Please explain what just happened.
I judged a high school/middle school battle of the bands. Female art-rockers prevailed over arena-ready, emo-tinted boy rock. Every one of the four categories of winners had a girl in the band–and only one was a high school band. The middle-schoolers were, predictably, more of a shambling lot, but were a lot stranger, and funnier, in their creative choices.
What is your earliest memory?
Disneyland. I’m in a stroller, and one of the seven dwarves is looming over me.
If you weren’t a musician what other profession would you choose?
Penniless song collector.
Please describe the current contents of your refrigerator.
Coke Zero, tomato soup, mesclun greens, turkey ham, baby-cut carrots, tofu bacon, pickled string beans, German mustard, chimichurri sauce, Stubb’s BBQ sauce, microwaveable chicken patties.
What verb best describes you?
What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?
I’d bring an iPod–which would blow my thirteen-year-old mind in the first place–packed with all the songs I would become obsessed with over the next 27 years. I wouldn’t need to say anything else.
What are the steps you take to regain your composure?
Coffee, and idle web-surfing. Usually checking the same four or five sites, over and over again, even though I’ve already checked them and they’re likely to remain unchanged.
Making a living doing what you enjoy.
From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?
Coffee. The ‘obsessable’ song of the moment.
What change do you want to be in the world?
I would want to be demonstrably happy. It catches on.
Are you pro- or anti-emoticon? Please explain.
I use them often. I often avoid them when I meet a woman–I’ve met a lot of anti-emoticon women. I have a strict she-must-emoticon-first policy.
How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?
I was on David Letterman with his wife Kyra Sedgwick once. One degree!
What makes you feel most guilty?
Please list three things you never leave home without.
I want to list three unquantifiables, or abstract qualities, but I can’t think of any, so I must say iPod, phone, and wallet.
What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
“Do or do not; there is no try.” Terrible advice! There is try, there must be try, and more importantly there must be failure.
What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?
Don’t skimp on titles; don’t name a poem Untitled. Titles are their own kind of meme, that live in the world as a micro-poem, often with a life of their own, reaching people that will never read or hear the work they’re titling.
What do you consider the harshest kind of betrayal?
My drummer stole my girlfriend once. It was devastating. I got some very good songs out of it, though.
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?
Meet the Press.
What do you want to know?
If there’s other intelligent life out there in the Universe, and what their music sounds like. Maybe they don’t even have music. Maybe they have music composed of smells.
What would you like your last words to be?
More morphine, please.
Please explain what will happen.
I’ll go to Yaddo, the artists’ colony, and work on some new songs.