Q&A with founding member of Traffic covers upcoming Tahoe gig and more
Classic rock icon Dave Mason, known as a founding member of Traffic, is ready to play South Shore on Sunday, Oct. 1. Known for hits like “We Just Disagree” and “Only You Know and I Know,” Mason takes the stage at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe to perform his debut solo album “Alone Together,” which released in 1970.
Prior to his gig, Mason chatted about all things Tahoe and his career of performing.
ACTION: HAVE YOU BEEN TO TAHOE BEFORE?
Mason: Oh, sure — many times. I’ve played Harrah’s for 20-plus years and I used to live in Alpine Meadows for a while. I also have a house in Carson City.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN THE REGION?
Most of the time I’m on the road, so I’m not home much at all. I have a lot of good friends in Reno. [After playing South Shore] I’m home for about a month. Mostly I have a bunch of dental work to do.
WHAT’S IT LIKE PERFORMING THESE SONGS DECADES LATER?
A lot of them I’ve been doing anyway since I put out the album, so I’ve been performing about half the number — there’s only eight songs on the album anyway. They’re a good school of songs; they work and people want to hear them. It’s part of Dave Mason’s repertoire, basically.
WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE HITS TO PLAY?
I like them all for different reasons. I don’t really have any particular one favorite — otherwise I wouldn’t be performing them.
A lot of them are fun to play, some of them have room for improvisation, others are songs that people pay to come hear. They’re still great songs to play. A lot of the stuff that I write, I write purposefully as timeless songs not tied to any era. My songs are about people, motions, things — that never changes.
YOU’VE PLAYED WITH MANY ICONIC MUSICIANS. WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE TO PERFORM WITH?
Most of them left us some time ago. They’re all great in their own right. Since I’m a guitar player, it would be [Jimi] Hendrix. He’s the most interesting — he’s so unique and a very innovative guitar player. To me that was just a great experience.
WHERE’S THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE YOU’VE PLAYED?
I don’t know — I’ve played in a number of places. I’ve been performing so long — Red Rocks is a great place. There’s a number; there are so many different places.
For me it’s about not so much the place; it’s about the people. As long as there’s a great audience, I’m fine wherever it is. The room at Harrah’s is a great room to play in, but I’ve played so many different sized rooms — I’ve played to 300,000 and I’ve played to 300, and everything in between.
ARE YOU STILL ACTIVE IN nonprofits?
Ted Knapp and I started our own last year called Rock Our Vets, which basically does the same work [as Work Vessels For Veterans]. We also support pretty much all uniformed law enforcement and firemen, trying to help them out and what things they might need, hopefully from donations from people, which is not just about money — could be clothes, shoes, computers, cars, trucks, anything.
Tickets for Mason’s show, which starts at 7:30 p.m., are available online via Ticketmaster beginning at $45.41.