ANDERS: Where are you guys right now?
RYAN: We're in Pennsylvania, State College. We're getting ready to play here tonight; we came here last night to hang out. It's really pretty -- all the trees look like fireworks, different colors. It's really beautiful. I'm really, really stoked. I've never even seen Pennsylvania before, so I'm excited.
A: How have the shows been going with the new lineup?
R: The shows have been going really good. We've done three and one radio show. The third was at Irving Plaza in New York a couple nights ago. It went really good; I mean, it's been really laidback. It's different -- a lot of the songs are coming across different, but they're coming across so good. A lot of freedom in there.
Everybody's really happy; Caitlin's really happy. It's good to have Skillet around.
A: There was obviously a lot of tension before the breakup --
R: Oh, Jesus, man, it was **** immeasurable. It was really obvious to the point where people would talk about it to me; people would call and ask me about it. It must have been pretty visible, you know.
A: You and Phil have never made any secret of the fact that you weren't the greatest of friends --
R: No, I mean, look at the promo picture; we're looking away from each other! (laughs) I'm glad that was never made secret; I always try to be pretty up front and honest in interviews and talk about what was going on, and that's definitely gone on for awhile, you know.
A: So what finally happened? I mean, I don't know how much you care to say or is even relevant.
R: I've been kinda discreet about it. I think it's cooler to be that way about it. We just kinda came to the end of things. We tried to finish the first leg of the tour; me and Caitlin ended up doing the last couple of shows. Things just kind of came to a head and we both just decided that it would be better if we didn't work together for awhile. At least not hang around each other for a little while. He's got different things that he should probably be doing now, musically, and so do I, so ‹ he's gonna be just fine.
A: So you brought back (original member) Skillet (Gilmore) on drums --
A: -- you've got Ed Crawford on guitar --
A: And a couple of new people?
R: No, Mike Daly, who's been touring with us since the record came out, plays keyboards and lap steel. And then (new member) Jenni Snyder, she plays bass.
A: Is this a permanent lineup now?
R: Nobody's really made any -- we're just trying to take it a day at a time here. But everything's been really comfortable and really cool, everybody really digs playing with each other. But we figured it's better to take it a day at a time and go, "Hey, do you want to play?" "Yeah, sure," rather than -- it just seems a lot cooler that way, you know? It's easier to do things like that right now, especially given there's been so much freaking out going on with the band over the past couple of years.
A: You say that it's had a positive effect on the live show so far. What kind of effect do you think it will have in the long term? Will it make the creative process easier? Do you think it will effect the direction of the band? Or is it too early to say?
R: Well, it's a little too early to say, but we could all assume one thing or another about it. I think ‹ I haven't sat around considering it ‹ but I could only consider it having positive connotations for the musical development and the live development of the band, because, I mean, where's there's smoke, there's fire, and nobody wants to go on stage on fire, you know what I mean? Or go make a record with that. Basically what it does is it cuts the bullshit factor down about to 60% -- and I can tug a good 25 a night, you know?
But you know, it just kind of keeps things more even, I suppose.
A: You alluded to all that's gone on with the band in the last couple of years -- all the 'freaking out' going on. And it seems that there are a lot of pressures on the band and on you personally --
R: You got that right.
A: -- and lots of stress. You are a pretty young guy, no older than me; you are traveling all the time; and there are high expectations for you. What's your take on that?
R: My take is you're absolutely a hundred percent ****' right. Basically it's like this: It's like waking up with a hangover one day and someone's like, "Okay, here you go." This whole thing is just as **** baffling to me as it is to anybody else. I've been totally glad, a hundred percent excited and glad for it, but it really came out of the blue and it is a lot of pressure to put on anybody and I think that those pressures only help to create a weird, strange environment. I mean, with Skillet dropping out the way he did with Steve, our original bass player. I mean, Steve's original thing is that we didn;t work well together and he knew as well as I.
With all that kind of stuff there was a lot of pressure then, and it really hasn't subsided, it's just gotten more and more. You just try not to pay any attention to it, because if you think about it, then you're gonna **** drive yourself crazy. I like to look at it like this: The day that this isn't around anymore, you know, if one day this isn't cool and there is isn't any work for this band or whatever, I'll know that I can just go back to doing whatever the **** I was doing. Which was just being an utter loser anyway. (laughs)
A: So did you always want to be in a band since you were a kid?
