Jakob Dylan and
his mates craft a Wallflowers reunion album, which means the boys are
back in town.
Wallflowers roll call! Ready ó and: Jakob Dylan (lead vocals), Greg Richling (bass),
Rami Jaffee (keyboards), Stuart Mathis (guitar) and Red Hot Chili
Peppers/Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons. And theyíre back.
The band recently wrapped their long-awaited album, Glad All Over,
at Nashvilleís Easy Eye sound studio. To date, theyíve recorded six
studio albums and won two Grammys. Their biggest hit, ďOne Headlight,Ē
seems like it was recorded yesterday, but the birth date was 1996.
Frontman Jakob Dylan is the youngest of Bob and Saraís four children,
and has four children of his own. Through what seemed like impossible
odds, he was able to emerge from his fatherís shadow and forge a
successful career and a unique story for himself. Here, he gives us a
bit of that story.
Was it as easy getting The Wallflowers back together after so much time
It was. The band has always gotten along for the most part. We were all
anxious to. We have a strong connection. We were looking forward to it.
It was like no time had gone by.
What was it like being in the studio with the old band again?
We hit pretty fast and hard when we made the record. We had to work
backwards, almost as if we had none of the experience that we had
gathered in twenty years. But I think we knew what we were doing. I
listen to what we did and it doesnít sound labored at all. Itís not a
labored record. We trusted ourselves and trusted the moment. Everybodyís
energy was pretty much in synch and we moved pretty quickly.
Do you feel different artistically since you were with the group last?
I donít feel different. I got to do all the things I wanted to do. The
Wallflowers is something that I canít do if theyíre not there. There is
something I do with the Wallflowers that is the core of me and the
essence of who I am as a songwriter. Itís a backdrop that I feel very
comfortable in, that I can lean on ó that
I can depend on. I need that output. As far as being different, you
probably have to ask the other guys.
What inspires you?
Once you experience the fix of getting into a song, thatís a rush that
never gets old to me. Every song you write, you think itís the last song
you are ever going to get, so anytime [the muse] finds me, Iím available
and I chase it. I donít know when it will show up. Sometimes it doesnít
want to be seen for some time. I can write songs on demand too without
those kinds of needs, but ultimately, [inspired songwriting is] where
the better music is.
I imagine that people have a sense of you being like your father;
perhaps brooding and cryptic. Dark. Would people be surprised by the
I donít have the responsibility or need to have people see me the way it
really is. I have no obligation to do that. In this age, people are
revealing everything theyíve got, every ounce, every drop of their
personality ó begging
for love. If some of us donít fit into that mold, then you appear to be
brooding or quiet or reclusive. But I donít feel that way. Iím not
selling me. Iím putting songs out there. Thatís what people will
hopefully gravitate towards. If their curiosity goes to that place, then
what can I do about that? I donít have a problem with any of those
descriptions. There are plenty of comedians out there at the mike stand.
You got those too. We need all kinds. There is a role for everybody.
Whatís your take on the current state of the music industry? Does the
demise of the record industry worry you?
There are more people in the know than I am. I can only tell you from my
experience. There is touring business and there is band business and
there is opportunity, but the mold is completely cracked and Iím not so
sorry about that. The record business had a tremendous run and made a
lot of money for a lot of people ó most
importantly, the artists and the musicians. So Iím not feeling
particularly bad for anybody. The bands will still survive. We will just
go out and play music. And thatís how it all started. The records were
just promotional tools so that you would know the songs before you got
[to the live performance]. So thatís still intact. The record business
itself went away. There is good news and bad news that comes with that.
What type of music do you like personally? Anything that would surprise
Iím always just looking for a good song. Even as a teenager, I was never
looking for a pack to be in. I like good songs. I never worried where
they come from. I never had to make the decision that many teenagers had
to make ó you
have to like this and not like that. As a teenager in the early
Eighties, I liked a lot of the English rock groups. Those were the
groups that lifted me up first ó that
appealed to me ó punk music itself, or whatever some people called it. I
wasnít really rebelling against anything in that regard. I just like the
good songs from those bands, the English ones.
Have you ever considered another vocation?
Iím still considering one. Itís never too late. [But music and
performance is] something thatís integral to me and part of my
existence. I donít over-pontificate or think too much about it. Iíve
been doing it for a long time and it feels right. If I didnít feel that
way, I would have pursued something else. And the right people respond
to it, so I just stay at it.
LA has been your home your whole life. Did it ever occur to you to live
Itís the only home I know. I know people like to rip LA apart. There are
great people here. There are great people everywhere. You can find good
people wherever you go.
Any words that you live by?