I'm not a horror movie guy, but I think the guy that did Saw, or maybe House or something, he was saying you love that age as a storyteller because a nineteen-year-old is still dumb enough to make really bad decisions, but he's allowed to be out on his own.
The Catholic influence just comes from being raised Catholic, going to church every Sunday, being confirmed, going to church on holy days. So it's coming from where I am. It serves the purpose of having people who have a base or foundation where they know what's right.
The Replacements are the foundation for a lot of what came after in alternative and college rock. Let It Be is their best record and has the most diverse collection of songs. Some pop stuff, some heavy stuff, and some real moments of beauty like 'Sixteen Blue' and 'Androgynous.' It's a record I always go back to.
I think having a coach or an editor or whatever the novelist's producer is could help. If you finish a chapter and you turn it in to him, and he or she said, "That was pretty good, it might go better." Maybe that's what I'll try to find.
Sometimes people come up and say, "You have this line in this song and it meant a lot to me." You don't always remember that line as the one. You're putting part of your human being on the page so people are going to have different responses - the other humans are going to connect with different parts.
I think the biggest thing - and this I think is true of songs but also of movies and books and art in general - is when you have this moment where you hear a song or whatever and you say, "Hey, I've felt that exact way as a human being," and there's no easy way to describe it.
I use a lot of specific places in my songs - traditionally, a lot from Minneapolis and St. Paul, where I grew up. Most people, especially when you get into international touring, have not been there. So you say, "Well, isn't it risky to talk about the corner of Franklin Avenue and Lyndale?" If you do it right, someone should say, "God, I know a corner like that." Offering specific details to describe something universal.
I really want to write a novel. A few years ago I went so far as to do the cliché thing and rent this house in upstate [New York]. I still have the story, but I got 15,000, 20,000 words in and it was like, This is falling apart. I can't figure out.
I graduated high school in 1989, and there was no alternative rock radio, and there wasn't really good college radio you could get on a car stereo. Once you get a car at that age, you're spending all the time you can away from home, sometimes just driving around aimlessly. Listening, or not even listening, but subconsciously soaking up this classic rock barrage.
It's a template record for the intersection between pop and noise, starting out with 'Sunday Morning' - a real beautiful, almost innocent sunny day song. You have a lot of different types of things on one record. It can be really pretty, or it can be really awful inside, depending on where your head's at at the moment. I got it in ninth grade and I think I've listened to it every month since then.
There's this moment sometimes, when you do a crossword puzzle and you have the one really long word. And once you get that, the whole thing kind of comes into focus. Sometimes it's just working things over in your mind and then finding that one line that kind of ties the song together, and now it works. It's a puzzle of sorts.
Someone should have a record that doesn't have any singing. It's my favorite Miles Davis record. I love hanging out in the summer, in New York, when it's miserably hot. I love electric Miles Davis in the summer. Jack Johnson, the songwriting especially, is a premier example of that. It always makes me feel hot in the city. It's also nice to have something not yelling in your ear. For me, as a lyricist, it's nice to put on something without any words.
You are hearing this song, and you're 16, and it's a song about love, or a girl. And then maybe there's a girl at school that you like. So you're going to be thinking about that girl. That song is sort of about that girl. The songwriter doesn't know that girl, obviously. He wrote it for something else. But there's the specific meaning with the universal again.
Before I had a driver's license, and I lived in the suburbs of Minneapolis and went to high school and came home - I could ride my bike around or get a ride from my parents, but my world was pretty small, limited. Like anyone at that age, I only knew things I could get to.
I've tried to write songs for other people and it usually requires them singing it and then changing the phrasing. I can put a lot of words in a song, and one of the reasons is, I'm not that good of a singer, so I don't hold a lot of notes.
It's good to have some kind of California in there. It's almost always appropriate. It's appropriate on a sunny day or late at night. If you grew up on the Grateful Dead, which I certainly did, you listened to 10 million bootlegs. But you realize that American Beauty has some really tight, well-arranged songs that aren't meandering.