R: I've always been in one since I was, like, 15. That's just always been the cool thing -- if you're not out skateboarding, what else you gonna do? You can't skateboard every day because it rains, so you start a band. And then you can't skateboard every day because you've got band practice, and then, next thing you know, I'm talking to you from Pennsylvania.
A: What was your development as you came into this band? I know that you didn't always play country-rock or alternative-country or whatever label you want to put on it. What was the path of your development before this band? For instance, I know that you played in punk bands.
R: It's really a lot of varied influences. I was always into loud records and I still buy loud records, I still have a lot of punk records or metal albums or whatever I want to buy that day. I suppose I sort of have never been obliged to not like a country record or a rock record. But I find it really alarming that when people listen to "Stranger's Almanac" or see our live show and still say 'country,' I'm like, "Really, I doubt it," because it's not. The American Music Club aren't a country band though they've stuck their fingers in that jar; they've played with that genre. We're just about songwriting, and to me, that's the thing.
I'm from a relatively southern state where there's a lot of southern things - things that are definitely not northern. And that's always been reflected in the way we've written songs. With Caitlin being into bluegrass and playing fiddle, we could write something that's a stripped-down rock song but once we put the fiddle on it -- and she and I are so into close-harmony singing -- that's what I think borrows from it.
It's really funny you say that, because The Village Voice, the last time we were there (last weekend), said something like, "The Old 97's and Whiskeytown are playing; you can be sure that they'll quit doing this (alt-country) as soon as it's not profitable."
A: I saw that. I saw that, Christgau wrote that.
R: Christgau -- is that a girl or a guy?
A: Robert Christgau.
R: Robert Christgau. What an asshole. I was very offended because I have been coming up to New York with my bands since I was 18, almost 19 years old. That's a good, almost, three-and-a-half years or longer. And we've been coming up three or four times a year, sometimes more. I mean, Whiskeytown went up there right after we recorded "Faithless Street," before it was even **** released. And that town, the audience in that town is huge for us. Different clubs, different people, and even different bands from there embrace us because we've always kind of come there on our own money. We never went up there to prove any point or to "Oh, bring the music to the big city," and then this **** Robert Christgau wants to act like, "Oh, we just blew into town last week with **** spurs on our boots and David Allan Coe is like some kind of godfather to us." And that guy can kiss my **** ass for writing that. He can **** with whoever he wants, but I hope that writers like that realize who they're **** with, because I pretty much feel like, yeah, he's a rock critic, you know, but I'm 22 and I'm in **** Whiskeytown and I've made two albums. They're talking about my album in Rolling Stone and he's the one dissing me in the **** Village Voice. People like that can kiss my ass.
I'm sorry, I had to vent. But I just like to be public about who I think is a **** idiot and that guy is. I just can't believe him.
A: Yeah, that comment doesn't show much knowledge of or respect for the music --
R: Or for the dedication, for the fact that I brought a band twice to goddamn Irving Plaza to play in front of almost a thousand people. You know what I mean? To say that if it wasn't profitable for me I wouldn't have come? It *wasn't* profitable for me. I went up there, losing money, because I liked the band and I wanted the band to play out. Shit, two shows in Irving Plaza and we get that kind of respect. That guy's just asking for a visit to his office.
A: And from his comment it's unclear whether he's even listened to a Old 97's or Whiskeytown record.
R: That's the other thing, the vagueness of his description. It's like, when does a music writer stop writing about music and start writing about politics? And what business is it of theirs to be involved? If they want to write about politics, go write about **** Bill Clinton, don't go writing about rock bands. Especially not with the -- it's really funny, I feel like I put so much of myself into this band every day of my life, almost all day of every day of my life, because I love it so much. And when I read stuff like that, it's infuriating. But it isn't infuriating because I think that that person's gonna influence people's decisions, it infuriates me because it's ignorant. And there's just no excuse for that kind of ignorance. Yuck.
A: What's your take on this whole 'alternative' or 'insurgent' country scene, and you and your band's place in it?
R: I actually like a lot of the bands, personally, that they're grouping into that category. What I do think, though, is that all the bands are extremely, extremely different.
A: Sure. A good example is right there - you and Old 97's.
