Whenever I don’t know what to write, I can always rely on the Robot archives. Today’s installment in my series recalling some of my favorite posts over the last five years is my favorite moment from the Item Five series. In case you’re new to the site, Item Five is a series of interviews I do on occasion with musicians, authors or whomever. You can see the full list of victims here.
While it’s not my favorite interview overall, my favorite answer to one of my questions came from Brian Henneman, the lead singer and co-songwriter of The Bottle Rockets. The topic was cynicism and how I thought their new album was a tad more cynical than their work of the past. His answer was much like a Bottle Rockets song: straight-forward, intelligent and slightly humorous. Here’s the question and answer:
5) The band’s new album, called “Zoysia,” comes out in a few weeks. The songwriting on this thing is just immense – and that’s a compliment. Is it just me or does this set of songs feel a little more…….cynical? Is that a product of the times? Or do you feel more cynical as the years go on?
I think cynisicm is a by-product of old age. I wish I could still look at things with child-like wonder but the more you learn from life, the more easily you can call bullshit. First, the tooth fairy goes, then Santa, next thing you know, you realize rock and roll is dead, your parents are dead, Neil Young looks REALLY old, you can’t relate to modern pop culture at all, you know politics are too corrupt to mean anything, and you’re thinkin’ about how much time you have left on earth. At that point, it’s all about figurin’ out how to get the most from the time that’s left. You stop looking for the meaning of life, and start actually celebrating life. You have no time for bullshit. “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think…” Was this a cynical answer?