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Jackson Browne - '5B'

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Hi everyone and thank you for tuning into the three hundred twelfth. Episode of awards chatter the. Hollywood reporter's awards podcasts. I'm the host Scott Feinberg and my guest. Today is one of the most admired and influential singer songwriters songwriters of all time. An inductee into the rock and Roll Hall of fame and the Songwriters Hall of fame and seven time grammy nominee who according to rolling rolling stone is one of the one hundred greatest songwriters of all time number. Thirty seven specifically is responsible for one of the five hundred greatest songs of all time number four four hundred ninety six specifically running on empty and is responsible for three of the five hundred greatest albums of all time specifically number three seventy five late for the sky number three ninety one the pretender and number four fifty for every man the legendary Jackson Browne in one thousand nine hundred a piece in rolling stone unstated quote in the Sixties Bob Dylan had an uncanny ability to define a decade and its denizens throughout the seventies and into the Eighties Jackson. Browne has taken over this job Bob and done it better than anyone else. Close quote the New York Times in one thousand. Nine hundred three added quote Jackson. Browne and James Taylor were the most widely imitated singer songwriters of the nineteen eighteen seventies every. FM radio station seemed to be playing records that had the confessional Lyrics Folksy Guitar Picking Polish Studio Sheen and Los Angeles session musicians Russians. One heard on Mr Brown's albums close quote in one thousand nine hundred four the Los Angeles Times asserted that Brown quote ranks with James Taylor and Joni Mitchell as one of the leaders of the seventies singer Songwriter Movement close quote and in two thousand four rolling stone declared quote no one is more emblematic of the singer. Songwriter movement than Jackson Browne. For most of the seventies Brown provided the soundtrack for the baby boom generation growth into adulthood his music acting as both. It's personal and political conscience agents close quote. But don't take the media's word for it listen to his fellow singer Songwriters in one thousand nine hundred seventy David Crosby. An old friend of this podcast told rolling stone. That Brown was quote. One of the probably ten best songwriters around. He's got songs that will make your hair stand on end. He's incredible close quote in two two thousand four. Bruce Springsteen who used to open for Brown said in his speech Inducting Browne into the rock and Roll Hall of fame. That Brown is quote. Simply one of the best close quote quote wrote. wrote some of the most beautiful breaking up music break your heart. Music of all close quote and that his quote meticulousness of craft was always matched and balanced by the deep -Ness of Seoul close quote and in the two thousand thirteen emmy winning documentary history of the Eagles. Glenn FRY CO lead singer and frontman of the Eagles who at one one point lived in an apartment. Above browns said quote. I learned through Jackson ceiling and my floor had a write songs. Elbow grease time thought and persistence close quote today. Nearly a half century after the release of Brown's Self titled Debut Studio Album. He is still making great music and he is now in the running for best original Song Oscar nomination as well for the song a human touch a tune that he co wrote with Leslie Mendelson and Steve McEwan for for the end credits of five. Be a powerful documentary feature about the first ever AIDS unit of an American hospital over the course of our conversation at the officers of the Hollywood reporter. The seventy one year old and I discussed how he got into music in the first place how he wound up as part of the Laurel Canyon scene in the late sixties to whom he was referring in his song the pretender how his fifth and best selling studio album seven times platinum live album. Running on empty was an unplanned. Happy accident why. His songs about love and heartbreak eventually gave way to political activists songs up to and including a human touch plus much more and so without further ado do. Let's go to that conversation Jackson great again. What an honor to have you on the podcast? Thank you so much earn very dealing it. We always begin here with just a few basics. Where were you born and raised in? What did your parents do for a living? My father was a journalist and worked for the Army Europe after the war. Our born right after the war in nineteen forty eight in Heidelberg Germany. My father was from. La and my mother was from Minneapolis. Dampness did I hear correctly that part of what he was writing about was music. Yeah he wrote about music he he's I don't know what all he wrote about. But Yeah Yeah. I've I've got several articles of him interviewing trumpet players. My father had a deep love of Jazz. He I think in the army had been in the army band and there's a lot of funny stories about that because it wasn't his music but now he played jazz piano and in the band he played trumpet and he'd say like his his bandleader would say brown. If you can't play good play loud well again. If my information is correct interesting that more so than your father the person in your family who may be turned you onto music was your younger brother. Yeah in a way. He was a big influence on me. We both everybody. Everybody played instruments. I played trumpet. My brother played saxophone. My sister played the piano but by the time we were you know in our early teens we were all playing. Thank the instruments that interested us more and I was playing guitar and my brother was playing piano and guitar. And he gravitated to the radio be like rock and roll so he was you know and I liked folk music and I was barricaded in that world of folk. That was just sort of very pure. hewer away you know Bob Dylan was a huge influence and around the time. All kinds of bands were like forming around where it formerly been there. Folk roots uses loving spoonful example. I mean somebody to play John. Sebastian played in jug bands and stuff and but around that time my brother other started playing piano in a way that really. Yeah really a really powerful kind of playing that where the left hand whether these big baselines is big hole. Note the power chords really on the piano and Our page on the right hand. I am in marketing. When Dan hearing playing we gotta get out of this place by the animals? We've listened to pop radio all the time rock and roll with you know everywhere and I just never heard anybody do that on the piano by themselves. This fantastic so yeah Do you recall if there was a specific moment when it occurred to you that these songs you're listening to on the radio didn't just come out of nowhere that there were actually songwriters beyond these. These are people that are supposedly making a living doing this and you could be one of those people well. I'd almost such come together like that but yeah there was a moment when Jackie Okita Shannon was being interviewed on the Loyd Saxton Program Daytime Brock Program for those people. Might you can remember when Thaksin you pretend to play his pretender saying pretend to play and he was lip sync was like a phrase it. He used to describe what he was doing. But you know he'd he'd play Herb Alpert and play the trumpet and pretend to play these notes but artists would go on those shows and Jackie Shannon had some great songs and he was talking to your. She said she wrote him on. Wow that's amazing but also I met. I met this girl on the phone who was calling my sister a couple years before that I think I must the only been about eleven twelve. This friend of my sisters called and she wasn't there and edition should be back later called backlashes. What are you doing what you want to hear a song? Sure and she put the phone down and she sang this song and it was kind of do up song kind of Eddie my love kind of thing you know I said why did you play me that because I wrote it. I you made that right well again. You know women singing songs about their lives and then you know Jackie to Shannon was recorded by the byrds on their first down and my brother was really into the birds I kind of. I looked askance at the birds. Because I thought you know I mean I'm really into Pete Seeger's and Bob Dylan. I knew these songs that they're recording before they were play with drums. It wasn't long before I thought they were brilliant. But at the time I just really you're so now you know you did quite a bit with crosby and so it's just hilarious. Started that way so the way of seeing it described the of really a big turning plan your childhood and maybe just in finding your direction direction would have been literally moving from one side of the tracks the other essentially is that right. I mean you were the way it's been described in other interviews. You were kind of on the path after being a bit of a delinquent at one point I I think so. Yeah sure. I wasn't thinking of those terms. You know it just. He's trying to think about surviving really an if everybody you knew. was you know kind of a bad house. And everybody was pretty tough. Where I came from Highland Park in Los Angeles was primarily Mexican American neighborhood? You know a lot of gangs and knew the names of ten gangs before I was ten. Wow most avenues clover whitehill rosehill you know dot com frog town. I mean white fence. I don't know any of these places. Were matter of fact symbol places like Oh Monte who which are really close to highland park which was a mythical land was like bordering highland park but and it was a a place where people went to dances or what they went to go cruising in their cars. But I was only I was younger than that and so no place ever went was a place I got myself. You know downtown. We take the bus downtown. And so when you did move sent I guess it's basically Oh see. There are a couple of guys who you met. Who are older than you and into music? Is that those were contrite. We moved to Orange County and my mother and my father got jobs and relocated. I think my father thought that he needed to move South Highland Park. I think he was probably smart in doing