R: There's a complete, perfect difference. They're Texas swing, sped up pretty fast with Beatlesque kinda riffs. That's my take on them; I don't really see any similarities. Our band's basis comes down to a more formulated rock'n'roll kinda aesthetic, or a Neil Young aesthetic. I'm really kinda proud of a lot of the records that have come out of that genre; I don't know if I want to only be a part of it, I'm not "pro-alternative-country," I'm sort of "pro band." I'm totally into a band that gets off and they're good. I'm like, "Wow." But that could mean that the Bad Brains could tour next year and I'm gonna go get off watching the Bad Brains. It doesn't matter to me if the guy's got a pedal steel or a flannel, it doesn't matter. But I think it's cool, you know, I think if any of the bands are inspiring anybody else to play music, then that's really cool.
It seems to me that there's an everyman-sensibility to a lot of the new bands that are out there. I think that's because, for a long time ‹ well, I'm 22; I'll be 23 any day now. But when I was first getting into records, whenever I was a teen or an early teen music buyer, I -- usually that's when people are gonna get inspired, inspired by records, at 13 or 14 -- the thing that I could embrace back then was punk rock, because to me that was more of a realistic music, I had more in common with it. It was sort of angry, it was a little bit disillusioned, but there was still beautiful things about it, you know. Whereas maybe a lot of the mainstream stuff ‹ I would go out and buy a Minor Threat record or a Sonic Youth record as opposed to a Thompson Twins record or a Poison record. Not to say that those bands didn't work hard or that those bands didn't spend a lot of time getting where they were going, but they just didn't have a lot of stuff that I could relate to.
So what happened eventually, that's what made me and people like Rhett Miller or even people like Jeff Tweedy or those guys want to write about that same type of stuff. Plus, those guys are from Illinois or St. Louis ‹ that whole area is completely -- we drove right next to Belleville where those cats are from and it looked like home to me, it looked like where I'm from. There wasn't any different ‹ you had your trucks parked, and vacant lots, and it didn't look like too big of a town but I'm sure you can get hold of some records there somewhere.
A: It's interesting you talk about that common experience, because recently I've talked about this issue with Cary Hudson of Blue Mountain --
R: I love Cary. He's so nice.
A: He is a great guy. He and Laurie both.
R: They're a total gas; I love hanging out with them.
A: So anyway, he and Brian Henneman and Jay Farrar and all these guys are coming from the same place: When they were kids, their parents listened to country music, so they were exposed to it and it was in their subconscious.
R: Yeah, and then you revolt against it when you're younger because it's what your parents listen to, but then you go back.
A: Right, you pick up punk ‹ Black Flag, Replacements, X, that kind of thing ‹ when you're 15, and then later you go back to what you're rooted in, which is country. And it seems like everybody in the scene is coming out of that experience.
R: Yeah, it's like that thing they say where "You can never go home again but you spend the whole rest of your life trying." Nobody ever talks about the second line of that. You can never go home again, but **** everybody tries. That's why you go back and start embracing things that you didn't necessarily dig at first.
Things that influence your life eventually influence your music. And I think that's more common than things that influence your music influencing your life.
A: So how does that ‹ life influencing music ‹ bear out for you? If that's true, what does it mean when you look at "Stranger's Almanac," a record full of really sad, disillusioned songs?
Do you write largely out of your own experience, as opposed to a more fictional approach?
R: Yeah, totally. But that stuff is there for anybody, even somebody who has a 'perfect life.' I suppose if you're observant as an artist, there's always the pleasure-pain principle. Well, pain is maybe the wrong word, but it always seems like, well, you can go through a whole day whistling, everything's perfect, you just had a great lunch, saw an old friend, but you're gonna remember about when that friend was having a tough time. Or you're gonna remember, "One time I was on this street and so and so got robbed." Those aren't necessarily pessimistic things I write about, just recognizable to me. I don't know, I suppose that maybe for some reason I am a little bit more involved with the disillusionment of things as opposed to just being content and happy. Now, I'm not saying I could never write a beautiful, happy record (saying) "I'm stoked, it's all good." But I guess it just depends ‹ I like to focus more on that type of stuff just because that's what moves me so hard musically. I don't know why, but there's just nothing ‹ it's almost fulfilling and moving to sit down and have a couple of beers and get a little bit lost in, like, part one of the George Jones compilation. You go, "God, man, there's something really beautiful about a sad song." I guess I always wanted to try to unlock that somehow.
