Paul Burch, who made it after Lucinda Williams discovered him on a Nashville stage playing tic-tac.
Paul Burch, who made it after Lucinda Williams discovered him on a Nashville stage playing tic-tac.

Chicago favorites the Waco Brothers and Nashville singer-songwriter Paul Burch have traveled in the same circles for years, and both have made records for Bloodshot. Though their output is quite different—the former is loud and woolly, the latter gentle and measured—they share a deep regard for old-school country. They recently joined forces for the wild collaboration Great Chicago Fire (Bloodshot), which they’re bringing to the FitzGerald’s stage together on Thu 4/26. For this week’s Artist on Artist, Burch was interviewed by Wacos front man Jon Langford, and the result was a delightfully freewheeling conversation. —Peter Margasak

I’ve got the radio on—I’ll switch it off so we can hear each other. North Korea’s launching a rocket, mate.

A Oh—that’s terrible. [Laughs] On who?

Oh, they’re just testing it.

A Oh, OK. I was just reading that Apple is being sued by the government for collusion in the cost of e-books.

I believe it’s true.

A We should tell them that you and I bought Bloodshot Records. We probably haven’t told anybody that yet.

We bought it, yeah. It was pretty cheap, actually. We can artificially control the price of insurgent-country records until the government find out.

A We’re going to trade off having the minority ownership. That way one year we get to write it off, and then the next year the other person gets to write it off.

It’s good, it’s good. I’ve been the owner for a while anyway. I get an alumni magazine from the University of Leeds that gets delivered to Bloodshot Records, and it says “Jon Langford, Owner” on the magazine, which I think is fantastic.

A Yeah, you’ve got a paper trail. That’s terrific. Did you go to Leeds right out of high school? Is that what they call it? Or is it grammar school?

Q No, it’s high school. Well, it was “comprehensive school” in those days. You had a neighborhood school that everybody went to. Not like Chicago with all this “selective enrollment” crap. You have to actually be bright to get into a high school.

We went to a high school that was allotted to us, and allegedly it was a comprehensive education, so there was no streaming. I thought it was great, actually. I met lots of interesting people.

A What did you major in?

Q Leeds, I did fine art. In Newport it was like—there was a big art school. When I was a kid, about 15 or 16, it was the very heart of the town. It was right on the river, this big old Victorian building with a domed roof. There was a students’ union that had bands play in it. It was very cool. I wanted to go to art college, but if I had gone to regular art college, I would’ve had to stay for a year in Newport, and gone to that art school to do a foundation nearby. I decided I wanted to go to Leeds, which was kind of a fortunate decision.

Although—when I was there, the uni was the heart of the town. That’s when Joe Strummer was living in Newport. Guys I knew, when he became famous, were telling me, like, they know everyone. Everyone claimed to have taught Joe Strummer how to play the guitar. I met him years later, and he said he didn’t go to the art college—he was actually a grave digger.

But Newport Art College was so hip—he had come to live in Newport to be near his mates that were at the art college. The first time he ever heard reggae music was down at the docks at one of the West Indian social clubs, you know, the sailors’ clubs. I don’t know. I walked away from all of that and I went to Leeds, where I met the Mekons and the Gang of Four. How did you end up in Nashville, Paul?

A I had about five or six friends who I grew up with in Indiana. I went to a school there, which was across the street from our high school, a university called Purdue, which was more known for engineers, but I was an English major there. But I really liked it because there was a radio station in my dorm, which was one of the first actual stereo FM stations in the country. It was started by—

Q In the building, not in your room?

A Yes, in the building, right, on the very top floor. It was the dormitory where Neil Armstrong went to. He went to Purdue. And on the very top floor was this radio station that had started in the mid-40s, and they had a great record collection. So I was a DJ there, and used to call up the heads of the independent labels like Twin/Tone and Dutch East India and get them to send us records.

Q I was on Twin/Tone then. Did they send you Mekons records?

A You know, I don’t know if they did. I don’t remember. I feel like I got to the Mekons a little bit late, sadly, even though I knew a lot of music. We got some records by the Wygals and the Replacements when they were there, and some other things I don’t remember. I remember really enjoying the Beasts of Bourbon. They did a Porter Wagoner song called “Psycho“—”You think I’m psycho, don’t you mama?” [Editor’s note: “Psycho” is by Leon Payne, though Wagoner did write “The Rubber Room.”]

