Weeeeeeee’re BACK! Just in time for the holidays. New music is in the works! Politics. Die Hard and other McTiernan movies for the holidays. Eno. Embracing the chaos. I drink your milkshake. Joker.
RCIt really has been a long time.
JCHIt sure has. How ya been, old friend.
RCGetting older. Things are great. How about -you-?
JCHIt’s been banana pants here.
JCHPolitically. You know I ran for office, right?
RCI did know that. And the word on the street…
JCHWhich always reminds me of, like, Baretta or some other seventies cop show…
RCOf course. The word on the street, Huggy
JCHNice. Wrong show…
RC…Is that you won.
JCHI did win, Starsky. By a hundred and twenty votes.
JCHI feel a real mandate. NOT. (laughs)
RCWell, I could talk about politics and men’s fashions all day, but work must intrude.
JCHOh man, it would not be Christmas without Die Hard. Thank you for that. Right. Down to bidness.
RCSo in between kissing babies…
JCH…And stealing their lollipops
RCNo one will get that reference. But that’s the last one or I’m outta here.
RCYou’ve been working.
JCHI have. And it’s flowin’ baby. The juices are really flowin’.
RCWhy is it that you can make anything sound like a twelve year old. So what does all this sound like.
JCHWell, you’ll be glad to know that the new stuff is not opera. It’s gonna be a regular ‘record’.
RCThat’s a relief! (laughs). But can we focus on what it is and not what it ain’t? Sound? Theme?
JCHSheesh. OK, fine. I think there will be more guitars. At least, that’s how it feels now. Could change. But that’s how it feels as of Christmas 2019. (laughs)
JCHWhat I said about ‘the juices’ wasn’t meant to be nasty. Although I kinda dig the fact that, you now just assume that’s what I mean. (laughs). All those hot, steamy, lubricated juices spreading over my entire lower body.
JCHWhere was I? (laughs) I mean, all those It’s something I struggled with a lot for years. We talked several times about why I never went into commercial music, because I could never seem to write ‘on deadline’. I would finish something and then literally feel like an oil well “The well is now officially dry. Permanently dry. I’ve drunk the milkshake! (laughs)
JCHOh yeah. Now I’m now old enough to realize that I have to take breaks. But I didn’t find that out until I got into situations where I was forced to take long breaks. All the health problems and now this campaign deal are essential to the creative process. No breaks, no ideas. Now I know that when I do take a break; for whatever reason, I will always come back. After twenty years, I finally realized that I don’t have to worry about the milkshake. Which was an amazing realization.
RCI can’t get over that you’ve been really worried about that. You always seem to have ideas going every which way.
JCHYou are wrong, Karnak! (laughs) I would always think. “OK, that’s over with. Now what do I do with the rest of my life?” (laughs). It was truly terrifying. Now all I worry about is my health, my age. Whether or not I’ll run out of time.
RCOh, is that all? (laughs) So we were talking about sounds and themes.
JCHNo clue yet. I mean, there’s no ‘theme’, which is why I was a little reluctant to talk about it. Just songs at this point. But lots and lots of songs.
RCWell that’s something I don’t think we’ve ever talked about: How do these ‘themes’ for the albums actually take shape. I always thought you came up with the ‘theme’ and then wrote the songs around it. Like with the operas.
JCHNot even. I’ll tell ya, and it goes against my whole idea of ‘composition’, but the older I get the more I do believe in chance and mistakes. We’ve talked about that many times.
RCWe have. The whole Eno thing. Encouraging the randomness.
JCHWhat happens, at least when I’ve done a good album, is that I have all these songs–or rather half-finished songs. And then, a pattern starts to emerge out of the chaos. I don’t actually begin with this over-arching ‘theme’. Call it ‘the Freudian subconscious’ or whatever. But the ‘theme’ is a realization that everything I’m writing seems to fit. And then I choose the songs that naturally (to me, anyway) best fit together within that idea and discard the rest. Then I finish those. At that point, I’m working on them all at once so they start to sound and fit together even more. And if everything is cooking with gas, it turns out that they all become this organic ‘recipe’. Maybe others can’t see it, but I definitely do. And that’s all I care about. It has to feel like one album to me.
RCAs you were speaking, it reminded me of how I imagine life beginning. Things start as this soup of chaos and slowly the order comes together. And the more orderly things get, the more the order feeds back on itself.
JCHAnd finally? You’ve got a whole crew of monkeys with typewriters banging out Shakespeare! I absolutely love science!
RCThat isn’t what I meant, but whatever. Any examples of the chaos?
JCHWell would you look at that? I just happened to have something right here in my back pocket.
RCYou totally do not have that. I cut and pasted this together today from the snippets you sent me.
JCHOK, ya got me ossifer. You did everything. I just show up. Barely.
RCI was thinking how retro this sounds. It almost sounds like a throwback to your first couple of records. The one snippet reminds me of that Yes record, “A Venture”. Some Gabriel. I know I’m making comparisons, but that’s where my mind goes.
JCHBack to 1970?
RCOr 1980. It’s definitely in that sweet spot you used to do. Don’t get me wrong–that’s the sweet spot for most of us who first encountered your music. You already know that the most requests we get are for those first four records.
RCSo is this all part of the plan?
JCHHaven’t you been listening at -all-? Do I look like a guy with a plan? (laughs) Again, this is just what has been coming out after almost a year away from writing.
JCHWell, yeah. I mean I was done writing The Boats over a year ago.
RCWow. It seems so far away. I guess I got used to talking with you all the time. I’m having trouble measuring time now.
JCHMe too. Maybe that’s why these songs sound the way they do. I really don’t have a ‘plan’. These are just the bits that came into my head. If they sound like something from twenty years ago, maybe that just means that this is ‘it’ for me.
JCHYeah, ‘it’. My ‘style’ for what it’s worth. At a certain point you just are who you are. You’re not worried anymore. Like the Joker says, you just ‘do’.
RCWell, didn’t you always just ‘do’?
JCHYeah, but now I don’t worry about it. (laughs) I wouldn’t know what to do with the car if I caught it. I mean, that’s the reason I won my election. Everyone thought it was a nutty idea. It turns out that, like Eno says, if you’re not stressing about outcomes, you just ‘do’, sometimes it works out better than just trying to control everything.
RCThat’s a very Joker kind of thing to say. But one thing I’m curious about. Based on what you said, how do we know these songs will be on the album?
JCHDid I say they would be on some as yet, un-announced project? (laughs) I have no idea. I just picked some things that feel strong to me right now. Whenever that ‘theme’ emerges, they may indeed fall by the wayside. Embrace the chaos, man!
RCI’m on it. This seems like as random a place as any to stop for now. Glad to hear new things are happening. Sounds great. Happy Holidays.
JCH(laughs) Well done. You too.