A: And then there are songs here that can't be written out of a personal experience. Like "Houses On the Hill" -- you're telling a story.
R: Yeah, I'm being a storyteller in that song.
A: But to me, that's the most beautiful and sad song on the record.
R: You should hear the other (unreleased) ones, man. I love that. There's so many other little -- there's even stories that almost co-exist with that story as earlier stretches of those characters, or later ones.
I've always been into storytelling to some degree. My grandmother always gets tickled whenever she reads "People" or something and sees us in there, and she's like, "Oh, you're doing so good, I remember when you'd sit down and write stories and you'd tell me and your grandpa stories, and I always thought, 'Boy, he can really write.'" And I'd go, "Well, I got that stuff from you guys." She can never believe it.
It's really funny, she never actually sat down and wrote a fiction story on the typewriter or drew a picture out of her mind, but she ‹ my parents and my grandmother and my grandfather's lives, even to this day, were so enriched with local things, things that were happening to them, that, I suppose, because I had that little spark of wanting to be creative, I had everything I ever needed to learn right there in front of me, just things that were happening in my life.
So it just kinda carried over, you know. I'm just really lucky. I was really lucky to be as observant as I was, but I was also lucky to be around people that were that full of life.
A: Have your grandparents come out to see you play?
R: Well, my grandfather passed away. And my grandmother, she's getting old -- not incredibly old, but I can't just fly her into a gig. But I've played guitar for her and she listens to the records and stuff in her house.
A: I was in Chicago the other night and saw the Jayhawks. I was sitting up in the balcony and next to me, Gary Louris had his grandmother.
R: Wow. You know, he is one of the nicest fellas. I got to hang out with him; me and him and Alejandro Escovedo hung out for a good amount of time backstage at Al's SXSW show. I got to meet him, but I unfortunately spilled -- I dropped a beer.
It was really, really hot, as I remember, and I was trying to dress up for Al's show because he always tries to outdress me and he always wins. So I had on a suit jacket and I was a little bit hot. And I don't remember how it happened but I spilled the beer and it just about -- I think it pretty much half-doused his shoes and he had these really nice Italian loafers on. I was like, "Oh, man." But Gary was like, "Don't worry about it."
A: He's a dresser, too.
R: Oh man, he is so into it. He didn't used to be, but, damn, he got way into it, didn't he?
He makes such beautiful records. It's really funny; when I first met him he was quite certain that I made country-rock records ‹ which I did, and which I do when I want to. There's a lot of recordings, like I said, that haven't come out; there's a lot of different things I've done. But I was like, "Well, Gary, when your hear 'Stranger's' you'll know that (pop-rock) is not beyond me." And sure enough...
A: He's done the same thing, from the records he made with Mark Olson -- or even back to the band he was in before the Jayhawks, a band called Safety Last, that was just straight rockabilly. Then with the Jayhawks, the Bunkhouse record was pure honky-tonk, and then it was still very country-inflected all the way through "Tomorrow the Green Grass."
R: Their first record just blows my entire mind. The innocence there is just incredible.
A: Are you talking about "Bunkhouse" or "Blue Earth"?
R: "Blue Earth."
A: That is a great record. "Ain't No End" is one of my favorite songs.
R: I love "The Baltimore Sun." That's great.
A: Have you heard the new version of that song that they've been playing on this tour?
R: No, I haven't got to see them because we've been out so much.
A: It's kind of an AC/DC version.
A: They're doing the same thing with "Waiting For the Sun" -- they copped the riff out of "Back In Black" and worked it up in "Waiting For the Sun."
R: Oh my God, that's awesome. (laughs) We kinda did that for a while, the old cats -- Steve Terry and Phil and me, Chris Laney, Mike Daly and Caitlin -- somewhere in the original part of the tour things got really rocking, way rock. Because Steve Terry's a way rocking drummer, a great **** drummer. And things just got really kind of crazy, really rock. But right now they're going back to -- me and Ed have this guitar playing back and forth that is so similar and so cool, things are headed back to more of an organic, more direct, real honest-type stuff. We don't necessarily rock, and even when we do there's something real different about it because Skillet, he's more Ringo Starr, he's not John Bonham -- so it's really kinda goofy.
