Soul Asylumテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 Last Minute Save

Author Steve Perry
Publication Musician
Date June 1993

Sometimes you canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 catch a break, and sometimes good karma pours over you by the bucketful. Here it is early February barely past Groundhogテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 Day, and Soul Asylum has already had itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 best year ever. テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ禅he Tonight Showテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ. Opening act on the Keith Richards tour. Featured attraction at the MTV Inaugural Ball -where they shared the stage with no less than Al and Tipper Gore, whom a zonked-looking Dave Pirner greeted with a public plea for the new administration to make things better in テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ全outh America and Kuwaitテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ. "I didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 think too much about what I was gonna say", he allows. "I wanted it to be spontaneous".

And following nine years and five albums worth of tenuous times, their first Columbia disc, Grave Dancers Union, is a hit. Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 number 51 with a bullet in Billboard this week, having already moved enough copies (280,000 so far) to make it the biggest-selling record by anybody from Minneapolis who is not Prince. Not bad for a band many left for dead after its last A&M album, Soul Asylum and the Horse They Rode In On, stiffed in 1990.

Clearly, room service is in order. Studying the directory of the hotel services for a long minute, frontman and songwriter Pirner finally calls downstairs and orders a sIx-pack of Corona. Meanwhile his bandmates are cataloging the ways success has changed Soul Asylum. テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ詮loor hockey sticksテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ, says drummer Grant Young, pointing to a bundle of shiny new ones over in the corner. The band is planning to play before soundchecks, テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ糎e go into all these big, empty rooms, and we never get any physical exercise,テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ he groans.

Thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 not all. "We get our own rooms once in a while now", notes bassist |Karl Mueller, "so you get to control your own TV remote. You get to eat a little better テδεつεδづつ「テδεつづδづつテδεつづδづつヲ"

"A big bag of chips" avers Pirner, "instead of a little bag".

Success had also earned Soul Asylum a new label, meant no doubt as a compliment: the next Nirvana. Which grates a little considering the bandsテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ relative longevity, sort of like calling James Brown the next George Clinton. But hey, no hard feelings. "The only time you feel resentment", says Pirner, "is when you open up your closet and look at that plaid shirt and you just canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 put it on anymore.

"You know what we call that, when a punker moves from Minneapolis to Seattle? Grungy-jumping". But he sounds more touched than irascible about all the recent attention to the Seattle scene. "Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 kind of cute. And Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 not uncomfortable with being a link in that chain that somehow wound itself around the United States. The Stooges, the MC5, the Ramones-see, to me it looks like one big long folk ethic. People think music is based on the industry or something, but itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 not. Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a chain reaction. Thereテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a lot of kids out there playing guitars, and itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a totally natural thing to happen".

In a minute room service comes with the beers.

"Twenty eight dollars?", Grantテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 searching the ticket for a math mistake. Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 28 bucks, all right. Fortunately the waiters cool about offering to take it all back, even offering directions to a liquor store a block from the hotel.

"Hey, tip the guy", Dave whispers belatedly as the waiter leaves with six Coronas on a tray. Too late.

"Twenty-eight bucks for a six-pack man" Grant shakes his head.

"Thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 like five bucks a beer", nods Dave.

"If we walked down to buy テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ粗m at the bar, itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 be 18 or 22 bucks or something", offers Karl. "They add room service charge".

But wouldnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 the label pick up the room service tab?

Grant shakes his head again. "Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 just get charged back to us anyway", he grimaces.

Pirner, like most rockテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ地テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池oll frontmen, didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 start life as a popular guy. "I didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 get in too many fights", he says of his formative years. "But I did get punched a few times. So テδεつεδづつ「テδεつづδづつテδεつづδづつヲ I guess I was a puss. Whatever". Excelling in sports was Pirnerテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 way of combating his wimpy rep; music was how he fought the sense of isolation that underlay it. Not the music youテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 expect though; in those days he was a horn player in school bands and the Youth Symphony. "People definitely thought I was a puss for that" he remembers. "It was like, テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ糎hat do you play - flute?テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ But I just went along and did it, because I got this sensation when the whole band was playing along together that was so cool. Kids from all different walks of life got together and played one song. It was a beautiful thing. I loved it. It probably sounded awful, but I loved that it was a common ground everybody stood on."

