Old 97’s Miller reflects on 20 years in the music industry

Q: As I listened to the new record, what hit me not long into it was, “Man, what in the hell got into Rhett Miller?” It’s such an unvarnished, seemingly cathartic record. Explain how this record came to be. A: We were loading in Memphis, and it was a (expletive) club that has since closed. I feel bad. There’s nice enough people there, but the club was a (expletive). We were loading in, and I had the idea for the song, Wasted. It was more self-referential than I like to be usually. I felt like I’m singing about myself and how all the people I went to high school now probably have these kick-ass jobs and don’t have to worry about their mortgage. Here, I’ve got this weird job that I really love. As many years in as we are — 20 years into this band — 20 years into a band you sort of look at it and say. “This is great. Do I keep doing this? When is it enough? When do I go and try to get some sort of a ‘job’ job?” For me, I’ve never wondered if this was the right thing to do. I’ve never wondered if I should quit. But I know that on paper this is not an easy job. It’s something that’s really kind of unrealistic, but I love it and I don’t feel I have that much of a choice. So I sat there and was writing Wasted, and I was feeling like it feels kind of good to write from this perspective that so few people have. A working musician 20 years into a band in 2014, there’s not a lot of us. Most of the ones who are still doing it are the ones who’ve had a ton of success because to be able to do it on the level we have, which is pretty good – we can pull in 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 people, but nobody’s getting rich off of it — it’s just kind of a rare perspective. So I decided, (expletive) it, I’m going to write a few more songs that address this thing that not many people can address. One thing I’m afraid of is that as the money falls out of the art, in general, more and more kids are going to look at this profession as something that’s not realistic as a life choice. I really want kids to know that you can do this. There’s actually a real thing that you can do with your life — is to be in a band and write songs. “Whenever you have the chance to interview a veteran artist, do it. We promise you will learn something which is more than can be said for attending some classes.” Read the full article here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2014/06/05/rhett-miller-qa.html

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