Tell us about your tour vehicle.
A second-hand Lear jet. I’ve always wanted one ever since I heard ‘The Lear Jet Song’ by The Byrds on their album ‘Fifth Dimension’. The paintwork is pink and black, with the whole of ‘The Desiderata’ inscribed on a wing. A wing and a prayer.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
Healthy organic food & the best weed. No added sugar and no fluoridated water – it calcifies and dumbs down the pineal gland which is the part of the brain, our ‘Third Eye’, that conjures up imagination and dreams and possibilities.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
Singers don’t break strings, just hearts – often our own.
Where do you rehearse?
We rehearse wherever we are. My fave is Joe King Carrasco’s house in Austin or his adobe ranch nearby which is the only place I know where you have to be careful not to fall over passing armadillos.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
“I believe in Lewis Carroll
I believe in Oscar Wilde
I believe in Muddy Waters
I believe in Jackson 5”
– from my first-ever record ‘I Believe In Elvis Presley’, produced by Jack White (Third Man Records 45 TMR 022)
Describe your first gig.
Austin, Texas at SXSW a few years ago. We rehearsed at Kathy Valentine’s house and then the four of us – Aaron Lee Tasjan who’d played with the reformed New York Dolls on guitar plus the classic Blondie rhythm section of Nigel Harrison (bass guitar) and Clem Burke (drums) – we just went out and did it and it was mega. It was a gas to see vibing in the front row our friends Lenny Kaye – the great guitarist in The Patti Smith Group who’s since played with us several times in America and Ireland – and Bob Gruen, who subsequently has done many of our photos.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
All my ‘day jobs’ were great, like working at The Beatles’ Apple Records in London and being Led Zeppelin’s publicist on and off for seven effervescent years and working with Marc Bolan and managing Johnny Thunders. Unwittingly, it was foreplay for what I do now, the best incubation a singer could have.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
It went down a few years ago when I first started this singing and songwriter and twitching-on-stage lark but my people tell me that there are untold millions ahead. I wouldn’t be against the idea of having a killer manager – but who’s got the balls, madness and wisdom? Apply here.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
That all the answers in questionnaires like this may or may not be true.