that. You know there were a lot of heavy going on. Yeah gang fights huge fights you know a block walk away at the playground you know in the in the public so when I moved there I didn't know anybody and I made a one really good friend in school who live more or less in my neighborhood and as a lifelong friend and he's a guy who sang and he liked the righteous brothers. Me Turn me on a lot of music. He was really enthusiastic. I see what soul music and Righteous Brothers but also surfing and surf music and would it was on the radio and kids. You know like we're like thirteen or something. I think he also turned me onto Moselle. Listen I mean we listened to a lot of music both our families more intellectual than a lot of the kids. We knew new but at a certain point I saw hanging with these guys that were older than I was in high school. When I first started high school in the ninth grade one of the first things I mean I mean it was inescapable? You heard you go you go to school and there was a band playing in the quad playing bluegrass and those guys were really good. They're applying it was a Banjo and a guitar base. And they're playing not the sort of lime lighters folk music that you might see on the hootenanny. TV show their flaming woody Guthrie songs. They're playing old time folk music and they sort of drove my interest in in folk music and from that point on it was was just a matter of just quick succession. You've got turned onto white and Black Gospel and blues and folk singers. Who Right at that moment? You'll so you started hearing people like Carolyn. Hester you know are two D- cons. Joan Baez was like the first record was biased. Record when I was fourteen and run on that time learned playing saying a lot of these songs and it was a big like my friend. Steve Real the folks scare you. Know the folks scare of nineteen sixty sixty five or something but a lot of people are getting turned onto folk music and I think that by by way of folk music you getting turned onto the actual real history of this country and I began having a much broader view of civil rights which was something that was really more and more in the news and I mean Ooh I let we lived in a very white community when we first moved there I went to a more or less racially mixed middle school and that was for one one year in the next year I was in high school more closer to where we had moved my family and moved to this very white suburban tract home community. You ever see the picture of the dead. Were there like in in this row of track towers. As they looked like warlock some effect they might have been called the warlocks at the time. But there's there's one house house after another going up a hill that identical well. That was detract home. My parents transplanted as to which was funny. Because my father's father had built a really unusual house in Highland Park. I grew up living in a house. It looked more like a Spanish mission. Crossed with a Middle Ages. Castle will so it's got to have been right around this point that you started really getting serious yourself about music because how by the time you're before you're even graduated from high school. You have a record deal right well. It wasn't a record deal it was publishing contract contract okay and it was with the company that I would like to have had recommended it was. I didn't sing very well. And My friend Steve Newnan sang really well but he didn't write very many songs himself. He did a little bit later. He started writing but he he wrote with a guy named Greg Copeland and Greg Copeland was really an interesting person because he was in student government you know He. He wore a blazer to school. You you know. He wore tying a blazer to school and and yet he was keenly interested in civil rights and he found on his way to a very progressive point of view from a very conservative family. I think the first thing I ever saw him he came into a speech class of the that that I was in and he gave a speech had won a national competition news part of the forensics club and he had won this and and what a was was basically it was a sailing the Kennedys and camelot. He was sort of like he had like very sort of acerbic view of the the cult around the Kennedys and there was a very you know very sort of conservative. Which is which is where we live? I was living in Orange County and more than one of my friends. Parents parents belong to the John Birch Society daylight music we all kind of we all bonded on music and do we didn't talk about politics. We you know we just sort of like. Let's richest old people stuff. And those friends whose parents were like that she's fantastic schoolteacher and she's one of my longest friend arraignment. She's married to that other lifelong friend. You know high school sweethearts and have been married for. I don't know how many years it's got to be more than fifty years. So the current events that we're being taught about as you can imagine we're SORTA taught with a bit of a skew. There was a bit of a bias. There aren't any kind of bewilderment. I think like my civics instructor instructor. I got kicked out of the class just for asking questions because it annoyed him that I was you know saying well. Why is Mario Savio and not what what? Why do you call him? A nut cut like what. What makes him crazy? What is it like and he was Susan probably would be? We'll look at him. Just look at a crazy hair everywhere and like him and I just really expected more substantive argument you know from ca some as an antagonist. I think so you know He. He moved me to another class and meanwhile kids in the class for like muttering Pinko under the breath. You know I thought what the talking. What are they talking about? What happened in the sixties? The vaunted sixties a municipal hollowed glowing term. You know the sixties with was an awakening. That is it's still taking place today at the struggle against the sort of very preordained and prescribed version of you know America's place in the world and a racial and class structure. You know that was being questioned all of a sudden and and and We came into contact with. I mean right aware where I met. You know some some of the black musicians. I thought that was music. I really love we go see Groups play and group called Join Eddie two guys. Do you know on your company buys one guitar player was fantastic guy. Louie Shelton who is kind of one of the Hollywood a great guitar players anyway. We didn't share other like the fear of you. Know Black empowerment. Meant that lots of people around stood and we'd go here sunny charing Brandon McGee play in a club folk love and then invite them to get something to eat and go hang with them only to find out the restaurant we went to that there was like real real entrenched hostility to blacks. Would he kids during those. You know what I couldn't believe it's barrage of hostility coming across the room and and you know you you you'd read about you heard about it. You're hearing speeches about it. You you understood as happened in the south but you didn't realize it was happening in Anaheim Anaheim had its own chapter of the Klan in its in its beginning so time to grow up so I didn't really right about that stuff but my friend Greg did. He wrote a song about Rosa Parks. They they had a song about Rosa Parks Song called progress. It was just a you know a devout argument. You know for human rights for civil rights and for equality equality and justice. And you know it's interesting that you could hear a Bob Dylan record in which these continents the same that that level of songwriting taking place in they just went right out. neuronal sixteen seventeen. So this is Steve and Greg in these other people you knew they may have come to music before you but it doesn't. I don't think they were having their own publishing deals. How did how did they did? They did we all got taken under the wing sort of at the same time we met at a guy who had worked at Columbia records and we met him through another friend of ours. Pamela Poland who introduces to Billy James and Billy James Suddenly. He was working for Electra and he was. He opened their West Coast office to we live down Orange County still but I mean he opened his office Thing was up in Sunset Boulevard. It was a little office when him and one secretary but it was the West Coast Office of Elektra records and so we learn all about electric. He turned them onto us. He turned electra trend. They've they signed a salt to Nina Music and they signed at noon into you know singing record deal and then he. Billy started managing us as well as I mean then. He stopped being the working electrode but he just became everybody's manager and we've spent a lot of several Laurel Canyon living on his couch. We'll before that though. I think there there was this very brief but it seems like impactful trip to New York where you met a lot of people who you really have have done some homework I i. I don't WanNa waste your time. I'm impressed because you're keeping the order of these things really straight. which which I don't necessarily do when I ramble on in about Yeah what happened right Outta high school. Steve went to New York and I was still in high school for a while but he was a conscientious objector. Ernie Johnny got that status from his local draft board. Greg did too as a matter of fact and Steve had alternative service. Any he worked in the head start program in the lower east side of New York so yeah we drove to New York to see him. We got in a car that was owned by a friend of ours family that they need to delivered delivered to Niagara Falls. I think we drove straight from whoever we start. I'll probably long beach or something straight to New York City on the lower east side in about about three and a quarter days. It was around the clock. I listened to the KLA and fight driving across the panhandle of Texas. You know in the middle of the night right and in New York though there was seems like a number of people who I don't know if you would say they were role models or influences but just the amazing talented did people right. Yeah I would say yeah but you know there are freaks everywhere would I noticed was that people were friendly in New York whereas in Orange County they they were decidedly. Not If there are freaks if they're if