Robyn Hitchcock is unique by any estimation. It’s not just his songwriting, lyrics, world view and effortless charisma… it’s also that he’s managed to release consistently solid music for decades, up through and beyond 2017’s self-titled album. This is wholly anomalous in the industry. I mean, even the Stones crapped out after “Some Girls,” and Bowie got kinda sketchy for a while after “Scary Monsters.” Hitchcock has known no such hiccups.
He’s long been a favorite songwriter of mine, so having him on Car Con Carne is something of a dream come true. If you’re new to his music and want recommendations so you can start spiraling down the Hitchcock rabbit hole, email me. I’m only too happy to share playlists and song suggestions.
Discussed on the show this week, presented by the Autobarn Mazda of Evanston:
- After seeing him play at SPACE the night before, we talked about the benefits of changing up the live setlist every night: “Songs are with you for life. I’ve bottled bits of my life like a firefly in a jar that doesn’t suffocate … like a gif, if you want to look at things in Instagram terms… “
- How Robyn approaches a setlist for Chicago fans: “I don’t think there were that many casual listeners. They would know the arcane stuff.”
- Robyn’s live music history in Chicago, from Lounge Ax and Metro to the Vic, Thalia Hall, SPACE and all venues in between.
- What’s in a name? When it comes to “alternative,” it’s impossible to answer.
- R.E.M.’s early enthusiasm for Robyn Hitchcock.
- Robyn and Jonathan Richman: They’re characters.
- Robyn’s cover of Psychedelic Furs’ “Ghost In You”: What did Psychedelic Furs think of it?
- Robyn’s take on the “carcass” of the music industry, and his perception of how things are working in the present day.
- The albums from Robyn’s “commercial” period on A&M: Why aren’t they streamable? And go ahead and rip them if you want to hear them.
- Knowing how articulate Robyn is, is it safe to assume he always has his face in a book?
- The secret to enjoying Shakespeare? Booze.
- I rattle off a list of favorite Hitchcock songs and get his impressions and stories behind each. He goes deep into what informed “Goodnight Oslo” and the critical importance of Peter Buck’s guitar on “Flesh Number One.”
- “Dislocated state” is the new best way to describe one’s disposition while partying.
- Robyn’s music basically has “two and a half settings.”
- Could Robyn see himself often dreaming of L trains?