What was your inspiration for this song? Why the tattoo metaphor?
It was originally meant to be a song about songwriting, with ink meaning ink in a pen. Eventually it morphed into the ink of a tattoo, with the central image of a lover’s name tattoo.
Songs can really be the same way, a banner for an emotion that is abstract and brooding, but at some level just a pop icon for that emotion. I guess the song is about making sure we actually feel the things we say we feel, instead of just pretending through art. Art (whether it’s in a song or on someone’s skin) isn’t inherently a pretense, but sometimes it can be a substitute for authentic love. I don’t want that to happen.
Do you have tattoos?
Not yet. I haven’t thought of a design or location that I really like. For a while I wanted to get one, but then I wanted to spend my money on records.
Do you think you will get tattooed in the future?
Probably not, but if I decided how to live my life now, it’d be less worthwhile to live it.
Do you feel like the only person in your age group that doesn’t have tattoos yet?
No. I know plenty of wonderful people my age with tattoos and plenty of wonderful people my age without them. That’s the only distinction I can think of between the two groups.
What are your musical influences?
Lots of punk rock groups, like The Clash, Talking Heads, X, Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg, and lots of country singers, like Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams. And then there are the great ones who put country and rock n roll together, like Old 97’s, Wanda Jackson, and Bill Kirchen.
What are your hopes for this single?
I hope that it will give people more reasons to like us than to dislike us.
Any shows that you are playing this summer?