they're long hair if they were you know then they were. We were in the minority that groups in the minority and people. Well I mean in New York stop and ask directions and they would all people gather around you and they'd argue about which way you should go get up and downtown say. Don't tell him that way. You know or how to take the subway and I you know but it was middle of winter in New York I was I had no warm clothes. We were like we probably all looked like Uh waves you know and Steve lived in a third story. WALKUP and We've lived on. Its floor once. They got got rid of the car in Niagara Falls. They took off for Europe and they found like Trenton remember how they kept waiting. I'm to hear about a boat or some steamer. They like. This was the kind of Boho dream. You know the Bohemian Dream. Take a steamer to Europe to backpack backpacked around Europe. And they did this they did. It now is not a mind to do that. I thought something could happen. I would have publishing deal. You know what I started doing is making demos with with one of the producers electric and noone was still in I think he started doing it to Greg Split. He just went to Europe and his thing was writer and he was traveled and he kind of living the kind of dream that I mean he was a huge influence on me and and he still is. But we'd had another friend that was in in a group with noon in high school. The three guys named Steve and they were called the stevedores. But this Guy Steve. Morris went to Spain to study FLAMENCO and I never heard of them again. I don't think he I think he must have stayed in Spain. And judging by my trips to Spain I could see white might not bother coming back just incredible culture her and in if especially if he started playing flamenco. Because that's a world unto itself. I wanted to write songs and we were. I was writing songs at a pretty a faster clip than I do now. I wondered if you can talk a little bit about just returning from that time in New York and winding up in Laurel Canyon which you know the generations that have followed including mine. All we know about is there's this sort of mysterious hallowed ground around there where all of these guys were doing such great work but also it sounds like having quite a bit of fun. Why did you end up there? And how do you think that period shaped you. I think the reasonable all canyon drew so many people to it was it was green. You know there's trees and and that was very much a big part of our awakening. You know that we wanted to live some place beautiful make music and believe free to so many so many kinds of freedoms were in the offing. You know like religious freedom and sexual freedom and chemical freedom you were. You wanted to be We we wound up in a little canyon before. That's where Billy James and his wife Judy lived and that they were sort of like our guides in in so many ways I mean they met so many interesting people I met Paul Rothschild the producer who eventually produced the doors and Janice Joplin and he turned me onto a recording of Mahogany by Kurt vile and he was a producer sopher electric records and he he lived nearby billion judy and he was a great purveyor of like really excellent. We'd he had like I said prevail. He was selling. I mean he was like a connoisseur's he's also connoisseur of like the what he called the one flush toilet. It was if the police knocked or if they started to enter your house like he needed a toilet flush everything seeds and all in one flush and because if if you flushed it and some of these seeds came back up your busted. Yeah that was what he would say. But he's a really bright guy. I think he'd been in the army. I think he'd been busted for for for weed before in new ORC and had done some time he was sharp and he was careful and at the same time he was funny and and Mad Gleam Gleam in his eye so the people that you met. I must have met through billy. I met David Rubenstein. Who Produced Thomas from hall a Mental Concept Musicians in Little Canyon people approach? The the thing is I've tried for a long time to fair what it was. What I think was happening was there was a kind of a breakdown of a hierarchy record companies where you were just as likely become really good friends with a record producer or an engineer as you were another another guitar player and when you went to go in the studio you're all like doing the same thing there was a whole way in which and it's always been that way now now I mean yeah I was used to kind of marvel and think oh while the musicians are just much the creators of this records? There's no there the whole idea that you had to get a record company to tell you you're good enough and then pay a huge amount of money for you to record and for them. MM to decide which songs unity doing all that stuff. Just SORTA Kinda evaporated and in my time. It didn't completely go away. I mean and I may publishing demos and then also made a record on a electric. The didn't get released Iowa for a lot of reasons he just got sidetracked. We that run nine hundred sixty eight just as we were about several of us were about to make records with electro we convince them to give us a recording studio in the woods. Convince them to let us take a remote unit up to northern California and And we were just really taken in it from the the band and Woodstock and big pink from that model saying this is how we'll we'll get down to it so we'll get down to brass tack and there's one really incredible girl at the record company. A woman who was more or less our age but she said she says Oh. And you WANNA like you're trying to escape the the the the clock. Have you ever done anything under the clock. I mean we had nothing you know. It's just some reason you trying to escape this discipline of doing things on time and under under the gun in studio none of us have done anything but we we did think the Dow is the way to do it and they let us do it to their great regret later eventually. We didn't. We didn't really make what they did. And when we did talk ah kind of across purposes in that. They wanted us to make one record. Among the three of us there were three writers in two or three guitar players base player and they were. They were confused. Electric had made a supergroup before they were trying to put together. Mainly I think Jack Holtzman. The president of electron the founder hundred electoral wanted something to show for his investment. He wanted to do something that would show off his recording facility which is backwards. That's putting the car before the horse. I like that we just wanted to make records and so we never got down to make we. There was confusion. There probably wouldn't have existed if we had you know like that strict strict recording schedule in the studio but to his credit. You have the reason. He thought that ways he had made several albums of songwriters. He had ahead to think of a singer songwriter. Project he had three songwriters on zoom out his or an urban blues record the Blues Project not the ban but the the album on Elektra which was three like urban you know blues players making three like a record with three of them on it then there was also colonel. Rain Global who liberty were a group to play together not really a group but they they traveled and played together and played played. A few things Anyway there there was confusion on that so it didn't turn into anything that they release. But I mean I guess it was still a pretty revolutionary thing. Even you know this was the very beginning of the idea that a singer songwriter would could be one in the same right. I mean it had not been around very long and well I guess I wonder for you if you would come along long just a few years sooner and you would have had to probably if you wanted to be in music be a one or the other which would have been more likely. Would you have been well. I think that there are always these people who wrote songs and we're in bands and saying it wasn't an identity. It wasn't something that people like fast onto. That's but what happened. was that any every every band had people in it that wrote the songs and the that if in bands wrote their own songs all of a sudden I think really from that from the time that I heard you know Bob Dylan the only bad of two or three years before. Suddenly everybody had was doing their own song. They weren't as good as Bob Dylan songs but in a away they they did channel the energy and all the growth that was happening on every level the growth was happening in in in recording. The sounds of things arranging the way way records played. And I might say that I mean. In that way the brilliance of Bob Domes writing was really outstripped by the brilliance of all these like British invasion these bands. If you look at the the record making from those bands incredible you. You're as likely to spend a week listening to Randy Newman record. Because it was so a strange it was so what is he talking about to have songs like David the fat boy or like you and me baby mixed in with songs songs like political science. Who Was it was pretty heavy? He was he was like always kind of apart from the whole because he wasn't he wasn't like some scruffy Ruffy singer-songwriter with a guitar. He was composer. We had him on the past few weeks ago. He has really interesting to them if you read his biography. I mean there's Bob his biography. There's a biography about written by some English people. You you probably if I don't know if I'd read that it's really interesting. Yeah it's really. They good I asked him if he knew about it and then he climbed not to know about it but I mean I was going to send them a copy but he no. It's about he. He was in -Sconsin a record company. Liberty he was part of the writing staff there and it was like human cubicle and he was he was in there with like Leon Russell whose name was Leeann bridges at the time or the guy from bread. I can't remember his name But they also had the record companies had you know writers and there was that building kind of model I mean they had people writing songs and they would get them to the people at Saint. You're right the roles were sort of divided up that time. Carole King has just risen songwriter. Songwriter should became friends with James Taylor and realize that this this is fun. If you get to actually see