Words with Friends…not the game, but the act of sharing words with friends, like Gio Lugo of Paloma.

A week before the Raw Panda Showcase at Vinyl Music Hall (Featuring Paloma, Kent Stanton, Pioneers! O Pioneers! and ASHMEN) the Paloma guitarist/vocalist discussed Raw Panda and answered a few questions for the Pensacola News Journal and GoPensacola.com’s coverage of DeLuna Festival.


Here is a link to the article detailing the advice Gio gave when his niece wanted to find her first guitar. The full interview is below.

MS: What would Gio Lugo of today tell a young Gio who was just starting out?

A: This is funny because my little sister-just a couple of days ago- just asked me that. My niece showed interest in wanting to play guitar. She sent me a link that’s far as like, “What do you think about this guitar? Is this a good guitar player” And I, kid you not-it’s so good that you asked me this-I told her, one; if the interest is already there, it’s sweet. The most important thing, and this is so…I know it’s cliché, but it could be bad advice, but what I told her was, “What it was for me, was an old beat up, hand-me-down, friend of my dads, offered me an old Hagstrom. Just old, insanely thin neck, beat up, but whenever I looked at it, I thought it was the coolest guitar I’d ever seen and it was mine. I immediately just kind of…you claim ownership of it. Yeah it wasn’t an $800, $1000 dollar guitar, it was a hand-me-down, but it looked great, when I held it, I felt…I don’t know, it was a connection and I told her, “Listen, what she needs to do, is you walk in there and you go and look at the guitar and you go, ‘That’s me. That’s, right now, that’s going to motivate me to want to pick up that guitar and make it be a part of me. Immediately identify with an instrument, you know even if it’s something that’s…I don’t know…I’ve always played cheap guitars, all my friends will tell you, all my guitars are cheap, but it’s how you play it and it’s to me, it really is that; finding that thing that’s cool about something, and that it’s always very minor that something that’s gravitating towards you, you know.

MS: And you make them sing…You make those guitars sing. You sing and you make them sing.

GL: I make them stutter a time or two though (laughs).
You should get actual guitar lessons, also get a well running van.

MS: To close it out Gio, I want to play a word association game with you. I’ll ask you a word and let it loose, whatever you feel.

MS: Pensacola, Florida

GL: Really, immediately, it’s just…it literally is…it’s just…Home. Man, I’m probably thinking about this too much. Just “Home”. I wasn’t born here, but I’ve spent most of my life here.

MS: DeLuna Fest

GL: Epic.

MS: Paloma

GL: Momentum.

MS: Raw Panda

GL: Family

MS: Anything else you would like the readers to know?

GL: Yeah, like I said, we’ve been trying in so many ways to-as far as our friends, as far as what the Raw Panda Showcase is- these are all our friends. All bands that we enjoy, are proud of,and it’s the best way to come out to listen to Pensacola original music. It’s all about originality and you also listen to a lot of friends making music all on one stage. It’s all good. It’s a family. It’s a good collection of musicians.

MS: It’s seems like it’s an awesome time for Pensacola music. You’ve seen the crazy times, you’ve seen the dead periods and stuff.

GL: Even the dead days brought out some pretty good folk music and it’s temperamental, but I don’t know. You always got to write and you always got to listen and be prepared for anything.

– Michael L. Smith