Q – Some time ago, I forget if it was the tour in support of the first solo CD or the DGWOMB tour, you did an acoustic set in Rough Trade records on Haight St. in San Francisco. After you performed 2cv, you admitted that you didn’t write acoustic songs, then struggled through three more(great though, I enjoyed it immensely) You said you’d never done it before. Fast forward almost two decades, and you are a solo act. Was that the start, or has my memory started tricking me?
A – I think I recall that… but I can’t be sure. It wasn’t until the Love Story sessions and Chris Hughes’s insistence that I try to strip things down that it even occurred to me that I might be closer to a folk singer than a rock singer. I played a few acoustic shows that year to see if the songs stood up, a series at Maxwell’s in Hoboken I recall, and I’m sure there were more. I was terrified to play them. And then I nearly went bankrupt. I called my agent to get me some work (believe it or not I had never done that before). One of the first shows I played as a solo act was a folk festival in Flanders. I really didn’t want to do it, I had no interest in being a folk singer, and I was there purely for the money. I had a great time! The music was fantastic – far more enjoyable than ANY rock festival I’ve ever been a party to – the people were lovely, for the most part, and I even got to meet Joan Baez and ask her if that is really her on tambourine on Like a Rolling Stone (it isn’t). So there you go. Necessity is the mother of invention and now I’m basically a folk singer and I’m very happy with that. I keep asking my agent to get me back to Flanders but it hasn’t happened yet. I was probably crap.