Lou Barlow - 2010

Lou Barlow is a veritable indie rock hero, having played a founding role in such legendary outfits as Dinosaur Jr., The Folk Implosion and Sebadoh, as well as releasing solo work under both his own name and “Sentridoh.”

Barlow began his musical career in 1982 as guitarist for Massachusetts hardcore punk band Deep Wound. The band released only one single and two compilation tracks before splintering apart in 1984, but Barlow continued working with the band’s drummer, J. Mascis, in a new band called Dinosaur. In the process, he switched to bass guitar so that Mascis could hone his already considerable lead guitar skills.

The blistering Neil Young-meets-white-noise sound of Dinosaur’s second and third LPs, You’re Living All Over Me and Bug, attracted a huge amount of attention from independent music fans, as well as from a band called The Dinosaurs who forced the band to add a “Jr.” to its name. Unfortunately, at the peak of the band’s popularity, personality conflicts between controlling songwriter Mascis and the increasingly frustrated Barlow led to the latter’s expulsion from the band.

Ironically, this firing succeeded in giving Barlow the creative freedom he’d secretly desired for years. The result was a quirky trio called Sebadoh, who became just as popular among indie rock fans in the ‘90s as Dinosaur Jr. had been in the ‘80s. During this period, Barlow also formed the duo Folk Implosion, whose “Natural One” (from Larry Clark’s Kids soundtrack) became the biggest hit of his career.

By 2005, both Sebadoh and The Folk Implosion had broken up, freeing Barlow to take part in a surprising but welcome reunion of the original Dinosaur Jr. line-up. To date, the reconstituted line-up has released two CDs, Beyond and Farm. At the same time, Barlow has continued to record and release his own CDs, most recently 2005’s Emoh and 2009’s Goodnight Unknown.

28 years into his career, Lou Barlow remains as busy as ever, touring relentlessly with both Dinosaur Jr. and his own band (or rather, Mike Watt’s band) The Missingmen, as well as helping his wife raise two young children. Crawdaddy! interviewed him via phone in October 2010.

At some point in 2010, Mr. Barlow kindly allowed me to interview him via telephone for Crawdaddy.com. Since that site no longer exists, I've reprinted our discussion here.


Crawdaddy!: So you’re about to go out on tour with the Missingmen again?

Lou Barlow: Yeah, I’m gonna join Mike Watt and the Missingmen in Tokyo, I guess? We’re gonna do a couple of shows in Tokyo. I was actually just pondering whether I should back out on it or not!

Crawdaddy!: Now what are these shows like? Do you play with Mike Watt?

Lou Barlow: No, no. I will when I go to Japan; we’ll actually play together. But other than that, it’s just me and the two guys that play with him all the time.

Crawdaddy!: Oh, okay. And who are they? What are their names?

Lou Barlow: Tom Watson, who was in the band Slovenly. Remember them? On SST? He did that band and he did a bunch of other stuff after that, like Red Krayola. And there’s Raul Morales, who was the drummer in a punk band called FYP who put out some records. He’s been in five or six punk bands around San Pedro. He and Tom are one of Watt’s bands that he taps.

Crawdaddy!: How did you end up taking his band?

Lou Barlow: Because they opened up for Dinosaur. Mike Watt and the Missingmen opened up for Dinosaur. They were really friendly, and it turned out that Tom lives a few blocks away from me.

Crawdaddy!: At these shows, do you play stuff from all your different bands?

Lou Barlow: Yeah, pretty much. I’ll preface the show by playing solo, then we’ll kick into this electric set that’s based off the record I put out last year (Goodnight Unknown) but also encompasses some things around that, and I’ll end the show by playing requests.

Crawdaddy!: Really, requests? What kinds of stuff do people request? Are there any regulars?

Lou Barlow: Sebadoh stuff, you know. “On Fire” and “Rebound,” “Skull,” “Brand New Love.” And a few Folk Implosion things. It’s cool. It’s really nice. Generally there’s not a ton of people there, but it’s pretty cool. There’s like 30 or 40 people who get really into it, yelling out songs. It gets really relaxed. I really like it. The tone of the show is just really relaxed.

Crawdaddy!: That’s what I loved about those old Sebadoh shows. You never knew what was gonna happen.

Lou Barlow: Yeah, I’ve always had kind of a weird relationship with playing live. Sometimes I’m terrible at it, but other times I have these really wonderful experiences playing live. In so many different forms too. I really enjoy it. So when I try to put things together for myself, I always have to remember what makes it fun for me, and how much fun I’ve had, and how much fun I’m going to have, and how many great people I know that I can tap and play music with and have a really good time traveling with.

