Jason Isbell was home in Alabama last week, taking a short-lived hiatus from touring. We sat down to talk about his new record, Here We Rest, which is supported by his band The 400 Unit and will be released next Tuesday, April 12th. The album is his best solo record and one of the finest of 2011 so far.

Other topics discussed include songwriting, the South, war, Boys II Men, Luke Wilson, facial hair, cover songs, and gear.

Read on…

Its hard to believe its been 4 years since you left Drive-By Truckers. What was it like to make the leap into a solo career and how would you describe the past four years?

Wow, how do you describe 4 years? Its been good. I like having more material on the records and being able to write more.  It can be a little bit difficult to pace yourself for live shows and the idea of singing for an entire set is a bit daunting. It took a while to get used to that, but I like the band , the people I play with and travel with.

Your debut was a mostly solitary affair with the help of some friends and session musicians. When and how did you find the 400 Unit?

It all came about right after recording Sirens of The Ditch. I started putting together a band from people Ive known for a long time. All those guys are from this area except for the keyboard player, Derry (deBorja).  I met him touring with Son Volt , he played with that band.  I pretty much got the first guys that I called. We had a little bit of drummer trouble there for a bit, but we got that settled and have had our drummer for 3 years.  Ive known these guys for many years and they are the guys I like to play with and hang out with the most.

Has the addition of the 400 Unit had an impact on your songwriting?

Definitely. Yeah, in every way. The people that you play with , if you play with them on a regular basis , youll start writing with them in mind and it impacts everything you do creatively.

Speaking of songwriting, what first draws me into most of your songs is the storyline.  Its often not until I see you live that I gain a real appreciation for the musicianship. Walk us through your process.  How does an Isbell song come to life?

Its different depending on where I am and depending on how the song shapes itself. It can be something where Ill start off with a chorus, a line from a chorus, or with a hook. Or with a piece of a melody and a few words. Or I can start from playing guitar or piano and run over a chord progression until words start to appear to me. Probably, more often than not, for me, some snippet of a lyric comes first.  Some piece of a conversation or some little phrase or part of speech , something lyrically will usually be the first thing. But not always. Ill take it however I can get it, so its different every time. Ive tried every technique I know of for writing a song and some work better than others, but I wind up using all of them over the course of a record.

And lyrically, is it mostly fiction or is there some autobiographical element in there?

Oh, its always partially true at the very least. Nothing is completely fiction. Nothing at all. I dont think anyone ever writes anything thats completely made up. There are pieces of characters you know or pieces of yourself in all those songs. But most of the songs that I write, probably 90%, come from true stories Ive heard or conversations Ive had with someone about their life or some part of my own life that Im trying to sort out.

You have a unique way of writing songs in plain-speak without being trite or contrived. Its a form of poetry that romanticizes small town life in the South. Maybe more specifically where you live in Alabama. How much of your upbringing inspires your songwriting or how much of where you live geographically inspires your songwriting?

I think it has a lot to do with it. Granted, Ive never lived anywhere outside of the South. Ive traveled quite a bit, so I dont know how different it would be if Id lived somewhere else, but Ive always been drawn to people who have a regional voice and people who speak about the things they know the most which are usually the things in closest proximity to them. And Ive always been drawn to people who write very conversationally. I think as Ive refined my own creative process, Ive gotten more conversational in the language I use. Those are the best songs to me , the ones where you could have overheard the lines in a bar or the grocery store. But someone actually placing it in the context of a song, it becomes more poignant and has more meaning for different people. But I do feel like the area here in Alabama has a lot to do with the topics I write about and the stories I tell because you cant really avoid that. If youre writing from an honest place, then its going to come out.

With all the touring and, do you have any fear that someday youll lose some connection with your roots and subsequently lose some of that songwriting inspiration? Is that a fear for a songwriter?

If you tour too much, you can definitely get to a point where you dont have the motivation to write and its hard to fit into your schedule.  I feel most connected to the stories and those people around me when Im home.  You have to tour and I enjoy touring, but the fact that I was off the road for a lot of last year made it possible for me to see some of the same folks everyday and get to know them. I got to know what their lives are like and really try to empathize with them the best that I could. And when it came time to write songs, that made it easier for me. If you tour too much, youre in danger of stunting your growth in the songwriting process. You have to keep a balance. You have to keep a lid on it.

I first heard some of your new songs in Atlanta at The Earl back in October , I think “Alabama Pines” and “Go It Alone” were the only songs included on that set list.

