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Interview with Joseph Arthur of RNDM – March 10th, 2016

By Mike Bax, Lithium Magazine

RNDM, the joint project of Joseph Arthur, Richard Stuverud and Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam) released their wonderful sophomore album Ghost Riding upon the masses just last week, courtesy of Dine Alone Records. A sublime mix of guitars, drums, Mellotron and Moog, the eleven songs on Ghost Riding feel less like a side project and more like a band making relevant music. No disrespect to the band’s first album Acts (2012) which was well received, but Ghost Riding takes all that was good about Acts and builds upon it significantly.

Currently on the road doing a seven date run of live shows – the lone Toronto show happening Sunday March 13th at The Mod Club – lead singer and guitarist Joseph Arthur took some time from his hotel room in Boston to candidly discuss the RNDM creative process, touring together, and the prospects of future touring for the band. Arthur himself finished up our call by expressing his enthusiasm for his bandmates, playing live, and the fact that their schedules all have to synchronize to be able to tour as RNDM. As short as this tour is, it was obvious Arthur was glad for the chance to present the material from Ghost Riding live on stage so close to the album’s physical release date.

Mike Bax: You’re in Boston tonight?

Joseph Arthur: That’s right – a day off. We’ve just done three shows in a row.

Mike: Nice. This is a short run for you, but from what I’ve clocked online, it sounds like the shows have been going good?

Joseph: Yeah, the shows are good. There has been a lot of preparation in a short amount of time. In terms of the record, it’s somewhat of a big production. We’re a three piece rock ‘n roll band essentially – that’s how we saw ourselves until we started making this new record, and we kind of expanded our horizons as to what we could become. And then you realize that you have to make this something that works live. It’s actually been good, I think we were all expecting it to be maybe a bit more difficult than it was, because I think once we started playing the songs we realized we could actually play them a lot of different ways and they would work.

It’s like a case of writing songs while producing a record to make the record. So when the production happens and the songs come alive, we didn’t have that moment of yourself in a room where you are hearing the songs really stripped down. The beat has always been there and been an essential part of the songs. We found ourselves working that all out, realizing that these songs are strong and that they would work live. There’s a reason why these songs made the cut for the album and went as far down the production line as they did. I think we had about thirty ideas or so at the start of this album, things that we could work on and complete, you know?

Mike: That’s a lot of material.

Joseph: Yeah. We approached it in a very different way. Our first record was made rather quickly, mostly all done in Montana at Jeff’s place – it was mainly a four day process. And then there was some mixing done for a couple of weeks after that for a week or so. It was a very quick record whereas this one we went to Missoula and, in the same time that we took to make the first record, we gave ourselves that much time to come up with our basic ideas for the 26 to 30 things were wanted to work on for the new album. Then we separated for a little while and we all got back together in the Stone (Gossard) studio in Seattle – the Pearl Jam studio – for another two weeks fleshing out and pursing the songs and deciding which ones were working better, eliminating the ones that weren’t.

That’s when we went deeper. I was coming up with words and lyrics at that point and then it pretty much went into a two month extended mixing process which I ended up working on quite a bit at home in my studio in Brooklyn. And then I wound up in Los Angeles and met with a mixer named Rick Parker who has done some great stuff like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Lord Huron. I got him to start mixing a couple of the tracks, sent those to Jeff and Richard and they both really liked the way they were coming out. So I wound up spending the better part of a month with Rick just working on mixing that record to finish it. Yeah, it was a long process. A lot of work went into it.

Mike: You come from a musical background of making, recording, and performing music by yourself using pedals. Do you find that is still an element of the RNDM live show?

Joseph: Well, it has been. It’s something I go back to because of the times, I guess. I think I would go back and forth regardless of financial considerations, but certainly in this day and age touring a band requires some thought – you need to get rooms, figure out travel, incidentals, and all of the rest of it. If you’re running a relatively small operation, you can’t always afford to tour the same way time after time so it becomes a thing of necessity. But it’s creatively rewarding for me as well, and it’s something I have been doing for so many years now that I don’t feel particularly trapped by it or that I need to do it. It’s fun to reinvent and re-conceptualize it every couple of years.