Crawdaddy!: What were the Folk Implosion shows like?

Lou Barlow: The first Folk Implosion was myself and John Davis, and we started off by playing acoustic together. Music was part of this conversation between us, the way you have a buddy that you listen to records with, and you talk about all the minutiae of the bands, and you hypothesize about musical movements. We had that kind of really great rapport that you can have with people when you talk about music. And John Davis and I were really well suited for that, because we had a lot of chemistry just having discussions and having a good time talking to each other. And then we picked up guitars and started playing songs for each other, and then we started writing songs together. And when we played shows, we tried to preserve this conversation between the two of us. That was really good for quite a while.

Crawdaddy!: I remember when that first album came out, and then how surprised I was when that song in Kids (“Natural One”) came out, because it couldn’t be any more different!

Lou Barlow: Yeah.

Crawdaddy!: Why did he leave? Was there a falling out? Or did he get bored with what he was doing, or…

Lou Barlow: No, he has really intense personal problems. It was really hard because he was also sort of in the process of trying to make himself better, with extensive therapy and stuff like that. He just kinda retreated, and there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it.

Crawdaddy!: Are you in contact with him at all?

Lou Barlow: No. He had a really hard time with his public and private life. Having his life in any way public really, really spooked him out. Some people, it really spooks them. I mean historically, there are people who are like that! For me, it’s like, ‘Yeah, but music is such a social thing and we have such a good time doing it. It’s cool! We can have a hit song, but it doesn’t mean that anyone knows what we look like.” There are so many facets of music and so many levels on which you can play. There’s really no – you can be in a very popular band and still be able to go to the grocery store! And nobody bugs you, and your life doesn’t really become anything crazy. But he never believed that. Or he was really freaked out when like he’d be shopping at Newbury Comics and somebody would come up to him and say, “Hey John, I saw the show you played.” He had a real hard time with that stuff. And then it dovetailed with all of these other really intense moments. And then at the same time, I was doing two bands and taking lots of drugs and drinking, and really coming into my own and turning outward. Probably being kinda destructive as well, but it was a lot for him to handle.

Crawdaddy!: Why did you decide to keep that name? I know you had the hit with Kids, but keeping the name “The New Folk Implosion” after he left – was there a feeling that that would sell more than a “Sebadoh” or “Sentridoh” record?

Lou Barlow: Yeah, it was a compromise. I had a record deal with Interscope Records. John and I signed to Interscope Records, which was really big. We were gonna be this boutique act on Interscope Records – us and Ron Sexsmith and all the rest would be alongside Limp Bizkit and all that. We were gonna be part of this great weird label and they were gonna really, you know. But when we signed to them, simultaneously every other label collapsed, so Interscope actually sucked up half the industry. So it was a tumultuous time, and John quit the day the record (One Part Lullaby) was released. I went out and toured, playing the songs myself with a four-track. It was like, “I’m just gonna do it,” you know? Because I thought the record would be big, because it was really beautiful. I liked the songs and I was really proud of it. So I kinda set out, and I had a two record deal with Interscope, so of course I had to try to make another one, and I had to use the name. Interscope dropped me halfway through that, and then I just kept the name because the next person that would give me $20,000 to do a record wanted to keep the name “Folk Implosion.” That was totally it. And I had a manager at the time who was sort of pushing me. So that record came out as The New Folk Implosion, which I thought was – I was really into that record. But then of course the label hated it and my manager quit, and it all just kinda came to an end. It all just sort of petered out. That was the New Folk Implosion in a nutshell, I guess.

Crawdaddy!: That was an interesting band because the stuff you ended up doing with them sounded so much different than what you’d done before. It was a real -- I thought at least -- a real departure.

Lou Barlow: Yeah. It was, but I really found a lot of similarities between Imaad Wasif’s guitar playing and John Davis’s guitar playing. They kinda reminded me of each other, personally. So somehow Imaad made it seem okay, I guess.

Crawdaddy!: No no, I just meant both of them – the Folk Implosion and the New Folk Implosion. Your writing for those. Especially The New Folk Implosion; that just seemed like a really dark record.

Lou Barlow: Yeah. It did! But to me, it was just a really textured record. Most of my records I don’t think of as textured, other than the four-track stuff that I really worked on and crafted, and a few early Sebadoh things. But I thought I’d entered this period where my recordings weren’t very textured. Like Bakesale and Harmacy and even One Part Lullaby by the Folk Implosion, I thought there was a sort of flatness to. That’s what I wanted to get away from. I wanted to make a record that had what I felt -- ups and downs and almost a sensual sound to it. And that was my goal. I worked pretty long on that record, and worked really closely with Imaad Wasif and Russell Pollard. And when I was finally done, it sounded really dark. It was just something about that period in time for me. It was just getting me beyond a really negative period.

