You may not be familiar with guitarist Greg Douglass, but you’ve probably heard him play — he cowrote and played on the Steve Miller Band hit “Jungle Love” (1977), performed on Greg Kihn’s single “Jeopardy” (1983), and he’s toured and recorded with Van Morrison, Duane Eddy, Link Wray, Hot Tuna, Dave Mason, and Eddie Money. He moved to the San Diego area in 1992.
“I’m currently living in a big, beautiful house out in Lake Hodges, in the Del Dios-Escondido area,” he says. “We survived the fires, and it’s lovely here. It’s like Mayberry on acid.” Though he could probably live off the royalties from “Jungle Love” — which hit number 22 and was used as a theme song on TV’s Everybody Loves Raymond — Douglass remains one of the county’s busiest musicians.
“My musical plate is so full, it’s unreal,” he says. “I do solo finger-style gigs, concerts, weddings, funerals, dogfights — you pay, and I’ll play.” Among his current ensembles: the Fabulous Pelicans wedding band (“We get paid elephant bucks for traveling to exotic locations”), surf rockers Mo’ Wasabi (“I’m a Ventures junkie”), and the Monsters of Classic Rock, whose members have played with AC/DC, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, and Huey Lewis. One frequent Monster is guitar heavyweight Rick Derringer. “Going toe-to-toe with Rick and surviving made me happy to have been born,” says Douglass. “Lovely guy, too.”
Most recently he joined ’60s survivors the Electric Flag, once fronted by the late Mike Bloomfield. “Being asked to fill his shoes was a massive honor,” says Douglass. “We killed at the Monterey Pop Festival 40th Anniversary, and we’ll be doing a bunch of blues festivals in August.”
Douglass replied to our queries via email. “Love the ‘Lists’ feature,” he says. “It’s a grand opportunity to eavesdrop inside someone else’s brain.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1. Steve Earle, Washington Square Serenade. “A great American songwriter who never fails to make my heart resonate. This experiment with acoustic guitar and drum machine is brilliant.”
2. Deva Premal, Dakshina. “I took back every tragically hip, snotty thing I’ve said about yoga and meditation music after hearing this. The best singer on the planet, with wonderful musicianship. I start every day with this CD.”
3. Leo Kottke, 6- and 12-String Guitar. “I started to get a little full of myself as a guitarist recently, so I put this into my CD player. Leo once again served me up a big slice of musical humble pie, as he’s been doing for almost 40 years.”
4. Richard and Linda Thompson, Shoot Out the Lights. “I first heard this album ages ago at a party in an old mansion in Scotland on a cold and rainy night. Perfect setting for very dark and beautiful music.”
1. Requiem for a Dream. “Best film ever about the horrors of drug addiction. Stunning acting and a cautionary reminder of places I no longer want to be.”
2. The Godfather, parts 1 and 2. “I’ve seen ’em both over 20 times. Coppola should have retired after the second one.”
3. Midnight Run. “Everything works in this overlooked masterpiece starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. It’s the ultimate buddy film — hilarious and touching — and the Danny Elfman soundtrack rips.”
4. Pink Flamingos. “I love this John Waters film about people vying for the title of Filthiest People Alive. I’ve lost friends from showing them the final scene of Divine eating dog doody. I can’t help it. I’m a sick bastard.”
LOCAL MOST LIKELY DESTINED FOR FAME AND FORTUNE?
“I recently had the pleasure of playing guitar on and cowriting a bunch of tunes for Anna Troy’s upcoming CD Catch the Rain…it’s the most fun I’ve had working on a project in 30 years, and it prodded some pretty nifty guitar work out of this old dog.”
LAST BOOK READ?
“I’m reading Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, one of my favorite writers. She also wrote Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Fascinating, hilarious, and makes for stimulating bedtime conversation with my lovely wife Jeri. I’m in the middle of the chapter on the invention of the penis camera.”
LENNON OR McCARTNEY?
“Lennon. The guy really put his soul out there for the world to see. Also, McCartney was an active participant in both ‘Ebony and Ivory’ and ‘The Girl Is Mine.’ He deserved to be married to that one-legged bitch for making us listen to those musical felonies.”
MOST VISITED WEBSITES?
1. eBay.com. “I’m a collector by nature, and the plethora of ephemera on eBay is bottomless. Damn them.”
2. landoverbaptist.org. “It’s a brilliant parody of self-righteous, hypocritical Christians — my least favorite people on earth.”
3. myspace.com. “I’ve met some amazing people there, and several business opportunities arose out of MySpace contacts. Of course, it’s also a convenient way for fat ex-girlfriends and psycho-bitches I knew ‘biblically’ on the road back in the day to find me, so there is that double-edged sword.”
INSTRUMENT YOU MOST WISH YOU PLAYED?
“Hammond organ. I always wanted to be Jimmy Smith. The stuff he did with Kenny Burrell on guitar was the coolest music I’ve ever heard. Beautiful grooves.”
“I worked in a spice factory in Concord, California, back in the early ’70s. I packaged spices, toxic food additives, and lugged 50-pound bags of soy meal around in 100-degree heat for eight hours a day. My first day on the job I opened a 50-gallon drum of cayenne pepper. My coworkers did not inform me to wear goggles and a nose filter.”
BIGGEST POLITICAL CONCERN?
“The obscene and endless greed of oil companies is ruining our country, with the government pushing things right along. We are each being financially gangbanged on a daily basis. It’s not going to have a pretty end, and I see no change coming.”
1. “The Belly Up in Solana Beach is the best place on the planet to play or listen to music.”
2. “Brockton Villa Restaurant in La Jolla has a great view, funky vibe, killer food, and the best cheesecake ever.”
3. “My couch.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“I have an extensive collection of original, vintage horror and science fiction movie posters, and I also collected butterflies as a kid. All that’s missing is the adhesive tape on my glasses. I’m a true Dweebus americanus, disguised as a rock star.”