Jack: I think that’s [due more to] age. I think a lot of people, in the beginning of their career, write great stuff, and then as they get older…I think if you just don’t get too self-conscious about it, and are willing to try new stuff, you’re going to be okay. You can write the same song your whole career, but you’ve just got to keep changing it, or something. Or come at it a little differently, and not lose the reason you liked it in the first place. I think some people get to the point where they think, “Well, fuck. This is the same as that other song I wrote, and it’s not as good.” And that feeling feeds on itself, until you end up trying something totally different, that’s not anywhere near what you can do. And it just sounds stupid. You can become desperate, I suppose, if you feel you’re stuck in a rut. I think it’s different with bands than with individuals. You can get a band together and get a sound, and [suddenly] you’ve got about five really killer songs. And then you write a few more. And then, after two or three years, it’s like, “Whoa, what do we do now?”
Jack: I can see where that would be hard to sustain. I’m amazed by the Ramones. Those first three records are so good, who cares what they did afterwards, except for a real fan? They’ve made different records, I guess — End of the Century — some are kind of different.
ND: One of those guys said that whenever bands change, it’s almost always for the worst.
Jack: Yeah. But you know, you can’t…
ND: You can’t make sweeping generalizations.
Jack: But that covers a lot of people. The Beatles and the Stones are kind of the models, I guess.
ND (to Vic): Are there any particular albums you keep going back to, or particular people that you keep returning to, more than others?
Vic: You mean, like, what do I like?
ND: I think that’s what I’m trying to say.
Jack: You like the Beatles, don’t you?
Vic: I like some of the Beatles. I don’t listen to them anymore, though, for some reason.
ND: Which Beatles? Lennon stuff, McCartney stuff, or both?
Vic: I love ‘em all. I liked the White Album. I’m a White Album kind of guy.
ND: What about the early stuff?
Vic: It fucking sucked. I fucking hate the early Beatles.
(Logan is breaking up in the background.)
Vic: Oh, yeah. I fucking hate it. Until they started to smoke weed, they sucked.
Vic: Yeah. Well, even a little earlier. But I hate the [really] early Beatles. If I’d been around back then, I’d have much rather listen to Bobby Darin. Or I’d have been listening to E.T., something like that.
Jack: Ernest Tubb, not the alien. There were some great country records being made in the early ’60s.
Vic: That’s what I’m saying!
Jack: Buck Owens, and…
Vic: Buck, man! That was like a renaissance period, almost.
Jack: Merle Haggard, George Jones. All the big guys.
Vic: Of course, I got all [the Beatles'] records, and I listened to them a million times when I was a kid. But now I hate ‘em. They were a great band and all that, but it was stupid teeny-bop music.
Jack: Lyrically, it was just…”I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”
Vic: And it was just clever little chord progressions.
Jack: I don’t know anything about playing guitar, but it seems like what musicians notice about the Beatles is that they were using folk chords, electrically. And no one had really done that, or something.
Vic: Yeah, I don’t care. Big deal.
Jack: I wouldn’t know a folk chord from an electrical cord.
ND: Do either of you ever use open tunings?
Jack: Oh, that’s all I use. Anything that I write by myself.
Vic: I’ve got two tunings that I need to turn you on to.
Jack: Cool. I’ve been inventing…well, I’m sure they’re something, because they sound like something. But I’ve been doing that, [changing] just one string. Anyone can play guitar like that, because all you do is clamp it over and you’ve got a chord. Do you use open tunings?
Vic: No. I mean, I do, a little, but not very much.
Jack: It’s kind of a hassle, live. You’ve gotta have everything set up.