ND: Last time we spoke, you were on a vinyl kick, buying Burt Bacharach and stuff.
Jack: Yeah. Well, Dionne Warwick. I love her. I think she’s the perfect vehicle for those songs, ’cause she’s kinda soulful enough, but still pretty “by-the-book.” It’s not a bunch of histrionics.
Vic: It’s bee-yoo-tee-full.
Jack: Yeah, it’s pretty. No dissonance. Well, actually, there is a little dissonance, in the right places. [Bacharach] was pretty clever.
ND: He wrote stuff for the Carpenters, didn’t he?
Jack: Well, “Close To You”. He and Elvis Costello are doing something together, for a movie or something.
Jack: I think Costello’s a big Bacharach fan.
Vic: I’ll bet he is. He’s gotta be, man. Costello’s like Burt Bacharach on too much coke. A bitter Burt.
ND: What was that songwriter’s festival you played in London? Who else was there?
Vic: Alan Toussaint…
Vic: …and Guy Clark…
Vic: …and Joe South.
ND: Were you specifically invited?
Vic: Yeah. It was “Songwriters From the American South.” It was an entire American South festival, at this museum. They had folk artists, that kind of shit.
ND: How was Joe South?
Vic: Joe South was cool. I was the one who begged them to get Joe South, because I think he’s an amazing songwriter. I thought they were going to get Van Dyke, but they didn’t. He couldn’t do it. So I told them to get Joe, and I was really excited. And then, first thing, he scolded me. First thing! He’s kind of an asshole, but I still love him.
Jack: Well, he’s a good bit older, now.
Vic: All those guys are older than 40. That’s why I felt like it was a weird thing, you know? Here I was with all my heroes. But it was funny, because I was really excited about Joe South. And he was a freak! I saw next to him the whole night. He had his shirt unbuttoned down to here, and he was real fat, and he looks a little bit like my father. So that was giving me the creeps. He was giving me the willies, man.
First thing, during soundcheck, I said, “I want to play through an amp. I don’t want to play through direct.” They had an amp for me, and they said, “Well, you can go direct, too.” And I said, “Well, if I go direct, I won’t need an amp at all.” And Joe South [growls], “Yes you will.” I was like, “Ooooh, I’m sorry.” And I looked around at Guy Clark, and he was like [laughs and sputters through closed lips]. We both cracked up. Joe South was cool, though. I liked him. Me and Guy Clark were cracking up at him the whole night.
ND: Joe sounded pretty good, though?
Vic: Well, you know, he’s a great songwriter. But he hadn’t picked up a guitar in a year, probably. You could tell. He was trying to do all these licks and stuff, and he had these big, fat fingers. He just couldn’t do it.
ND: How do you guys feel about love songs?
Jack: Oh, I [write them] all the time.
ND: Anything less strange, say, than “Female Jesus”?
Jack: Yeah. I don’t really…if I could [only] do one that’s as simple and as universal as possible. I always fuck it up by putting some kind of little wise-ass part to it.
Vic: Naughty bits.