Please explain what just happened.

I learned four Seekers songs for a Haiti benefit in Brooklyn that I’m playing as part of a folk quartet with A.C. Newman, Nicole Atkins and Charles Bissell.

What is your earliest memory?

Potty-training on a toddler toilet shaped like a turtle.

If you weren’t a musician, what other profession would you choose?

Mystery novelist.

Please describe the current contents of your refrigerator.

Beer, wine and food.

What verb best describes you?

Rock.  I guess that’s also a noun.  And an adjective, kind of…

What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

Don’t worry so much about what other people think.  Or whether they think.

What are the steps you take to regain your composure?

I learned transcendental meditation when I was 17.  I was given my own mantra, which I’ve never told anyone.  I use that to come back from the bad place my brain sometimes takes me.

Define “success.”

Loving and being loved.  Getting to keep making art for a living.

From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

Strangers.  I love to watch people and create stories about them.  I wonder how often what I’m guessing is the truth.

What change do you want to be in the world?

I want to make the world a more fun place.

Are you pro- or anti-emoticon? Please explain.

Let’s just say I prefer words to punctuation.

How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

He and I once shared a bill in Philadelphia at the XPN Beggars’ Banquet.  So, I guess I’m one degree removed from Kevin Bacon.

What makes you feel most guilty?

If I hurt someone’s feelings, whether on purpose or not, it keeps me awake all night.

Please list three things you never leave home without.

My song notebook, iPhone, and at least one green Torex Dunlop guitar pick.

What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

My dad once told me, “Never trust anybody.  People are no damn good.”  He has since rescinded the statement.

What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

If you want to write a good song, you have to write a hundred bad ones first.

What do you consider the harshest kind of betrayal?

Any.  All betrayal is equally harsh.

Of all the game shows that have graced our TV screens throughout history, which one would you want to be a contestant on and why?


What do you want to know?

How to write a mystery novel.

What would you like your last words to be?

I love you guys.

Please explain what will happen.

I’ll go rehearse these Seekers songs again, because Meryl Streep is supposed to be there tomorrow night, and I don’t want blow it in front of her.

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RHETT MILLER is the front man and main songwriter of the hard-charging rock ‘n’ roll quartet the Old 97’s, well as an accomplished solo artist. In addition to his seven records with the 97’s, he’s released three highly regarded solo albums, The Instigator, The Believer, and the recently-released Rhett Miller.

Rhett continues to balance his solo endeavors with his membership in the Old 97’s. The quartet was prominently featured in the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn romantic comedy The Break Up. His 2010 tour kicked off in February in Solana Beach, California, and will bring him to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, and New York.

A native of Texas, he now lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife and two children.

2 responses to “21 Questions with Rhett Miller”

  1. Joe Daly says:

    What an awesome interview. Love Rhett and the 97s! If he ever comes back to do 21 more, could you ask him to settle once and for all, whether “Murder (or a Heart Attack)” is about a cat or a girl.

    Well done!

  2. […] stars RHETT MILLER of the Old 97’s, KEVIN MARTIN of Candlebox and The Gracious Few, and IAN VANEK of […]

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