But everything seems to be coming together really cool. Everybody's really laidback and happy. And sometimes Skillet and I have to try to not be a fan to Ed too much because we loved his records with fIREHOSE so much. But that usually doesn't seep in, we usually just give him crap about it and go, "Oh ha ha." He gets a lot of flack.
A: He's been around the scene with you guys in North Carolina for a while now, right?
R: Oh yeah, see, his band Grand National was opening for Whiskeytown some. They opened our record release party at the Brewery, and we sold this place out and did a really great big show, and what do you know, next thing you know we're out on the road together.
A: What do you think of the future for Whiskeytown and Ryan Adams? I'll preface that by saying that it seems as though you and Old 97's have become kind of the standard-bearers of the younger set of the alternative-country movement, and there are high expectations for you. You're on a major label, etc. But then you look at other bands that have been doing this for a few years and haven't had much commercial success. So I guess what I'm asking is, as you look to the future, how important is commercial success? And how important is it to meet these high expectations?
R: What usually happens is that I try to stay interested on a really cool level, like, "Who wants to hear us where and where should we go play?" And I try to keep up with the label, because there is so much mutual respect and understanding between Outpost and myself and the band. So usually I try to look at it as taking it in really fair steps. And if things snowball and get bigger and really go crazy, I suppose I'm as ready for that as I am if it just stays a comfortable low.
I don't imagine that we would be the first ones (from the scene) to go over, but you can never tell about those things. They are a lot of, a lot of people put a lot of stuff on us, saying we're "gonna be the Nirvana of this," and all that crap. I just kinda laugh and go, "You're kidding me, right?" I just try to make sure the band is healthy and try not to look at it too far outside. I try not to read too much press on the band because it might freak me out. Like last night, we went to the bar where we're going to be playing -- and some really Grateful Dead-ish type local band was playing -- and I picked up some local magazine and we were on the cover so I just put it down. I go, "Oh, don't wanna see that."
A: Getting back to talking about influences, you mentioned Alejandro Escovedo. He's obviously an important figure ‹ he played on your record, you covered his song ("The Rain Won't Help You When It's Over"). What effect has he had on you and your band?
R: It's really funny, but it's like he -- I find a sense of heroism in him for being such an amazing songwriter and for hanging in there so long. He's had problems, his life has been less than -- I guess, a little less than turbulent -- but we just have this mutually protective kind of friendship, relationship, for music and ourselves. That's kind of come with time, and now I think we worry about each other about equally. I make sure that he's doing good and I love his kids to death, I love his wife to death, and as far as musically, it's really funny. We're always calling each other with these ideas. It kinda all stems from just opening a show for him one time and meeting him, and I think he really loved that I was really enthusiastic about music. And he's the kinda guy that is there to help people out -- that's a guy you can count on, you know, that's a real friend. Meeting someone that had really been around the block and had really seen it, could really help us get to the places we needed to go to -- I was always just really stoked about that.
A: So he has served as a mentor to you?
R: Yeah, uh-huh. But it's more like we're just straight friends now. It was alarming at first -- that's another biggie for me; I like meeting people that I imagined I'd have something in common with and then finding out that I do, you know, it's really quite cool.
A: How do you feel about the new record -- you're proud of it? Is this the record you set out to make?
R: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I couldn't be more proud. I'm proud of everybody, I'm proud of everything the band's done. I try to look at every change or everything that we do as an accomplishment, even if it isn't exactly the perfect -- even if the perfect thing doesn't always happen, it seems like the results are because we are hanging in there, we are making music, those records did get made -- and we've gone through tough times to make sure that happened.
A: What are some of your favorite songs on the record and why?
R: Let me think of what I love now. I love playing "Not Home Anymore" live now, because we've really taken the song and turned it into something just way intense.
I love "Losering" because I think it makes a beautiful statement with only about six words. I coulda put more extremely well-written, musically perfect songs on the record but decided not to because I was proud of the fact that there was finally some experimenting going on in the band. And "Losering" was one of them -- "Losering" was originally just about a six or seven-bar little hymn that I was writing, like Sun Ra or somebody might do -- like "A Love Supreme," you know, where they just mumble that in succession at the end of that Coltrane record? I kinda wanted to do something like that but maybe with an influence from the Byrds, you know. And I was really proud of that; I really thought that was amazing so I love listening to it.