Crawdaddy!: Ah, okay. Switching to another band, you know how Dinosaur reunited in 2005 and you’ve already done two albums; is there any reason that Sebadoh didn’t decide to do an album with your 2007 reunion?

Lou Barlow: There wasn’t really time to do that, because when I do Dinosaur, it’s pretty full-on. And I’ve got a family, so when I’m not doing Dinosaur, I really try to help out my wife as much as I can. It’s really just come down to Jason Loewenstein and myself, and he’s really busy with Fiery Furnaces. He produced their record and he plays in the band, so that takes a lot of his time.

Crawdaddy!: What was the situation with Eric Gaffney always quitting, then rejoining and quitting again. Is he just an eccentric man?

Lou Barlow: He is an eccentric man. He also really hates traveling. It seemed odd to me, because to me he was such a socially gifted person. I loved following him around. We’d be in our hometown Northampton, and I would follow him around and stuff would just happen. Either we’d find pot somewhere, or we’d end up playing guitars on the street, or we’d end up at somebody’s apartment listening to Jimi Hendrix bootlegs, or we’d end up in the local diner with all the characters from town coming in, and Eric knew who all of them were and would try to start up a dialogue with all of them. He was so much fun to hang out with.

Crawdaddy!: Where did you meet him?

Lou Barlow: He was part of the Western Mass. hardcore scene. He did this fanzine called Withdrawal that he did himself, and he had a band called Gray Matter. He was the drummer, and they were kinda like a hardcore band but a little slower. This was a time early in the hardcore scene when all the bands sounded different. Some of the bands were superfast like Deep Wound; other bands were kind of cool trashy midtempo bratty punk rock stuff. But it was such a great period. Flipper would come through town, and the Big Boys, Husker Du, and all the Boston hardcore bands. Eric and I just met through that. I went to see his band, and we just started talking.

Crawdaddy!: Was this all the way back when like, This is Boston, Not LA? Those days?

Lou Barlow: Yeah.

Crawdaddy!: Wow. Man, that must’ve been a good time! I love that album.

Lou Barlow: It is a great record. That’s an awesome record. It encapsulates how a lot of those early scenes were like that; the bands were pretty diverse in their way. Hardcore hadn’t become so generic yet.

Crawdaddy!: Yeah. So was “Gimme Indie Rock” true? That you started smoking pot and thought things sounded better slow?

Lou Barlow: Yep. That was a true story! I didn’t even realize it. Somebody pointed out to me recently that, in a way, the song just totally charted my own thing. And I went, “Wow, it really does!” I was kinda sarcastic when I wrote it, but if you listen to me, it’s like “Wow, that’s exactly what happened.” I did all of that, and then formed a semi-successful indie rock band and got to live my dreams. So what was originally intended to be this snotty ironic song really flat out –

Crawdaddy!: Autobiographical.

Lou Barlow: Yeah.

Crawdaddy!: How is the Merge record you put out (Goodnight Unknown) doing?

Poorly. I don’t know; I think it made a profit, so that was good! But it sold a lot less than the other Merge record I did (Emoh). But then I meet a lot of people that don’t even know that it’s out. Some of the people that really loved the last record were taken aback by the way it starts out maybe a little too strong.

Crawdaddy!: And I imagine a lot of people are just downloading it too.

Lou Barlow: Yeah! Sure, of course. There’s no way to compare it to something that came out five years ago. There are a lot of factors there. I try not to gravitate towards “Everybody thinks it sucks.” But that’s generally what I do! It’s kind of a habit I have.

Crawdaddy!: No, it’s another good one! I don’t think you’ve ever put out an album that I didn’t – I mean, there were definitely songs by other members of Sebadoh I wasn’t fond of, but your songwriting has always been pretty steady.

Lou Barlow: I’d like to think so. I think I’ve screwed up along the way with maybe the way the records were produced, things like that. I don’t think I’ve always made the right choices for a song. But in general, I don’t really put out a record unless I feel very strongly about what I’m singing and where it fits in with my other stuff. I’m really into that. I’m really into this whole, you know, “Why is this record necessary? What am I going to say with this record that I didn’t say with the last one?” I get really into it. It’s like my little world that I get into. That’s part of what always makes it so much fun for me. It always makes it interesting.