Q Oh, I remember that song, yeah.

A But I had a whole bunch of friends who graduated from there and went to Nashville, including a camera operator for the Grand Ole Opry. He called me up and he said, “You should come down here,” and so I came to Nashville. And just as I came down, I started hearing about . . . well, first of all, there was no place to play in Nashville. They didn’t really want bands. And I was so used to having a band together that I wanted to get a band together with my old mates in Indiana, but it was mostly just open to songwriters.

Q Were you doing country music at the time?

A I guess I had a rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll kind of thing. I did Hank Williams songs, and I did Johnny Cash songs and Johnny Horton songs. But I didn’t know country that deeply until after I got here. And then when I started playing in the honky-tonks downtown—

Q The ones on Lower Broadway? Tootsie’s?

A Yeah, Tootsie’s, that was the place. I went there and I met a singer from Pennsylvania, Greg Garing, who’s a really good tenor singer and really good rhythm guitar player, and he had just finished playing fiddle for Jimmy Martin. And he had gotten this job to play on the upstairs of Tootsie’s. Now Tootsie’s is right next to the Ryman, and when the Opry was at the Ryman—

Q It was dry!

A Yeah, the downstairs was a bar, and the upstairs was this room for all the people who played on the Opry, because there were no dressing rooms. There was one dressing room, and that was for Roy Acuff.

Q People used to go over there so they could get a drink, didn’t they?

A Exactly! And they would meet songwriters there. Like, that’s where Willie Nelson pitched Faron Young “Hello Walls.” And performers would watch other performers’ kids while they were onstage. And it had not been used since the Opry had left Nashville in the 70s. So they had just reopened the Ryman—Emmylou Harris had had a concert there to try to raise funds to restore the Ryman, and they restored it—and the first thing they did was open it for a bluegrass concert series. And so Greg had been asked to put together a little honky-tonk band to play for the people coming out of the bluegrass shows. They wanted to try to entice them to come to the bar. And the back of the room at Tootsie’s had fallen apart. And the very, very back room didn’t have a roof, it was just a brick wall.

So Greg had a plywood stage, and he was playing up there with an upright bass player and an acoustic guitar player. I brought an electric guitar and I played “tic-tac,” which is the chk chk chk chk sound you hear on the Hank Williams records. My other new friends in town were the guys from Lambchop, so I asked Paul Niehaus, who was just learning how to play steel for Lambchop, if he wanted to come down and play with us. And I think the first or second night we played, Lucinda Williams came down, along with Bucky Baxter, who was playing steel guitar for Bob Dylan. And they started telling all these people about us. And all of a sudden, that’s kind of what I did. I was just playing down there. We played on the weekends, but I’d also play during the week for like four hours a night.

Q I went in Tootsie’s in 1988, when me and Marc Riley from the Fall did an album—it was the first time I sort of vaguely got involved in country and western music. It was doing an album of Johnny Cash covers with a load of punk rockers in England. And then we got in touch with Cash and he really liked the idea. It was an AIDS benefit album, and he was really into that.

Jon LangfordCredit: Barry Phipps

And we went to Nashville and went out to the Opry out in the, you know, the mall. But we went into Tootsie’s—and I had come to America a few times with the Mekons, and I was looking for country music, on a kind of quest for it. And I couldn’t find it anywhere. But the bar in Tootsie’s was the kind of starting point for me for making all the paintings I made, you know, country-and-western-themed things. ‘Cause I just loved the walls in there—they’re covered in old promo photos in frames that are kind of torn and ripped, but then they’re covered in this, like, gunk.

A [Laughs] This goo!

Q Yeah, a million cigarettes, you know? A billion. It’s just a really atmospheric, cool place. That’s really the only thing in Nashville that struck a chord with me. I thought the Opry itself was depressing—concrete and in the suburbs.

A I was the same way. I didn’t discover it right away. I remember I was really frustrated trying to play these songwriter nights. They wouldn’t allow you to use your name—you were just supposed to use a number, because that was how many people there were trying to make it as a songwriter.

Q Were you number seven, Paul? Who was number two?