I love listening to "Houses On the Hill." But my actual favorite from the whole album -- which doesn't get talked about a whole lot -- is "Somebody Remembers the Rose," which to me, I think it's my best song. Well, it was at the time; I've done better now with some stuff that will come out maybe on the next record that I've been working on, but I really felt like that summed up this whole situation I was in for a long time, and just beautifully.
A: There are some turns of phrase on this record that are amazing to me. For instance, you didn't mention "16 Days" --
R: Oh yeah, I love that one, too.
A: -- but that verse in there, "I got 16 Days, 15 of those are nights / can't sleep when the bedsheet fights / its way back to your side"; that's an awesome couplet.
R: That's totally about missing; that's when I was going through missing her. It wasn't even like an exhumation of the feelings I was having at the end of the relationship, it was more of an actual presence of her being gone. It was kind of strange.
The record kind of moves through different motifs of losses and it gives examples -- I don't think it actually gives any answers until the very end, which I think is quite nice, for an effect. At least for an emotional document of something.
But yeah, I totally agree. I'm as surprised as anyone, you know, when I hear I people and they know those lines. To me, they're just like these lines -- I don't ever really go, "Oh, that's my line," but sometimes I'll get to thinking about it when we're talking about it or something, and I'll go, "Damn, I did write that. That's pretty cool." But it's just so far from writing it now and I've just sung it so much that it's just part of my life, it isn't even something I have much time to reflect on, which is just crazy.
A: And now what direction are you thinking of heading for the next record?
R: Caitlin and I -- well, it'll definitely be everything we've learned from "Faithless Street" to "Stranger's Almanac." There's so much that we wrote in between that didn't make this record, so some of it will be on the next record. But Caitlin and I, our fascinations are turning strongly and swiftly back into actual straight country, into old-school country. And oddly enough. But there will be a lot of sweet country ballads -- we want to write perfect country songs for the record. But it'll be a mix -- there'll be rock too, more like "Faithless Street."
This is what I imagine: "Stranger's" was such an artistic document; "Faithless" was such an actual song-to-song document. I think the next record will take everything that we learned we could do on "Stranger's" and everything that we knew we could do on "Faithless Street" and it'll be like "Faithless Street" in that it'll be varied as hell -- rock songs and straight country songs. I just think the straight country songs will be much more beautiful and better. After writing things with her like "Houses on the Hill" and stuff, I can only imagine what those next songs will be like. I've been working on them, so I do have an idea, and they're good.
And the rock songs, too, I think, will be a lot stronger. I just feel like I'v got this sorta kick in my pants -- I'm not so down, I'm not too down to be able to really go and put a blistering track down here and there. But it'll be anything but loveless, that's for sure.
A: Sounds great. Listen, I don't want to end on a down note or anything that you'd rather not talk about, but you are coming back to Michigan for the first time (actually the second show but first trip) since the thing up at Mac's (in Lansing). So I just wondered if you had any comment to explain what happened up there, and also what you would say to someone who was there or someone who has only heard about that to convince them to come to the Ann Arbor show?
R: I wouldn't convince them to come, although if they were there, I would expect them to get a good show.
I suppose for a lot of those people, they went to see their favorite band and it turned into a band that they hated. Now, I can't blame them for that, but that was honestly one of the times when there was so much pressure on us as a band and on me -- pressure coming a lot from Phil, pressure from every end -- that I think that it used to get to be too much. There was no support system for anyone to not freak out and have weird times or problems.
They all thought, "Oh maybe he was drunk, maybe he was this, maybe he was that," but I was just at a point where I didn't know how to believe in myself that I knew how to do a good show because I had so many people telling me what it was I should be doing.
And what I've learned from that whole experience is that the more I'm listening and the more I'm thinking about what other people are expecting from me is the more I'm learning that I know how to do my business better than anybody. And that's just to go and play, and to go be comfortable.
And I just couldn't have been more uncomfortable that night and I don't know why, I don't know what was wrong, but I do know that I ended up making a farce of it. I put on this mascara and I went and I played and I couldn't have cared **** less that night, I was just like, "**** it."
But I went to the extent of sending those people letters and emails. I emailed people that were on the internet writing about it after finding out from my manager that there were names and places that I could get in touch with these people. And I wrote to them and I said, "You have every right to be pissed off and you have every right not to want to see our band." But they were talking about they were throwing out our records. And I was like, "Those records are still as good. You liked those, you embraced those records. But you went to see an actual live band, you went to see an actual real human being. In order to write those type of songs, I think you have to expect that there's gonna be somebody who's gonna be pretty true to how they feel when they're up there playing."
