He’s a little bit country, he’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. John Doe has done it all — from being a pioneer of punk to a TV actor to a country/folk singer — and it turns out after all these years he has some pretty strong opinions about stuff. And not surprisingly, some of them are pretty funny.
Doe sat down with CNET recently, just a few weeks after the release of his latest album Country Club, recorded with The Sadies. You can read the full interview here, but we’ve pulled out some of our favorite bits below.
What do you mean music can be made remotely?
Doe: I get (drunk) and sort of put the whole process on remote…It’s the drugs (laughter). I got to keep myself as heavily medicated as possible…really, The Sadies and I played a festival and we had a great time. They backed me up on a few of my songs. Kathleen Edwards was also there. I thought “Oh my god, this was a country record I could make.” It wouldn’t sound weak or too polished. My voice is sort of…it’s a good voice but it’s not a weird or distinctive voice so me with Nashville country backing would be a snooze. But me with The Sadies is exciting. A year later I went to Canada. We cranked out about 20 songs in maybe 10 days. I took files back to California, added a couple of people (to the tracks)…added some overdubs and (inaudible) mixed it in Toronto and sent me YouSendIt files, which I downloaded and then could play in Bakersfield, where I live, on my stereo through the computer.
Some people argue that all music should be free and they have a right to music. Are they rationalizing or are they…
Doe: That’s exactly what they’re doing. I think they are foolish and young and haven’t experienced what it’s like to work for something and haven’t suffered the pain, hardship it takes to create something. There is a really great movie that goes back to the 1970s called the “Festival Express.” There was this visionary guy from Canada that took The Band and Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and maybe Gram Parsons on a train to Canada. This is right after Woodstock. And everyone at the gates was saying “This is bull****, $10?” And they broke down the gate and everybody got in for free and they did that at every one of these shows because a precedent had been set.
This guy lost his ass. He had a vision, an incredible vision, and because people were selfish and didn’t want to spend $10 and said, “The man is sticking it to us…” Yeah the record companies have been sticking it to the public for a long time but it doesn’t mean that the artist shouldn’t get paid.
It’s just the reality and you can’t bitch about it even though I am a little bit. I think file sharing is great to expose people to music but eventually you should pay for it. I do.