Yeah, those were the only two that we were playing live for a long time.

Ive had the album for a few months and Im convinced its your best yet. How do you feel about Here We Rest compared to your previous two albums?

I think its a step forward. Its lyrically more concise. As far as the playing goes, having Chad as a consistent drummer has a lot to do with how the band works together and he makes the performances and the arrangements better. But I think the ultimate success or failure of a record lies in the strength of the songs. I think we had a really good batch of songs to work with.

I agree with you. Can we dig into some of the songs briefly? My favorites keep changing, but Id like to call out a few.

[click to continue…]


In the song, “The Wandering” off his new album Junky Star, Ryan Bingham sings in his signature gravel shredded vocals:

Take a look inside
If youre so inclined
Just leave some time
For the wandering

Here Bingham speaks of his experience with the many temporary distractions that have interrupted his lifelong journey through America.  Whether it was a few months in a new city, an hour in a crumbling watering hole off a desert highway, a few weeks digging holes on a construction site, or a night at the Oscars, Bingham has always had his heart set on getting back out on that never-ending road.

For Bingham, staying the course on the road to nowhere has led him to be a bull rider, a bar crooner, a co-headliner with Willie Nelson, and an Academy Award winner. Its also made this 29-year-old wise beyond his years.

On his third album, Junky Star, Bingham details the woes of the beautiful losers that hes crossed paths with over his years traversing the country. During our discussion, he emphasized the importance of singing about what you know and writing songs that are a reflection of what you see around you. In a time of uncertainty and economic depression that has devastated the lives of millions, Junky Star introduces us to characters that struggle to find their way in America today.  As our country desperately tries to figure out who we are, Bingham is the voice of that unsettling man in the mirror.

Ryan was gracious enough to chat with us this week about life on the road, his massive year, the Geto Boys, and his aspirations in the field of marine biology.

Where are you today?

Topanga, CA

And thats home for you, right?


This has been a huge year for you with Crazy Heart, an Oscar win, and a new album, Junky Star. Now you guys are about to head out for a tour. Have you been taking some time to relax before you hit the road?

Yeah, Ive been trying to just lay low as much as I can. But, we were actually on the road last month doing a tour on the west coast. Were leaving again next week for a couple of months. Well be going all over the place and then off to Europe in November.

How do you like touring in Europe?

Touring in Europe is so different than it is here in the States. We went over there for the first time 3 years ago and we were really surprised with how many people came out to see us. We had just come off of playing small clubs over here that were really just bars and what not. To go over there and have 300-400 people in the crowd standing in a room all silent and really listening, it was great.

So what percentage of questions nowadays have to do with Crazy Heart or “The Weary Kind?”

Yeah, I get a lot of em (Laughs), its been crazy this past year.

Well, Ill try to keep them to a minimum, but do you mind if I ask a few?

No man, of course not, go ahead.

So, youve probably written hundreds of songs. Is it surreal that one song (The Weary Kind) of those hundreds can have such a profound impact on your life?

Oh yeah, for sure. I mean it was all just so crazy to see one song take off like that all of a sudden.  Its amazing what can happen when you get the big machine behind it. You really see whats possible and what a big impact it can have. Its cool though; its a whole different way to express yourself. I didnt really know much about film and I still dont. Ive been trying to figure that all out.

Do you have interest in staying involved with the film industry?

Yeah, definitely. My wife is a filmmaker and is working on a feature film right now. So, Ive been working on some music for that. I think Ill try to stay involved, maybe learn a little more and just see what comes up.

As far as acting goes, was it always the plan for you to be in the film?

Yeah, that was actually not part of the original plan. The director came out to see us play one night in LA and afterward was like, I need a young band in the film to play in a bowling alley. And I was like, look no further, thats what we do. We didnt have to do much acting; we just had to be ourselves.

Have you actually played in a bowling alley before?

Yeah, we have.

Junky Star certainly isnt an uplifting album and deals a lot with people who are down and out. Yet, youve had so many positive things happening in your life lately. Where did these sad songs come from?

To me, songwriting has always been a way of venting and getting stuff off my chest. Traveling across the country in times like these, you really see the condition that this country is in and that the people are in. You see people in really difficult circumstances and I can relate to them in a way. You know? I just try to describe the things that I see going on all around me. If what you see is a lot of people going through pain or in desperate times then that makes its way into the songs. You have to write about what you see and what you know.

Junky Star is the 3rd record in 3 years. Are you writing constantly out on the road?

