I grew up in a small town in Minnesota called Elbow Lake. There wasn’t a whole lot to do in the “sticks” of MN, so I found love in rock ‘n’ roll at an early age through my older brother’s music collection. He moved out when I was young, joined the Air Force and was stationed in England when I was in middle school, so our family took a trip overseas to see him. When I got there, he showed me his electric guitar. I picked it up, and he showed me a couple of licks. I played that damn thing the rest of the time I was there. My parents heard me playing it the whole weekend and later that year, for Xmas, I got my first guitar. I was obsessed. I quit all sports and just focused on that.
Narth said that one day the machine asked him a question: “why do you trust anything I tell you?” He said that at first he was pretty taken aback, I think I would have been too. As he went about his day, he said that the question was always there, in the back of his mind, a distant orbit. Eventually, he returned to the machine, to try and understand why it had asked him that question.
Glamour? Stardom? Fame? Money? Is this it? That what you’re in for? Then you’re missing out on the real thing. On the hardship to inspire you. On the failure that’ll make you stronger. On the losses that’ll teach you there is more to it than things. On all of what’ll make you put your soul into your songs. Believe me, they will understand. They will know by the way you sing them. And they’ll laugh and cry and weep and smile. Once you’ve seen this, you’re on the right track.
As a songwriter, I like to go back and study the songs that have left the biggest mark on me. When I was finishing my recent album Bad Poems For Good People, no song was stronger in my mind than The River by Bruce Springsteen.