To this day Pirner remains obsessed with the notion of common ground; if thereテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 an overriding theme in the Soul Asylum oeuvre, itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 the quest for connections. All that studied postpunk diffidence aside, Pirner has more than a little preacher/healer in him. His songs constantly reach out to proffer reassurance to the geeky, self-conscious kid whoテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 still alive in a lot of people - the one who gets punched silly from time to time.

The songs on Grave Dancers Union reflect a broader range of emotions, from outrage to outright sentimentalism, than anything Pirnerテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 written before. The music is different, too, melodic and driving and mercifully unafraid of its own commerciality. "People are really multifaceted personalities", he says", "and the problem with a lot of kinds of music is that they reduce that. Thereテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a macho element to loud music that wasnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 as much a part of me as Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ致e always made it out to be".

For Pirner, learning to broaden his voice as a writer and player was more a matter of confidence than of exposure to new ideas; heテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 been exposed to a lot of musical ideas since he was a kid. Early on, "I was into jazz", he says. "Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 weird, but when I first thought of playing music, It was jazz or classical. Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 buy a lot of trumpet player records - Maynard Ferguson records".

Meanwhile "I was listening to the radio under my covers ever since I can remember. I was just into the pure energy of it for a long time before I got into the introspective side of it. I went through this while hard rock/metal phase associated with puberty. After that, I remember listening to Lou Reedテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ全treet Hassleテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ, that changed the way I thought about music and what it could do".

Pirner discovered Reed, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie around the age of 16, at about the same time he first heard punk. "Thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 when I first started playing guitar", he says, "I heard the Ramones and the Vibrators and I thought, man I can do this. Once I could play a song on the guitar, it was over: This was my medium. At first it was all punk rock songs, like テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ全crew, screw, screwテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ and テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ租rive, driveテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ. Stuff like that.

Lou Reed was pivotal for me. He was cool enough that he penetrated the punk rock movement, and he was smart enough that he took me away from it also, and made me look at it differently. I think a lot of it was realizing the non-musicality of guys like Reed and Dylan. Louテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 got like a seven-note range. And that fit in with the Ramones/Vibrators anybody-can-do-it thing.

"All of a sudden we werenテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 talking about Maynard Ferguson anymore. It wasnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 about technique and finesse and mastering an instrument. Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 being able to communicate an idea or a feeling more than anything. I realized you could work your way through all this and get better at it. And you could actually learn in public, pretty much. Nobody cared how well you could play, just how well you got that thing across".

To Pirner it sounded an awful lot like the lesson he heard wafting across the years when he listened to Woody Guthrie. "It wasnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 until I found his music that songwriting started to make sense to me as an ethic - a storytelling ethic. I really like the idea of writing a song to be understood: There it is, itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 real upfront, itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 not convoluted or caught up with any trend or fashion. Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 plain and simple music for the sake of sharing something with somebody".

Punk and its progeny lost track of their original immediacy and visceral honesty, says Pirner -some of his own songs included. At a certain point, the challenge was to pare it down again. "I think I reached a plateau", he muses, "where I discovered that where I wanted to be was not on the avant-garde. I started going, this is bullshit. Thereテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 all this trying to outcool and outweird people, to be the most obnoxious thing in the universe. Thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 where we started out. The idea was to be this hateful sort of assault on the senses and shake people up. Make them mad テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ祖ause weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e mad. We thought that was cutting-edge, and we thought that was more arty because it was more difficult to deal with. It started to feel pretentious. It started to feel more caught up with an attitude than with making music."

