Who’s your childhood hero?
Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.
What are you listening to in the van while touring?
CCR and NPR.
What’s the best memory you have about making music?
Standing onstage at the Town Hall in New York City and thinking, “How the hell did we end up here?”
Are there any non-musical influences for you?
We’re lucky to live in a time when the Coen Brothers are making movies. They touch on a lot of classic American movie genres and are the masters of chaos. They inspire me to take my songs in a lot of different directions.
Harry Potter or Star Wars?
I saw The Force Awakens 4 times in theaters. Does that answer your question?
Which Monster sleeps under your bed?
Scott Walker – the politician and not the poor musician who has to bear that same name.
Is there a song of which you’d wish you had written it?
“I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll” by Christopher The Conquered.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
Ah, I got a meeting with the Bobs in a couple of minutes and will have to get back to you on that one.
Pick one or two songs off the new album and tell us a story about it.
“Ogallala” is about being stuck in a town called [drum roll please]…Ogallala. It’s right off I-80 in the barren plains of Nebraska. We were coming from California opening for Social Distortion at Disneyland and doing a marathon drive back home. A terrible snowstorm hit and they shut down the interstate for two days. So we holed up at a Super 8, watched the new Hobbit movie, ate Chinese food and just watched the clock tick. A few very long days, but the musical name of the city gave me the spark for this one.
And I’ll also mention “Ballad of Olof Johnson”, which I see as being sort of a companion piece to “Ogallala.” That’s another one about being stopped dead in your tracks out west by Mother Nature. This one tells the story of my Swedish immigrant ancestor Olof Johnson and how he survived his first winter in America with his wife Olivia. They were traveling west in 1901 looking for land to settle on when a blizzard hit. He was forced to dig a hole in the ground, tip his supply wagon over for cover, and literally live underground in this dugout shelter until the snow melted. It’s a good bit of family lore about the power of perseverance. And now here we are in 2016 and OlofJohnson.com exists.
What’s the hardest part and the what’s the best part about touring?
Besides getting stuck in and leaving Ogallala?