Interview with Jim Carroll
Two weeks ago, A&E's Christina Schmitt chewed the fat with rock'n'roll poet Jim Carroll.
When she called, the answering machine said that Carroll was screening his calls. Christina soon found out why....
Jim Carroll: I listened to one [call] but it was, like, a stalker call and it's really scary.
A stalker? What did he say?
I just moved, I mean and, it was like...Do you wanna hear it?
All right, wait a minute. It's gonna take a minute for it to replay these messages... I'll just fast forward it. This is really scary. I had a stalker... I just moved downtown. But, I was living way uptown in a kind of recluse period again, and I wanted t
o get back downtown and be around artist friends and stuff, you know I'd figured I'd had enough of that. But when I was up there I had this one woman who kept... she thought I was her dead brother. She was actually very beautiful, too. That's what was str
ange. She found out where I lived. She went like to the rectory or the parish and everything trying to find out my address. The stupid mailman finally told her my building and she found it. I sent this girl to the door to say I was out in California and h
er and her boyfriend were subletting it. But then she kept coming back. Listen....
[Voice of stalker on answering machine]
Ah, is Jim there? I was given your number by a mutual friend....
He kept hanging up.
Anyway, I'd just like to talk to you to see if you'd be interested in.... [Message cuts out] Jim, I'm sorry about that, I didn't mean to cut you off. I'm just a big fan. Look man, I'm down the street.... Do you wanna come over and hang out with
me? Do you wanna come over and hang out with me? Please say "yes," man. I'm kinda desperate to hang out with you. Look man, I'm a huge fuckin' fan of yours. I don't know man, I'm gay and shit. I'd be honored if you'd let me fuckin' suck your dick. Anyway,
I want to hook up with you, spend some time with you. We could just talk, we don't have to do anything weird. What do you think about that? Don't freak out man, please don't freak out. I just got out of this institution, and I didn't totally dig that. [Laughs] Anyway man, I'll call you back. [Hangs up]
Isn't that weird?
Isn't that the scariest fuckin' voice?
What are you going to do?
I don't know. Watch my back, man! I don't know where he got [the phone number], 'cause I just moved and my phone number is completely unlisted. That's why I screen my calls. It's been about a year since the woman stalker and now this guy....
This is basically a touching base. I want to know what's been going on with you since the release of The Basketball Diaries last year.
My main focus in the past four years really is.... I mean it's a real blessing and a curse. I got these ideas for novels. I mean, you know, not autobiographical, completely prose, in the third person fictional. And for the first time really where I had no
t just short.... I mean there's a prose poem section from the Book of Nods which is in Fear of Dreaming, that's my newest book, which is selected poems but it has a new section. And there's a section of prose poems, but they're
kinda surreal little pieces. There is one short story -- I don't know why they put a short story. My editor wanted it in the new section because it was in The Paris Review and he liked it a lot -- "Curtis' Charm." It's in Fear of Dreaming. I
t's like a big selected poem from Living At The Movies and The Book of Nods. They threw in this short story called "Curtis' Charm." And the guy read it in The Paris Review actually, this guy Atom Egoyan, the guy who made that film Ex
otica, and well, he didn't direct it. He bought it and produced it. My agent told me they wanted to buy the film rights for it. It's only a twelve page short story, I thought they were going to do a short, you know. But I didn't think about it. I thoug
ht it's like found money, you know. And I didn't know what they were gonna do with it, and I didn't really think that much. He bought it for this young screenwriter/director. It was his first film.
I didn't think about it because The Basketball Diaries was just coming out when they were starting on that. I was doing that -- and then this thing comes out. And about the Toronto film festival this last fall and it won best Canadian film, and th
e lead actor won best actor and stuff. I mean it's an odd-house movie it's not a mass-mall movie. It's in black and white and you know, its budget was relatively low. But it's an amazing movie, the guy stretched it out, it's a feature film he stretched
out this short story into a feature film. It's so literary. He took everything. He didn't just take the dialogue from the characters that I had in it and inject that into the characters, but he even took the imagery I had and put it into dialogue. It
was really a great example of transferring writing into screen. Which I felt was a tad lacking with The Basketball Diaries.
