A song that’s easy to play for guitar—say, a song like “Gimme the Keys.” You might be able to play a little bit of it on an acoustic guitar. I used to play in a very old-time kind of rock band and we used to play it at gigs when we weren’t playing live. So, “Gimme the Keys” is one I play quite a bit on, and it feels very simple. I don’t feel like I need to do anything at all, it sounds like a simple song to play—I don’t really have to stretch out for a long time. Like the song I played for you earlier, I know it has a guitar riff, but you can just play it as a song if you want.
I think that’s the biggest thing for me on some of my songs, I don’t really try to be overly complex musically. But when I do have to take something to a different place and do different things, if I’m having trouble with it, then I’m gonna say oh well, I don’t have time, I’ll just make a different song. It’s all very collaborative. I think for me, I’m so inspired by other musicians and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I make some songs that maybe other dudes don’t make anymore.
I guess I’d like to ask you about some songs from ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.’ They started out as kind of weird, very poppy, but they’ve evolved. Like I played for you, “Cherry Blossom,” and that’s like a slow, poppy song [laughs]. It was a very different song in the beginning. Is there a story behind that?
Yeah, I made that song in ’86, which is like when I was 11. I didn’t know that. But after listening to some of your albums I can tell you that those are some of the most important songs I’ve ever made. It’s very different kind of song. I don’t know that it was ever meant for somebody. It sounds like a song about your life, in the sense that it’s about you. So that’s kind of what I think about it. I think about you a lot. But when I make a song like that it’s more like my sister and I are singing to ourselves or like we’re talking to each other. In the end, I think it’s really powerful because I’m singing from my experience and how it makes me
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