A And I was so lucky, because I came home one night from this terrible songwriter night, and I was listening to a record I had bought when I was a kid from the Country Music Foundation, of Hank Williams wire recordings, which were just sketches and demos that he did of his songs before he’d go into the studio. And on the back of it was this picture of him—he had his coat off, and he had a white shirt on, and he was really hot. It was summertime and somebody had probably asked him out back to take his picture. And he looked really hot and disgusted and pissed off. But there was this picture of him, and then there was a picture of his band playing on this wooden stage, with just an upright bass and steel guitar. And I said, “Fuck it, that’s what I need to do. I don’t want to do anything else. I just want to have a sound that’s like that.” And the very next day I went down to Tootsie’s and ended up playing—[laughs] you know, finding something like that and joining it.

Q Did you try doing, like, the Nashville songwriter bit? My mate Robbie Fulks went down there and tried to write songs with people, and tried to break into the country hit factory, you know, the sausage factory.

A I didn’t do it the way that—I think he really tried. I think he had a deal—he might have gone down with sort of a sponsor or something. I don’t know, because I don’t know him very well, but I think he already had a record deal, or maybe he didn’t. But no, I didn’t—there didn’t seem to be a way in. It was really a very closed kind of society. I can understand him getting really frustrated.

Because the thing is, if you were a songwriter, you weren’t an artist. You couldn’t be both. I just didn’t really understand that, because I had always been in bands, and I just thought if you wrote songs then you sang them. I thought that’s what Nashville would be like, because Willie Nelson came here to do that, and Roger Miller, and then Guy Clark and Steve Earle. I thought that’s what you do. You thumb a ride and you come down to Nashville in your truck, and your songs are kind of part of your personality. So it felt very strange to hear people sing songs that they never had any intention of singing themselves. They were willing to write anything just to get someone to record their songs. So the songs didn’t really sound like anything.

I remember one time I went to the coffee shop where all the songwriters went, and I struck up a conversation with someone and thought, well, I’ll try this. And all of a sudden there’s like three people at a table trying to invent a situation for a song. And they were too afraid to put anything personal, because they thought if it was too detailed, then somebody couldn’t relate to it somehow. Which I thought the opposite—I thought the more details you put in . . . you don’t want just a hotel, but a Motel 6. The more personal your experience is, it ends up more people can relate to it. But they were really afraid to put in anything that was from personal experience somehow.

Q Well, I’ve never ever really tried to write a song that was trying to be commercial. I wouldn’t know a hit single if it bit me in the ass. It’s a weird scene. I’ve done some of them round-robin things down there as well.

A Did I play the Bluebird with you? I know you played it here once.

Q I played the Bluebird one night, yeah. I just found it very difficult to look interested while the other people were singing their songs. I’m used to getting on with it. “And now we go, man!” I remember doing a thing with Alan [Doughty], we did the This American Life tour. You’d do a song at the end, a song in the middle, a song at the beginning of the second act, you know? Actually it was a song at the beginning, a song at the end, and then two others. You know, you’d get on and you’d rock—and then you’d have to stop, and you’d have to go and sit in the dressing room or something. And Alan, the very Wacos bass player, could not handle that at all. He hated that so much. For him, it’s such a physical kind of performance that to stop and start like that is really weird.

Those songwriting things, I’m just doing another one next week—I’m going off to the west coast with Tom Russell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. We’re going up to Portland from LA on a train. And we’re going to do some of those round robin-y type things. I’m just hoping I can stay alert. I’m on playing or I’m off, it’s just a weird situation. I don’t really understand it.

Q We should plug our show, mate!

A Oh yeah, we have a show!

Q You coming to town, are you?

A I am! I am coming to town. I’m coming to town and we’re going to rehearse.

Q The pleasure strips of Berwyn.

A Yes, we have a new record. And the title cut we wrote in my little garage here in Nashville.

Q And recorded at 7:30 in the morning in a studio on Lincoln Avenue.

A I love that studio, actually.

Q A studio called Mystery Street?

A Is that what it was?

Q Yeah, it’s a great little studio. They were kind enough to accommodate us—Paul had to go the airport, and what time did you have be out there? You had a flight at like 11 or something, so we had to cut and record a track starting at like 7:30. Great drum sound in there, though. Fiercest drum sound I’ve ever heard on any record.

A I think we should do a second one there. We’ll take a whole day this time.

Q So why did you want to make a record with the Waco Brothers, Mr. Burch?