The songwriting goes in spurts. Sometimes Ill sit down and write 3 to 4 songs in a day. Sometimes Ill go for a month without writing anything. I really dont try to sit around with a pen and paper and write things down. I try to just let it come to me.

Ive been a big fan since my buddy sent me your Dead Horses record in 2006. Its been fun to watch your career take off. I realized you were really making your way into the mainstream when I turned on the TV and saw you flanked on a couch by Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters. Was playing The View the strangest gig of your life?

(laughs) Yeah, Yeah it might have been. All that stuff, you know the TV stuff, the press and everything. That shit was crazy.

But seriously, with all of that exposure this past year, whats the one thing you got to do that you never thought youd be doing 3 years ago?

This past month, in September, we got to do a tour with Willie Nelson. That was something I never thought would be possible. Being able to stand there on the side of the stage and watch him playing every night. It was crazy man. I grew up listening to him and I never imagined wed be out there on tour with him.

You spent time on the rodeo circuit before you found your way into music. If you werent doing either of those, what do you think youd like to be doing?

Well, I dont know that I always really thought that Id be doing music. But, now its like I cant think of anything else that Id really ever want to do. When I started playing music it was a way out. All growing up, I had to have a day job that was something I knew I didnt want to be doing for very long. For a while I was doing construction and I realized I liked the feeling of a guitar in my hands better than a shovel. I could either make $50 digging holes or I could get a gig playing tunes at a bar. It was a pretty easy choice (laughs).

It was also a way to get out on the road and travel. Music was all I needed. If you could make enough money to eat, you were fine. You could travel around to all these different places just doing what you could do to survive. Now, Id probably be more interested in going back to school more than anything. Before I didnt really have a choice of whether or not to go to school because I had to work. I had to make money. But now that I have the opportunity I think Id like to do that maybe at some point.

What would you study?

Well, I grew up in the desert but Ive always fascinated by the ocean. So I think Id like to study to become a marine biologist or something.

You and I are the same age. Im always interested to hear what other people who grew up in my era were listening to. Do you remember the first record you bought?

Oh man, I dont know if I remember what the first record I bought was. But, I was living with my Uncle when I was 12 or 13 and he had piles of records from 60s and 70s that I really got into. I was into a lot of stuff from that era, from Bob Marley to Bob Wills, Dylan, The Stones, Neil Young, Waylon, Willie Nelson, I loved all those guys.

You can hear a lot of those guys in your songs. Is there anything that you were ever into that people would be surprised to hear?

Yeah, there was a time when I lived down in Houston and at that time, in the 80s, there was all that hip-hop stuff coming out of there.  Groups like the Geto Boys, I was into that stuff. I dont think a lot of people would really suspect that (laughs).

Youve traveled around the country for most of your adult life. Junky Star is full of stories about people youve met during your travels. Now youre settled in CA, do you miss being on the road? Does that impact your songwriting?

Well, we really still get plenty of time out on the road. As far as it impacting songwriting, I think it definitely does. You write about what you know about. So its kind of inevitable that you write about where you go and what you see. When I was living in West Texas, Id write more about that. Now that Im living here, Im writing about what I see here. But, were always traveling all around, going coast to coast, and to Europe and Australia. You get a chance to meet people from all sides of the globe and hear their stories. All of that comes out in the songs. But as much as I like getting back out on the road and seeing everything, its nice to have a place to come home to.

You spend 90% of your time not actually playing live when youre on the road. What do you do to pass the time between shows?

Thats for sure (laughs). Most of the time youre in the van and driving or youre sitting somewhere just waiting around. Honestly, thats what it comes down to.  Theres driving in the van and then theres waiting around. You get to a point where you just cant sit in the van for another second. We call it van madness. Well try to get out to see whatever city were in though. You cant just sit around the hotel all the time, youve got to get out there when you can.

Whats the best way to bounce back after a big night on the town?

You just gotta grit your teeth and power through.

Well, youve got 2 sold out shows coming up in Chicago, we cant wait to see you there. I will say, a few years ago when you were doing the first national tour, you stiffed Chicago. Do you have hard feelings toward the Windy City?

No way man. We always enjoy coming to Chicago, seriously. Were really excited to be out there. If we didnt play there its only because none of the promoters knew who we were. At the time when we were first traveling around, you had to fight for every gig you got.

Well, its been a huge year for you. Any idea what the future holds?

Dont really know what the future holds. Were just excited to get back out on the road for this tour. After that all I know is well keep making music because thats what we do. Hopefully well get in the studio and start working on a new record in the Spring.


