Lee Walsh, stage name El Dub, has had a busy year. The funk, reggae, rock, and jam musician recently returned from a two-week European tour and a full East Coast tour. Releasing his fourth album this November that has been three years in the making, Walsh will reunite with Sioux Falls band Lunar Funk Theory for a long-awaited home show September 7 at Bigs Bar. 605 caught up with the “one man band” (or “looper”) on life on the road, growing up in South Dakota, and coming together with his original bandmates again.
I started playing music when… I was gifted my first guitar for my 12th birthday and have loved playing ever since. I was already a pretty big fan of music before that and was super excited to try my hand at it. I had also played saxophone and violin when I was younger, but they never stuck.
I got into reggae/funk/soul through… well, I love almost all forms of music, and these are just a few I like to explore and experiment with at this time in my life. When I was younger, I was a fan of playing punk rock and metalesque types of music and then moved into hip hop and have continued toward reggae, funk and jam etc. It just depends on where I’m at in life.
Growing up in South Dakota taught me… a lot of lessons as I’ve done a lot of living in South Dakota, and I continue to learn as I go and as I grow.
Being from South Dakota, bringing reggae to the stage is important because…. people don’t generally expect reggae to come out of South Dakota, so it’s funny to see people’s reactions when you tell them where you’re from. Reggae is a music that really goes anywhere if your heart and mind are open to it.
The South Dakota music scene is… diverse and ever-changing. It’s been fun to play through the many different places and jam with so many great local bands along the way.
My favorite part about touring is… I love traveling and seeing and experiencing new things all of the time and, of course, getting to play for many different people from many different walks of life. Being on a full time music tour and being able to sustain my wife and two kids with the income from just that has truly been a blessing and a dream come true. I’m extremely grateful and do my best to give thanks often.
My most memorable show… is really hard to pick, but a few of the favorites for El Dub were opening for 311, touring Europe, and playing many awesome festivals around the country. For Lunar Funk Theory, the time we drove out to Montana to headline a festival was pretty epic, but there’s really too many great times to count!
My idols are… anybody who is spreading love and light into this world.
What people might not know about me is… that I love metal and punk rock.
I make music because… because there is no way I couldn’t. Music is an amazing conduit for so many different things. I love the release it brings both through listening and playing it. I also love that you can help people through music. There are many more answers to this question for me, but for the sake of readers, I will leave you with that!
When I’m not playing music, I’m usually… spending time with the family, frisbee golfing, playing PS4, kayaking, hiking, exploring, meditating, doing yoga… I enjoy long walks on the beach. Oh yeah and fixing the RV.
The hardest lesson I have learned from being a musician is… to not be too hard on yourself. We are all our own worst critics.
The message I want my music to deliver is… a message of positivity, love, light, and happiness.
My recent endorsement by Godin Guitars has allowed me to… get the guitar that I always wanted, which is the LGX-SA Synth Guitar. I love it, and highly recommend it! (Especially with a Roland GR-55 Synth pedal… ahem ahem. Roland, did you hear me dropping your product? Hint hint.)
My upcoming album can be described as… uplifting, positive reggae.
My advice for someone starting in the music industry is… play what you love and don’t give up.
For more information, visit eldubmusic.com.
Catch More of El Dub on Tour
Drifters Bar & Grille
28th Annual Deadwood Jam