A Well, honestly, I think you might have suggested it. And I was very flattered that you did. I think my feeling was that when you had asked me to play some of my songs with the Waco Brothers, it was—

Q Yeah, you had hopped up onstage with us a number of times, I think at FitzGerald’s quite a lot. It’s quite fitting that the record release is at FitzGerald’s. I think that’s where it seemed to germinate in the first place. But we’d done a lot in Nashville—I’d used your band quite a lot.

A Yeah, it was very freeing to me, I think. At that point I hadn’t really—even though I had a band, the WPA Ballclub, I didn’t quite have the group I have now, you know? I hadn’t really met the core of it yet. And I was kind of struggling at that point because a lot of the musicians I played with were always so distracted. They didn’t really want to be in a band. So even though I felt like I was getting toward a sound, I wasn’t really getting the feeling of release that you get when you’re up onstage with a lot of people that really want to be there, you know? And feel like they’re part of an enterprise.

So getting onstage with the Wacos and hearing the power—just being a part of that, it was just wonderful. I don’t even know what words to describe it. It was just like being on a jet engine. It kind of brought me back to where I was when I was a kid playing house parties and stuff, where you weren’t thinking about who you might play with tomorrow or the next day, which is so typical in Nashville. I had so much fun, and it was very loose and professional at the same time. In some ways it almost seemed more realistic and professional than any of the kind of experiences I’d had up to that time in Nashville.

Q That’s interesting. I think the thing about the Wacos was that we started off with a bunch of punk rockers who were in love with George Jones and Johnny Cash and were playing in bars for beer money. But then Tom Ray was playing bass with us, who’s a great traditional country and western bass player from southern Indiana—and he plays for Neko Case now. But he went off to join the Bottle Rockets.

We found Alan, and Alan was the bass player in Jesus Jones—Alan Doughty—and we had met him socially. I think Tracey [Dear] might have met him on the plane flying into Chicago, and we found out he was living here, and he had been in this kind of skateboard, hip-hop, metal band in England that were quite famous, and had been in Target adverts and everything. And we were sort of superficially billed at that time as some sort of country band. And we were on Bloodshot, which was an “insurgent country” label, whatever that means. I took it to mean people trying to do something interesting with country music, as opposed to just crushing its bones into dust.

But yeah, Alan had no idea what country music sounded like, so in the very beginning, there was no boom-chicka-boom, no fifths kind of bass line that you get. And it was, as you said, for me—suddenly I’m strapped to a jet engine. People called us a hard country band, an alternative country band. It was really kind of one of the more exciting sonic rock ‘n’ roll experiences I’d ever had. We got going with Alan and it was just—it’s full on.

A It was kind of like that for me—it was really inspirational. I think it was an inspiration to where I’m headed now and the kind of people who are in the WPA now, because they’re a lot more—I don’t know if dedicated is the word, but they really feel like they’re part of a band, and it has a really unique band sound. And I kind of think of the Waco Brothers as giving me the credit to—I don’t know whether it’s . . . it’s partly focus and partly just relax, and also just, when you sorta know what it is that you really like and what it is that you don’t like, it kind of attracts musicians.

The thing was, it’s not that the musicians I played with didn’t care—they did, and they did a great job. I think a better way to say it is that the Waco Brothers have a personality. Their band together has a personality, and the individuals have a really unique instrumental personality. You know? They’re, like, very serious—musically they’re very serious, but they also like themselves and they like how they sound and what they do.

Q It’s kind of a social grouping as well, to some extent, I think. If the Waco Brothers didn’t have a band, we’d probably be those guys that went, like, ice fishing together or something.

A And I think now the WPA is like that, but up to that point, a lot of the musicians I was meeting, with the exception of Lambchop, they were kind of afraid to have a personality—because they were afraid that if someone saw them in, for instance, a honky-tonk band, no one would hire them to do pop. Or no one would hire them to do rock. It’s almost like they were afraid to commit to something. And so I realized that what I was looking for was very much like the Waco Brothers, in that I like musicians who have a real personality to their playing. Rather than try to change that or adapt, you just accept it, and that becomes a really vital ingredient.

Q I think with me to get in bands together has always been a kind of social—the Mekons were a bunch of nonmusicians sitting in a pub in Leeds in 1977, thinking, “Let’s form a band—we should have a band, ’cause punk rock’s going on.” There was no one in there who had any claims whatsoever to musical competence. The Waco Brothers kinda fell together pretty much the same way. I don’t know—it kind of works for me when the chemistry is right with the people.