I definitely feel like one thing I’m doing this RNDM tour that is reawakening me at this moment is that I like to rock (laughs), and there is only so much that you can rock on stage by yourself. You can rock pretty hard on your own, but it’s good to be playing off of such great musicians like Richard and Jeff.

Mike: I really like the phrase “uncomfortable instrumentation” that you are using in the CV for Ghost Riding. How exactly does one achieve uncomfortable instrumentation?

Joseph: I really think it was just more of the approach of us coming to the table and looking at different things like a cool drum machine app on an iPad – dreaming up some crazy beat while drinking some morning coffee and experimenting with this app, then plugging it through my guitar rig and putting a distortion pedal and a delay on it and then bringing that forward. Jeff would sit at the Mellotron and start playing chords around it, putting some wild Mellotron string sounding chords over it and suddenly you have something. That’s how the song “Trouble” got started. I don’t know who came up with that uncomfortable instrumentation descriptor, but it was a bit of that and a bit of playful instrumentation as well. Like stuff that sort of wakes up that childlike creative spirit within yourself. You are literally giving yourself a toy to play with and write music.

For me, the guitar is a toy to play with, but it is also something I have spent countless hours of obsessive time with. We have a complicated relationship, me and the guitar (laughs) – sometimes it’s just a toy and sometimes it’s more like a relationship, whereas if you pick up some instrument or some music interface on an iPad, it’s different. We used the Pledis drum machine, a bunch of analog gear, a Moog Voyager… basically being open to trying anything that will awaken that sort of playful, experimental spirit and it leads to interesting avenues because when you don’t limit yourself to a certain style or identity, you don’t set those kinds of limitations for yourself, you know? Then styles start to present themselves and you sort of follow them along as you write.

I think when you listen to Ghost Riding, it’s eclectic but it works together because it was all made with the same spirit. Even a song like “NYC Freaks”, which has a kind of a four on the floor seventies disco feel to it, goes really well on the album with a song like “Dream Your Life Away” because it’s coming from that same space of childlike experimentation. But this isn’t to say it leads to childlike fodder musically. Quite the opposite, I find – it tends to take you deeper in.

Mike: I’ve been playing the album for the past couple of days now. I don’t know what I was expecting Joseph, I find it’s a very cohesive album. And a pleasant listening experience.

Joseph: What do you think you were expecting?

Mike: Hmm. This might sound bad… but I didn’t expect it to be what it is. I guess I expected it to be a throw-away jam session and it’s not. This recording reminds me of music by Manic Street Preachers and Modest Mouse. I’m a Jonathan Bates fan and Bates is a musician who has recorded and toured on his own using pedals. I’m seeing some similarities between your material and his, and I’m digging that.

Joseph: Wait, who’s this? Jonathan Bates?

Mike: Yeah. Were you ever into a band called Mellowdrone from about 8 to 10 years ago?

Joseph: No, but I think you’re telling me something I want to check out.

Mike: He’s recording as Big Black Delta now, it’s a variation on what he used to do. Kind of like RNDM is a variation on what you are known for. That’s the similarity for me – your approach to music feels similar. You might like his work.

Joseph: He does it all on his own?

Mike: I believe he does. And he does it well.

Joseph: Cool. I just don’t know how young upstarts make it work. I don’t know how young bands are going to do it – it’s wild out there right now. I am loving playing with Jeff and Richard, having that freedom to just let go and play off of each other. It’s fresh for me.

Mike: And I have to say this – Dine Alone are the kind of label that when they ship you something to check out, you raise an eyebrow to it and make some time to check it out. I get a lot of stuff sent to me as a “journalist” and it’s hard to even put an ear to most of the music you get sent. But anything with Dine Alone attached to it, I try and make time to play. More often than not, the music they are behind is pretty awesome, know what I mean?