Degraded as some of punkテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 best impulses may have gotten en route to becoming just another insiderテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 language, itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 all the same thread as far as Pirnerテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 concerned: folk and punk, Woody and the Vibrators. "Music by the people and for the people", he says. "Punk music is folk music, and folk music has this rich history that just gets passed on through weird kids in weird places wanting to say something".

The cover of Grave Dancers Union is a kind of spiritual index of its contents. In the haunting tinted photograph by Czech artist Jan Saudek, a mother and two naked children walk down the road with their backs to the camera in a barren, almost surreal industrial landscape shrouded by fog. The emotional tenor of the image is hopeful as well as foreboding, though, evoking a sense of endurance, regeneration and openheartedness that the hard circumstances canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 suppress.

"I saw a show by Jan Saudek when I was in Paris", says Pirner, "and I thought that was it. I tried to get that image for both our A&M albums, but they couldnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 secure the rights. I said I wanted it again this time, and Columbia got the rights. The negotiations were funny -they said it was gonna cost about five grand to use the picture, then Janテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 manager got a hold of it and they reevaluated the price. Suddenly it was like $57,000. Then I talked to the president of the label, Donny Ienner, and said I still really wanted it, could he make it happen? He said well, let me see what I can do. He gets two guys on the phone and the next day itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 settled at six grand.". Pirner laughs at the thought. "Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 amazing what you can get done".

The episode makes a pretty good parable for the difference between Soul Asylumテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 A&M days and its new deal with Sony. The band had the misfortune to join A&M at a time when major shakeups were part of the routine there. The A&R man who signed them left the label just before their second-and final- A&M disc, Soul Asylum and the Horse They Rode In On, came out. Around the same time Polygram bought the label; three weeks or so after Horse was released, the new owners dumped dozens of field staffers. Soul who?

"We heard it was a musiciansテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ label, started by Herb Alpert, that it was a family thing", recounts Pirner. "And thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 what it turned out to be. People in my family bought the record テδεつεδづつ「テδεつづδづつテδεつづδづつヲ"

"My family bought a bunch of them" says Mueller

"They gave us things we needed to grow", says Pirner. "They gave us a studio to work in, they gave us producers. But we got lost. We werenテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 accomplishing anything by working so hard".

The period following Horse plunged Soul Asylum into a kind of limbo theyテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 never experienced. They were still under contract to A&M, but it was clear no one at the label felt much commitment to the band -or at least they had no idea how to put the music across. They would eventually work out a deal whereby the band could move to Sony in exchange for a cash payment and royalty points on Grave Dancers Union, but that was a long time taking shape. In the meantime, with two major-label sales bombs on their resume, there was no guarantee theyテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 be making more music, period.

"I got kind of -defensive, I guess", says guitarist Dan Murphy. "I didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 think the band wouldnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 exist anymore. But if we took a year off, what was I gonna do in that year?" Karl Mueller felt the same doubts when he found himself going back to the day job heテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 held off and on for years, cooking at a local restaurant -only this time with no Soul Asylum engagements in sight. Murphy made some cash and filled his time by renewing his interest in antiques, eventually opening his own spot in a Minneapolis antiques mall.

"I wanted to get as far away from it as I could", Murphy continues, "cause I didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 have enough confidence to be in a band. Thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 the kicker -weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ致e never been overly confident to begin with, and you come up against these things you donテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 think you can persevere over. We were thoroughly sick of the road and each other. I guess itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a denial thing: If you donテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 think about the band, youテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e not in it".

For Pirner the time off between records and recording deals was doubly scary: Heテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 been having problems with his left ear, and a doctor told him to lay off loud music indefinitely. Like anyoneテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 first encounter with intimations of the body starting to give out, it rocked Pirner back on his heels for a while -as you might guess from the first two songs from Grave Dancers Union, with their images of encroaching age and disability. "I think there was definitely a period when I had to go, hey, Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 just like everybody else. Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 gonna get old", he says.

