There are bands, like R.E.M., who want to have 17 records, and some are terrible and some are great. I don't know if people think like that anymore. Things are more atomized now.
I wanted to be a writer when I was a little kid. Then I wanted to be Pete Townshend - the songwriting guitarist who occasionally sang.
When you wrote a song way back in the day, you were writing material to play live. And you would buy the CD at the shows if you like the show. You may not listen to the CD, you might just throw it in the back of your car and let it warp in the sun. The main thing was you saw the song at the show.
Now, by and large, people are recording material to put on YouTube. I have a theory that YouTube is, in the end, the #1 media for musicians. Which is strange, because there's a visual associated with it.
There's a lot of griping and groaning about wanting to play half-baked new songs live, but you don't want it to just end up on YouTube with like 74 thumbs down: "This is the worst!"
There was no indie rock band in the 90s at the level of, like, Grizzly Bear. I listen to their records and it's crazy how good they sound. That really freaks me out.
I'm a grown-ass man. I can't be, like, ordering people to put down their phones.
I like to go play shows just to see people, so I'm not in the game of like, "You're at my show, you're gonna listen to it like this, blah blah blah."
I like being a musician that's also a fly on the wall. I like people coming in the room and doing what they do and then leaving. I like attention, but it actually gives me a little less to work with as a performer if people are editing themselves and not being them.
Your ego gets activated real quick, you really want to impress yourself. But when you come back to it, sometimes you're like, "Yeah, this part? I don't know. This guy needs a lot of help."
I sometimes try a variance of the drawer trick - [I write it] and then come back to it and see if it blows.
I'm a total ho for any writing workshop, any technique from anyone.
I saw an interview with Jay-Z where he said he didn't write down any of his lyrics, so I tried that.
I try to be patient. I feel like the point of art is to go down within yourself and to pop up into other people. If you're lucky, all of a sudden you're like, "whoop!" You're in other people.
I like to write early in the morning, like, 5 a.m. If I'm really on my game, I don't have any coffee or stimulants. I'm kind of in a dream state.
I don't have a set working style. Some lyrics come really slow, others come in 10 minutes while I'm watching basketball. They're always a surprise to me.
If a band isn't coming up with two to four of those when they pick up their instruments, then they have problems - even if none of them turn into a song. If that's not happening in a band, it's time for therapy or breaking up.
At certain point, you realize it's easy to play music for the rest of your life: just don't sell your guitar. Maybe you get a day job, but as long as you have a guitar, you can play.
I'm fascinated with the attitude of younger rock bands, even ones that are making money at it. I don't ever hear them talk about it as a "career." It almost makes me think there isn't even a music industry anymore, like an atom bomb fell and it was just eradicated forever.
Advice is not really very useful. People gave me terrible advice, and I guess I was just smart enough to ignore some of it.
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