Joseph: Yeah. They seem to have a really good reputation in that way, which is cool, but that is disconcerting to hear even though I can imagine it’s absolutely the truth – there’s not enough hours in the day, is there? Even now, my friends will ask if I’ve heard a band and, like you just did there, I’m sure I would love that band. But will I find the time? I’ve never even heard of it, you know? It’s like we are living in this time where there is no centralized information anywhere.

Mike: There’s no centralized place to vet music is there?

Joseph: I don’t even pay attention to the centralized media outlets either, to be honest. I don’t stubbornly ignore them, but at the same time I don’t seek it out either. It’s one of those things now, it’s interesting.

Launching RNDM, and just looking at the mechanics of “How does this work now? How do we make this happen?” Like, would it matter if we went out and toured relentlessly for two months? Could we afford that? Would we get returns from it? I think it could, and it would, but that’s obviously something that we can’t do right now. RNDM has a short touring schedule at the moment. We’ll see if more things open up in the future.

Mike: Do you think you will try and tour RNDM again in 2016?

Joseph: I think we will. But I think that a lot of things have to converge. That’s the dilemma when you are dealing with people with lots of stuff on their plates. (chuckles)

Mike: I’m a Walking Papers fan as well. I look at that band and I think how do they juggle the schedules of Duff McKagan, Barrett Martin, Benjamin Anderson, and Jeff Angell to make music? All these guys are doing different things musically, but there’s an example of a great Seattle band that might take five or six years to make another album, you know? Same story.

Joseph: Right.

Mike: Who was the mystery man in orange who ran out on stage and performed with you at the Gramercy show in New York a few nights ago?

Joseph: Oh, I don’t know if I’m allowed to reveal that. I don’t know if we should keep that mysterious or not, I dunno.

Mike: Will he be on stage in Toronto?

Joseph: Yeah. I dunno, we should give him a name. We should name our mascot. We’ll say that’s Captain Random. (laughs)

Mike: Alright. Fair enough.

Joseph: Captain Random, that’s his name.

Mike: In the past, you have done some mashups of songs while performing live. Is that something you will continue doing on this round of dates?

Joseph: No. What we’ve done so far is we have presented the album from beginning to end and it’s really worked quite well. And then for our encore we have been playing songs from our first album. No real covers this time except for a little homage to Bowie. Interestingly, last night I was wondering what would happen if we flipped it and came out with what we are doing in the encore then play a bunch of the new album, break, and then finish the new album in the encore. I dunno. The show is operating really well right now.

We knew we were going on tour before we got together in Seattle and had five days of rehearsal or whatever, so we were all working individually on it. But still, you have to get together in the room and start doing it as a group, galvanize it and get it to the way you are going to do it live. You want to know it’s going to work. I think we just somehow managed to take a limited amount of time and invented the show together in a way that really works. I don’t know how much we will change it considering I think we only have three more dates left to play. We could move a couple of things around. “Cherries in the Snow” got added in because that song kept getting requested. It’s from our first album.

Mike: How would you as a founding member and core writer describe the difference between Acts and Ghost Riding? Have you had to do that in any of your interviews yet?

Joseph: No, you know, it’s easier to just describe the process on how they came about rather than try and describe a difference. I mean for Acts, Jeff basically flew me and Richard to Montana and we stayed there for four or five days. You’re putting yourself in this position of trying to make something work when you really don’t have any idea it’s going to work at all. In a situation like that, what we did was look at what we had. We weren’t really starting from scratch. I had songs that I hadn’t yet used. “Modern Times” was a song I had going in, “The Disappearing Ones” and “Hollow Girl”. Jeff had a couple of things that were developed already in the studio musically that I would then just sing over, so we sort of put them all together.

And I think there is a cohesion in that record too – the integrated spirit of our time together. When we play those songs they definitely feel as strong and come alive in a way that is different from the new ones. I feel real proud of the new record that we’ve made in that it is definitely a progression and a step forward for us, but I don’t feel like it’s an apology for the first record, you know? I feel like it’s a maturing – like if you listen to a band like the Clash, their first album compared to something like Sandanista, right?