HeardYa, J. Tillman [The Interview]

by Woody on December 4, 2009

HearYa’s own Tom Cruise body double and bearded teen wolf concert goer, SafariMan, spent some time on the phone with J. Tillman. You can buy Tillman’s latest (and great) album Year In The Kingdom now. You can find SafariMan roaming the streets at SxSW 2010.

So where are you today?

We’re in DC tonight at the 9:30 club.

Very nice. I caught your show in Chicago a couple weeks back. You had a tough slot on a Sunday night but I thought the show was great.

Yeah, that actually wasn’t too bad. We’ve been averaging about 75-100 people at each show.

What did you think of the new Lincoln Hall?

It was pretty nice. But, I really missed playing Schuba’s.‚  I mean, that place was great, but I hold a special place in my heart for Schuba’s . I was bummed we didn’t get to play there.

I actually saw you play for the first time at Schuba’s 4-5 years back when you were playing drums for Damien Jurado. Back in those days as a hired gun was songwriting always the goal?

Well, at that time I had just moved to Seattle with the expressed purpose of playing music.‚  I was about 20 and I just wanted to play music with whomever. So, while I was playing bass for Delorean and drums for Damien, I didn’t really think of it as a means to doing my own stuff.‚  I mean, I really did want to ultimately do that as well. But, it was slow going getting my own solo shows and playing with them gave me some wisdom.‚  When we started that tour I didn’t know Damien as well. But, he was really great to me, letting me play a few songs to open up some shows. I learned a lot during that time.

You made a few comments on stage about it being impossible not to sound like an A-hole when you say anything on stage. Are you comfortable when you’re up there between songs? Or, do you just want to focus on the songs and get off the stage?

Honest communication is really important to me. I put a lot of stock into words and expressions. The gears are always turning even over mundane conversations. So, when I fall into those modes on stage–just saying things that you’re supposed to say for the sake of saying them, I get a little self-conscious. A lot of nights there’s just not much to say. It’s a long and tedious set, and I want to manage the crowd’s attention. So, when I say stuff like that I’m just being honest and I think the crowd usually appreciates that.

It’s interesting to hear you refer to the set as tedious. I actually was surprised at how you were able to get your songs to carry live. Did it take you guys a long time to develop these songs to play live?

We haven’t been playing these together that long. Most of the preparation comes months ahead. I’m always thinking about different ways to play each song and playing around with the arrangements. By the time we actually get together, I think I have all of the ideas about the arrangements. But, what ends up happening is that half of those ideas end up being bad. There’s a process of working through what does and does not work. What’s exciting about the band is surrendering your material over to them. We have a really great musical dialogue.

Vacilando Territory Blues¦wait, did I pronounce that right?

Yeah, that works.

What does that even mean?

It’s a weird Spanish word that basically means ‘to wander without purpose’. There’s not a really accurate equivalent in the English language for it.

If you had to coin the English equivalent for Vacilando, what would it be?

Hmm. Party? To party. To wander aimlessly. To Party…no, that’s stupid, I can think of something better. Let me come back to that.

Anyway, VCB had a couple of songs with more complete arrangements like ‘Steel on Steel’ and‚  ‘New Imperial Grand Blues’ featuring horn sections, distorted guitars, etc. Do you ever envision putting out an entire album that’s more rock/blues and less stripped down folk?

The initial vision was for that record was to be a full band kind of deal. Like a straight ‘rock’ thing. I recorded about 7 or 8 songs like that and thought I’d slap on a few solo acoustic arrangements on there and it would be done. But, I ended up being just kind of dissatisfied with it. So, I wrote 7 or 8 more songs and at the end of the day was only comfortable with a few of those as well. I probably recorded 40 songs for that record and there would be 3 or 4 of each batch that ultimately ended up together on the record. I’d had such a hard time finding a central theme for the record that eventually the central theme became not having a theme at all. That idea was really attractive to me. There was a time that year where I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore’. I got into a bad headspace feeling like this (my solo career) was not a sustainable venture. That created the tone of the record for me. It turned into a record about the angst of making a record, which was a good depiction of where I was. I really couldn’t stand to listen to that record for a while. But, now I think I’m in a place where I can actually enjoy it. Not like I sit around and listen to my own music all the time or anything.

Sure you don’t.‚  But I could see you maybe having your own music as a ringtone on your cell phone.

(laughing) Yeah, I think ‘James’ Blues’ could make a good ring tone.