your own songs for people well well your first studio album that the public got to hear the I know you said there was this one that didn't get released before but would have been the self titled One in Seventy Two you and I wanted to just ask you if you can talk about you know just I as a reference point for folks I guess doctor. My eyes was the big head off single off of that I have done the on the you must have me it was i. Ah After that when people say you know strike equality irons high. You've got all this attention on you at that moment instead. It looks like you took some time off. Maybe it was an offer was just thinking it seems like maybe you were not sure what to do with success. Is that fair to say No wasn't that I think that I just I'm slow. Slow writer and and let first album was produced by an engineer. Richard Sanford or shop and I I worked with him because I wanted to work with an engineer. And I kinda wanted to find my own way so but you have a backlog of songs when you make you first. Album of songs to choose from. Some of the songs are on the second album. We're among the songs I could choose from. These days are to me a long time to write for every man. It's the first time it took me a a law. That was my second my second album as you say like the seemed like the longtime time do you like a like a year and a half I who am I to say. It's not that long time now. At the time it seemed yeah and and also you had people in the music business. This who's who had that you're right that sensibility of like okay. Now do another. which is like that or do something follow? That was something you know in the same same vein build on that you know and I was. I couldn't have written another doctor my eyes. I didn't know how to repeat myself. I wasn't interested in repeating myself. I just wanted to figure out the next thing that I need to say forever. took me a long time to figure out how to say it but also I'm just going to say that between them. It seems like another pretty important thing that happened. I think it was between them. You and David Lindley Sarwari together. He became a big part of everything. After Right Yeah David Linley. I had gotten in touch with them before the first album I was in England touring as opening for Laura Niro. Oh and I looked him up and I tried to book a session with him. And the guy who is going to produce the record at the time Denny Cordell didn't show up at that was the moment woman which he sort of to tell you the truth. Just see you understand that the the whole feeling there at asylum and David Geffen often was like take your time might before my first album there was also like you know like you're just. You're you're growing these great songs but you like you can take some time time. And he knew I was trying to try to sing better. I wanted to work on my singing. And he could tell because I wouldn't sign up with any of the producers. He suggested that I wanted to kind of develop you know. So fortunately I had met Russ Kunkel and because Russ Kunkel and not through through threw him Lee sklar and crack Derby. I wound up with a really cool band playing on that first album. And they didn't plan everything but they played on about half the songs Songsen by half the songs were were very Kucic. Meanwhile be right before that. I'd been in England because I was touring with Lauren Euro and I tried to do the session. And as I say I was is going to have this producer Denny Cordell and he the deal was he would produce my record if it was going to be an asylum in Geffen didn't start asylum records then then he would get me on. Shelter was pretty sure Geffen. I was GONNA start a record company but in manner but I wanted to work with denny like Danny Lot and when he found out not to give it was going to start a record label he reneged he just like completely disappeared and there. I found that out with the dating show up in studio for a session that I booked and done a couple of sessions with him. I mean He. He had guys like Matthew Fisher from procra- harem playing and Jim Kelly Nerine. Aren't those guys. Were over there. KILTER and guys in mad dogs injured. Were over there in England playing with Joe Cocker and again those though I love to get the the whole the sessions because I met Albert Lee who wanted to playing on He was great. And you WANNA play on the first so I just found somebody the else to play the parts that David Lindley had made up for song for Adam did him with his Lindley wasn't back in the states and so as we started the second now. Oh Yeah I needed to tour of that first almond I started putting together a band and the band wasn't as good as David. We're by ourselves. It just wasn't maybe it's my first ban. It was like my first time trying to play with the band so now finally when I say they weren't as good. I mean I wasn't as good with a band because I I just played acoustic guitar and there weren't even any decent ways of amplifying Kutu guitars in those days. If you play with drums we always also had people coming in and out of the picture right so with that second album for everyman the title song it was first of all. I believe kind of a response to crosby own song. But then he's on there with you you'll beyond other people's it's kind of a May you don't see that these days where where there is a sense of. Let's just do something together. Because we believe in it uh the people do collaborate but there. But it's arranged you know by the publishers. A Lotta Times or if they they just call each other up I suppose I met these little kids at a grammar school in long ago and they didn't know I was. I mean I was just some somebody that we're being told was musician. He's come here to talk to persona and they said well. Great you make records who your features features that you know. And I realized realized. That's like a big a big aspect of music who people collaborate with and who can be heard on heard a great J. Cole Record I. I realized that I asked my son about. He said that's not he didn't do that. Headsets other ban than I realized he was feature on this particular recording and it was is better with him on it than the diversion with Adams had redone it with all that kind of at the same thing. I think it's the same thing but you're right in in those days. Nobody nobody paid each other to be on the records. I mean that'd be invited somebody to come sing with you wasn't like Nobody paid anybody and everybody wanted to play together and they liked. I gotTA say Like on that Second Record Elton. John Played on that record right and he couldn't. He couldn't play because his visa. He wasn't on or here on a visa visa so he couldn't say we couldn't say Elton John we had to make an Like a number two plume for him on Redneck. Franken says piano by rockaway. Johnny Arago Day. John I don't know. And that was a reference to Jill and when we're talking we're we're three blues you know we'll so I want to read you back. Something you said about the third which I think is kind of interesting quote the intimate confessional and introspective song. Really had its time the middle of the seventies the first half off but then you got a lot of really bad examples of it so it always interests me to hear from people who liked late for the sky because those songs at least six out of the. We're really the culmination nation of period. I just don't feel anymore why I mean. So what were you feeling ended. I can pull the year in a moment. I'll pull it up. I wrote down the quote because because I mean what were you feeling at the time because it is a pretty Heard is it'd be hard pressed to say what I would tell me when it was well. It's seventy four and it's it's it's just like each track from from the title track to for Dancer where we're talking about. I guess what happens when we die. I mean these are some pretty dark owner. The for the sky was but when when was that quote from when you were saying. I wasn't feeling that that way anymore. I mean I I think it was no doubt at this point. We come out of the probably early early eighty S. Yeah yeah so I guess you really know does seem like long periods of time now between the seventy s and the eighth but there was. It was a long time you basically by the eighties. I was interested in arranging and trying to write for a band so late for the sky. Those songs were pretty much written by myself in a you know and then I spent some time learning to play them with abandoned by say sometime I mean like a month It and I'm beginning Vance from the record company to pay them. I'm to rehearse the band not going to make a record and now nobody even hers. Who says you just go in there and you you collaborate you you you you make stuff up but In that happened right away too. So yeah by by a few years later hours in in A recording situation with a lot of musicians. I'd played with them my first album and second album and it was. I wanted it very much to be like a band and I was really surprised. That record was called I'm holding out. I guess and I was surprised like nobody really thought of as like they didn't treat like a band is like my next album. I really well I might as well have used used a lot of different musicians but I've done both ways like on late for the sky. I used the same five musicians and if I played piano the J. winning would play Oregon and if I played guitar that he would play piano. So you either have songs that had you know piano and guitar and then the other the other wonderful variable is David Lindley whether who would play violin lap steel guitar. You had a joking thing. I'd read where you called it. Something with like using David Lindley is because like employer because he let me brothers-in-law Brothers race. He could do so many different. Yeah Yeah we can nicotine in the lilly brothers because he could play different ways and so so I've done it that way but then also like following that on the album before and after that I had done it with calling every great musician I heard about everybody I heard about that was granted. Sometimes I heard about from other artists or other producers. You know they're like you know in some of these people only played with once I've just was way of like adding dimension and learning about those players will related thing in terms of just relationships leading other relationships. I