Mike: You hear the progression. I haven’t heard your first one but I can honestly tell you that I did like what I heard on this one, enough that I went and bought vinyl of it today.

Joseph: Oh, great, yeah.

Mike: Well, I ordered it. I know the vinyl is not ready yet. (laughs)

Joseph: Yeah, that’s been a bit of a controversy. But you know, there it is.

Mike: That’s not unusual though. If one orders vinyl now, you go into it knowing that 60 to 70 percent of the time said vinyl will be delayed.

Joseph: Yeah, that’s a current breakdown of the industry right now I think with vinyl. The manufacturing is a nightmare. I have a solo album coming out in a couple of months after this RNDM record on a Canadian label, True North, and also Real World Records in the UK is putting it out. It’s called The Family. Chad Blake, who is a great mixing engineer who’s done music with The Black Keys, Peter Gabriel and Tom Waits mixed and sequenced it. But they are already freaking out on me looking for the final lyrics and the liner notes and the credits, and this is all down to the vinyl thing – to get the vinyl in time, you know?

Mike: Yeah, it’s crazy. Do you recall how you wound up signing to Dine Alone Records?

Joseph: I don’t really know the story of how that happened all that well. My manager is a Canadian, Peter Wark. He’s Montreal based. I don’t know if he had something to do with that, or if it came through Kelly (Curtis) in the Pearl Jam world. Honestly, that’s a good question. With a project like RNDM being a group project, and a group of people with different management working together as well, I don’t actually know. It was just one of those things where “there’s this very cool Canadian label who would like to sign you and they have offered a pretty decent deal and this is probably the way we should go about doing it”. There were a couple of other options we could have done, but I think we just decided that that was the way to go. In the end it was pretty simple. It wasn’t something that was laboured over. At least from my perspective it wasn’t. And they have been great to work with.

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A wonderful in-depth and free-ranging interview by Jeff Gorra for

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Joseph Arthur Talks About Each Track on 'Redemption's Son,' Which He'll Play In Its Entirety at the Music Box

Posted By Jeff Niesel on Wed, Jun 21, 2017

Singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur, an Akron native, has released 14 albums under his own name and 11 official EPs. He’s also been involved with several side projects such as Fistful of Mercy, a group that featured Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison.

Since this year marks the 15th anniversary of Arthur’s studio album Redemption’s Son, he decided he wanted to do something to honor the occasion.

He’ll play the album in its entirety, something he’s never done before, when he performs on June 29 at Music Box Supper Club.

Real World Records, the imprint run by Brit rocker Peter Gabriel, has just reissued the original album (with its original artwork) along with nine bonus tracks, all of which have been previously unreleased. The anniversary edition will be available on 180-gram double LP, double CD and digitally. It will be the first time the album has been available on vinyl.

In a phone call from his Brooklyn home, Arthur talks about each track on the album.

“Redemption’s Son”

I think this was the first album where I started writing albums from the perspective of a character in a story. I did that later with The Ballad of Boogie Christ and The Family. The title is so close to Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” it might as well be called “Blowing in the Wind.” I was aware of that and decided to call it “Redemption’s Son” regardless of that. Starting it with the song might be a challenging equation because of the heavily Christian overtones even though I was thinking of the character. There would have been easier openers. At the time, the label wanted me to start the album with “Favorite Girl,” which is an interesting choice.

“Honey and the Moon”

That was just about a relationship I was in. I was young and in love and couldn’t commit myself at that point. It’s about that kind of heartbreak. It came from a genuine place. That was real. I think it resonated with people because I remember how much that was resonating in my own life.

“You Could Be in Jail”

That’s me singing the backing vocal track. I love this song. That was one of my favorites then and now. Nobody ever talks about it. I never played it live. I remember writing it based on this article I read about how cults work and pivoting that to larger relationships in general. You have to be careful.