I loved the performances in The Basketball Diaries and of course I had a chance to read the screenplay, although they did change the ending and reshot it in California. But I mean I made changes initially in the screenplay, but I wanted to make som
e changes while they were doing it but the director was such a techno that once the film started shooting he couldn't hear anything about literary aspects of it, you know. He was obsessed with shots, you know. He's a video-generation director. That's w
hat he did a lot, was make videos for all these groups. I mean, technically he's a really good director, but he had no concept of getting the end of that film right. It's supposed to be very ambiguous instead it became this like cautionary tale. But I
did love Leonardo's performances and Marky and I thought Juliette Lewis was really funny and great. All the people were great. I liked, of course, the voice-overs because they were straight from the book. So all in all I just thought the ending got a l
ittle dark all of a sudden, too dark. The whole thing was consumed with heroin. The book is not like that. It doesn't give you a sense that I was moving along and having a normal life, you know. It left out the whole aspect of the-fish-out-of-water."
I sold the option to that film ever since it came out in paperback in 1980, so I've seen twelve screenplays for it for different actors. The first one was bought for Matt Dillon when he was sixteen, and that just didn't happen. But that was good 'cause I
got to know Matt then and we became good friends and I've seen him grow up. And then Anthony Michael Hall when he was hot with The Breakfast Club. He's all buffed out now. He was in Edward Scissorhands -- I saw him in that. He got all pu
mped up and everything. I don't know why. He always played a nerd in his early movies so people these die-hard fans, that was when I was still doing music, they'd get me at the stage door, that would be a blast for me to have him to play it. But I knew
Michael and he was hanging around with me a lot. That's when the studio, Colombia, bought it directly for him and it was almost a sure thing. Except at the last minute Coca Cola bought Colombia and they kicked all of the executives, you know. When tha
t happens, unless something is deep into production already, they pull the plug. The new guys want their own projects. So that kinda put a hole in that. But he would've been good 'cause he can play ball and actually he was a real wise ass. Then there
was the Eric Stolz -- he would've been good. But River Phoenix really wanted to do it. I knew nothing about it. Somebody had bought it that year, actually it was Robert Redford's company Wildwood. And some people want you to be involved with the scree
nwriter, others don't. And when Redford had it, I didn't speak to anybody except for a couple of business people -- well my agent did. But I think the guy that Redford bought it to direct for his company, this young director and screenwriter introduced
himself to me after this reading in New York that I did. But that was about the only contact that I had. But while they owned it, I was watching Entertainment Tonight with my girlfriend like just lying in bed, watchin' it and chillin' and they were inte
rviewing River Phoenix. He had just gotten nominated for an Oscar for Running On Empty. They say "What do you want to do next?" and he said, "I just wanna play ensemble parts. The only lead that I really want to play," and he whipped out a copy
of The Basketball Diaries and stuck it in the camera and said, "I wanna play Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries."
It was great. You gotta understand. This is when I was living in this kinda recluse period, watching Entertainment Tonight. I could've been a construction worker who just came home in my frame of mind. All of a sudden River Phoenix is ripping ou
t my book onto the screen. I was just like, "Hey, what the hell is this?" It was very funny, actually. Then he kept saying it on MTV and in print and stuff, but that never happened, unfortunately. And it never will. But I thought Leonardo was fantast
ic, and it couldn't have fallen on a better person. The point I was making all the other screen plays accentuated in one way or another, there's always different angles you could take, the younger years, the older part, but they all emphasized the-fish-o
ut-of-water aspect when I went to the very posh, private school with all of these rich kids. It was such a class difference to adjust to. And being with all these private school girls who were so loose compared to catholic school girls back then. That w
as a big part of the book, and everybody always emphasized that in the screen plays whereas in this, they had me with these same guys going to Catholic school through the whole thing. I understand that for the continuity and everything.
When I was 21, when I had my first Madison Avenue publish a book, when Viking published -- Living At The Movies. After that I was published in magazines a lot, I was kinda the token prodigy on the poetry scene.
Do you think of yourself as a poet?
I still think in those terms. I decided I was going to be a poet when I was fifteen. When I read Frank O'Hara, and John Ashbury and Alan Ginsberg.