I think the thing with the Waco Brothers and with the Mekons, as time has gone on, is that people have gained musical competence and some degree of focused professionalism. And you can turn that on and off as you see fit. What I liked about making this album with you was that you represent something outside what we normally do, which is kind of a much more focused look at the history of country music. We had always sort of flirted and skirted around it and played this kinda noisy rock ‘n’ roll, and you were writing these kind of crafty songs. You know, you played A-flat. I had never played A-flat before, Paul. I didn’t know what it was. I had no idea where it was on the guitar, and then I found it. Now it’s in all of my songs. I only play in A-flat now.

But I mean it—there was something that I heard in those records you made for Checkered Past. It was kinda like the opposite of the Wacos, and then on the same page as the Wacos at the same time. Someone was acknowledging the history of country music but not trying to impersonate it—making something that had so much of that classic country that I loved in it, but yet that sounded right up-to-date. It didn’t sound like some kind of yee-haw throwback crap.

A Well, thank you, John.

Q That’s why I think we did this project, anyway. I think that was kind of the two interesting poles of alternative country or whatever it is.

A The only little bit of music that I’m actually good at, that could be technical at all, is just the feeling for a groove, which is something that the Waco Brothers have wonderfully. It’s really interesting too, because the drummer—I’ve now spent time with both Joe [Camarillo] and Steve Goulding, but Steve was the first drummer I met from the Wacos. And the funny thing was is that my first instrument was drums—what I’m trying to say is that it’s the instrument that I’m most comfortable with. And that’s kind of what I can contribute to a group of musicians.

Q Well, you played drums in Lambchop originally, didn’t you?

A Yeah, and when I first met Steve, I didn’t realize it until I realized what his name was, but he kind of taught me how to play drums. When I was a kid learning to play drums, I’d play along to Nick Lowe’s first records and the Rumour’s records and My Aim Is True, which are the records that he played on. So it was kind of crazy. My rhythm guitar playing is very much influenced by my drumming, and the hand that held my drumming, by way of a wire, was Steve Goulding, who played with the Mekons.

Q I mean, I was the drummer in the Mekons when it started.

A Oh yeah?

Q Yeah, I was the original drummer. And then Steve kind of came in. I wanted to play guitar. I remember there was a night at Leeds University, probably in 1977, when I was like 19 years old, and Steve was up on the stage with Graham Parker, and in the room around me are his mates, who knew I started a band, going like, “So are you as good as him, then?” And I’m like looking at Steve Gould pounding away on the drums, and it’s teenage bravado going like, “Yeah, yeah, I’m as good as him.” Which was a lie! ‘Cause, you know, he’d been playing with Graham since he was about 16 or 17. When he joined the Mekons it really pushed us into a different world.

A What was the first big show that you had with the Mekons? Did you have a big debut in London at some point?

Q Yeah, a couple of times. We’d go down and get single of the week in the NME or Sounds, or something like that. “Where Were You?” was our second single. It came out—I think it was the very beginning of ’79 or the end of ’78. It sold a lot as an independent record, it was single of the week in all the music papers, and David Bowie picked it up and played it on his BBC top 25. That was just one of those moments when you go down to London suddenly in the van and you’ll be playing some gig and it’ll be packed out and there’ll be queues down the block. What was great about the London punk scene was three weeks later, you’d be nothing again. ‘Cause there was something else that was new, you know.

But it was definitely—we were up in Leeds, so we were quite far removed from the London punk scene, and it was very exciting in those days to go down and do a big show. We did a bunch of those. A show we did once that they filmed—there was Gang of Four, Steel Pulse, the Mekons, I forget who else was on the bill. But it was this thing called Urgh! A Music War.

AOh yeah! You know, I had that record when I was a kid.

Q Virgin Records didn’t think it was worth anything, ’cause they wouldn’t cut ’em a deal on the publishing, so we weren’t in the movie.

A I was wondering about that, because I still haven’t seen the movie.

Q They filmed us for it, and it was great. I’ve never seen the footage. And our own publishers kind of managed to scupper our career by not cutting the producers of that film a deal, because they didn’t understand why they should give them a cut price on the Mekons. So they just used all the other publishers, who did do that.

A I wonder if they’ve got an extended cut of Urgh! now that you’re in.

Q I don’t think so. Is there anything else that you think we haven’t covered?

A We covered the record, right? We mentioned the record. Nan [Warshaw of Bloodshot] would like for us to mention the record.