“I Would Rather Hide”

That’s Pat Sandsone from Wilco playing the wicked guitar on that song. I met Pat and drummer G. Wiz when Roger Moutenot was producing. Pat and G. Wiz have been two of my best friends since then. Pat’s musical contributions on the album are powerful. Pat had this influence on this musical level that I hadn’t allowed people in before. With Pat, we were brothers from another mother but he’s such an accomplished musician. I’m a natural musician and I didn’t go to school. I do everything on an instinctual level. Pat is very schooled. He’s a ringer.

“Innocent World”

It’s like the first-ever Bon Iver song. Did I just say that? I’m not dissing Bon Iver or claiming anything. Culturally, it is falsetto acoustic and has a funky beat. It does have that sound. That song was Peter Gabriel’s favorite. He always made sure I would include that song and play it live.

“September Baby”

I’m trying to think about when I wrote that. That’s one where Pat and G. Wiz are huge on. That’s one of the reasons why it sounds like it does. I can’t quite remember what the inspiration was. I’m born in September, so that’s part of the inspiration. It’s a break up sort of thing.

“Nation of Slaves”

The lyrics of that resonate with where we are now. The lyrics of that are now. That’s what I feel with this record. If it came out yesterday, I think it would still sound forward thinking. It’s still pushing. As far as a singer-songwriter record, I don’t think there’s a new one that’s as modern sounding as this one. I can’t believe this is 15-year album. I remember consciously trying to push the singer-songwriter landscape forward with songs like this. I feel like I’ve always tried to do that and I’m still trying to do that.


I find myself having fun sentences like this pop into my mind, “Apparently, I was in the habit of making masterpieces back in the day.” Unlike back then, the cat’s out of the bag that musicians and artists don’t have a cushy life as it was once thought. I don’t think everyone understands that, especially outside of the big leagues. That affords us the ability to congratulate ourselves when it’s appropriate and celebrate it. Everything happens from enthusiasm.

“Buy a Bag”

That was initially when I started the project. The bonus songs were really good. The record company wanted to make “Ghost” a single. I got into the bonus tracks and fell in love with them was chastising myself for leaving songs off. Initially when I put it on, and “Buy on a Bag” came on, I was like “Really? ‘Buy a Bag’ over [the bonus track] ‘Downtown’?” Now that I’m inside the record, I don’t feel that way. I think it’s important when it comes. The party has to keep going. In order to have the possibility of going from point A to point B, you have to have some dynamics. It’s about the sleazier side of life. It can’t just be “Dear Lord, forgive us for what we’ve done.” You have to show what we’re being forgiven for.

“Termite Song”

I think I was inspired by Yo La Tengo. I worked with Roger, who they worked with. I wanted a long instrumentally kind of song and those guys do that well. They do that quite well. I was angling for something like that. That’s an alternate tuning song. In re-learning the album, I had to figure out how to play it.


It’s about a lot. It has that whole slow outro — “in the darkness, you are naked/in the darkness, you are near.” It’s a predatory sort of song.

“Favorite Girl”

As a songwriter you write tons of songs and some of them get gold stars by them. It’s hard to understand why at the time. That one got picked by Real World. I hadn’t even planned on putting it on the record. They they never insisted but they strongly recommended I put it on the record. I’ve grown to have an appreciation for that song. I don’t know why I wanted to leave that one off. I resonate a love for Jesus and I don’t know where it come from. It’s just there. I won’t let Bill Maher talk me out of it.

“You Are the Dark”

A lot of it for me is based on the production. If I loved the production, that went a long way. I loved the harmony bass and the groove on it. It has a good vibe to it.

“In the Night”

The funny thing is that there was a journalist in the UK for Q or Mojo, and I remember doing an interview, and that was his favorite. He said he couldn’t believe I wrote it. I thought of it as this throwaway rocker but an energy track. That’s the reason I was including it. It’s an energy track to get us to the end. Now, I do appreciate it. It’s a Beatles-y thing.

“Blue Lips”

It’s a very Hendrix-y guitar tone. I remember writing that about my friend having a breakdown. That was directly out of someone else’s life.

