I think there are always people who, when they get the bug to play an instrument, they want to get as good as they can with it rather than just be simply adequate at it. You run into them every once in a while - some kid who wants to be the next Stevie Ray Vaughan, for whatever reason, and plays exactly like him.
There's only one band that could ever even pretend to assume the mantle of what the Beatles did, who have been so pre-eminent and world-dominating that they could effect a paradigm shift in the culture, who have been willing to leverage their success into musical change, and that is U2 - regardless of what the result of that is.
When I got out of high school, I was in a blues band. It was the kind of music I was interested in, and listening to, mostly because it was becoming a vehicle for a generation of guitarists - like Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. Mike Bloomfield. And that's what I wanted to be, principally: a guitar player.
When the Beatles first came out, you had to go to a certain amount of trouble to have long hair. You just couldn't have it immediately. Anything you can just go out and get - like platform shoes - is not going to inspire people as much as something they have to go through a little bit of hell to have.
I really consider myself fortunate to have been of age during the musical revolution that came in the form of the Beatles. People don't realize that previous to the Beatles, there really was no such thing as an album artist. People made singles. Then they would put a bunch of those singles together and call it an album. And that was it.
We bought property after Iniki in '92. I figured we'd never find better bargains. As it turned out, we didn't get a bargain, but we did find the spot we wanted to live on. It actually took a couple years to secure that spot. Then, after we moved, it took over 10 years to start construction on the house. It's still a work in progress.
I don't use any real vintage hardware any longer. That's always been the object as far as gaining control of the studio environment, going back to when I built my first studio, Secret Sound, in New York City. The whole point was to not have to pay studio bills anymore and not be looking at the clock.
All it takes to become president is money and a certain kind of power. Being president is the first thing I can shoot for, not the highest. It may come to a point where people take rock and roll musicians more seriously than they take politicians. It may eventually turn out that musicians have more credibility.
I first started doing some somewhat technology-based shows in the '80s. If you wanted to get real technical about it, back in the '70s I used to open up with Utopia with just me on the stage with a four-track tape recorder. So, technically, I've been using the help of various devices pretty much throughout my career.
By the time my first solo record came out, I was making a handsome living as a record producer. I had worked with the Band, Janis Joplin and all of these other artists in the Albert Grossman organization. So as my so-called solo career evolved, I never felt pressure that I had to come back and top when I might've done before.
'Something/Anything?' was kind of a different record, since I'm playing everything myself. A lot of the songs on there have a particular kind of instrumentation that is much like a guitar quartet, and in some ways, it's an exceptional song on that record because so much of the writing on 'Something/Anything?' is piano-oriented.
I was lucky enough to grow up in an era when radio was less formatted. It was really special. You could hear a jazz song then a pop song then a show tune then some jazz. Basically, whatever the DJ felt like playing, he would play. He was educating you and exposing you to things you would never hear otherwise.
My very first records, I was very interested in how you get the particular quality you want out of it, and I began to learn about the engineering and aspects of production and things very early on. I got hands-on with the process and taught myself how to engineer, as opposed to just being a producer who asked the engineer to make it sound nice.
It would be really great if someone would invent a new Internet with the specific purpose of not making money off of it, but making it what it originally was, a free marketplace of ideas, and there are still aspects of the Internet that are that. Wikipedia, essentially, is still the bastion of the original ideals of the Internet.
'State' can be a word that is a noun or a verb or an adverb - it's kind of why I chose that title. It's not to confound the audience but to keep me from painting myself into a cul-de-sac in the early stages of making a record by having too high concept or having some really strict set of rules I have to adhere to.