Jesse Malin was in town! We met him to talk about his two new albums, his favourite collaborations and his current obsessions.
So you’re on a Europe tour at the moment… how’s it going? Have you had a favourite show so far?
Yeah it’s going great. But we still got about 2 weeks to go! The UK shows are usally really strong ones… so I really enjoyed playing Leeds and Glasgow. But I also liked Stockholm, we had a good time there, as well as Amsterdam. I really loved the club we played there. The crowds on this tour have been more open to the music than ever before.
You released two albums last year. What’s the track you’re most proud of on these two albums?
Oh wow, that’s tricky. Probably a song called ‘Addicted’. I like it a lot cause it kinda has this Ramones meets Paul Simon meets Jesse Malin in a parking lot vibe. And it just feels comfortable. I like the honesty in this song, the rhythm, the bass line. So ‘Addicted’ from New York Before The War and from Outsiders I’m gonna pick ‘You Know It’s Dark When Atheists Start To Pray’.
You’ve done a lot of different stuff in the past. Beside your solo stuff, what was the project you enjoyed most?
Oh that’s hard to say. I always liked the stuff we did with D Generation back in the day. I also loved some of the Heart Attack stuff. And I had lots of fun doing The Finger project with Ryan Adams, which started as kind of a late night joke that came up and the next day we went into a studio and actually made a record.
You’ve worked with a lot of people in the past. Is there stíll anyone you’d like to work with?
Yeah sure, well this year I have this thing with Jeff Tweedy from Wilco coming up, and I’m doing some stuff with other people.
I’d really like to play the Neil Young Bridge School Festival. I’d love that. There are also some producers that I’d like to work with, but most of them are already dead. I don’t really have any specific artist that I wanna work with. I love playing with a great group of people, like the people I’m touring with at the moment. They are talented, they are creative, and funny… so that’s what I’m enjoying most.
If you could travel back in time, where would you go and what would you do?
I’d live in the 70s and go to the clubs in New York, and just hang out. I’d go to LA and check out The Rainbow at the Sunset Strip and that kinda stuff.
But I’d also go to Germany in the 20s and check out Berlin, and the night clubs at that period of time.
Which 3 songs should be part of every roadtrip soundtrack?
‘We Are The Roadcrew’ by Motörhead
‘Heart Of Gold’ by Neil Young
‘Death Or Glory’ by The Clash
What is your current obsession?
Listening to podcasts. I’m listening a lot to actors being interviewed on podcasts at the moment. Alec Baldwin, who I love, has been doing a mix of interviews with people like Dustin Hoffman and Edie Falco and quite a few others. So yeah I’ve been listing a lot to these podcasts while being on the tourbus. And watching documentarys. What happened in America in the late 60s and these kinda things…
Also: trying to find some good food is my new obsession.
Are there any new artists or bands you’d like to recommend?
Trapper Schoepp, who’s been on tour with us for quite a while. I think he’s really good. And Don DiLego – I think they are both making great new music.
And there are some bands in New York that I like:
Dirty Fences – cool, young, punk-pop band.
Anthony D’Amato – new songwriter, I like his stuff a lot.
What advice would you give to young artists who are just about to start with music?
Never give up. Stick to your guns. Believe in your heart. Make music with your friends. Keep it fun. Don’t let anybody bring you down.
If you’re going through hell, keep on going.