I wondered if it might spring from springsteen who you've talked about in a lot of things as somebody who you hold in the highest regard. I know he inducted you. When you were going into? The I think it was the rock and Roll Hall of fame just on the pretender album number. Four that's produced by Jon Landau who was always closely associated with him. was that because you were striving to do something something similar to the way that he was doing it. No I admit Jon Landau before the pretender but after the for every man and I think or or maybe while I was still writing songs so for late for the sky and he was the first guy ever met would listen to me. Criticize my own records and would listen to before that people would say oh. Stop beating yourself up and I go wait. I'm not beating talking about. I'm trying to tell you what I want to be better and I didn't have anybody in my life that could do. There was nobody literally. Nobody get not Geffen not really like he was the first guy that took me seriously. And I met Bruce at that point but I wasn't trying to do what he did. You know like I was just trying to go on finding my way and John was around a lot. When we're producing warns Yvonne's I now? Yeah and I say around a lot. He he came in the studio a bunch of times and he. Would you know talk to me by my choice as producer. So it's like two producers talking about about any would say. Oh this is really good like well. So what else. What are you GONNA do? I said well I'm Kinda Don I don't have any more money. And he said well you should go back to the record company and get the money money. This is really good. I mean it's hard enough to get this much money. I didn't WANNA get the money to make this record. In the first place he accuse me of like trying to be here with my friend. David this guy is brilliant. You don't hear it what's really he said it's GonNa make me money and there's a what are you being like that all of a sudden was I ever GonNa make you money and you'd say well you are making money as well okay. So yeah he's GonNa make you money. I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about songs and he would say okay. Make the record but you know you have a budget of seventy thousand thousand dollars and I was like okay. Great so seventy thousand dollars. We went through it and there was some more stuff that we wanted to do and do better. I member recording and within a couple of different drummers but anyway Landau said just go just go tell him you need more money. So they're kind of advice was I appreciate it and with the record. I made right after that. The pretender also gift from wasn't around much longer after that he went off and quit he went down for the movie business for a while and then became back informed record label but was that tough to have a I mean and people without at all harping on this. I just think it's it's important context as to remind people that you know the pretender I a lot of people. It's one of their favorites of your work. But it came out of a very painful period for you will. Yeah and I mean did that shape was it always going to be sort of a mournful album or was that changed by what happened while it was being made. That's a good question the songs I didn't really I didn't really started any new songs. I I re wrote a couple. I finished a couple after my wife staff and there was a period like we started started. That record I went back to back from producing ones. Yvonne's album to making the pretender and Really like finished his on Friday and starting on Monday that kind of thing and and And when my wife took her her life it was Stopped for quite a while like several months but it became apparent to me that I just really needed to go back to work and that was the only thing that was gonna make. Help me make sense out of my my life. My my new life my single-parent a single parent and so I spent some time you know and then took some time off and then went back to work and John was the producer served record from during that time and he was great to be He was really incredible friend and incredibly like I say hey. He was one of the first people I've ever met. I talk to a about a lot of things about that about that for sure and also about about you know how to get what you want in the studio how how to get people to play what you want and what I learned from him. Musically was pretty fundamental pretty. It was Kinda like he'd be certainly he'd be listening to to attract and he looked like a boxer. He looked like he'd start like he'd make these gestures she with his arms and his hands like this kind of which he wanted what he wanted to hear. And you could liken it to the kind of punch and the kind of power our that. And he'd say you might. You might talk to piano player and I go go. Go go got. I'd made three records by myself. You know being in charge charged so we were you know gingerly connell like you know but it was hard hard to have another person in a position of you know you know behind the wheel. So you'd say well let me go to be great. Oh yeah he come back and his guide start playing incredible stuff. I will go well. How'd you get him to do that? And like an ask anybody specifically for anything. Because I didn't know what to add in. Didn't you know I mean I had some things. He's like the unusually gleaned from other musicians. Like if you think if you look at the song diffuses from that same record right Doug Haywood has been. He wasn't the Bass player on that. The time are recorded. I tried to record before this this really sick this very power. I thought really strong musical movement. which was the base going Dome uh-huh Pom Pom Pom Pom Pom Pom Pom Pom Component While the big cords were happening over Doug made that up Meena you know that became part of the Psalm. The way I wrote I just use what people did you know and I got people who to play stuff that I liked. Sometimes you recorded multiple time before somebody you know. Fat found that key or that that way forward I think I probably recorded on the freshman record. I think I recorded Lindley solar like seven times or or something tell us. Why don't we played acoustic? And he did that and then suddenly in the way he was playing was just it was great emotional channel and on the other hand like the Solo. He played on leaving looney played on late for the sky he also had to play that solo about Enron. How many times like fifty one hundred? I don't know he finally like. I started listening to one of the soloist. I started sending back out. He said I think you should listen to that one again. And that's the wants on there. He looked at me. Like I like that one like don't go back. And who knows how many brilliant things he had played before or then I lose my way I would lose my way but again I just wanted to say this thing about Landau is that he taught me something about arranging. That became a fire became. I'm like my interest because of the way in which he was actually able to shape the way people played and I I got on regular. Get to play with Jim Gordon. I got to play with with Chuck Rainey. I got to play with Jeff. Kara I got to play with Fred. Tackett these are all guys it that John wanted to play with. I really learned more than and I learned how to how to call people for what they might play on your record and and and he wanted to play. He wanted to work with Conklin sklar and and I was already working with them but he he didn't want to work with them he wanted to call. Harry was making a record in La. And he'd he'd never made a record l.. Any was calling all these guys because he read reread album. I'm not you covers. You know. Same time he would run into people that he eh parking lot of a studio that he had savaged in print. I'd say this is my friend. Sean land down. The person's eyes would narrow and look at them like John Meeting somebody that the ad like disparage their work and later and really very soon. I've during that record wrote a farewell to rock criticism. He said he he just quit. He's quit writing criticism because he was making records right. I've always sort of suspected that if you that would be a good way to get some critics to just like you know shut up or put up here. I'm in fact I heard a story about Pauline Kale and Warren Beatty Warren Beatty like reading of criticism. She wrote about one of his films films and he offered to give to fund a movie for like you you make one. Let's see what you do. And she wouldn't do it of course where she couldn't or she didn't in May that's like the Beatles telling the the hecklers in the background come on down here and fight us on stage like like it's not exactly a fair challenge Enj- but I'll just note before moving on the with the pretender. You had a top twenty five single with here come those tears again which was written by your co written. I believe right right by your mother here. She just was getting oh Best where I was going to make do without this. They just fees Straw man and then also the of course the title track closing track which you know is I think one of the songs that's most closely associated with you and it always begs the question as I as I read all the redback all the profiles and interviews and things I could find who is the pretender traffic screaming screen out into the evening strolls. Pretend Eh you know I I gotTa tell you that the it's a kind of a metaphor. It's kind of way of talking about how what people fake it. I mean it's it's me it's everybody but it's not a particular I mean it's about deciding to go along with everything in spite out of the fact that it's not going where you you already know. It's not going where you think it should go. And that has to do with the culmination of the sixties idealism idealism and the but also I I met a guy that was I had a guy staying at my house. We met him. We met on a on a film crew. You stayed come stay mild and you go hitchhiking. One time. He came back with a guy that had given ride. Okay and this guy was I mean it turns out later. It's you schizophrenic. And he was having a really hard time with reality and at one point poet. Saying look you doc. I've been up for days. I can't get him to go to sleep. And he's like he's not a guy kept disappearing from our house and going. You know you. He could down the alley. And there'd be a crowd