This weekend on All Things Considered, Rebecca Roberts interviewed Mark Olson and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks about their new album, Mockingbird Time.
Image courtey of the artist
The interview covers everything from the inspiration for their song “Mr. Man” to harmonizing, to their relative lack of fame:
“I certainly wanted to be bigger; I think Mark just wanted to be good. That shows you how shallow I am,” Louris jokes. “[But] the fact that we were never part of any particular scene, or had the one big radio hit or whatever, has kind of worked to our advantage. We have that thing called longevity going for us.”
Gary Louris went on to pitch a public radio show for the Jayhawks, all about songwriting:
“We need some funding, but I think it’s going to happen. We’ll have people call in, and we’ll start a song and they can call in and tell us which way they think it’s going to go.”
“And they can witness it in process,” added Olson, “how we turn the ideas up or turn them down. It’s not pretty sometimes – their’s some laughter but it’s laughter with pain. ‘Tears of a clown’ you know.”
“With live ideas from the audience?” asked Roberts.
“Yeah, but they have to sign something at the end of the day so that we can use it” laughed Olson.
Here at MPR we’ve got lots more on The Jayhawks; you can read a review of their latest album here or listen to them perform and talk about getting back together with Kerri Miller here.
As for a radio show about the songwriting process, my colleague Chris Roberts happens to have started a series of features talking about songwriting with a variety of musicians, including Haley Bonar, Ben Weaver and rapper Sims.