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Monday, April 8, 2002

Jeff Tweedy chat transcript

repriseexec: Hi Jeff, my question is, um, will you marry me? OK, now that I've got that out of the way - can you give us more details on the album Wilco has already recorded since YHF was completed?

Jeff Tweedy: The record we just finished is more spacious. It has 8 songs, 4 of which are songs, 4 of which are improvisations. We don't know if it will ever be released. We don't take anything for granted.

Jeff Tweedy: We've been playing a song called Spiders from that record live.

Mike Laur: Your solo acoustic concert series was fantastic. Is there any plan on releasing any of the songs or shows as an album?

Jeff Tweedy: I have no immediate plans to do anything of the sort. But, I think it's pretty available to people if they know who to talk to and they can trade for those tapes. (Between fans) The soundtrack I did with Glen for Chelsea Walls is very different from the solo acoustic tour. It's very ambient. There might be some acoustic versions of some songs in the Documentary -- I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.

i wanna be your dog: have you ever tried to quit smoking?

Jeff Tweedy: I quit for 8 months one time and I have tried several other times. The time I quit for 8 months I started again when we tried to mix Being There and when we eventually went back to our rough mixes, I went back to smoking.

Sherry: What will the "enhanced" media on YHF include?

Jeff Tweedy: There's a handful of things, there will be a trailer from the documentary, sorry a link to the trailer, a short live performance of Heavy Metal Drummer, a link to our website and just some other stuff. Some cool Chicago skyline graphics.

TC: Given the favourable exchange rate, I imagine you buy a lot of gear when you visit Canada. What have you purchased and where did you purchase it?

Jeff Tweedy: I've been in Canada for a total of 4 hours (this trip). The band has bought a lot of stuff in Canada, I can't think of anything I specifically bought in Canada. We've loaded up our trailer with Hammond organs and things like that. Most of the stuff we've bought we got in Vancouver.

Adam Webb: Along with "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," April 23 will also herald the release of your soundtrack to "Chelsea Walls" and (ex-Wilco multi-instrumentalist) Jay Bennet's disc "The Palace At 4am". Was any of this planned? Is this a good or a bad thing for Wilco?

Jeff Tweedy: Pass

Anonymous: What albums have you been listening to lately?

Jeff Tweedy: I've been listening to the Blow Up -- Television's live stuff and a record by a guy named Arnold Breyblatt called The Adding Machine.

Jon Knight: Are there any plans for a new Golden Smog record in the near future?

Jeff Tweedy: There are no immediate plans that I'm aware of.

Jason T: Do you consider YHF more Tweedy/O'Rourke-centric compositions or was it a collaborative effort with the full band

Jeff Tweedy: I think it's a collaborative effort with the whole band. The mixes might be considered more O'Rourke/ Tweedy.

Per: Hi Jeff -- Loving YHF and the stripped down live sound of the band. How does it feel to go back and play some of the older material (AM and Being There) as a four piece with one guitar player?

Jeff Tweedy: Across the board I feel like this line-up of the band is doing a better job than ever at capturing the original spirit or essence of the songs -- new and old live.

Bob: In the wake of 9/11, many of your lyrics on YHF seem very prophetic. Are you worried at all how the casual listener might now interpret these lyrics once the album is officially released?

Jeff Tweedy: I don't have any fear that the lyrics will come off as being exploitative. The intent hasn't changed on any of them at all.

Leah: Hi Jeff. SPIN magazine published a small article about Wilco probably a year and a half ago. The article said that the name of the new album would probably be "Here Comes Everybody", named from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. What promoted the change in title to YHF? Also, are you and the other guys Joyce fans, yourselves?

Jeff Tweedy: Well, it kind of ended up naming itself. The short wave radio transmission that started repeating YHT was too strong to ignore and I can't honestly say that I understand all of Joyce's work but I love trying.

Drew: Was the process of writing lyrics and music different for "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" than with previous Wilco albums?

Jeff Tweedy: Yeah but I can't remember how.

Jeff Tweedy: I always forget how it happens.

d3: ever get writer's block, for more than a couple of hours, days, weeks?

Jeff Tweedy: I don't have any control over a lot of things regarding inspiration, why and when I write, but I do have better luck when I create a work schedule for myself and there's plenty of things to do if you feel like writing that don't depend upon pure inspiration.

Norman: Jeff, Your voice is so distinctive. How long did it take you to really "find" your singing voice?

