Great clip from Late Night with David Letterman. Two things of particular interest: 1) Jeff Tweedy takes lead on a verse; 2) Letterman is utterly gushing at the end.
This is one of my favorite CCR songs. Shoot, it’s one of my favorite songs, period. The way John Fogerty’s lyrics tackle hugely complex subjects and make them personal, while acknowledging his inability to communicate with the person he loves, is heavy and perfect. It’s no wonder Jeff Tweedy picked up on this song: it essentially encapsulates the entire theme of his own masterpiece, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. What took Wilco a whole album to say, “Wrote a Song for Everyone” does in under five minutes. Even if you can write songs that connect with thousands of people, it’s still tough to be honest with the people you love.
Saw the people standin’ thousand years in chains.
Somebody said it’s different now, look it’s just the same.
Pharoahs spin the message, round and round the truth.
They could have saved a million people, how can I tell you?
There are only two songs written by white folks that take on the subject of slavery and handle it in an effective way. This one and Bob Dylan‘s “Blind Willie McTell.” I hope Tweedy gets Ms. Staples to do that one on their next collaboration. You Are Not Alone is due September 14 on Anti.
I did a quick search of the archives and I’m surprised to see we haven’t covered Beck‘s “Record Club” project at all. It’s a cool idea where a bunch of musicians get together and cover an entire album in one day. Beck then releases the songs on his web site and Vimeo channel. He’s already done The Velvet Underground and Nico (ft. Nigel Godrich, Giovanni Ribisi) and Songs of Leonard Cohen (ft. MGMT, Devendra Banhart), and now he’s halfway through Skip Spence‘s Oar (ft. Wilco, Feist, Jamie Liddell).
“Broken Heart” features a duet with Jeff Tweedy and Leslie Feist, and it’s really nice. A few more of my favorites from this installment after the jump…
Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy talks to the Chicago A.V. Club about making “challenging” music, or not:
People really think narrowly when it comes to those types of challenges, and the idea that something has to be aggressive or avant grade, or atonal, even, to be a challenge. I’ve found it to be the exact opposite. We literally put 15 minutes of noise on a record that did not raise an eyebrow, but if you make a pop song with Feist on it, people are going to cry like the sky’s falling. It’s really going to hurt somebody. Our goal is to make some shit that we fucking like to play and feel good about, with the knowledge that that doesn’t hurt anybody. You’re basically doing something that you love to do, and you’re not really hurting anybody.
Emphasis added. While it’s hard not to read that and think he’s quite possibly being more than a little defensive, it’s impossible to argue with the facts. As a huge fan of straightforward pop songs, I’d like to challenge anybody—including Tweedy himself—to write a song as thoroughly great as “New Madrid,” “Passenger Side,” or “Forget the Flowers.” Why do people think you have to get weird?
My two-year-old totally loves “Wilco (The Song)” and “I’ll Fight” from the new album. And what’s not to love? They’re simply good songs.
Two of GLONO’s worlds collide as Johnny Marr and Jeff Tweedy team up for the upcoming 7 Worlds Collide album, The Sun Came Out. In case you haven’t heard about it, this is the project that Crowded House founder Neil Finn started to raise money for charity. Recorded in New Zealand during everybody’s “Christmas holiday,” Finn gathered an impressive collection of musicians to work on the double album due September 29 via Sony Music.
In addition to Marr and Tweedy, Wilco‘s Glenn Kotche, John Stirratt, and Pat Sansone play on most of the tracks. Radiohead‘s Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway contribute to several songs as well. Check out who plays and sings on each of 24 songs after the jump…
Chicago magazine gives credit where credit is due with a nice homage to Jay Bennett:
Bennett’s vintage keyboards float throughout songs like “She’s a Jar” and “Pieholden Suite,” leaving a dreamy aftertaste. His presence provides a continual commentary on the melody at hand, whether from a spooky banjo clucking (“Via Chicago”) or an instrumental pile-on that builds to an emotional storm (“My Darling”).
Interviews with Edward Burch, Bob Andrews and ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer shed a little more light on who Jay was and what is contributions to the band meant. My favorite bit is when Coomer says that nobody in the band even knew Jay could play piano until they were in the studio for Being There. Friends and family seem to be making a concerted effort to ensure Jay Bennett’s legacy is not bound to his portrayal in I am Trying to Break Your Heart.
Spin: Wilco, Frankly.
“I always think of the song [“Wilco (the song)”] as meaning not just Wilco,” Tweedy tells me at the band’s rehearsal space, the Loft. “I always think that song is saying, ‘Your records will love you, baby.’ The overall message is to find consolation through music. I think it’s sincere, but at the same time, it’s meant to be a little bit funny.”
The online version contains a little video of Tweedy riffing with his kids. Cute.
The New York Times profiles Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy as a Not-So-Tortured Star. Drummer Glenn Kotche shares an anecdote:
“He’s generous as an artist and as a person. The other night in El Paso some of us were traveling with our wives and babies, and he offered to watch them while we went out for a movie. Not a lot of lead guys in a rock band would make that offer.”
Wilco will love you, baby!
Update II: Tweedy responds in a statement to Paste:
“I know exactly as much as everyone else does. I’ve read the news and I honestly have no idea what these claims are based on. It was such a long time ago. Aside from everything else, I’m being sued for not paying someone for appearing in a movie I didn’t produce. Go figure. I am truly sad it has come to this. I am equally convinced, however, that I have done nothing wrong and that this will be handled fairly and swiftly.”
Update III: Chicagoist has the full text of the public filing.