How do people find your music? At least here I dont hear it on the radio. How do you get new fans? Where do they come from?
They come from other people bringing their friends to the shows. From the Internet. I think that Drive and its popularity on the Internet has definitely been a huge factor.
People are making mixed tapes and sharing with their friends. Its mostly been that song. (Drive). When people get that they tend to download a couple of songs off itunes or another site and then they come to a show and then they fall in love with the gig and the crowd and the vibe there. The next time they come they bring two of their friends and thats just how its grown. Its been very organic. I dont expect radio to ever be a huge part of my career.
Youve gone from big label to small label and now your own label, whats that been like?
Its a progression. Its changing with the times. Its accepting the reality of the music industry. Its growing up and looking at what is the best thing for you. What is the best way to retain creative control? What is the best way to do business locally and utilize independent business owners? I think the sound bite is something that Amy Ray said in a film called, Hitting the Right Chord that Im in. She was talking about owning Daemon Records. She said, "Its great being with Epic because we get lots of perks, but I dont know who theyre banking with. And I know I bank with the credit union down the street from my hometown." Shes another one I learned from. Ive watched what she does with Daemon. Its a cool thing to have your own label and think that you might be able to help other artists in the future. Not out of a need to define your existence, but because you really care.
Do you have anyone on your label?
Not yet, but I will. When I can give the kind of time that I think it deserves. I want to give back what Ive been given.
Lets talk about your new album, The Other Side. You play all the instruments on there?
I did the whole thing. Plugged all the cables in and made a record. It was awesome. I wanted to get back to when I was in Berklee and used to lock myself in the dorm practice rooms with my cassette four-track and try to do 18 overdubs. It was great fun and a challenge musically. It was terrifying to put out because I was worried about it. In hindsight it was the best thing that I ever did. Ive been very flattered by the reviews. Most importantly the fans love it, which is awesome. When I get into a studio and Im working with engineers and theres all these people around and my instincts are there, but Im afraid to talk out loud because Ive got three guys that have made 30 albums and Im like well, they must know better than me. So I dont say anything.
The reviews are saying its your best album. What does that mean for how you make albums in the future?
I want to be able to make better records. And there are definitely things about this album that I wish I could do again.
Theres a record Id like to do this summer, Id call it For the Boys. I would love to pick between 12-15 of my favorite songs by male singer songwriters that have really impacted my life. I dont think a womans ever done that without changing any of the text. A Stevie Wonder song, a Marvin Gaye song. A Van Morrison song. Probably a U2 song and a early REM song because those were both bands that I just adored when I was a teenager. Stuff that I used to lip sync to in the mirror. Thats a fun project that I want to try to do this summer while Im writing new material. Im writing a new album with new material this winter, but it probably wont come out until next year.
I think there is something really sexy about that, like when Amy ray covers a Bob Dillon song on one of her live albums.
What about when she does a Dire Straits song, Romeo and Juliet. Thats such a great song, when they do that. And she never changes the lyrics.
Anything else you want to say about the new album, The Other Side?
The only other thing about it is just to reiterate, because of the immediate gratification of the world, its really hard to allow albums to grow and have the kind of time that they deserve. I think there is a sense of urgency that I feel from the outside world of, When are you going to put another record out? This record just came out 6 months ago. I just finished this album.
My first record came out in 93 then we put another record out in 95. It was more normal to put a record out every two years. Nowadays it seems if you dont put a record out every year, you pretty much have disappeared off the face of the planet. Its hard to write 10 songs, let alone 12 songs that are worthy of being good enough to stand up for an album.
The other thing I want to do is put out a double album of my first album and my second album. I wanted to rerecord them because I can now.