around one of the houses like the most people got through the House of food isn't heckle park was an alley. But I walked up to this house and these people looked at me like Oh. It's one of these hippies. Like do you know the guy that's in. This guy was in their in their kitchen. You know just pretending like he's supposed to be there he just just sitting in their kitchen having a cigarette acting like nothing's wrong like nothing's out of the ordinary and these people were like an Hispanic family saying the jump on this guy I mean. What is he doing here like? We can't they couldn't get them to and we got him. We got him out of there but he was pretending to be down with where like hugest going along with whatever anybody so we got him to go and we took. We took them down to the hospital downtown and they wouldn't give him back. He said well we said wait the minute we didn't want to see we weren't trying to commit him give him back in and the guy said. Oh for Christ's sake. Can't you see he's out of his mind you know he's really irritable is like six in the morning and the got the doctor on charges like look you know. We asked him what day it was and he said the fourth of July. Where are you and he said you know? He was in Russia and like who was the first president. Antony Saint Saint some goofy answer. Unless why did you give his answer. He says well. I knew that those are the answers that I would have to get right in order to get out and hit the sort of reverse but he was say maybe that influenced me the high whole idea of like pretend faking reality with. That's the best answer I can give you know it's it's like It's a character that if I if I got a straight job you know and I'd be pretending I mean I was able to or if I if I gave up on the ideals that I that I really that formed my. You know my my thinking when I was Yang. I still have those ideals believe in human rights I believe in self determination I believe in you know preserving the natural world and and I'm trying to find a way past it. I mean I if you told me then the things we're gonNA get suddenly started. Just take a turn for the worse and getting worse even worse than they were in the during the Vietnam War. I wouldn't believe you but so the pretender maybe that's another sort of take me longer longer to make records starting with the second one but that's not uncommon. I mean as you say you start out with a a stockpile of Of songs songs for the first one. So what's funny. Is it some of my earlier songs of the most well known song of these days or doctor my eyes. I didn't think that much Dr Mayes but I thought it was. You have to have their. It was obvious that you had to have some sort of UPTEMPO short song short up tempo song to get on the radio radio and and it was Of course is because of David Crosby and Graham Nash that he got played it all. That's that's I mean. If they were the biggest band in America and suddenly there was this kid that had them on their his solo record. And that was that's back when deejays could take an an interest in a record and just play it. Let's see what this sounds like is. Who is this kid? While I'm looking right now at an album that I believe was your. You're the selling one ever. And that is running on empty. Went seven times. Platinum has been called one of the most revolutionary live albums ever made What was most fascinating to me to learn? The course of this was I saw quote quote. You said I always thought that running on empty was going to be a momentary diversion while I bought myself more time for the next studio album. Running on empty was an idea. And it was a digression close quote so people who don't know the actual bachelor this you. You're a guy who's out touring right and you're literally Eh. It's a IT'S A. It's what they call concept album. But you're recording it while touring so if you're in a hotel or you're on a bus or whatever is that correct. How that can you ever done done that? And here's how it happened. Well cassette players getting better and better. You could guide to knock a Naga. Msci Cassette player and they sounded incredible. But I oh I thought you could just start. Just start recording everything but I wanted to record conversations backstage. I wanted to record some of the hilarious stuff that people sat out there and we did a little bit of that. Mrs Post Watergate and the ban put a stop to that almost right away. Turn that off then known to be quoted saying some of the stuff that they say eh situations describing so but it was going to be a double. It's GonNa be a live album. That was going to have a bunch of songs by by the time. I've made three albums of. There's already songs that I want to rerecord. And Redeem myself make better make better versions of and then there are much a new song. So I thought I'll make a mix it up and I'll make a double album albumin. It'll be there would be like a jive ass promotion man you know from some region regional promotion guy like cou comes on you know with a bunch of flattery and puffery and like and just jive asked stuff. It was going to be characters and maybe it was going to be like some like ZAPPA's records it'd be like you know so. I wanted to get a portrait. I wanted to show people what is like out there. I loved it. I loved touring always always have an and no one had it ever made a record that way also known simply record everything I mean. My band played different all the time. So they're nights. That happened that when you go like this is so much is better than the record or this is and then it's better than anything that's ever happened since I mean why don't like let's put that up but it wasn't recorded. Well so I told Peter Asher sure I was going to record this on cassette. He said no nine lease a two track. If you convince you can get these performances just just running off the board and record from the board at least core on a reeboks or a student to track and so as soon as as I started researching that the the the turing company that toured Shoko said. Well we got a twenty four try. Just you mean just the machine. Just take a twenty four track machines will you. You could do that. You could record and I talked to my engineer. Greg Donahue had mixed the pretender and who could I as as far as I'm concerned could do anything. If he said I could do it I could do it too. Can I do then. He said well the way we'd have to do that. You won't be listen back. You won't have truck doc you whenever recording truck or studio playback capability but you will have the ability to get recorded because we'll have a guy in a room. I'm back there with the machine that it'd be looking at the meters and he will also be able to listen to one track at a time with headphones because you could prescribe a headphone Jack into each of these individual modules and see if it was distorted a it was it was a sound you liked so we hired guys to do this and they would set up this machine in in a in a room and we're playing big places plan you know like a arenas and stuff and every now and then Ladonna would like bolt back to. The weather's room us. He was mixing the House and he is like for instance. He'd noticed that Russell was not playing the cake as strongly as he was us on the song before because it was a balance. I mean. He's playing a quieter and he knew he had to like turn it up a little bit in the in the auditorium and he called the guy on the on the board back in the room and say what. What kind of level do you have on the kick drum and you say you got like plus many says yeah? We're plus three. It just intuitively not believe me to go and you run back look at it. I said No. That's not plus. That's plus when you like you turn up again because then so you know the guy did have to make sure that the by hand turned the volume of every there was no board telling you there's no board it was like I'm looking at my sound guy and he's probably not known it this way sin you should have at least taken aboard out there but we were just two guys with the student in the Locker Room basketball arena you know and we got it recorded that way but the first thing that happened was we sure we started doing shows and one day. We're we and we did have A. We went to a studio to listen what we got a couple of things. We meets him to judgments like we said like okay that I hate that piano. Can we use this other piano and they said no the other piano has been sent back. Well we just started shedding the stuff. We didn't need so they they sent my piano back on we literally had to get a CHP officer deterrent to chase down the truck and turn it around there were no CBS. And we got anyway. Those kinds of adjustments were being made right at the beginning. And the first thing we're the Russell said when he hurt his at you know these new songs are great. You should just make just make an album of new songs. I said you mean like a live album of songs. No one's never heard before because before that people always made live albums of their best known material it was always kind of like a best of with with one or two two songs that would distinguish that album from the others and it was just. That's always recorded over one or two nights in Taylor New York Los Angeles so yeah no one had ever done that and and when I went back years later to it was going to remix mix it for seven point one surround and I was used to looking. I mean by that time we make multiple lots of different takes every to only only one or two takes of songs like the ones that were recorded in the bus. Ms Like to take three takes amazing as successful as running on empty. Was the one that came after number. Six holdout I think is the only one that went and the the first one to go to number one right as an album. I don't did it. Yeah and that there were wordsmith some big hits their boulevard. That girl could sing. Can you tell when you put something out. Do you have a gut feeling about how well it's like with did I I. I'm Kinda surprised if now that you mention it was supposed. Maybe didn't do as well as they'll before and so therefore it was not a success. It didn't do as well as As running an empty so well it started out certainly big and I think though to seven times platinum I I guess just Running on empty. Add a longer life. But it's a it's an interesting thing. I mean. The main thing