Billy Bragg and Wilco to collaborate

duck (
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 23:59:46 -0400 (EDT)

I covered an Irish music festival this past weekend for RS and when
i interviewed Billy Bragg and Wilco, they offered me this new tidbit of info:

Norma Guthrie, Woody Guthrie's daughter, owns the Woody Guthrie
Archives, a collection of about 3,000 songs Woody wrote but never put to
music or never recorded. Since BB is basically the Woody Guthrie of
England, Norma sought him out and asked him to put some of them to music,
which he agreed to do, enlisting the help of Wilco. They had been talking
about doing it for months, and finallly decided Saturday that they will
record this winter - and Billy said he'd call me when they hit the studio,
so hopefully i'll get an exclusive.
What started as a five minute interview with BB turned into a half
hour of he and i extolling the virtues of the timeless - no, modern - Woody
Guthrie. Incidentally, BB was one of the nicest guys I've ever met.
Sincere niceness, not plastic rock star smile for the camera niceness.

Since Rohit threatened to kick me off FoRK if i do not allow him to
live vicariously through me, i am duty bound to offer the following bits i
gathered from my weekend of interviewing, photographing, and show-watching:

Van Morrison is an asshole.

Suzanne Vega's publicist is an asshole. His name is Steve somethingorother
and if i ever see him on the street i'm going to call him names from a safe

Suzanne Vega is a sweetie, and Ruth Messinger (Manhattan Burrough
President) was her school teacher 25 years ago, and is also very polite.

Steve Earle is fun to party with and is not afraid of the bouncers,
especially not the short one who pushed him and then ran for his life when
Steve turned around.

If i had a grandfather, i would want him to be John Prine. He wanted to
see Shane MacGowan. For the life of me, i cannot figure out why.

Susan McKeown is almost as nice as she is talented, and almost as shy as
she is nice.

Only 6 people can fit in Freedy Johnson's trailer without becoming intimate.

Freedy Johnson does not like kids attending his concert ("Can I retract
that statement?" "No.")

Freedy Johnson does not like collaborating, but wouldn't mind doing
something with T-Bone Burnett.

I do not play guitar as well as Freedy Johnson, but dammit, i sure tried.

Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) is a lot brighter than he looks and i think he's going
to be making great albums for years to come.

Jerry Garcia is smiling down upon Wilco.

Billy Bragg loves Wilco.

Wilco loves Billy Bragg.

Billy Bragg is not afraid to hug perfect strangers. And, oddly, perfect
strangers are not afraid to hug Billy Bragg.

Van Morrison is still an asshole.

Luka Bloom is Christy Moore's brother and they want to collaborate on
something soon.

Luka Bloom gives good interview and has the most piercing eyes. He also
stole my photogarapher (a 31-year-old beauty who i was getting along with
rather well until we met Luka and i didn't see her again for the rest of
the night.) <POSSIBLEDATE>''Luka, this is my photographer, Sheryl."

Luka Bloom keeps a messy trailer (I'm still pissed and this is the only bad
thing i can think of to say about him since he's such a nice guy).

When you are talking to Jimmie Dale Gilmore face to face, he no longer
sounds like Willie Nelson, but starts to look like him after a while.

Soul Asylum are comfortable with their mediocrity.

Black 47 rocks!

Shane MacGowan can't hold his beer, much less a microphone or a handshake.
I'm amazed he survived his Pogues' days at all. Did you know rock stars
puke the same color as the rest of us?

Tommy Makem raised three very nice boys who were not at all mad at me when,
halfway through the interview, i discovered that i was interviewing the
wrong band.



"I don't want to change the world,
I'm not looking for a new England,
I'm just looking for a decent babysitter."

- Billy Bragg, rewording "New England" for his Father's Day performance