“You’ve Been Loved”

It definitely feels like the credits are rolling. It’s interesting because I’ve been obsessed with the new Kendrick Lamar album. Kendrick Lamar, his new album, which is so good, that’s his third album. That’s his Redemption’s Son. He’s in that place I was 15 years ago. Not that I was on the level of fame. I’m not equating that. But in the artistic journey that was something that registered to me. From this point moving forward, it’s cool to look back. There are certain ways I’ve left behind artistically. If something is easy, you don’t necessarily value it as much as the things you’ve worked for. But they’re still important. That’s my takeaway from learning all this stuff. It’s broadening my approach for how I’ll proceed from this point. It’s not like I’ll regress, but it broadens the whole spectrum.

Joseph Arthur, Allison Pierce, 8 p.m. Thursday, June 29, Music Box Supper Club, 1148 Main Ave., 216-242-1250. Tickets: $22 ADV, $28 DOS,

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Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:03 am
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Joseph Arthur Remembers ‘Redemption’s Son’ on Its 15th Anniversary: Exclusive Interview

by Michael Christopher June 23, 2017

Much like the career of multi-talented singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur himself, his 2002 album Redemption’s Son, went down several winding roads before people caught on to its brilliance. Stuck in major label limbo after being discovered by Peter Gabriel and delivering the landmark LP Come to Where I’m From in 2000, he was a critical favorite who suddenly had no one to distribute his material.

Redemption’s Son first came out overseas in May of 2002 and finally a deal was worked for its release late that November in the States. Since then, Arthur has been prolific to say the least, with a staggering 14 albums and 11 official EPs under his belt. He’s also been involved with several high profile side projects including contributing to Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli’s collective known as the Twilight Singers.

Today (June 23), the 15th anniversary edition of Redemption’s Son will be released on 180-gram double LP, double CD, and digitally. There are also nine previously unreleased songs which form a “lost album” which Arthur has named Morning Star. He’s currently on tour playing the record in full, with a show tonight in his adopted hometown of New York City, where last month he opened for The Afghan Whigs much-anticipated show at the legendary Apollo Theater. It was during that gig when Arthur plucked a girl decked out in a gold lamé from the audience while the Whigs were on the final song of their encore – and almost derailed the entire show at the same time.

Catching up with Arthur, he talked about that incident, the history of Redemption’s Son, the death of Chris Cornell and – perhaps the most important topic of all – what’s going on with his hair.

What was it like playing the Apollo?
That was my second time. I actually headlined and sold out the Apollo with my band Fistful of Mercy with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison. The Apollo is, like, golden in my mind – I got to have a golden moment at it, you know? So it’s funny when that door got reopened. I’ve been friends with Greg [Dulli] for many years and he calls me up and says, “I’ve got a curveball for you,” and I’m like, “Uh-oh.” He says, “No, it’s a good curveball.” [laughs] He says, “Do you want to open for the Whigs tomorrow at the Apollo?” and I was like, I had 24 hours to prepare, but it was fun – I had a great night that night.

You looked like you were having a blast – especially during “Faded,” you were dancing like a madcap, pulled that girl up on stage…
Yeah, I almost blew it in the Whigs set [laughs], like when I pulled that girl up onstage. I was watching her dance, and I was like, “She needs to be up onstage.” When she first went to Greg’s – she went right for worship mode and I was like, “Oh no! Am I gonna have to bounce this girl off right now?” But then she killed it. It was awesome the way she did it – it was almost like we planned it, but it was not planned. And then I almost tripped over the guitar rig and stopped the gig which would’ve probably promptly ended my friendship with Greg [laughs]. But sometimes you gotta risk it all for magic – you know?

I think I was most struck by your shaved head – when did you do that?
I’ve been doing that off and on since, I mean, well my first album [1997’s Big City Secrets] is me with a shaved head on the cover. So I came out the gate with this as my look [laughs]. Then I became a hippie in front of everybody. It’s just one of those things; my hair tends to go “classic-rocker-bad-haircut” look, so I just shave it every now and again. It started to grow back in, and I didn’t know I was gonna open for the Afghan Whigs or I probably wouldn’t have done it, but I had just shaved it with, like, a beard trimmer two days before – because I didn’t expect to be out in public for a while. It wasn’t on purpose and I couldn’t “fast grow” hair” [laughs]. I want to do a cute David Bowie cut, like a mullet but spiky on top.