though is do you have your sense. Do you feel that you have the pulse of what people will respond to or do you just when you put it out there album that's done. Great versus an album. That didn't you know how. How well can you tell the difference before him? I think think I was pretty insulated at that point in time but not from the success of running an empty but I had a band had a great band and everybody was ready to do whatever we want to do next and I kind of dominated their schedules and I could take as long as I needed to take to make the record. But but I don't think that I really had. The kind of there was no one person that I had this kind of report with that that I could helped you know that I could talk to. Unfortunately all of them were people. I could talk to. But they're all didn't know them agreed right so I want to bring like a traffic. A conductor of you know like I like okay. Let's let's just try Craig's idea. Danny's the mill. Or you know lead you think Suffolk asking too many people what they what. They liked what they wanted to do. And even now that's that's that's that can back and still undo me. I can still like leave it up to somebody all. I like do what everybody else wants to do. And wait till they do something. Great great for me to go. Yeah that's it you know it's it's it's kind of a failing of mine and I don't because I don't go in there knowing what I want. I go in there to find that what I want and sometimes I'll like something a lot for a long time before I suddenly realize what's wrong with it interesting and I don't always suddenly only realized maybe I'll eventually go and seal I giving example like like. That album had a song. DISCO PACALYPSE on it. That was supposed to be ironic title. It was supposed to be an ironic. It was supposed to be like a remark about disco and about the way popular music was going it was supposed to be and utterly failed it pulling that off because swept up and trying to play it like it was disco so just came off to people who are like who are not ironic people that you were just jumping on the bandwagon braid. If I had done this on the way it started which was more like blown. It was like Lit Linley distorted guitar. I figure we could have been could have been played like rock and it would have been more of remark about disco and more refutation by that time. By the way people Laura people emblazoned had like slogans. Just sucks factors that I loved disco inferno I remembered reading that. I'm thinking like I wanNA I. That's good come on but not all disco was good of course and not and not all anything so so I kind of lost my way on that and when when when the smoke cleared. I've written too many bridges. I just wrote it kept going and trying to and and I you know I sort of kept heading into into the woods trying to make this song. Something that I liked in in the end. never really rehabilitated. That song that people have suggested I I can do it. There are other things wrong with it. There are the things I would. I would rewrite if I could say that I'm not I'm done with it. I was GONNA be a long time if I ever get back to. You know and by this point though you were now becoming much more political right more active active active and was it the Reagan era. That made you that way. Yeah I it was absolutely Reagan. Reagan sort of leading everybody. Back to this sort of Nick Sonian straight laced conservative corneas fucking world that that that was like you know. I know he's popular but I gotta Say I'm really disagree with so much of what he did and and Somebody last night. Yeah I I started to like win Reagan. I thought let's talk about it. You know I think that in lawers love I was trying to satirize the the Reagan again description of who we are as a country will lives in the balances around Contra Right. I mean that's That's one of the next thing. Yeah just that he I always saw him as a paid spokesman for big business he represented you know he was the host of the year. He was G he when he worked for GE and he worked for Borax Death Valley days he was kind of be actor is not very good and and not believable. And I didn't. I used to think no way was even know he. He noted become governor of California limped Governor Calvin and no way can become the prey on my God so it's a matter of realizing realizing that you don't realize that I mean that not everybody sees it the way I see it and and and the problem is worse than you think. And it's still that way now. I mean we've we have trump. Is the president young so us. I'm pretty much out of step with a great many of my countrymen and But I think the same time in step with reality which is nice to see. I mean this is not hard to talk about. I mean it's hard to get it to stick in Song Song. It's hard to like. Get a criticism of society to be clear enough or to be emotional enough to be. You know it's not easy even so I've done I've done it to greater or lesser effect in one or two of my songs I think is like lives in the balance of work especially in the long run. It's worked because the more people found out the more people got the song and more I stopped the the more I ceased just trying to introduce it. I stopped trying to give an introduction that song longtime ago except maybe say my son asked me start singing this again but I mean there was a time when people really they really were worried. I think my audience was worried that I'd gone down a rabbit hole political just being to political. Yeah Yeah Yeah and I and I would have to say something from the states like whoever feeling. I'm making some of you kind of uncomfortable uncomfortable but what I'm saying but I I kinda think it's important that I do you know by envy suggests that there's somebody needs to be talked about somebody some credit call that it's more like more of a speech than a song and I thought well. Okay okay. But it's a speech. I need to make so it's not about having a pulpit has about having a the voice as a citizen that's all it just leads me to the one last prefab thing I've got to say what what you've just said such thing because in between the sixth and seventh albums was fast. Time Ridgemont high. which you did? Somebody's baby. Four which reached number seven on the chart. Your highest charting single The the thing that I got a huge kick out of as you said it was hard to write a song about so close quote so it's interesting because as you as a person had more to say it's still hard. Yeah I got. I was thinking I'm just this morning. The phrase I thought there's going to be some way writing a rock song called less said the better okay so this leads us to something that I was really honored to get to talk to you about last night and along with some other people who are involved with this project documentary called Five. Be and it's all about the first AIDS unit of a hospital America which opened in San Francisco back in nineteen eighty three. And what's interesting here is you came to write with two others. The end credit song after initially begging off to having having anything to do with it right so Paul Hag is one of the CO directors. I guess you know him and he reached out yeah. I know him because of his work in Haiti here. A group called Artists for peace and justice which I think began as a kind of a sort of like a group met and talked politics in his living room but after the earthquake in two thousand ten they started raising money. I guess they'd worked in Haiti gets From companies go there and use it to but they may be because they are moviemakers and movie stars and the people that they were able to get stuff done. They built a school in short order about a year today that school twenty six hundred of the poorest children in the Western Hemisphere go to that school for free it's an incredible achievement and it was done in conjunction with with the priest down there named Father Rick and it was. I had a So I I have a friendship with him. Based on how are having worked Gone there and and visited that that place number times it was part of his fundraising for the school. And when he called in about this Our delighted 'cause I'm really happy to be asked but but once I saw the film I thought I'd I don't think I don't know if I would. I mean it's it's I've turned down offers like that so many times because of just not wanting to try to reduce expectations. I don't know what I can come up with the other hand like I written songs for movies. I wrote a song for the film. I'll do anything only because they said and they've asked they've had like three or four people have tried and they haven't found us on that they like and if you get literally said like you you got nothing to lose again like if if you don't if you don't come up something that works then you know there's not gonna be no one's going to be all you're going to upset anybody. Just give it a shot now. I want up writing something that that right right. After that. They in that movie they they just took all the music how they took out the prints on they took out the ticker every Sunday ticket. Forget sinead O'connor they. They had this great but because they realized that they they couldn't pull it off as a musical so I got I got my song back. I mean so so I can tell you the songs that I've written for films. I like them all for me like I wouldn't have written if they hadn't asked me to write songs for film and there's a much about me as as as any other thing I right like. I'll I'll do anything or the song on my last record cohere which was written for a movie called Shrink and it took a long time. That took a long time but knowing that I'm really slow knowing that I might not and I was really moved by the film I just thought how do I. How do I talk about this? What do I say right? And it's very hard to write a song for the end credits of a movie because you. You can't just tell the story you can't just you know you can't be redundant to start recounting. What happens in the movie so I sorta said I didn't think I I have the time and I'm making a record which I'm still making that record. But this got written. Because he approach London Leslie Mendelson who he told me about Leslie. And she and Steve McEwan got a good start on the song and I say that my favorite stuff is the lines that they've written. You know I did something that I think is a