Guitarist Adam “Shmeean” Smirnoff said there really isn’t a real big secret to keeping a band together for more than 20 years.
The guitarist said, “A lot of it is based on friendship and respect and looking at your brother and saying, ‘Man, I’m lucky to be working with this human. This person is a genius.’”
Lettuce, which performs Friday evening during the inaugural 4848 Festival at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, was founded in the early 1990s in Boston when most of the members of the band were teenage students at Berklee College of Music.
The name doesn’t come from the leafy green vegetable, but was taken from their early gigs in Boston, where they’d approach club owners and managers, telling them “Let us play.”
“Let us” became “lettuce” and the jam/funk band has been together ever since, doing what it does and always striving to take the music a little farther.
“We’re still inspired,” Smirnoff said.
Along with the professional relationship between musicians, the guitarist said their friendships endure.
“It’s really the basis for everything,” he said.
Because of the friendship, they get along and work from a place of mutual respect. Smirnoff said that they each know that everyone in the band brings something valuable to the table when they make decisions.
“If you’re able to empower everyone’s voice when everyone’s voice is so majestic,” the guitarist said, “then you’re going to end up in wonderful harmony.”
That’s worked for them and as a group, Lettuce has kind of grown up together, though their lives have changed along the way.
Last year, Smirnoff and his wife had their first baby.
His time away from the band is different now, but the music feels about the same.
“A lot has changed for me, personally,” he said. “But as far as the band, we’re all still very focused on getting to the highest level we can doing this thing.
“I don’t think we’ve done that yet.”
As a group, the band creates new music however they can. There is no one set path for Lettuce.
“We all bring stuff to the band and then ‘lettuce-fy’ it,” he said.
Just as often songs emerge from jams on stage, which are then refined over time. They also work on new music while they’re on the road.
“And sometimes, we go into the studio,” he said. “You never know. There’s no rule to creativity.”
Summer is the band’s time to shine. Smirnoff said they loved the festival season.
“It’s the greatest thing ever,” Smirnoff said. “We just did Electric Forest and that was really fantastic. We love getting out for the festivals and hope for warm weather and not much rain.”
Along with the summer music festivals, like 4848 at Snowshoe, Smirnoff said Lettuce will be going out on the road for its first headlining tour this summer.
“That’s pretty awesome,” he said.