My primary craft is writing, and song writing was always what moved me along. I fell into the folk scene early on because of the importance of the song and lyrics there and then followed that with some rock and roll and country efforts.
One of my favorite phrases was “Dammit, I just know it,” and it ended up in “Jessie’s Girl.” It was a very, very, very personal record. I felt free writing it, which is one of the reasons why it worked.
Literally none of the songs on the Calpurnia EP were drawn from personal experience at all. I feel like now I really draw from personal experience and try to write how I feel. I didn’t really know how to do that at that point. I think I was too young to figure it out.
Fortunately, I learned how to orchestrate. So when I write, I’m usually hearing what the song is and the orchestration. So something like “Walk on By”: as I’m writing that, I’m hearing the flugelhorn, which became identifiable.
I thought songs were so simple that I could do five of them a day, but songs that sound simple are deceptive. It’s a very complicated process.
Life has always been my inspiration. But I think a big topic for me has been simply me being loved and me being happy…and I realized that I don’t really have very many songs that represent the love that I feel more in recent years.
Motown was like a fairy tale that happened to have come true. Songwriting was my love and everything I did was to protect that love. I didn’t like how my songs were being arranged, so I started arranging them. I didn’t like how they were being produced, so I started producing them. I didn’t like […]
When I started out, all I wanted to do was write some songs, make some money and get some girls — not necessarily in that order, which was not unlike the majority of the guys in my neighborhood. Most of my early songs were written on some kind of truth of my own situation.
Every time you release a new record, if it’s successful, you attract a new audience. Then the old catalog gets revived and people get reminded of what we’ve done before.
I like making new songs and I like playing them live — not tons of them, because you have to slowly incorporate new material since you have an obligation to play the songs that people love, because that’s what they come for.