If you had to name a musician who would have their own song as their ringtone, who would it be? And, it can’t be a rapper.

Hmmm. Probably someone like Joe Perry. Yeah, I could see that. Just having one of Aerosmith’s classic rock tunes blaring every time someone called him.

We both have beards. However, yours is much more robust. What’s the best and worst part about having a totally awesome Grizzly Adams beard?

To be honest, and don’t take offense to this, the worst part about it is having to explain it all the time. It’s become such an abstraction. Such a loaded image. The things that people assume about you could not be more ridiculous. I’ve had a beard with a few exceptions since I was 23. I haven’t used a straight razor in probably 10 years.

So, the voice is not tied to the beard, like Sampson from the bible.

No, certainly not. I mean, if I had to explain it I guess I’d say it’s because it’s actually physically difficult for me to shave. I have a nerve condition that impacts the right side of my face, which includes my eyeball. It makes it difficult to see out of my right eye, especially when I’m trying to look off to the side, or look down. That makes shaving really tough. If I did use a straight razor I might end up slicing my jugular. So, I just avoid it all together.

We caught your Thursday morning set at the Red Eyed Fly in Austin during SXSW. HearYa had an all day party the day before so needless to say we weren’t in great shape the next morning. On stage you proclaimed, ‘The score at the end of day one is 0-1 in the SXSW vs. Tillman cage match¦in favor of SXSW’. You then invited someone to come up on stage and chug a PBR with you. What’s the best way to kick a hangover when you’ve got to get up and play like that?

Yeah, that was a rough one. I guess I’d have to say that ignoring the hangover when you’re out there is really the only way to get around it. Luckily, I don’t have to deal with that as much on this tour. When you’re tour managing yourself you don’t have the luxury of drinking too much. You’re doing all of the driving, you have to settle up with people at the end of the night, and sort out the details for the trip the next day. Europe is a really a stream of hedonism though. There’s no way I’m going to try to handle all of those logistics myself so we always have a tour manager. On those days, there’s nothing that tastes better than a bottle of jager that’s been chilling in the van overnight.

Are you going to be back at SXSW this year?

I don’t think so. At least I don’t think I’ll be performing. The SXSW shows are hard to do. They just need ‘X’ amount of performers to fill the time. It’s really hard not to feel like you’re just a cog in the wheel. I might head down there with Zach to hang out. But, we’ll see.

You’ve managed to keep a steady stream of new music coming out with 6 records in as many years. Now that you’re pulling double duty with Fleet Foxes—-how do you manage?

I actually have had a surplus of free time since joining Fleet Foxes. Before, it was like I was working all the time on different projects. There were certain times I was playing in a couple different bands and literally working all the time. When you’re working 50 hours a week, it’s hard to find the time to work on stuff. Now, it’s like we go on tour for 6 weeks and when you get home you have a few weeks off. That’s more than enough time to get an album to get together. I’d say my records take about 10 total hours to make and mix.


Oh yeah, VCB took no more than 12 hours to make¦total. It’s just about finding those hours and the money to get it all cranked out. I think it took 7 Days to make the last album (Year In The Kingdom).‚  That’s what appeals to me about smaller labels, they’ll just do whatever. I can just call up Mike and say, ‘I’ve got something I want to put out there’ and he’ll be like, ‘Yeah, that sounds good, let’s do it’.‚  With a bigger label they want to put it through the PR sausage maker. So, getting anything out that way takes forever. Keeping the process tight and the means limited allows you to be free to do what you want.

That’s true. But, it can also be tough for your fans when it comes to distribution. While things have changed with the inception of online music”I remember having to order your record from Sonic Boom in Seattle because I couldn’t get it anywhere else.

Yeah, but at the same time that sort of helps to separate the wheat from the chaff. The people who end up buying it are not passive purchasers, but really active listeners. I’d rather have people who want to hear the record seeking it out than pushing it on people who have no interest.

I guess that’s true. So, do you remember what the first record you ever bought was?

Well, the environment that I grew up in was not conducive to exploring good music. The first album that I bought was on cassette of course. My brother and I went in on it together. It was some totally 80s Christian metal band. I think it had a flaming sword on the cover”that’s why we bought it. We were so excited about it. Music was an obsession for me as a kid. But, I think that what you listen to as a kid has little to do with the music that you end up liking when you get older. It’s more like you just fall in love with music as a medium. You develop your own process for analyzing music that enables you to fulfill taste criteria. The more you listen to it, the more you’re able to sort of identify yourself in certain music.

