In an interview in the new print edition of Rolling Stone, Jeff Tweedy addressed Wilco’s surprise new album Star Wars among other things.
First off, he explained the cover artwork:
That painting of that cat hangs in the kitchen at the [Wilco] loft, and every day I’d look at it and go, “You know, that should just be the album cover.” Then I started thinking about the phrase “Star Wars” recontextualized against that painting — it was beautiful and jarring. Th album has nothing to do with Star Wars. It just made me feel good.
Actually, Tweedy has no interest in Star Wars the movie at all. To the question of whether or not he’s a fan, he gave a resounding “No!” and continued:
In fact, I didn’t even know there was a new Star Wars movie coming out until my lawyer told me. Everybody advised me against it, because there is a heavily protected trademark involved.
Tweedy said the band decided to pull a BEYONCÉ because he hates the way people have been hearing Wilco records a little bit at a time:
I was really dreading the modern roll-out pattern. Usually by the time the record comes out, I hate it. I hate talking about it. I hate all the people that have weighed in on it. I think it’s done a disservice to our records, the way they’ve been heard in dribs and drabs, and a lot of people think they’ve heard a whole record after hearing one song. That’s not the way Wilco records work.
As far as how the next Wilco record will work, it’s definitely been affected by recent struggles in Tweedy’s life. His wife was diagnosed with cancer and his brother died in 2013. Both events affected his songwriting, and he said another new Wilco album is half finished:
I have a whole lot of material. [It’s] very different. I certainly have been very prolific in the past few years, and it could be for a couple of reasons, [including] my wife’s cancer diagnoses. She’s doing great now. It’s provided maybe a deeper need for the distractions that I’ve learned how to use helpfully in my life. Like, no matter what condition I was in with addiction or anything, music has been a healthy adaptation in the face of some kind of maladaptation. But there’s something more practical than that, which is that I’ve been home a lot more than before, and in between chemo session and taking my wife to radiation and her recovering from the surgery, I’ve been walking to the loft [studio], making something for a little bit every day.
In other recent developments, Wilco toured with Bob Dylan a few years ago, and Tweedy said he grew to admire how few fucks Bob Dylan gives:
We’ve talked a little bit [Tweedy and Dylan], and I actually get a really warm feeling from him. I felt very inspired just being in the presence of somebody that has that few fucks to give about anything. There’s a lot of middle ground there between somebody like Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney, who totally gives it up every night for the people and the songs. But if I had to choose only one to be more inspired by, it’s definitely on the more curmudgeonly-asshole side of the spectrum.
I bet Bob Dylan does like Star Wars, though.
The latest issue of Rolling Stone is on newsstands now.