chords weren’t that hard to do.
Learning complex chords structures took a lot longer. Over
the years, I branched out and
tried to learn everything, so I
guess my tastes are all over the
What was your first guitar?
My dad had an acoustic
guitar—I don’t remember what
kind, but I remember the action
was super-high and it was
really hard to play. That’s what
I learned on. Then my folks
bought me a Strat-o-something
copy, because that’s all we could
afford. My amp was a little
15-watt practice amp that I
beat to the ground. I remember
my friend had a Peavey, and I
thought that was cool.
What was the path from skate
punk to the more sensitive
It was a long one, let me tell ya!
There were many years digesting
the music of my youth and classics
like the Beatles and Bob Dylan
and working on my own style.
What was your writing pro-
cess for the new album?
I write all the time. I have a
pen and paper in my hands
now. I don’t write with records
in mind—at least in the early
stages. I try to treat writing like
a job, with a certain amount of
discipline. When events come
together to make a record, I
sort through the stuff I’ve got
and decide what’s ready to be
taken to the next step—and,
of course, see which ones fit
together in a loose thematic
thread. But if you write a little
bit each day, you’d be surprised
how many songs you can have
in a year. I have to say, though,
that my process is based more
on rewriting than inspiration.
It takes a long time to develop
most of my songs—my first
ideas are rarely the best ones.
Do you think a record’s feel can
suffer from using a click track?
Well, a click track doesn’t lack
feel per se, but it definitely has
a feel of its own, which wasn’t
right for me.
What are your favorite tunings to write in?
I use DADGAD quite a bit, as
well as open G [D–G–D–G–
B–D]. On Kiss Each Other Clean,
I used DADGAD on “Half
Moon” and “Big Burned Hand.”
Do you bring several guitars
onstage tuned to your open
tunings, or do you just re-tune
onstage between songs?
No, I usually have two guitars—one in standard tuning,
and another in DADGAD.
Sometimes, I’ll figure out how
to play DADGAD songs in
standard tuning, which is kind
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