Monday, June 8, 2009

Jeff Tweedy Vs. Wilco

EXCITEMENT has burned across many email accounts since the band WILCO posted a streaming link to its new album, entitled just plain "wilco," on its website. the new record is harder to figure out or describe than most offerings by this esteemed american group -- it is not rootsy like "being there," poignant like "sky blue sky", etc -- but it's full of good, tuneful stuff.

this morning i spoke to jeff tweedy, the band's sometimes prickly frontman and singer, HERE. tweedy, who has suffered from migraines for most of his life and seen his share of adventures with alcohol and drugs, was in good humor as he talked about what he's aiming for with the group and how he regards the huge number of expectations piled on to the project. (and all the issues of "authenticity" which swirl around any band with roots in the alt-country movement.)

he even discussed, with evident sadness, former wilco member jay bennett, an important architect of the "yankee hotel foxtrot" LP, who died in may soon after suing tweedy.

my favorite line, regarding the band's many veers from style to style: "it's never been our intention not to sound like ourselves." (that line is nearly an entire mark strand poem. speaking of poetry, tweedy has just picked up a new anthology he was excited about called "american hybrids," and had also just completed a book on darwin's voyage.)

i also laughed out loud as he discussed the band's wearing "Nudie suits" onstage recently. but you'll have to see the whole thing for it to be funny.

wilco launches its US tour this week and lands in LA, at the wiltern, in late-july. see you there.

Photo credit: wilcoworld


anonymousPrime said...

Really enjoyed the interview. Especially the whole 'nudie suit wearing alt country crowd' discussion.

I'm catching them with Yo La Tengo on Coney Island in July. Really looking forward to it. We'll have to compare notes between left and right coast shows.

Scott Timberg said...

whoa! ... wilco and yo la tengo in one show? i would have to be carried out in a stretcher after that -- just too much pop bliss in one place!!

Pete Bilderback said...

Nice interview. In many respects the alt-country purists Tweedy references remind me of the hardcore kids who used to show up at Fugazi shows. They hated Fugazi and apparently only showed up to heckle Ian MacKaye for being a "sell-out."

I see something similar happening now with fans who came to Wilco around the time of YHFT, who complain that Wilco are no longer "innovative." In truth Wilco were never an innovative band, just a great one (which they still are).

Scott Timberg said...

right pete -- that syncs up with my view of the band pretty well... in an age where so much music is crap, isnt it enough that they simply be excellent?