Basically, I was pretty ostracized in my hometown. Me and a few other guys were the town freaks- and there were many occasions when we were dodging getting beaten up ourselves.
Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.
But I think that your entire life is a process of sorting out some of those early messages that you got.
But then I go through long periods where I don’t listen to things, usually when I’m working. In between the records and in between the writing I suck up books and music and movies and anything I can find.
Certainly tolerance and acceptance were at the forefront of my music.
From the beginning, I imagined I would have a long work life.
I always wanted my music to influence the life you were living emotionally – with your family, your lover, your wife, and, at a certain point, with your children.
I can sing very comfortably from my vantage point because a lot of the music was about a loss of innocence, there’s innocence contained in you but there’s also innocence in the process of being lost.
I didn’t know if it would be a success-ful one, or what the stages would be, but I always saw myself as a lifetime musician and songwriter.
I do a lot of curiosity buying; I buy it if I like the album cover, I buy it if I like the name of the band, anything that sparks my imagination. I still like to go to record stores, I like to just wander around and I’ll buy whatever catches my attention.
I hadn’t performed by myself in a while. It feels very natural to me, and I assume people come for the very same reasons as they do when I’m with the band: to be moved, for something to happen to them.
I have my ideas, I have my music and I also just enjoy showing off, so that’s a big part of it. Also, I like to get up onstage and behave insanely or express myself physically, and the band can get pretty silly.
I like narrative storytelling as being part of a tradition, a folk tradition.
I tend to be a subscriber to the idea that you have everything you need by the time you’re 12 years old to do interesting writing for most of the rest of your life – certainly by the time you’re 18.
I think that is what film and art and music do; they can work as a map of sorts for your feelings.
I was always concerned with writing to my age at a particular moment. That was the way I would keep faith with the audience that supported me as I went along.
I’m a synthesist. I’m always making music. And I make a lot of different kinds of music all the time. Some of it gets finished and some of it doesn’t.
If they had told me I was the janitor and would have to mop up and clean the toilets after the show in order to play, I probably would have done it.
In America everything’s about who’s number one today.
In the early years, I found a voice that was my voice and also partly my father’s voice. But isn’t that what you always do? Why do kids at 5 years old go into the closet and put their daddy’s shoes on? Hey, my kids do it.
In the past, some of the songs that were the most fun, and the most entertaining and rocking, fell by the wayside because I was concerned with what I was going to say and how I was going to say it.
It’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin and can’t stand the company.
It’s always felt natural, because I’m generally very comfortable with people.
My image had always been very heterosexual, very straight. So it was a nice experience for me, a chance to clarify my own feelings about gay and lesbian civil rights.
My only general rule was to steer away from things I played with the band over the past couple of tours. I was interested in re-shaping the Rising material for live shows, so people could hear the bare bones of that.
No, I always felt that amongst my core fans- because there was a level of popularity that I had in the mid ’80s that was sort of a bump on the scale- they fundamentally understood the values that are at work in my work.
Plus, you know, when I was young, there was a lot of respect for clowning in rock music – look at Little Richard. It was a part of the whole thing, and I always also believed that it released the audience.
Talk about a dream, try to make it real.
The audiences are there as a result of my history with the band but also as a result of my being able to reach people with a tune.
The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.
The best music, you can seek some shelter in it momentarily, but it’s essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.
The only thing I can say about having this type of success is that you can get yourself in trouble because basically the world is set open for you. People will say yes to anything you ask, so it’s basically down to you and what you want or need.
The release date is just one day, but the record is forever.
This music is forever for me. It’s the stage thing, that rush moment that you live for. It never lasts, but that’s what you live for.
When I first started in rock, I had a big guy’s audience for my early records. I had a very straight image, particularly through the mid ’80s.
When it comes to luck, you make your own.
Yeah, I had gay friends. The first thing I realized was that everybody’s different, and it becomes obvious that all of the gay stereotypes are ridiculous.
Yeah, my son likes a lot of guitar bands. He gave me something the other day which was really good. He’ll burn a CD for me full of things that he has, so he’s a pretty good call if I want to check some of that stuff out… The other two aren’t quite into that yet.
You can go from doing something quite silly to something dead serious in the blink of an eye, and if you’re making those connections with your audience then they’re going to go right along with it.
Your spoken voice is a part of it – not a big part of it, but it’s something. It puts people at ease, and once again kind of reaches out and makes a bridge for what’s otherwise difficult music.
Your success story is a bigger story than whatever you’re trying to say on stage. Success makes life easier. It doesn’t make living easier.