"I think", says Pirner, "we just stopped in our tracks then. I had to get away for a little while and think about what I was doing. It just seemed like weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 been playing with our heads down for years, going at this grueling pace: made the record, do the tour, stay on the road forever, come back, make the record, do the tour, stay on the road foreverテδεつεδづつ「テδεつづδづつテδεつづδづつヲ

"Stopping that for a second was a really good thing. What is this all about? Weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e going and going, and nobody has any idea what it means".

What he revisited in that time was "all the insecurities and fears -the whole trip that goes with being in a rock band. This is not gonna last forever; we canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 do this for that much longer, really. So do you get on with your life, or do you get on with your life? Do you say, we gotta seize the moment and have fun with it while we can, or do you say, this isnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 worth it, itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a dead end? We had this ethic in the beginning that Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 sure youテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ致e heard before: if itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 not fun anymore, weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e not gonna do it anymore. After a little bit of haggling, we decided yes, it is still fun. It was a great feeling to be able to say that."

It felt like the time Soul Asylumテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 first drummer quit, eight years ago. "I was devastated and felt totally deprived then", he remembers. "My music had been taken away from me. At that point and again this time, I realized how important it was to me. That got the ball rolling in a new direction. It was the beginning of a new era for me psychically. I realized I canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 live without this. I gotta do it good. I need to do a better job, to explore more angles. It reinitiated my enthusiasm for the process of making music and the discoveries involved in it".

Pirner started tinkering with the music-making process. In the past heテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 always come up with the rudiments of songs and taken them to the band to flesh out in rehearsals. This time he stayed away from the band, keeping to himself and writing finished songs. Some of these he took to Dan Murphy first; then the band was called together. Pirner tinkered with them too: "We said okay, weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e throwing out all the amps for a while and weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e gonna sit in my basement and play acoustic and use brushes.

"That was easy. And I thought, duh, why didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 I think of this five years ago? Because it brought a whole new perspective to what we were doing. Everybody all of a sudden had to think differently about how they were playing, because there wasnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 this wall of noise that everybody could hide in. Every instrument was more naked, and you were more responsible for what you were playing. You had to be more tasteful. You couldnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 just blast away all the time".

After shopping demos, after the legal machinations of the transfer from A&M to Sony, after interviewing lots of producers and settling on Michael Beinhorn, Soul Asylum took to the studio. But having a record deal didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 mean everything else got easier. "Now I can say it came out really good", says Murphy, "but the whole time we were making it, in all honesty, it felt like doom. We didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 know if weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 finish, we knew we wouldnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 finish on budget, the producer drove us crazy and we drove him crazy.

"I do think in a way it made for a more deliberate-sounding record. The sad songs are pretty sad, the aggressive stuff is aggressive. It wasnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 a good experience. We spent three months on this thing, and there werenテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 a whole lot of days we were sitting around the studio chuckling. But that needed to be the process for this record, テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ祖ause that was the mindframe it was written in.

"A lot of people, when they look back at our band, think Made to be Broken was a pivotal record. But this is the best one in terms of songwriting and playing. Whether you like the songs or not, they work, theyテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e more realized than things weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ致e done in the past. I think when we were making Horse we thought we could allude to what the band was about because everybodyテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 seen us live. I think in general we and our producers were too reliant on our live reputation when we made the records. Horse just doesnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 come off like a live show , even though that was the concept of the record. This time we threw away all that stuff about テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ訴tテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a live band and thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 the way we should recordテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ. We bought into that one too many times".

Lots of bands have their unsung heroes, the person who has both good musical judgment and common sense, the one who ends up shepherding the creative process and keeping an eye on business matters, too. Dan Murphy is Soul Asylumテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 unsung hero. By Pirnerテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 own admission, "if heテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 impressed by one of my ideas, I know itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a good one. If he doesnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 like something, I donテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 necessarily think itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 shit. There are things I canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 get past him that are maybe directions in music Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ値l have to explore without him. But I definitely look to him for approval".