member. I'm proud of. I'm not GonNa Talk to you about which which lines are mine or whatever everybody in in a way I dialed in something that I'm I'm really happy with it was very much about what I'm going through my own life if I did anything it who is to really well it was. It's to assert that sort of language that that makes us about everybody is this is. This is a very a personal thing to talk about. As it's called the human touch it could be about. It could be good. It's gotta be it's gotTa be about more. The specific story is in the movie. But it's got to be all about that story. It's gotta be the point and when I saw the film again and last night I watched the whole thing since we had had worked on written. I see why I see way where he got right to it. But he's he's that that kind of a writer he goes right to it and you said that you haven't really had much experience with that sort of collaboration of writing line by line going through a song with other writers. Right that's true. I'd I'd never really done that. You get together with a writer or to other writers and sit down at a piano for an hour you book this room for like an hour and a half or something and and I'd never met them. I walked in. I was looking around for like you know who who might leslie. She came up and beautiful. What a beautiful woman she is? She came uh-huh big smile. A big hug you know. And then she's just so genuine and then introduced me to her friend. Steve and we just went in there and sort of when he's quite an old hand Dan you know he's really written with all these because he writes songs that are not. He's not GONNA sing. I feel that I was. I don't have that kind of experience. Mostly everything I do is something I'm GonNa. It was proposed to it as a as a duet to work on the chorus right away and then and then for a while. I spent the Canada I'm used to spending on a song grappling with one or two lines that were in the song when I got there that I I thought should be changed and and you know what should should be there. I don't know what should be there but I thought I just had a little problem with. I'm I'm I I cross examined myself so relentlessly when I'm writing a song that's why it takes so long I think what are you. What are you saying that will you meet? What do you think you mean by that? Well that's true but it just as equally choose the opposite like why. Why are you going to? How are you GonNa make this actually stick Dick you know? Make it something that that that people take into their their own psyche. And they're there and grab a hold of this song had to be about doc everybody's lovely everybody's relationship the thing that you hope you will find that you may have you know and I'm I'm so moved by this song because also it's leslie singing to me. I think it's like this was easier than I thought it was GONNA be. Because when I said I'd I'd give it a shot. It was was also happen to be going to New York. I happen like out. Sure I'll try you know right away just kind of gave itself and they were And also learning to sing that second verse. Because I couldn't sing the melody. I don't know what the melody was even so that was. Just good. Luck He is there lyric your happiest about being in there. I don't want to point to any of my lines and divided up that way but I would say that Some of my favorite lines are Steve's I'll tell you some of his most definitely has you know everybody wants to be beautiful. How true everybody has some idea of how they might be beautiful? And sometimes you see if you look at some guy. The movie my favorite people movies that guy wearing earrings. You see him as a younger guy like gay. But he's not here now he's he's like really flying. The gave banner you know. He's got like this leather jacket on in this funny zero. No but he's you know he's got get these to his lights fears fully out his fully out and this is the way people feel people need to feel beautiful. And maybe maybe I added to that and live life their own way. I think. What Steve did Stephen Leslie both do they have like a really? There is intent at and that sort of their version of cross examining the rational thought of the song is a sort of unerring critical. Recall ear for a for a phrase that might tip it in the wrong. They didn't want anything. That was GONNA be polemic they didn't want to like hoist. The debate flack they didn't want me going on in the way I very often do. When Song's where I started crying like really crude you know like make a case? You can't do that in a song like this is about what you know I know. And what and so I think between the you know we triangulate between the three of us we serve are set on sensibilities and by the time we got through all our all of our inner critics Alex. We had something that was we can sing. And with this song. I I asked less. Come out and sing on my last tour. And she's Out there too. That one song she was there to sing here. Human touch introduced to the audience and tell her. Tell them why we how we met in about the song and and there's literally cheer goes up after the first chorus. Maybe they need. They need to know something about song or not. Because I don't I think there's any waves just selling anybody on a few words. What the song with the movies about you can say that? But do they still do. They really get what the movie's about I don't know really really knows of your music video. which is really well done? I think you said your son may have been involved with Y- with that there. It is interspersed with clips of the of the film. That yeah that was really well done. Yeah but as you're saying if I had no idea that there was an AIDS connection to this still be a beautiful song. Well it has to be about more than eighty it's a can't be a dropout and and so the people that's always true I think some of the Let's say like like the song what's going on. Yeah okay okay. That's about a guy coming back from Vietnam. Wanted to get back cook connected who has got a particular point of view. It's full full frontal. This is stunning for for the fact that full-frontal political thinking let's talk about where countries going but in there as important written is all that is is just the way in which he's talking to his mother and his father and the thing that's being presented as the regard the respect and the and the the plea for understanding between generations. And let's go. Let's go for the love that we we know. We have between US rather than trying to score points in political arguments. Th that the and that song they start with like unabashedly saying you know like you know father father father you know we don't need to escalate but then it moves past all that it successfully identifies the debate then moves past it to what we know trump's all the all the arguments and this song starts starts with you know the you can call it a decision. I love that we hit on. That finally settled on that. Because I say it D- at the two lines you can call it a decision. I say it's high were made. Well I love about the languages that I'm speaking about myself. You can say that I it. It's my choice that I have made a decision to be straight but I do think it's the way I made and if I say that about myself it's very hard for me to deny that to someone else and say like you know you on the other hand you messed up. And that's your choice and you could change if you want. Just don't golder. That doesn't that doesn't follow and say I had a really close friend who was gay and He's he's gone now and he didn't die of AIDS. But why did I felt when I saw that movie that I was looking at his life. He didn't have AIDS but when the AIDS epidemic was first taking so many of his friends he just he told me this was like it's been unbelievable like a plague I've like I've lost so many friends. You lost many many many friends and and he wound up being a kind of a bath house counselor. He would go to the bath houses and tell people like don't you know please you know have safes sex. Don't do this. You Got People are dying and he would just try to save as many lives as he could and when he died he died of cancer cancer. Eventually but I do feel like He lived through that. You know when I saw that when I saw so many of these relationships what was what was more in stronger stated than the original film I saw was the relationships in the love between. He's gay partners. Who if anything? I liked what I liked what Dan said about some of the repressive and sort of the the repressive feeling the feelings that people. Should you know that you should be. We should be controls boycotted. The is reminiscent the intolerance and the and the inability humanity of a certain group is so reminiscent of. What's going on today that they I think they felt the ninety two state that strongly in the film? But I always felt this song will be this has got to be entertaining musically musically so that even if only one phrase jumps out at the end and they're not sure that will make them Wanna listen to it again. They'll eventually know what the song is about his. There are so many songs that I loved. I thought I knew what they were about. And then like eventually was old enough to get it and go. Oh that's what this is about. That's the power of music and arrangement meant and of the emotional quality in the song. I can't thank you enough for doing this. Really a treat to get to pick your brain about all this. Thanks very much for tuning into awards chatter. We really appreciate you taking the time to do that. And and would really appreciate you taking a minute more to subscribe to our podcast on your podcast APP of choice and to leave us a rating as well. If you have any questions comments or concerns you can enrich me via twitter at twitter dot com slash got fiber and you can follow all of my coverage between episodes at T- HR DOT com slash. The race. Finally be sure. Check out all of the other shows. That are part of the Hollywood reporter's podcast network Rebecca Ford and Rebecca Sons. Hollywood remixed Lesley Goldberg and Daniel Feinberg. TV's top five. Five Josh wiggins series regular Caroline Jardinez behind the screen and Seth Abramovitch and chip. Pope's IT happened in Hollywood on behalf of all of us at the Hollywood reporter. Thanks for listening.

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