All those guys influenced me a lot, I actually first met Allen when I was sixteen because by the time I was sixteen I had my first book published it was like a City College of New York Press and it was only fifty page book I was so shy and I was going to
these poetry readings at St. Mark's Church, which is like the avant garde poetry center then, and it still is to a certain extent. It's a little bit established now, compared to the New Eureka cafe which has all the poetry jams. That's where the slams s
tarted. It's slam night every Friday night at midnight. St. Mark's seems a little established now, but back then it was the avant garde place. I was too shy, I would come to these readings, and after the fact they told me, "We wondered who the hell you
were. You were this kid. You were too young to be a cop. Who's this young guy hanging out." Because I had this book that had come out, and I could overcome my shyness and give it to, like introduce myself that way. I felt like I had some legitimate
reason to not just go up and say, "Hi, I write poems too," to these poets I really admired. So that's how I met Ted Berrigan and all these people who turned out to be close friends of mine. I mean I basically thought, that's when my first book came out a
nd all. I met all the poets and I started to publish in The Paris Review and The World Magazine. I published in magazines a lot, you know, 'cause I was just starting and I wanted to publish. Now I don't send many poems to magazines. Which
I should do more, yet any rate. It's only been strange quirks of fate that, well I of course I wrote The Basketball Diaries very early but that was a quirk, 'cause when The World Magazine, which was like the magazine of the poetry projects
at St. Mark's, would come out every month. But they were having a prose issue and they asked me, "Do you have any prose." So I said, "The only thing I really have is these diaries." And so I gave them three excerpts from the diaries and everybody thought
that they were fantastic and hilarious and stuff and kinda campy. And they kept asking me, "Did you really write these at that age?" I said, "Yeah, I swear." But then they said -- I was still only 17 but I gave them the early ones from when I was 13 --
and they said "If you wrote them now, it's even more of a genius thing to do." Oh maybe I should tell them I wrote this now. But then The Paris Review asked for it and that became a big thing. I decided, however, that I didn't want to publish t
hat book then. I didn't want to establish myself as a street writer, which that book is. My poems are a lot more erudite in certain ways. The prose in the diaries were just recording my life. I didn't want that with poetry. It took me out of my daily
life. I wanted to escape from that and get to some different spiritual place and hopefully have the reader get there too, with poems. I was much more serious about that. Basically, what I wanted to do was publish my first book of poems with a big publi
sher. So I did that when I was 21 with Living At The Movies came out from Viking for the first time. That was '72, '73. Then I moved to California and lived in the country for the first time and I didn't publish that much. Then all of a sudden
the punk scene started happening, and the people who are involved with it like Patti and Richard Hell are all people I knew from New York, especially Patti and Lenny K.
That's when you started getting involved....
I was in California in the country. All I did was read about the CBGB's scene from Village Voice, that was my only contact with New York. But when Patti came out there, to tour, after she had broken her neck and she came back with the Easter album which
had "Because the Night" on it, her first hit. She and I hooked up again. I saw her for the first time since I left New York and I went down to San Diego with her, she said, "Why don't you come down to San Diego." We had only had a couple of days togethe
r, and I went down there. The opening act, their roadies had a fight with Patti's roadies during a sound check because of a placement of the drum risers. And Patti freaked out because she had these street waifs for roadies. This guy had all these biker
types. And Todd, Patti's brother, was the head of her road crew so she freaked out when she heard that Todd got punched out. And she told the promoter, "I'm not going on if that prick opens." Of course it was her show. The promoter said, "Well, then
he's off the bill. It's your show." And she said, "Well, let Jim open the show." By then I didn't have anything to read with me, they were gonna play music while I just rapped some poems. But I did, I was writing some lyrics for the Blue Oyster Cult. So
cause my friend Alan Lanier, wrote songs for my albums, he wrote "Day and Night" for my first album and played keyboards on all the albums. And I wrote songs for the Blue Oyster Cult on a couple of albums. This was before that, this was before I got int
o music. I had these songs memorized ... for the most part memorized -- good enough to pull it off. So I just spoke/sung them while Patti played the guitar with Lenny and JD playing drums, you know, the whole band. And it was only 10 minutes, which was
just the perfect amount of time because that was all the material I had for one thing, and the audience really dug it. And I felt this energy, this rock-n-roll energy which I'd never felt with poetry readings. It was like this kid energy coming at me and
it was much more open and heart oriented rather than intellect oriented. And it was like being in this sandwich of energy from the front and the energy of the amps and the music coming from behind.
What kind of guitar do you play?
I'm not a good guitar player. I just use guitar well enough to write songs.
What? You don't have one?
What do you have?
I have a custom, actually. I have one that a guy in Brooklyn. This is also off the record.... It's a guitar that Lou Reed gave me as a present. It was his guitar.
Why is that off the record?