Murphy and Pirner play foil to each other in pretty much the way youテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 guess from watching them on-stage; Murphy takes care of business while Pirner pours his emotional life into ingwriting -which, more often than not, becomes a substitute for taking care of business in the world at large. "So much of songwriting for me", says Pirner, "is saying things I canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 say to people. If I could be as honest in my day-to-day dealings with people as I feel like I am in my songs, that would be a quantum leap for me. Thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 what writing is all about: sitting down and being very precise about what you want to say, and putting as much thought and emotion into it as you possibly can. And then all of a sudden, you do it- and once itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 done you think, okay, I donテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 have to tell this to anybody anymore テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ祖ause Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 telling everybody this."

"We donテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 verbally communicate terribly well", says Murphy. "itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 like weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e on two different planets. Making this record, we werenテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 getting along at all. I felt put off because it seemed like everything was on his time schedule. I was up all night every night for two months, and thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 not me. It was tedious, but weテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 get together to work on the songs - musicwise, itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a pretty trusting rapport between us. And you do what you need to do to maintain that".

The success of Grave Dancers Union isnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 the only thing thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 changed for Soul Asylum since the days when they went by the name Loud Fast Rules. Dan Murphy is 30 now, and none of the others is much more than a year behind him. Everybodyテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 married besides Pirner, whoテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 had the same girlfriend since junior high; Murphy has a three year old son. Compared to all that, the changes theyテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e going through now donテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 seem so dramatic.

Grant: "The more popular this record gets, the more we end up talking about ourselves. You lose yourself a little when you talk about yourself so much. You lose some of the naivetテδεつεδづつεδεつづδづつゥ the music is partially based on".

Karl: "I live in a double bungalow, and people keep asking my neighbor, whenテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 he moving out? He must be rich now. Everybody wants my fucking apartment. In peopleテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 perception things are wildly different. But day to day they really arenテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚."

Dave: "Thereテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 definitely a romantic air attached to the days of being stuck in a van, sleeping on peopleテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 floors and meeting the strangest people you could ever imagine. But when youテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e sleeping in that cold van, youテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ池e not thinking Hey, this is great! Things like having a guitar tech have been a very meaningful experience for me. At the gigs my guitar just used to disintegrate, and you could not do the job. It drove me crazy. But hire a guy and then the guitarテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 put in my hands and itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 in tune and itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 a great thing. What a great invention: the guitar tech."

If thereテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 an overriding emotional current on Grave Dancers Union, with all its songs about feeling cut loose from old moorings and unsure of new ones, itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 fear. That seems appropriate when you realize that Pirner wrote the songs without knowing whether Soul Asylum would even get to release them. Or whether heテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ壇 get to play his guitar loud again. "I really am afraid", he says. "I was raised to believe you had to get an education or you were fucked. To walk away from that was a big deal for me. I think a lot of my fear is of having to do something I donテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 want to do. I cherish the opportunity to make music. During the time I didnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 have it, I was scared to death. I felt totally worthless. I felt like I was stuck back in the world I grew up in".

Having a hit record pushes that specter a little farther back into the closet. But not much. "It definitely seems to me like Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 gonna be able to do it a little bit longer. I can find comfort in that. But it just means," he laughs grimly, "that Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 gonna be that much older when itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 over.

"Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 wary of becoming a victim of my creative output. It really doesnテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚テδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ teach you to do anything else. Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 totally wound up in making music, to the point where I canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 deal with a checkbook. I canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 wake up in the morning. I canテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ稚 find my way around in a car -people always drive me. And I sit there and think about writing songs. Itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 kind of scary to think of ever going back to the real world and getting a job.

"Thatテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 kind of lame, I know. But itテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ痴 still a little too good to be making a living playing music. Iテδεつεδづつづδεつづδづつ知 realizing a romantic ideal: to keep the spontaneity and to give yourself a context to be totally out of control, all the time".