Please explain what just happened.

I started responding.


What is your earliest memory?

Getting a bath in the kitchen sink at my grandmother’s house.


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

Gardener, or surfer, or bank robber.


Describe a typical work day.

Wake up, coffee, gym maybe.  Write, practice, clean up the house. Try not to get drunk before 4 p.m.



Is there a time you wish you’d lied?

Anytime I ever lied or told a half-truth, it was the same thing… It was always worse than facing the truth and its possible repercussions.



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

“You’re not stupid.”


If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?

Any James Taylor record.


What are three websites—other than your email—that you check on a daily basis?

None really, Just email, sometimes Craigslist. But not every day.



From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

Friends and lovers.


Name three books that have impacted your life.

The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.


If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?



How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

I like Bacon, so does he.


What makes you feel most guilty?

Not working a real job and working the one I have.


How do you incorporate the work of other artists into your own?

I build guitars out of old paintings.


Please explain the motivation/inspiration behind In Memory of Loss (Rounder Records).

Horny, bored, dead people.  Love and depression.


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

Aren’t you a little young to get married? Wait until you’re 38 and don’t have kids.


List your favorite in the following categories:  Comedian, Musician, Author, Actor.

Comedian: Patton Oswald.

Musician: Leonard Cohen.

Author: Not sure yet. I keep reading to figure that out.

Actor: Too many good ones to pick just one.


If you had complete creative license and an unlimited budget, what would your next project be?

An album of standards.


What do you want to know?

French and German would be nice. Music theory and advanced math.


What would you like your last words to be?

Check it out, bud!


Please explain what will happen.

We will die alone.

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TNB's ARTS & CULTURE section features essays, reviews, and interviews in the world of film, television, visual, comedy, and theater arts. Cynthia Hawkins serves as our Arts & Culture Editor.

2 responses to “21 Questions with Nathaniel Rateliff”

  1. shea says:

    well… that was enough to make me wanna marry him.

  2. Marry me… It’s not a question. It’s a directive

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