Well because, I don't know, I don't want to sound like I'm name dropping. I mean, I've known Lou since I was a young poet. When I was married, my wife and his wife, the four of us all throughout the '80s were really close friends. I'm still good friend
s with Lou, but except I split up with my wife and he split up with his, which created kinda a void in a way. It's a great guitar. I guess it's really not off the record, it's just that it's a great guitar. The action, the fret board is fantastic, it's
small, it's like, it's solid um....
Yeah solid body guitar. And it's maple colored, maple wood, I don't know what kind of wood it is. It's very hard wood. And it has this battery that you put in the back and you press this button and it sends it into overdrive. It's like this feature th
e guy put in. It's an unbelievably great guitar. And I have a Strat too. I prefer, I got the Strat from Stratocaster, you know. After Catholic Boy and "People Who Died" was a hit, and the album did well, you know, you could get all this free st
uff from different companies. I got a synthesizer from Hollander [sp?] about three different sized ones. There's little tiny ones and there's a big stage one, and I didn't even know about that. It was the bass player who sussed it all out and said, "Hey
, we can get all this free stuff now." The drummer got, well, you know, you don't even have to, well sometimes they want you to do endorsements, but just put your name in an ad or something. But they'll just give it to you. So I still have that Strat, I
guess it's from '82 after Catholic Boy right before Dry Dreams came out. I had that, and I liked that too. I don't even play the guitar. I dug playing live on stage but the band would kinda cringe, "Oh no. He's gonna play the guitar." N
ah, I'd play on two songs sometimes, and other times I wouldn't. It'd depend on how I felt. I mean, I'd just play two chords. It's hard for me to sing and play at the same time. But I mean I liked it just, I mean on the first album I wrote a lot more
of the music than I did on the other ones. On the other ones, there's only one or two songs that I wrote the music and the lyrics myself, songs that were maybe were really personal, the lyric, but for the most part I collaborated more with the band. And
just let them give me tapes of songs that they had and write the lyrics after. Because it's a big difference between writing them before the music and after. Obviously you play guitar, I suppose.
What kind do you play?
I have a Fender Esprit.
It's really heavy. It's solid too.
Is it too big for you? You should get a Mustang or something.
Oh, those are too expensive.
I had a Mustang too, actually. Patti gave me a Mustang.
See, I need friends like yours.
Yeah, that was a long time ago,man. That was a long time ago.
What color was it?
It was white.
Well, I was going to ask you about your spoken word? Like, what are you doing now?
I mean basically, I'm working, I mean to finish up about these novels. For the first time in third person fictional, things that don't have to do with drugs. Well, one does have something to with drugs, well it's not a real drug, it's kind of an invente
d drug. One is a very straight, linear novel, which is the one my publisher and my agent really wants first. Because I rapped it out to my agent and my publisher at a lunch, you know. About three years ago now, and that's the one they really, they said
, "Boy, this is a money book. It's like a movie book. Just give us two chapters and an outline and we're gone." But I didn't want to. I felt like there's a lot more research to do on it. And the curse part of it was that the idea for two novels came at o
nce. And so I had to write out all the notes for both novels that came into my head so I would get it all down. And then I had to start doing, especially on the linear one, I'm not going to go in about the storyline.
But these are upcoming, right now?
Yeah. I mean, I'm not doing the linear one, the straight narrative one, which is basically about a couple of priests and a miracle, and it has a murder mystery running through it. That one required a lot of research, a lot of reading really abstruse Bib
lical texts and Kombala and occult things and Satanism and everything. I mean that became kinda an avocation to me, after awhile. It became kinda an interest to me. I'm kinda cynical about the occult and still in a certain way, but there are certain book
s that are very hard to get books that I got a hold of that were really seemed quite genuine and like the agnostic gospels that were found in the caves in Egypt in '47 and the Dead Sea Scrolls all that stuff, things like that. So I didn't want to give the
m their three chapters, 'cause then you get your advance, but you have your deadline. And I didn't want to be inhibited by a deadline because I wanted to get it right. And so it's come down to the point, where about two months ago after years of doing res
earch on both of these books and writing the actual drafts of certain chapters and stuff. My agent had like a literary intervention. My lawyer and my agent had lunch with me and they just sprung on like, "Listen. You have to make a decision right now. And
you cannot be doing other side projects." 'Cause I did a few songs for, they wanted new songs from me for The Basketball Diaries soundtrack. And I did a couple of new songs that I had, straight rockers with this band from Seattle that did the musi
c and played on it.
Who were they?
Just a band from Seattle.
O.K. Was it like, you know, a big name?
It is a big name. I mean, who did I re-record "Catholic Boy" with? Do you have the soundtrack album?
