10 ANSWERS FOR ANDREW MILLER
In tandem with their new MTV series, "I'm From Rolling Stone", rollingstone.com is holding a weekly contest to find a young, aspiring rock journalist who's written ten great interview questions for the artist of their choosing. The latest winner is Andrew Miller, 22, who's posed his questions to me. Below are my responses. In the spirit of Rock N Roll, I gave myself a 20 minute time limit with which to complete the interview. Congratulations, Andrew. You're well on your way to working for an entertainment magazine. Your next task is to learn how to write an album review that both praises and condemns in frustratingly equal measure.
1. So, now the squeaky clean guy who once penned the lyric "bubble-gum tongue" is a weed enthusiast?
Not anymore. How can I explain this succinctly? Sometimes you have to experiment with an updated design for yourself before you realize the original design never stopped working for you. Rolling Stone is like your older brother's cool friend, and you'll be surprised what you'll do to get Keith with the Camaro to like you.
2. Which genre's artists do you find most intimidating to work with, hip-hop or blues?
Blues, easily. Hip-Hop is still a flexible art form. It's where blues was fifty years ago. The commandments of the blues are written in stone.
3. Fill in the blank: Over the years, I've seen my fanbase...
...come and go according to the music I'm making and what moves (or doesn't move) them. I'm okay with that open-door policy. You can step in or out anytime you like and you won't get hassled upon re-entry.
4. You've [offered] your guitar services on tracks by the Dixie Chicks and Rob Thomas. Any requests you've turned down?
Believe it or not, I don't really judge whether or not I'm going to play on someone's album based on their credentials... I'm listening for a space in the song that my sensibilities will sit right with. When you get together on another artist's record, you're both at each other's mercy.
5. You're set to appear on a track off T.I.'s upcoming album, "T.I. vs. T.I.P." Compare the recording studio experiences with T.I.'s camp compared to your own. What went on, exactly?
I never worked with T.I. Here's the back story to that Wikipedia nugget: I was a guest on TRL and happened to get my hands on the list of goofy, un Andrew-Miller-like questions I was going to be asked before I walked on set. One of the questions was "Who do you like more, T.I. or [I forgot the other southern rap artist]?" So I snuck to the bathroom and searched "T.I." on my Blackberry. I memorized as much information as I could and then announced that we were working together. I like that Damien Fahey boy, I just don't like getting slapped with the sweaty glove of irony on national televison.
6. Ever purchase a Jessica Simpson album?
I lis[t]en to most new music released every week.
7. You've been dabbling in stand-up at the Comedy Cellar in NYC. Describe the first set you bombed.
You mean "set" as in just one? I'm not done bombing. I'm still clearing out a life's worth of "is that funny?" to which the answer is usually "at least not the way you said it, it's not."
8. Are there any songs you go back and listen and think, What the hell was that about? That was terrible.?
There's a song on Heavier Things called "New Deep". Looking back on it, I think I thought I knew what I meant but the idea is a bit undercooked. And slightly nonsensical. You can't win em all.
9. Your lyrical matter is usually wide-ranging. On Continuum, you sing about fear of parents dying (Stop This Train), political dissent (Belief) and even our generation's abundant apathy (Waiting on the World to Change.) But what's something you refuse to sing about?
I refuse to ever write a song about ANY trappings of fame. That's like your head crowing inside your ass, only set to music. Lots of people think Vultures is about fame and the entertainment industry, but it's not. It's more about where my confidence comes from.
10. You turn 30 in October. What will be the worst part about seeing your 20s go away?
There are lots of very invasive tests that doctors like to administer to men in their thirties. These tests usually result in a ride home with the radio off and very little blinking.