1) You're big on records. Imagine a kid listening to a Josh Ritter record; the kid thinks, "Man, I really dig this stuff, I wonder what else is out there like this?" And then the kid goes to the record store and finds some Leonard Cohen and Townes. What are some of the records you hope your own albums would lead people to? Some of the connections are obvious ... but what about the others?
willis alan ramsey, billy joe shaver,
country joe mcdonald, jerry jeff walker
jim croce, arlo Guthrie, john prine, kris kristofferson ...
2) You've had quite a long career (I remember learning some of your tunes on the guitar back in college after seeing your gig on Austin City Limits). What kind of perspective do you have as an older, wiser man? To follow that up, if you could go back to the kid making Songs for the Daily Planet, what is the one piece of advice you would give him?
1. wear brighter colors
2. stay low
3. dont put all your weight
on one foot during the show
(that rhymes marge
and you know it rhymes)
4. dont believe that anybody is dead
until you have gnawed on their skulls
with your very own teeth
3) I have this impression of you writing lyrics to songs first, and then coming up with chord progressions to go with the stories ... How does your songwriting go down?
last night, two third world drug abusers,
dressed as hotel employees,
forced there way into my room
did all my drugs
ate my dinner
im telling you,
if security precautions are not beefed up on this front desk
will seek safer accommodations
its a pretty sad day
when this song writer has to travel heavily armed to breakfast
what a breakfast it is
two eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns, juice
have you got two tens for a five?
two fives for a nickel?
can you tell me how to get to arkabutla?
or can you get there from here?
ive often wondered how different my life would have turned out
had my name been loose moose.....
or horse fly
todd feels like a long name to drag up the songwriter hill
at least for my bread
so in the morning before anybody in town is up
i feed the birds, the ones i respect anyway,
make a little coffee
read the paper
and then the magic happens
this morning i sawed a woman in half
it was a bloody mess.....
(that could have horrible implications)
but as we work the kinks out
and hone in on the right assistant
i think were gonna have a nice trick for the show
maybe a show stopper
as for the songwriting
i usually do that at lunch
or some other time
4) What's it like being back on a major label?
ive never once in my life asked burt my manager
how sales were?
what my fee for the night is? what label im on?
im a gypsy and its against my religion to care
about almost anything
for my money i signed with bob
then he took a different gig
and richie took his place
also there is a guy named adam who does a ton for me
i enjoy the company quite a bit
people say this is a business and you gotta be smart about it
and watch your back and have something to fall back on
and understand your contracts and control your destiny
and take the bull by the horns and never let them see you sweat,
and go for it and do it and be it
im just so sick of it
it's destroying my country
it's costing us the war we started
its exploded into pre touchdown endzone dances, pre race victory laps,
and lap dancing crack seminars
we have no problem finding people today
who can say with confidence
"i am the next american idol"
we have championship cancer
and we aint won it or done it
til we won it or done it
empty the warehouse
and refill it
with bigger and better
for a quicker fifteen minutes
of sad fame
and or feigned accomplishment
show me one thing man kind has done?
same world we found.....
and were still stumped
its an upsetment to me
my dream is to go to college and major in history
5) You often tackle deep topics; and you are able to get the audience to buy into what you are singing about because of your wry sense of humor. How important do you think it is to have humor in your music? Who are some of the comedians you look up to?
ok ....he said seriously.....my wife is first, then bob dylan, bill hicks, bob and tom, hunter thompson, mick jagger, mitch hedberg and mark twain
the comedians i have met seem to be deeper and darker
and more seriously in tune with a point
than alot of singers are......
i hope someday to use my wifes art and mine..
mixing all the tricks we got
into something nobody knows what to call.
6) Devil You Know has been cited as being a protest album. What are your
thoughts on this?
if i knew how to do it
i think i would protest
the war on terror
the war on drugs
the war on the impoverished
and the war on homosexuality
cuz all of them upset me personally
for reasons that i cant prove
my main theory on singers who protest and or save the wolves or whatever
is that it can be pretty annoying
what i would call a "folk nazi"
and i dont wanna be one of those
i also dont want to be the kinda guy
whose afraid to repeat an opinion i rhymed
just cuz it might offend somebody
and or cost me a buck
i can borrow a buck...
somewhere in the middle there
i try to put something together for a record
i have alot of respect for people
and am very aware that im getting to share my opinions
cuz they rhyme
and not cuz there smart
i dont think that this world has proven
that it has knowledge in it.
mans at the bottom of the food chain
for my dough anyway
and not that i would protest that
im fine with that
but as a member of a species
i dont feel smart enough
to make a protest record
7) What do you think of the new Dylan record? What other current records are you listening to?
holy fuck me running with scissors
wake the kids,
phone the neigbors
katy bar the door
no more calls
we have a winner
shut her down earl
shes pumping mudd
8) You've managed to make a living playing music; does that ever blow you away? It seems like such a use 'em up, spit 'em out industry; yet you've been able to solidify your place as a folk-music legend.
i think this is a kind question
and i appreciate the compliment you snuck into it
some times i think of the world were in together
and wish there was a god for sure
or a heaven for sure
that i could go picket
and or protest
but when i think about the life i personally
have been allowed to enjoy
i am filled with thanks towards the idea of a higher power
by any name
and as much as my biggest hope in life is that there is a place after this
where the circle remains unbroken
and that ill have done whatever it takes
to be part of that circle
if its nothing at all after this
im still thankful to god
that i dont even care if he or she or it exists
and as homer simpson always says
as hes about to die
"ive had a good run"
9) How's the reception of the new album on the road? Are people digging on it, or is everyone yelling for "All Right Guy" or "Beer Run?"
people seem to be into it
already know the words
and ive also been lucky that
there hasnt ever been
everyone yells for
its always a bunch of people yelling a bunch of different songs
ive been pretty lucky with the people
who just yell for beer run and alright guy all night too
they never seem to get good seats
so i cant hear them
10. Regarding the last question, a lot of people know your songs, but don't know you. Thoughts?
im a household name at my house