Um, no. I don't have that.
Well, I re-recorded this song, "Catholic Boy," the title song from my first album with a certain Seattle band. A big Seattle band that starts with a "P." Do you know who I'm talking abou?.
"P." Uh, Primus?
No. It starts with a "P" and a "J."
A "P" and a "J."
The first name is "P" and the second name is "J".
Oh, okay. Now I got it. You gotta spell it out for me.
[Laughs] I re-recorded "Catholic Boy" with Pearl Jam. So I mean one of the songs I did was with the guys from Pearl Jam: Eddie and Mike and Jeff. The other one was this band Truly. Do you know them?
They're a real good band. They're on Capitol. It's like this guy Robert Ross who's in a Seattle band. Then, the guy who plays bass is better known. He's this guy named Hiro, this Japanese guy who was the original bassist on the first three Soundgarden alb
ums. And then the drummer is the original drummer from the Screaming Trees. You know those groups, they're always interchanging and stuff. So they play a very different style from the usual Seattle style. Some reviewers compared them to my group, a combin
ation of my group and Pink Floyd [laughs], which is so strange, 'cause I was never into Pink Floyd and I can't even imagine what they mean by that. At any rate, I did a song with them too. And then I did a song, see they flew in, just the DATs from Seattl
e, with the music and everything and about five different mixes you know. And I just went into the studio here with Lenny K, you know, Patti's guitar player and he played guitar with me too after, on like the third album and the second album, one song and
on all the songs on the third album and toured with us. And he's a good producer too. He just finished producing Patti's new album. In fact, he's in England right now with Patti doing press 'cause they're gonna go over there and tour there this summer fi
rst before they tour here. Patti's new album is really good.
Oh, you heard it already?
Yes. It's really dynamite. I mean I'm really glad that Clyde Davis made them add another rocker to it. Patti found this song that Fred, her departed husband, had written but she couldn't find. And it was just, you need another rocker I think, and she ope
ns the drawer. She had been looking for this tape through the whole thing, you know. And she goes back to Detroit and opens this drawer and the tape is right there. And it's like one of the hottest songs on it, you know.
Yeah, it was like a sign.
Yeah, it really was. And Patti totally believes that, you know. I mean, she's singing better than ever and I think, well I'm not going to speak for Patti. She doesn't like that, I'm sure she doesn't want me to say anything. But, I just think it's a rea
lly great album, that's all. But, um, the fact is, see Lenny also, he had a song, that he said well if you're doing songs for the movie ... See, when you're doing songs for a movie, they give you, like, a sheet of where the songs are gonna be in the movie
. What kind of mood ... They even tell you this needs a kind of "Sympathy for the Devil"-type song. Or what we want here is a kind of a very moody slow song. Or this is the scene where he's bringing Bobby, the guy dying of leukemia, up to 42nd Street and
stuff. I had in mind one song, the scene where he's with Winky and Blinky for the first time and he's doing coke and stuff, that scene. They give you like an outline so that the song is germane to those scenes. And it was fun writing lyrics for those roc
kers that I got from Seattle because I could write from the point of view of 15-year-old kid again. So I could have these great lines. I might, when I do the show, a couple of them I might just rap.
Yeah. What other things are you going to be doing?
Lenny played me this tape with no lyrics, with just gibberish lyrics, so it did have the phrasing already. And I just wrote the lyrics. I loved it in the studio and that one is the strongest song, I think. That one, see that's the thing with the literary
intervention because the music director sent them to a couple of labels who had been for years asking me, "Do you wanna do another rock album?" And they said, "Listen. You've got three songs already. They're all terrific." 'Cause none of them they were
able to fit in, you know, into the thing. As it was, the Soundgarden song practically is at the very end of the titles. So, I mean they didn't have room to fit them in, but that's okay because I mean ... So now I got the dilemma of should I, since I've
got three, actually four songs in the can already, should I just finish an album and release that. But see that's ... If you're gonna do rock'n'roll, you've got to go all the way with it. So I can't do that and be thinking of these whatchamacallits nove
ls too. But I might just give them to this label, there's a couple of them so I'm not gonna say which one but and let them release a single or an EP with two or three songs.
