stevie Wonder plays
all the instruments, or Prince, or Todd Rundgren,
or Paul McCartney, they have a certain personality
because it's unique.
Bankrate: Do you ever feel you're missing out on the collaborative element
of creating music?
Lenny Kravitz: I do collaborate. Craig Ross, who's been my guitarist for
years, he plays on the records as well. Some tracks are mostly me, with Craig playing guitar as well. I also have people
come in, like horn players, and I get that from those players. But as far as the rhythm section, that's me. At some
point, though, I would like to make a band record, and I will.
Bankrate: Has your enjoyment of what you do changed over time?
Lenny Kravitz: Being in the business and dealing with the business
end of it -- the touring, all of the politics -- sometimes that can get a little tiresome. You gotta keep chasing
that carrot stick, and that can be a little tiring ... well, maybe not tiring, but after a while you think, "Why
am I doing this?" But I love making music, so everything comes from there.