Bob Mould has been (through) a lot of things like that, and I've talked to him about it. He's had really bad times in his life; times when he just felt like a prostitute sometimes for it. Maybe it was just a night where he didn't feel like he could do those songs honestly again; he'd been doing them for two or three weeks in a cramped van with people he didn't necessarily like any more.
I have a lot of those same problems. And I don't know, there really isn't any excuse for that.
All I know is that a lot of those people, they don't believe me anymore, and I don't blame them. But maybe something good came out of all that. I don't know, I always try to think that something good came out of it. One of the things that was good that came out of it for me was, if I don't feel comfortable, I make sure I let somebody know ahead of time so that can change. Or if somebody else in the band doesn't feel comfortable and feels weird that we go and try to figure out what that problem is.
I think that bar just threatened me in general, and I know it's not a bad place to play and I know a lot of my friends have played there and even had good shows, like Backsliders and stuff. For some reason, I'm just -- I guess I was offended that I was seeing the Volebeats and there was TVs on and people were watching football and talking over them, and all these bright lights were on and they were serving food and stuff. And I was like, "This isn't a good place to see a band." It didn't feel like a place that people deserved to be seeing any of these bands and I kinda felt like the promoter was cheating the audience as much as us.
My intentions might have been to piss off the promoter and it ended up pissing off the audience. But I never told the audience to **** off. I actually told one guy in the audience, in particular, who is a radio guy up there who I know because my manager knows him pretty good and he knows who he is. And I told him to **** off because he was busting Caitlin out, that's why. And it was in front of a lot of people, so I don't know how they took it, as if it was pointed to them.
That whole situation was just so messy. I heard they go, "**** rock star." I read an article that was written up there that was called "I Hate Rock Stars." This guy wrote about the whole event and stuff. But so do I, you know what I mean, and that's why I did that. If I'd have been a rock star, I'd have gone up there and played **** Skid Row covers and told everyone to **** off. I kinda felt like, if I'd have been a rock star, I'd have finished the **** set. But I didn't, I didn't even feel like a person, I felt like a caged animal in a corner of a room, with little crappy speakers I couldn't hear myself sing in. I thought, "I'm just up here like an animal. If I can't be up here getting off and hearing myself and having a decent time singing, then I don't know how they can." But apparently they were having a good enough time -- I miscalculated and I misjudged that, I don't know.
But it's, there isn't enough **** confessional booths between here and there and enough Catholic churches where I can get rid of that. It's a blemish.
A: I think it's just something to learn from and move on. I wasn't there personally, but I know people who were there and I know people who saw you in Pontiac the next night and thought you did an amazing show.
R: And for whatever talk there might be of how mature I am at 22 or how good I am at handling things, people have to remember that, with that, there does come mistakes. I am not perfect. I don't know the ins and outs of all this. It takes me a long time to learn how to be comfortable in my situation. But like I say, I'll take it or leave it at the end of every day if I realize that it just didn't work -- if I didn't get off musically the way the music turned me on, then I don't feel like I have anything better to do then than run away from that situation. Because wherever that dishonesty lies, those feelings or whatever those situations were that ever made this band a bad band or ever made me feel like I wasn't holding up to what it was that I did have to offer, then I always felt like I did have to walk out of those places. There's just some places that you just shouldn't dwell.
Thank God the Replacements didn't come through that night, somehow in a time machine, on their '84 tour, and they'd have gotten a lot worse.
But just tell those cats that were there that I'm dead sorry. And I'm dead serious, I don't blame them. But I just can't tell you, when you're doing a band like this, how many people start coming around and getting involved, people that you never needed before to pick up your guitar and play it, people that never needed to do this kind of stuff. Some of those people are gone now; some of those people are right and I was taking them the wrong way. And I just couldn't be sorrier, I could never be sorrier for playing a bad show for somebody that paid money to go see something that they believed in and then, there it is, I'm not even believing in myself. Those are the bad days; those are the bummer days. That's what makes next records, I suppose.
A: Well, I've never seen you guys before and I'm looking forward to the chance on Saturday.
R: Believe it or not, we're **** looking forward to it, too!