May 13, 2019
“You have to be honest when you write songs. That’s part of your job.”
It happens differently. With the song “Potter’s Field,” I wrote it without a guitar riff or anything. I had the words. I had the phrase, “There’s a cloud of blackbirds, they’re looking for the seeds of autumn on the ground.” I was looking out the window and the sky gets full of blackbirds at certain points and they move in these bizarre clouds. I was thinking of them scavenging around. The song is about how it’s hard to keep a hold on to what we remember.
They can. I wrote the song “How I Let You Down” off of Naubinway in two hours. But others can take a long time.
It’s a mood piece. I was feeling disconnected at the time. There’s a line in it about looking for oblivion. That was what I was feeling at the time so I went with it.
You have to. That’s one of your jobs as a songwriter. To be honest.
I try to, but I’ve learned not to worry if they’re not coming. I’ve had periods where I didn’t write anything for over a year. I’ve learned to be fine with it. You have to trust that you’re not out of ideas. I use that time to fill up in other ways.
I mostly like to stay busy. I always have a number of things going on. I like to be as creative as possible and be constantly introducing new things into the world. That energizes me.
That’s a challenge for everyone. For me it’s staying open to being inspired by as many musicians and artists as I can. There are so many great performers in the Twin Cities. They inspire me to think differently about how I play and improve on what I’m doing.
I think I’m up to five that are currently going. There’s the Honeydogs, my main band; the Bunny Clogs, my band for family audiences; The Sunshine Committee, which is a soul revue; The Coming Collapse, which is psychedelia; and Turn!, Turn!, Turn!, which is acoustic folk. And there’s And The Professors and Liminal Phase, which aren’t currently active, and Shabby Road Orchestra, a Beatles project where we play the full White Album.
I do. I don’t know what I’d do without it.