Interesting. Along the lines of identifying yourself with the music that you listen to, I wanted to ask you about the video for ‘Though I Have Wronged You’. We posted that a few weeks back and I thought it was very interesting, Can you tell me more about that?

Yeah, I wrote the dialogue for that a little while back and my friend Shawn edited it and put the video together. I think over the last year or so as I’ve found myself struggling to extract what I know about myself. When there’s more and more info about you out in the world, it’s very easy to start to identify with an abstraction of yourself as opposed to what you know about yourself. In our culture there is more emphasis being put on that info and its authority. People are placing a weird priority on that info and de-valuing the info that you get from your friends and spiritual experiences. I started to feel a disconnection from myself or at least what I thought I knew about myself. That’s what I was trying to get across in that particular video.

You spoke earlier about a time when you questioned the sustainability of music as a career. Did you ever aspire to anything outside of music?

No. There have been no other jobs that I’ve enjoyed outside of music. When I was having those thoughts, it wasn’t as simple as just not being able to make music for a living. It was more along the lines of, ‘if I can’t do this then what am I going to do?’ and,‚  ‘would life be worth living?’.‚  At the time, the only thing outside of music was like drinking and working.‚  If life was going to be drudgery, then I didn’t want to sacrifice the thing that I loved by continuing to do it as a source of destitute.

The title of your new record, ‘Year in the Kingdom’ implies certain happiness over the past year and I think the songs reflect a little more joyfulness than records past. What are you so happy about these days?

Well, ‘happy’ is a funny word. At different points in my life I’ve struggled with depression. It’s just something that I have to deal with. But, over the past several years I think I’ve learned how to manage it a little better. The theme of YITK is based on an end of life perspective. It’s not a literal year, but more like an anticipation of the reckoning that happens at the end of your life. I’m very intrigued by the elastic nature of memory”or, what you remember vs. what has actually happened. Brain chemistry is such a complicated thing. It takes a lot of brain power and creativity to memorize, catalogue and maintain the menusha of your experiences to sustain you and make you keep doing what you do. You re-create past events in a non-objective way and over huge periods of time you get distilled into this nebulous ghost. The YITK thing was more about looking back and remembering things in a totally inaccurate way, a way that’s maybe more joyful than it actually was. There have been things that have come into my life over the past few years that I know I will be able to conjure up at the end of my life and feel good about.‚  It’s not about everything being great. It’s about everything being an exercise in creativity.

J Tillman – Though I Have Wronged You


malkmusI am in a fantasy hoops league and currently reside in second place with Kobe holding up my team. Every fantasy hoops aficionado should read Rotoworld, a site for news, rankings, projections and commentary on sports and fantasy leagues.‚  The site is championed by good friend of HearYa, Steve Alexander (aka Doctor A).

Doctor A also plays in a hoops league with a number of musicians including Stephen Malkmus, Janet Weiss (drummer formerly with Sleater-Kinney, now with Malkmus and the Jicks), Bo Koster (Keyboardist in My Morning Jacket) and others. Doc A’s worlds are colliding and he started posting interviews with musicians – his first is an interview Stephen Malkmus.

After reading this, I found many similarities between Malkmus and myself. We’re both fantasy dorks. We both have kids. We both read Rotoworld. Other than the few genre-defining albums he made, we’re almost identical. Who knew?

Here are a few excerpts.

On Phoenix Suns Guard, Matt Barnes:

Barnes is the epitome of punk in today’s NBA. No more Laimbeers.

On the music he’s listening to:

Crushed Butler. Seriously, this band is sick, and not just because of the Caron Butler reference.

On hearing more and more indie music in television commercials:

No problems – to each his own. Gotta put bread on the table, within reason. It’s like owning Kobe. Sometimes you gotta do it.

On the best live act right now:

Endless Boogie.

And Doc A chimes in with his top 10 Malkmus songs.

10. Gardenia – Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
9. Spit on a Stranger – Pavement
8. Greenlander – Pavement
7. Pink India – Stephen Malkmus
6. Gold Soundz – Pavement
5. Zurich Is Stained – Pavement
4. Summer Babe – Pavement
3. Box Elder – Pavement
2. Frontwards – Pavement
1. Here – Pavement

Feel free to comment with your favorite Malkmus tunes and click here to read the rest of the interview. Here are two from his most recent album Real Emotional Trash.

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks – Cold Son

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks – Baltimore