Kevin Winter, Getty Images T.I. and Lil Wayne are teaming up once again, only this…
- Posted on Mar 11th 2010 1:59PM by Dave Jaffer
Describe your sound in your own words.
I guess you could call it techno-folk. The reason I call it techno-folk is because it's usually acoustic guitar mixed with whatever the current technology is and that's been true since the first album.
How did you start in music?
I was 11 years old when I picked up the guitar and started to really think about playing it, and tried to play it. I wrote my first song when I was 14, so it was three years between picking up the guitar and actually writing the song, which then was an eternity. It seemed that I was the slowest songwriter on the planet, that's how I felt when I was 14. By the time I was 16, I had a bunch of songs, like, 50 or something like that, and I started to go out and actually sing them. And that was a big transition for me -- going from the privacy of my bedroom to try to go out onto a stage, any stage. It took about eight years of dragging myself onto any stage that would accept me to getting a record deal in '84.
What are your musical influences?
Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, [and] Laura Nyro were the first ones that [made me think], "Wow, that's amazing." Especially Bob Dylan. I guess my parents listened to him, and then we learned a couple of his songs in school. I would say the idea of using images in songs instead of a narrative, that's something that I tried to take from him. There's a million things to learn from Bob Dylan and how he writes, and all you have to do to get the full effect is to try and play one of his eight-minute songs from the beginning to the end and follow the path of his mind and the curve of the words, and the rhythms, and what he's playing on the guitar. You're transported into a whole different way of thinking. I've tried to steal from him as much as I could. The other one is Lou Reed. Actually the day I wrote 'Luka' I had been listening to the 'Berlin' album. Most people don't hear the influence at all, but there's actually a pretty straight line between the 'Berlin' album and the acoustic versions of 'Luka.'
What is your biggest vice?
A tendency to daydream and procrastinate. And to clutter, to hoard.
What's in your festival survival kit?
I would say most of it's in my iPhone. I mean, all the applications I have in my iPhone. If I want to take notes I have my iPhone app for that, and if I want to take pictures, I've got my iPhone app for that, and if I want to Twitter about anything I'm seeing or experiencing, I've got my iPhone app for that. And if I want to keep track of what I'm eating, I have my iPhone app for that. The only thing they don't seem to have an app for is any sort of religious [thing], like praying.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
I had a crush on Paul McCartney. Now that I think about it, I think it was [my first]. He had these beautiful eyes. I just remember staring into his face when I was eight or nine; my friends and I staring at them all and choosing Paul.
What is your musical guilty pleasure?
[Checks iPhone for Top 25 Most Played, then laughs] Maybe this would count. It's 'Me & U,' that single by that girl called Cassie.
Beatles or Stones?
I just did a book review about Paul McCartney's new biography for the New York Times, which came out last December. So I had my head steeped in Paul McCartney for four months before that, while I took apart this book and tried to review it. In that review, it says that I was "totally, completely, and utterly a Beatles fan" from the time that I was four years old until the time I was 12. And I never really got the Rolling Stones. Later I did -- it's all about sex. And when you're four years old you don't really care about that. So I was just a complete, utter and total Beatles fan. I soaked myself in their music for years.