Strongly song and hook oriented, the Pollinator's music is deeply connected to the music of the '60s, '70s and '80s. The Raleigh, NC-based band writes and records undeniably catchy, accessible and memorable songs. The Pollinators have an eclectic style evident in recordings that range from the heartfelt longing of "Middle of the Night," to the infectious, power-pop of "Mindreader," to the dreamy romanticism of "A Girl Like You."

A Life in the Day

Eric Schweitzer - Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter

Eric Schweitzer sits across from me in a booth at the Jumpin’ Java Café in Durham. He’s eating a hearty bowl of soup and talking quietly about guitar gods, the ’60s British Invasion, and life on both coasts. We exchange favorite Spinal Tap moments. With his deceptive boy-next-door looks, math-rock frames and witty, topical references, Eric may be the anti-Nigel of our age.

Raised in New York City, Eric was exposed early to a broad range of influences, musical and otherwise. “I had quite a life there, saw a lot of life there,” Eric understates, sharing just a few tidbits from a childhood spent dashing under moving trains, dismissing the advances of perverted doorman and climbing out of manholes in Harlem. Young Eric took a BB gun shot to the eye and survived to tell about it. Later he got his start as a graffiti artist when he voluntarily custom-painted the hallways of his high school. “I had to do some time for that one,” Eric laughs, only half serious—disciplinary action was carried out during a summer away from home.

Not surprisingly, music formed a foundation for the precocious though monkey-minded young artist. Mother Barbara played classical piano and father Jerry played cowboy guitar tunes and listened to jazz. At the age of seven, Eric’s musical influences expanded further when he was befriended by the owner-operator of Sam’s Record Shack on Long Island, who gave young Eric the scoop on all the new 45s.

“I was riveted to the jukebox from the age of 9,” Eric recalls, “and I would pester my mom for change so that I could listen to all the 45s in the machine. When that didn’t work, I learned to rig the jukebox to play the same records over and over again.”

Having cultivated a healthy interest in jangle pop, Motown, and British invasion style rock'n'roll, at the age of 15 Eric impulsively put money he had saved working a summer job toward the purchase of his first real guitar, a shiny Gibson SG. In just a few years Eric would be pursuing his musical studies formally at no less than the Berklee College of Music, where he would immerse himself in Boston’s music and cultural scene, meeting and learning from local and visiting luminaries from Lennon to Vai while earning his bachelor’s degree.

In the years following graduation Eric honed his style, playing in such bands as Boston’s The Start and California’s The Salesmen. In between gigs he also would undergo a few not insignificant changes in dayjobbery, earning a masters degree in environmental science at the Miami University of Ohio and working as an environmental consultant for several years before delving into Web design.

“I tried everything else,” Eric says, “but always returned to my first love, which is music.”

Meanwhile all this living—literally from coast to coast, from Boston and NYC to Oakland and Ohio in between—has cultivated in Eric’s guitar and songwriting style an eclecticism evident in recordings that range from the heartfelt longing of “Middle of the Night,” to the infectious, power-pop of “Mindreader,” to the dreamy romanticism of “A Girl Like You.”

What’s more, after years of carousing, this musical Casanova seems more committed than ever to the love of his life.

  • Member Since: 2005
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