Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jackson Browne! on ~the Cover of the Rolling Stone!~

I don't know how many years it has been since
I've seen Jackson Browne mentioned on the cover of Rolling Stone.
There he is!

I got the new Rolling Stone today, and I was thrilled to see Jackson featured on the cover "blurbs".

I open up and there is a multi page interview with him.

"The Easygoing Patriot" Jackson Browne on Obama's chances, what he learned from Dylan and living off the grid, By David Fricke.

Great read and it has a really personal picture of Jackson, sitting on the floor of his bedroom, playing his electric guitar.

How about that picture?

Thrilling that his album is in the top 20, and he is featured in a multi page story in Rolling Stone!

His upcoming birthday is mentioned as well.

He'll be sixty in a few days. Time didn't conquer Jackson Browne, that's for sure!

From the text~

Making music is one of the greatest pleasures I've ever experienced — and I'm one who sought pleasure," Jackson Browne says with a quiet laugh on an early-autumn afternoon in a New York hotel room. But, he adds, "the heart of my activism is the belief that these pleasures are for everybody. If we continue what we're doing as a country . . . " He pauses. "We're all in the same boat. That's always been the subject of my songs. We only have a little time. It's a mess, so you do everything you can."

That urgency also runs through Browne's new studio album, Time the Conqueror, one of the best and most important records he has made because it combines his folk-rock romanticism and his political idealism in songs that are both pointed and reflective.

In the late-Sixties high of "Off of Wonderland," named after a street in Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon, Browne looks back on his own merry adolescence. But he follows that with the dark, brisk march "Drums of War" that, Browne says, "is a call to arms. We've just been accepting someone else's description of who the enemy is." In the nine-minute Hurricane Katrina postmortem "Where Were You," Browne pursues the trail of failure with the detailed fury of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War." "Everyone wants to get to the bottom of things," Browne insists. "They want to decide and know. It's natural."

Born in the former West Germany and raised in Los Angeles, Browne — who turns 60 on October 9th — was a precociously successful songwriter, covered by Nico, Tom Rush and the Byrds, even before he released his 1972 debut album, Jackson Browne. By the late Seventies, Browne had defined the indulgence and interior examination of California-rock life on bestselling albums such as 1976's The Pretender and 1977's Running on Empty.

But then he turned acutely topical, addressing America's imperial capitalism and swing to the right under Ronald Reagan on 1983's Lawyers in Love and 1986's Lives in the Balance.

Now, Browne says, "One of the great affirmations is to play a really old song next to a new one, to hear how they resonate with one another."

He is doing that on his current tour, with a full band, connecting the pleasure and patriotism, history and new headlines in his work. "'Lives in the Balance' was about U.S. policy in Central America," Browne says, "but it's about much more. If I play it now, it's obviously about Iraq." But Browne looks forward to the day when he no longer needs to sing it. "Hopefully, it will become an artifact of the distant past."

How do you define a successful topical song — one that works as melody and message, not just protest?

Strategy is important. You want to reach people, and you want to reach people that don't necessarily agree with you. People stand up and cheer in the middle of "Lives in the Balance" when I sing it now.

At the time, they weren't sure they wanted to go there. Also, I used to make the mistake of introducing the song, talking about it. Suddenly, you're a civics teacher, and that isn't cool.

You have to be stealthy. Sting's song "They Dance Alone" [on 1987's Nothing Like the Sun] is one of my favorite examples of how to speak to people. He magnified an appropriated image [demonstrations by women in memory of the men tortured and murdered by Chile's military junta in the Seventies] and passed it on to the world. So did Marvin Gaye in "What's Going On." No one was expecting an anti-war song from him. But it was a moment in time when people were willing to hear it from anybody, if it was heartfelt. And who better than the person who has talked to you about love and desire?

When you wrote "Where Were You," did you sit down and think, "I have to say something about how the White House failed the people of New Orleans"?

It began as an idea I had literally in the middle of a cloudburst in California. It was raining so hard, I thought, "These people in the street, where are they gonna go? They're gonna wash away." I had this guitar lick, and when I played it with the band, I thought, "I know what this can be about." I spent a lot of time researching what happened, the timeline.

I wrote a lot of stuff that I threw out: "This does not bear singing over and over again."
Passion is always the thing that motivates you. You're trying to get to the truth, what matters. There is a natural sense of politeness: "I don't want to bum you out." We all have that in certain measure. But isn't politeness one of the things punk musicians railed against? "F**k you! I'm talking about something that matters here."

When Kris Kristofferson became political, it was astounding. He made an album of great songs and understanding about what was going on [1990's Third World Warrior], singing these songs to the most conservative audience America has. I thought it was one of the hippest records anybody ever made: [affects Kristofferson's deep, slow growl] "They're killing babies in the name of freedom/We've been down this sorry road before....I've just got to wonder what my daddy would've done/If he'd seen the way they turned his dream around" ["Don't Let the Bastards (Get You Down)"]. That's a strategy — no apologies. Tell them what you know, in this undeniably authentic, American voice.

How American — and authentic — is your voice?

One of the great things about America is there are so many freaks and oddballs, instances of uniqueness. I would hope I'm unique [laughs]. I'm certainly American. I grew up in a Mexican neighborhood, in a house people referred to as "the church" because it looked like a mission. It had stained glass and a chapel with a pipe organ in it. Underneath that was a dungeon. We had a full array of metaphysical metaphors, right there in the house.

My grandfather — my father's father — built that house in a countryside between Los Angeles and Pasadena that was inhabited by a lot of odd people. He was from the Bay Area and played jug-band music. He made a grandfather clock by hand, carved out of wood. And the house was filled with Indian artifacts, because he collected them. I have an ever-present example in my life of someone who was bohemian, making the world what he wanted it to be.

Read the rest of the story here:

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