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Bright Eyes -- Extra Innings

story by tim mcmahan




Lazy-i: September 4, 2002

The interview lasted almost two hours. As a result, a few odds and ends didn't make sense in the context of the feature story. So here, in a Lazy-I exclusive, are some excerpts from the interview transcripts that didn't make the cut:

What do you listen to when you want to rock?

Oberst: Definitely classics like The Pixies and Superchunk, that's my favorite stuff. It's hard to find new stuff that I like. My percentage of listening to loud rock records has greatly decreased in the last four years. I used to be more into rock bands, but now I just don't listen to that stuff as much, so when I do, I tend to listen to something I like a lot. I don't listen to much indie rock or hardcore shit. I listen to stuff like Rolling Stones, Let it Bleed and Beggars Banquet. Tom Waits new album is really good (either Blood Money or Alice). I like Dylan, Neil Young, Paul Simon … a whole range. I like whatever style as long as it's quality, whatever the genre.

If I'm buying music, it tends to be older stuff. I definitely like the new Wilco CD (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) -- it was really well put together. A couple years ago I really got into The Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin. I don't like their new one as much (Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots). There's Gillian Welch -- she's sort of a country bluegrass artist. She sang on some of the O Brother Where Art Thou? stuff. She has this record that's a year old that I've been listening to (Time (The Revelator) on Acony Records). I think from time-to-time I hear something new that's really great -- I look forward to those times. It was easier when I was younger.

The last time we talked (May 2000) you had just signed a publishing rights deal with Sony. Did you get what you wanted out it?

Oberst: It's been awesome, mainly because they haven't used anything yet. The thing that's great about it is that the guy that signed me and also sort of directs my affairs at Sony -- the only guy that has any idea what's going on with me -- has become a good friend of mine. I talk to him about once a week and when I go to New York I stay at his apartment. He doesn't want to approach TV at all. He's waiting for some amazing film to come along that may or may not come along. He has a few other really successful accounts, and I can kind of be transparent.

So is a publishing deal a good idea?

It depends on whose watching your deal at the company. In the scope of things, I took a very small amount of money. If you sign a million dollar publishing deal, they'll do whatever they can to recoup their investment. I've been totally lucky and I think it's kind of an anomaly. I don't think there are a whole lot of cool people working at those kinds of companies, but there are a few.

How does Omaha size up to other cities?

Oberst: I think we need a lot of things as a city. We need a club. We need more places for people to present art -- art of any kind -- painting, plays, whatever. I go to all these other cities and it's so much easier to get things done there. Here, it's work and work and work. If there's any money for the arts, it goes to Jazz on the Green. Fine. So people can take their monthly trip downtown and drink a cup of coffee. Nothing cool is ever gonna happen unless that changes. I like to think there are better things coming.

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Copyright 2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


"We need more places for people to present art -- art of any kind -- painting, plays, whatever."