In which our hero holds
forth on those who taught (or unlearned…) him.




[Editor’s Note: To read our main feature on
the anti-folk icon, “Completely Different,” go HERE.



Billy Bragg


I was still in high school. There was a place in Connecticut that I used
to go to all the time. They had all-ages shows. It’s not there anymore. He just
came out with an electric guitar, by himself, and played. I thought, ‘Wow,
that’s weird.’ Just this dude, who made all this noise and sang songs. I wasn’t
even there to see him. I was there to see the other band, which I can’t
remember now. I wasn’t even playing guitar then, or thinking that I could, but
I was like, ‘Wow-I didn’t even know you could do that.’




I learned a lotta blues songs from Beck when I met him and
we were hangin’ out. He was always really good at that. I always wished he
would do a record like that, a folk-blues kinda record.


Jesse Malin


[laughs] Well, I didn’t learn much from Jesse. I just worked
at the club that he was-I guess he was runnin’ it or something. Yeah, I don’t


The Deal Sisters


That was another alcohol-fueled kinda thing. At the time,
Kelley wasn’t even in the band ‘cause she was really not in a good position.
And Kim was headed that way. That was terrible, just a lot of substance abuse
during that tour. So there wasn’t much to learn. The one thing that I got from
The Breeders was that their music was so easy and so effective live. It just
worked so well, that dun-dun,
one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four.
It was great to hear them play every night, but I don’t know what I
learned. There was a drinking and…whatnot…going on.




Lach. What did I learn from Lach? I probably learned a lot
of things from Lach, but… Man, I’m just not doin’ this one very good. I can’t
think of anything offhand. What Lach did was he provided an environment for all
these songwriters and, within that environment, we learned from each other. There’s
really nobody else like Lach. He had that open mic and it’s still goin’. For 30
years or somethin’ crazy like that. It’s the longest-running musical venue in New York City. I heard
recently that he’s not doin’ it anymore, but maybe he’s just takin’ a break.



Hamell on Trial


I didn’t learn much from Hamell. It’s sort of embarrassing,
because back in the day we did some shows with Hamell and I don’t remember. And
he’s like, “Yeah, I changed your strings for you.” And I don’t remember. That
was a bad dream for me. I didn’t have a lot of contact with Hamell and the
contact I did have, I don’t remember very well. But he’s a great entertainer.


The Avett Brothers


I learned a lot from the Avett Brothers, actually. About doin’ it yourself. And the process of
doin’ it yourself, that you can just be independent and go out on the road and
play. Maybe there’s five people there, but maybe you’ll get one fan out of


We played this club last weekend
and the people that booked us and fed us and put us up and gave us this nice
guarantee, and we sold a bunch of CDs, they had been to a show that we did a
year earlier in their town. There was like four people there, [not counting] a
bunch of people at the bar, behind this wall, who weren’t paying attention. But
these four people had an art space across town and we played there this
weekend. There was, I don’t know, 75 people there. And we got a good amount of
money. There’s many things I’ve
learned from them. Their attitude, their seriousness about writing songs, their
whole attitude toward their fans. It’s been a great thing for me to have met



[Photo Credit of Paleface and Mo: Cheater Slicks]



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