So Redemption’s Son. The record has quite the storied history. Do you think that’s part of the reason why it’s one of the fans’ favorite albums, because there was this period of difficulty in getting it out? Like, it’s available only in the U.K., there there’s cover changes, the track listing changes, then it’s out here.
Man…that was such a weird period. It was sort of when my relationship with Real World Records fell apart, which is thankfully totally back together. I was kind of having this moment of being the critic’s darling at that time. But [the music industry at the time] was so numbers-based and you’re dealing with major labels and I had all that critical acclaim but I sold like 20,000 records – like nothing at the time. Politics being what they were, I was in a state of being dropped by Virgin, but I was not dropped at the same time – it gets confusing, but I was trapped and in a holding pattern for a couple years there. And it was right when I shouldn’t have been – I was really, really going for it.

And now the Morning Star songs are all out.
Dude, it’s so gratifying, and instead of being like, “Oh, why didn’t this happen then?” It’s more like, it’s all now – it doesn’t really matter. And I’m more excited to play these songs than I typically am to play a new album. I love the album.

Looking back, what do you see in the Joseph Arthur of 15 years ago? Is there anything that makes you cringe, or parts that are like, “Yeah, good on that dude,” what do you see in yourself?
That’s a good question. I think I was writing really good songs and it’s just so funny to be investigating them and remembering where my head was and what I was doing and why I was deciding certain things. Then you realize, “Oh my god, there’s so many different ways I could’ve chosen to evolve.” It’s hard to explain, but this feels like a very forward-thinking time for me and yet completely appropriate to be reapproaching this album in particular. There’s no songs on it that make me fully cringe; there’s a couple where I’m like, “Really? You put that on the record and not that? Are you insane?” But at the time, you’re thinking in terms, like, that throws in a different flavor. What’s great is you can reinterpret things and fix things. I’m into that.

When you revisit something like Redemption’s Son in concert, do you have to tap into the same emotions you had at the time…
Oh that’s easy. Good songs are just like good outfits; you put them on and the dude of the day is wearing the clothes. A nice outfit, you’re gonna feel good any day even if it’s 10 years, “Oh – this old suit still fits!” you know? “And it looks good too!” [laughs].

Some of these songs you haven’t played live, so are you struggling with relearning any of them?
The struggling with me learning looks like this: procrastinating in beginning to learn [laughs]. So “yes” is the answer – it just means I haven’t attempted it yet. I know I’ll find a way into each of these Redemption’s Son songs.

Shifting to a more somber topic, you developed somewhat of a friendship with Chris Cornell in recent years and published a moving post on Facebook after his passing. How hard is his death on you?
[Let’s out a big sigh] There’s no way to quantify that. Ugh. Death is so shocking and beyond…it’s hard to talk about it. I didn’t know him that well – I described my level of friendship; it was a few times we hung out and it was nice. He is a sweetheart of a person, a really beautiful soul. He gave us a lot and he’s a legend, an amazing artist and just a beautiful guy. There’s not gonna be another one like that dude ever, ever, ever – that’s a one of a kind human.

Joseph Arthur, ‘Redemption’s Son’ 15th Anniversary Tour Dates

6/23 – New York, NY – City Winery
6/24 – Vienna, VA – Jammin’ Java
6/26 – Evanston, IL – SPACE
6/27 – St Paul, MN– Turf Club
6/29 – Cleveland, OH – Music Box
7/1 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
7/11 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
7/12 – San Francisco, CA – Brick and Mortar Music Hall
7/14 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
7/15 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door

I know you burn impossibly bright

ARTKRON :: The Joseph Arthur Chronicles @JArtkron

Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:59 am
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