Q Maybe we should just talk about how the record was done.

A My feeling of it was that Jon suggested we make a record, or maybe we both did. That seems like something that we would do. There were a few older songs of mine that Jon liked that we had performed. We did several performances before we decided to record, and a lot of them were at FitzGerald’s.

Q I’d sung “Monterey” with you a number of times. I remember when you opened for Ryan Adams at the Park West, you got me up. I danced around and sang “Monterey” with you, which was kind of funny.

A Oh, that’s right! That was the first real tour that I’ve ever been on was opening for Ryan, who was a really lovely guy, actually. He was very funny and very supportive at that time in his career. I haven’t seen him since, really. But I played a lot of big venues opening up for him.

Q The best thing we did together was that Marty Stuart show at the Ryman Auditorium.

A Oh yeah, with Charlie Pride and Neko and—

Q Porter Wagoner.

A Yeah, that’s right, Porter Wagoner was on there.

Q Yeah, Porter Wagoner was wearing giant white pajamas. Just before he died. And Marty Stuart said, “What song we doing then, man?” I said—it’s like two minutes before we went onstage, so I’m playing “Nashville Radio,” which is a solo song of mine which is extremely rude about Nashville really and about the Grand Ole Opry. And then we went out and did it and everyone loved it. He danced around in his little sparkly suit.

A He wanted to be part of it

Q He was magnificent. That was great—that was a great night. And we did the little trek as well. We went out the back door of the Ryman Auditorium and into the back of Tootsie’s and had a drink, if I remember. It was really packed and unpleasant in there, and my wife said, “Can we leave now?” It was a historical moment.

A It was probably a hysterical moment as well.

Q It was hysterical. We were honoring some bizarre stripe of country music. But we got away from the topic of the record. As I understood it, it was like, let’s try and do something really fast and spontaneous to see if anything good comes out of it. And then we sat there for a while and realized actually something quite unique had come out of it.

A I remember they were tuning Steve’s drums or something, and we went to an Italian restaurant across the street. I had this massive meal and drank Italian wine, and then we cut most of the record in very little time. I think once again I had a plane to catch in the evening.

Q Yeah. You had to get out the next morning. I think I left you there with Steve. Everybody else went home and you were just strumming away, you and Steve.

A Right. We did a few things that didn’t make the record that I just recorded with Steve, but we recorded the lion’s share of it in not many hours.

Q We did two more tracks. We did one at your studio and then one at Mystery Street. It made us focus when we did those two tracks, I think, because before that it was—

A Very live. And there’s also no edits. It’s all completes. Which I’m used to—I don’t know if the Wacos had ever done that before, but all the songs are complete performances, so if you had been there you would’ve heard exactly what happened. I mean, there were a few things added after the fact, but everything was recorded live and if we got a good take—we didn’t do a lot of takes, and once we got a take that felt good, we just moved on to the other song. So it really is a live record, which I think is the way that we’ve probably individually worked together. But I thought that was quite cool for that many people to get together and not—it was very much just trying to create what we had already been doing onstage. That was really nice.

Q We were trying to make the 17th greatest rock ‘n’ roll record in the world.

A Oh, that’s right, yeah.

Q To me the whole process sounded a bit more like—maybe it’s more like The Basement Tapes and it’s just like a kind of field recording of a moment. It’s not like we’re trying to make some polished pop record. That makes it really kind of interesting and unique.

A I also think that records should be a kind of literal record of where you are. You have good days and bad days and you hope that your record is—well, when you look back on it, most records for me, they bring back the feeling of what you were thinking at that time. And even like just, I mean, I had as much fun making the record as I did going out to dinner with them before we cut it. So it’s all kind of of a piece.

That’s why it’s really good to play with people who—where their musical personality is really vital. If they’re not there you can still go on, but it’s different. Steve and Joe are two great drummers, and no matter who’s there it’s really powerful, but they each bring something slightly different. And that really helps make each record and each album, each event that you do kind of like—you know, going to someone’s party or going to someone’s event or an opening. For me, anyway, it’s much more meaningful to the future if you can remember it as a really unique event. There’s a lot of people who try to make a record that isn’t moored to where they are, and somehow in the process of trying to make something timeless it ends up not being timeless. It seems like an airbrushed picture that’s not really connected to reality.

Q Or it’s just connected to reality, mate. Too much bloody reality.