Jeff Tweedy: I don't know if it took me any longer than anybody else to feel comfortable singing. I have the misfortune of having the first things I ever sang on records that people listen to. I'm not embarrassed, it just doesn't sound like me. I think after Uncle Tupulo toured a lot and we made March16-20 I started to feel more comfortable singing. I don't think I was positive that I wanted to sing until we made Being There.

Jonah : Hey Jeff, What was your role in the recent Uncle Tupelo re-issues and when can we expect the rest of 'em?

Jeff Tweedy: I just listened to compilation CDs that they would put together, suggesting tracks and send back my suggestions and in the end it was pretty effortless really.

Joseph: Is there much concern that, with YHF being so widely 'traded' on the internet, the albums sales will be substantially less than previous albums? And is there a Kansas City tour stop in the future?

Jeff Tweedy: We don't have any concern about that, we're happy people are listening to it and I don't have any idea when we'll be in Kansas City.

Nate: Hey Jeff, what's with the Willy Wonka music at the beginning of the Wilco shows? Any significant meaning behind it all? Just curious..

Jeff Tweedy: I think we just feel like it's an incredible piece of music and it's exciting to walk on stage and be reminded of...those lyrics. But lately we've been using When You're Hot You're Hot (laughs)...kidding.

gwburgett: How many songs were recorded for possible inclusion on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? Will we see the rest of those tracks as b-sides or somewhere else?

Jeff Tweedy: Somewhere just over 20 cracks were probably considered and I'm sure that most of them will be heard in some shape or form. There's also a lot of unreleased material in the movie. Alternate versions and songs that didn't make the record.

Anonymous: Jeff, if you could have any musician sit in with the band on a few songs live, who would it be?

Jeff Tweedy: That's a tough question, I can think of so many. I think Hubert Sumlin.

Andrew C.: Was at the Seattle show, it rocked! Hey, near the end of "Misunderstood," what's the set of lyrics "I know you've got a God-shaped hole / Leanin' out a couple of ______" Is that even close to right? It's killing me!! Peace, and just so you know I'm buying YHF even though I already have a bootleg...

Jeff Tweedy: Thank you very much and the lyrics are: Bleeding out your heart full of soul

Donna: You used to cover Kiss songs, really?? Which ones?

Jeff Tweedy: Honestly I think Uncle Tupulo played Rock 'N Roll All Night, but I was thinking more in that song of watching other bands play Kiss covers.

Peter J. Berghoef: Do you have a favorite song off of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? Which is your favorite to play live thus far?

Jeff Tweedy: I like playing Radio Cure and Reservations both for the same reason, I feel like the band has gotten really good at playing together and somehow creating an environment where almost any one of us could not play the entire song and no one would notice.

houghman: Are there other artists/producers that you hope to, or could see yourself working with in the future?

Jeff Tweedy: Not off the top of my head, no.

Jeff Tweedy: We're really excited about working together some more.

beck: Hi Jeff, what is your favourite book and what are you reading right now?

Jeff Tweedy: Don Quixote and I'm reading a book called The Torturer's Apprentice by John Biguenet

Trey: With the cover art on YHF being the Marina Towers and living in Chicago I was wondering what is your favorite piece of architecture in Chicago is, and what is your favorite Frank Lloyd Wright building?

Jeff Tweedy: The Marina Towers, it's taken from the movie...a Sam Jones photograph and we liked it because it looks organic and at the same time it reminds us of the good old future. It was an image we were using in August in our promo cds.

houghman: How were you "maimed by rock n' roll"?

Jeff Tweedy: I think that lyric was referring more to punk rock specifically and how for a time, it required the dismissal of lots of other great musics to be a part of punk rock which is no way to live.

Avery: From A.M. to Being There to Summerteeth to YHF, do you see an overall evolution to Wilco's sound? If so, have you any idea where that trail will lead you next?

Jeff Tweedy: We're trying to get back to the ginger bread house....I have no idea in short.

Stardog: Do you think we'll see a live album someday?

Jeff Tweedy: I see about a couple hundred of them on the internet. We have talked about it from time to time more as a live album of completely new material. I don't know if that will ever be appropriate or not.

Doug Weber: Which is your favorite guitar?

Jeff Tweedy: I prefer solid body Fender electric with single coil pick ups through small amps that don't hurt my ears. I've been doing it since I was 13, I'm kind of happy I can still hear. I'm totally intact.

Jeff Tweedy: Thanks a lot for logging on and hopefully if I didn't get to your question...we'll see you soon.

(More on Wilco)






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