Q: Why did you feel freer writing songs for a solo album than for the band?
A: I never would have presented “Black Eyed Susan” or maybe “Even Here We Are” for fear that it didn’t fit the idea of this punk-rock beast . . . or that the other guys wouldn’t want to play them. This time all I had to worry about was what are the best songs. It was also rather nice not having musicians waiting around, and you’re always aware that they don’t have anything to do, so you tend to speed things up when you should take two weeks for that three-minute song.
Q: “Things” on the new album is one of the most tender songs you’ve ever written. It’s about not being able to communicate your feelings to someone until the day you say goodby to her. Listening to it, you feel it is absolutely autobiographical. Is that just an illusion?
A: It’s no illusion. “Things” is one of the songs I had to coax myself into putting on the album. I didn’t want any of that confessional stuff. But I was in the car one day with (Replacements guitarist) Slim Dunlop. He said he had a song, but he didn’t want to put it on his record because it told too much. And I was going, “Man, that’s the one you gotta put on the record.” And as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew I had to do the same thing.
Q: What’s the story behind the song?
A: It’s sort of a summation of my life. I feel like I’m always leaving something. It could be looked upon as my relationship with people or my relationship with the band. It’s a way of saying, “I don’t belong to you. I belong to what I do.” My marriage is over, so there’s undeniable threads there.
And in no4 particular order, here are my 5 favorite songs of the 14 (Don’t @ me, First Glimmer and Runaway Wind fans).
Things I’m bound to tell you like, that dress looks great on ya
I could use some breathing room but I’m still in love with you
Things I could never tell you, down the line someday
You’ll be a song I sing, a thing I give away
Packed my things today, I packed my things today
Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way.
I know you’ve got a lot of good things happening up ahead The past is gone it’s all been said So here’s to what the future brings I know tomorrow you’ll find better things
Here’s an amazing opportunity to own something that is literally one-of-a kind, and to help out Slim Dunlap and his family. I’m posting this message on behalf of Jim Sullivan, who worked with the Mats on their merchandising.
This photo is the original 8×10 print that Paul chose for the cover of “14 Songs” and he inscribed it: “This, with the hands is a record cover. Whole shot”
If there’s a Mats fan out there willing to spread some Christmas love to Slim and family by contributing $1,000 to this FundRazr: Appeal for Mr. Bob “Slim” Dunlap, I would be thrilled to send you this print, along with a couple other great Mats prints by the great Paul Natkin.
Life is short. Keep those you hold dearly in your heart.
The details: First come, first serve! If you want it, you can email me and I’ll pass your info along to Jim. He’ll take if from there and you two can work out the details.