GALO: People like musician Jackson Browne have gone to occupy Wall Street, and have even written a song in their support; does that type of political involvement interest you?

MC: It certainly does. I went down to Zucotti Park myself on the 31st of October. I just walked down there. I didn’t get up and announce myself and play or sing or anything, I just wanted to go. I still have a bunch of little movies in my iPhone that I took that day. I walked around, smiled at people and they smiled back, and it was pretty cool.

I have a song now, the only song I wrote last year, called “I Don’t See You Laughing Now.” It was a piece of music I had left over from when I was writing my songs for Jaggedland. I had this one piece of music that I hadn’t finished during that cycle, so last year I put some lyrics to it. So when I get another record out, it’ll be a single, not an album. The ‘A’ side will be “I Don’t See You Laughing Now,” inspired by a combination of this documentary that I saw about Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room. I was influenced by that movie when I was writing this tune. And I heard this segment on This American Life (NPR), and the producer went down to Wall Street and interviewed these brokers, or whatever they were, and asked them if they were grateful to the American people for bailing out the banks and the brokerage firms they worked for. The guy who was producing this segment, said to these people, “You realize you wouldn’t have a job right now if the American people hadn’t bailed you out.” And they said, “that’s not the reason we have jobs, we have jobs because we’re smarter than 95 percent of all the other people that are out there.”

I was just utterly disgusted by these mediocre [individuals] having an attitude like that, so that’s another thing that motivated me to write this tune. I’ve always been politically engaged, I guess, but I don’t write topical songs as a rule. Even this one is just a song about life and people.

 GALO: I saw you give a very strong performance on David Letterman’s show from 1991 playing the song “On The Run” from the album Good Evening on YouTube. Did your appearances there help boost record sales and career possibilities?

MC: I wrote that song for a TV show that was on for only one season I think. It was called Private Eye. I suppose it’s always good to be on TV because people take you seriously if they see you on TV.

GALO: The tune “Eventually” from Jaggedland sounds like you’re getting philosophical these days?

MC: Yeah. That’s based on a true-life incident. It describes a day out of my life. I think it was in December of 2008, if I’m not mistaken, I was up in Alaska for the first time, and probably the only time. I did really like it, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back because it’s really far away. I was up there with Dan Bern. He and I went up there and played at this really nice performing arts center in Anchorage, and then we did some other dates. But at one point we played the Orpheum Theater in Kodiak, Alaska, which is an island. And we had to get back to Anchorage, and we couldn’t get on our plane the night we were supposed to leave, or the morning we were supposed to leave, because the wind was blowing too much. So we were stuck at the airport all day. That’s what I wrote about. And then we finally did get on a plane and it was like that was one of the two or three times in my life when I absolutely knew, without a doubt, that I was going to die. It was not good.

GALO: Yeah, you don’t want to repeat the Buddy Holly accident.

MC: No. After we got off the plane, Dan said something to me about that. He said I should have never have gotten on a small plane with you. And I’m like, “I’m not Buddy Holly, OK?” [Laughs] About two hours later we were sitting in this nice restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska, stuffing our faces with wine and food, and I just said, “Alright, we’re here, let’s forget the whole thing.” [Laughs]

GALO: Do you still DJ “The Bottomless Pit,” your radio program, on WFUV?

MC: Yes, I really love doing it. For some reason, one of the things my brain does, is it retains a lot of information about music. I just know all this stuff — like I can name all four members of Gerry and the Pacemakers, for instance. I don’t even care, but I just know that. The show is a fun outlet for me to share some enthusiasm I have for this stuff. I play things from my record collection. There’s a lot of variety to it. I play some jazz and I play stuff from all time periods, including right now. It’s an hour every Saturday night on WFUV at 10 p.m.

GALO: What are your feelings about your latest record, Jaggedland, and will you be doing shows in NYC to support that?

MC: Jaggedland is my favorite album of all the albums that I’ve done. I really love it; I think it’s a beautiful record still.

The Jaggedland stuff has run its course, but I’m probably going to play in New York later this year. These days I’ve been playing a lot of shows with this band called The Bottle Rockets. They’re a great group in their own right and have been making records almost as long as I have. We paired up for the first time about a year ago this month and played some shows in the mid-west. And then did maybe like a dozen more during the course of 2011. I want to carry on with them because it’s a great pairing; a great rock show. They open the show, and then I come out, and we all play together. It’s really killer.

GALO: Did you produce Jaggedland?

MC: Yes I did, but I also had a great and smart person with vast experience alongside of me most of the way, and that was a guy named Jerry Boys. He’s quite a few years older than me. He got his initial training at Abbey Road Studios and was one of the tape operators on the ‘Ticket to Ride” sessions with the Beatles. He’s literally recorded thousands of records, including all the Buena Vista Social Club records. He’s just been everywhere forever and ever. So I produced the record, but I really had some significant collaborators on that one.

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