So basically I've been reading at colleges a lot and I have a lot for the fall too, so in the summer I have a chance to do clubs, which I like doing more really because the people at clubs know your work better and they kinda ... You know, you can't bulls
hit people at clubs. It's like rock'n'roll. They may not be intellectually sophisticated as audiences at poetry readings, but they ... You can't bullshit them with a facade of clever style like you can at poetry readings. They see things through their h
earts more than their intellect and they know when you're lying, or bullshitting them, or shining them. And so, it's much better in that sense because I like to think most of my poems ... A good poem or any good work of art in any medium has to come from
the heart as well as the intellect. If you do one without the other it's just, it just doesn't work. In clubs, that's the type of audience and there's a really good energy. It's more intimate, it's not a big auditorium. I like doing clubs and stuff and
I haven't been able to this year ... Well, I've done, well mainly just in the East Coast, like down in Atlanta and Athens and that's about as far as I've been with clubs this year. Up in Boston, and Rhode Island and Washington D.C. But I haven't gone out
to the Midwest for awhile. I'm going out to Ann Arbor and Detroit next week and then ... When is the show in Minneapolis?
It's June 18th.
June 18th. Do you know what day that is?
I think it's a Tuesday.
Good. That's what I have. Somebody told me it's a Monday. I'm glad it's not. But the next one after that is in Chicago. I was gonna do one in Kansas City on Thursday, but that was too much. I don't like ... I like to just go out and do two shows, you kn
ow, and then come back and then go out again. The only time ... 'Cause that's why I stopped doing rock and touring like that. The performing was great, but all the paraphernalia of traveling was a hassle. But, the only time it's like that is once or twic
e a year I go out and do the West Coast, from Vancouver down to San Diego. And that's more like two weeks doing shows every night. But, I like doing it this way, and I like doing clubs so summer is my chance to do it. So, the good energy at clubs ... som
etimes I just do monologues, you know, I have the germ of an idea and I just tell some story and it expands every time I do it, from night to night. I'll see, otherwise I might read ... I always like to read some prose piece first, you know, like, I could
read that short story that they made a movie "Curtis' Charm." I could read some ... I just sold the film rights to Forced Entries actually, so I could read ... I read a lot of that before so if I don't know if I'm ... well I haven't read in Minnea
polis for awhile so I could read ... There's this one section that I've never read from Forced Entries before, this one long diary entry and it and it reads very well. So I could do that. But I like to do that and I have a lot of new poems that I'd
wanna to read and some old ones and stuff too. But, I have a lot of new poems that I've been working on kinda as an adjunct to writing this new novel. 'Cause I have started the less commercial, but more fragmented one that was the outcome of the interven
tion. They made me decide which one I was going to commit myself to writing. Because there is a certain point where it is good to have a deadline to push you. And so, they figure I'm at that point. So I decided to go with the less commercial one, that's e
asier to write, for me. And at the moment, I feel it more in a visceral way. So, the other one I can still have plenty of time, because it could take a lot of research, more and stuff. I mean, you can't go to far with that either, because it becomes very
...a sense of vertigo after awhile, running around. I mean, you could go on forever doing that. It's like DeKooning always has a hard time knowing when his paintings are finished. It would drive him nuts, you know. But, so with me, I have a hard time kno
wing when to get it started. I'm never really ready for it, you know. But so I'm working on that. I could even have a chapter from the new book. But that's not as likely...This book's not like a diary where I could just read separate entries, I mean , i
t's hard to take something out of context and read it. You know, you can't read a piece that's too long at a reading. People's attention wanders. I know that because it happens to me. I'm real sympathetic to that. So I'm gonna...And I'm gonna do some s
ong lyrics. Basically that's what I plan on doing. I never know exactly...If I plan out exactly what I'm going to do, it's never as good as if I just 50 minutes before the show I just like to be by myself and I go over what I'm going to do then. Then I j
ust decide...We have a set list with the band, you know, if I felt the audience...if I was getting vibes from the audience that we needed to do a fast song and there was a slow one coming up next on the set list, I'd just change it, you know. It's like a
quarterback calling an audible and changing the play because the defense has changed. You just have to sense the mood. It's much easier for me to do that when it's just myself up there because I don't have to run over to the bass player on the far side, g
oing, "We're not gonna do that one. We should go with the real fast one." And then getting into the drummer, with all the cymbals and monitors and risers and stuff. You need a ladder, or a rope or something to swing back there. You have to pass the word.
It's not good to have a set list, ever, with music or anything. So I'll just go out there and see what happens.
Note: the "stalker" Jim mentions was actually Harmony Korine pulling a prank. -- Cassie
This interview was originally found at http://www.daily.umn.edu/ae/Print/ISSUE34/intcarol.html