Crawdaddy!: So what did you say with Goodnight Unknown that you hadn’t said?

Lou Barlow: I think what I wanted to do was I wanted to take the production style that I used to use, when I made four-track cassettes – when I really learned how to use my four-track – and do tons of layering and really get this, for lack of a better word (and it’s certainly not a word I would’ve used then, when I was doing it) vibe. You know? I wanted to get this vibe out of it that was spooky and aggressive and lyrically kind of almost obtuse in some ways, and kind of surround that lyrical ambivalence with a lot of almost cloudy sounds, and just kinda get that mood back. And I wanted to do that, but do it in 2008. I wanted to incorporate the kind of recording that I was using now and figure out how, since what I’m kinda stuck with now is digital, how I was gonna make that tolerable for me, how I was gonna make it sound enough like my old analog tape things to make me happy. You know, meld the two together so it would be an approachable full recording, but with my old four-track kind of feel. And there are a few things on that record that I feel very strongly that “Yep! I did it. Okay, great. There it is! I did it.”

Crawdaddy!: The lyrics definitely do seem more vague or mysterious or something than before. I mean, I was just reading them and going, “What is he talking about here!? Clearly he’s talking about a person, but what is he saying??”

Lou Barlow: Yeah! I really went with that. I was like, “I want these to be anthemic and totally ambivalent.” That was this thing that I had. I don’t know why. I mean, looking back on it, now I’m just like, “Why did I do that?” But I know I did it because that was just where I was at. And I thought that the record that came before it, Emoh, was so, so plain-spoken for the most part. With that record, I really wanted to make an easy listening record. I find it to be a very friendly record. I just decided that was not what I wanted to do with the next one! I’m like, “Well, I did that.” And I’m actually not feeling that much more friendly, and I’m in the midst of Dinosaur Jr., so my life has been almost taken over by this really aggressive music. The aggression of Dinosaur, the feeling of Dinosaur – coming back into that was really just bound to affect me. That sound really bears the imprint of me being involved with J. But for me, it’s good! That’s a good thing for me, but I can totally see someone from the outside saying, “Well, what is this about exactly?” But I like that too.

Crawdaddy!: Do you have any idea if J has heard Goodnight Unknown or Emoh?

Lou Barlow: No, I don’t really know.

Crawdaddy!: Is he really just like a co-employee at this point?

Lou Barlow: Well, he always has been. He and I just exist on these parallel universes. So many things between our lives are so similar that it’s really funny. We’ve kinda had a similar career trajectory, and we both know a lot of really great people that we can rely on and play music with, and both of us have been really lucky in that respect, but it’s really funny how I try to link up with him or try to get some crossover from there, and he’s kinda resistant to it! He’s really into his thing. Like you look at what I’ve done, and how many different people I’ve worked with, and how many different types of music I’ve played and all that stuff. Then you look at J and he’s just perfecting this thing that he does that’s pretty much based around the guitar and the drums. There’s not too many deviations in his output. And he’s very successful. His house is bigger than mine! Obviously he did something right. But at the same time, I feel compelled to try to be a part of his life -- to try to somehow make an impression on the music that he plays and the vibe that he puts across, and be a part of that crazy live thing that he has, which is just such a bizarre thing. His wall of amplifiers; his whole thing. It’s fascinating to me! I’m like, “Wow!” When I play his songs and when I’m on tour with him, it makes my life more interesting.

Crawdaddy!: In Deep Wound, he wasn’t a guitarist, was he?

Lou Barlow: No, he was the drummer.

Crawdaddy!: Did you know at the time that he played the guitar?

Lou Barlow: He played everything. I wrote the first batch of Deep Wound songs, and that was it. Then he started writing and saying, “Here’s the new songs.” Then he brought out a guitar and he played the riffs on the guitar and showed them to me. “Well, there we go! I guess that’s the way it’s gonna be.” He kinda took it over, which was cool with me because I liked his songs.

Crawdaddy!: And did both of your tastes change at the same time then? To switch from that to Dinosaur?

Lou Barlow: Yeah. Totally. That’s kind of that weird parallel thing that we have. I really changed at the same time, and we were both kind of consuming Forced Exposure and Touch & Go and Gerard Cosloy’s Conflict, but there was also the whole post-hardcore thing of just really guitary and what seemed like really basic pop bands who weren’t pop bands; they were actually kind of weird. He and I kind of just realized what it meant to listen to new music -- what that actually means -- and then to discover old music at the same time. It was incredible. Some people were getting really into heavy metal, and that’s all they did. If you had a friend who got into Metallica, that was it. That was the total everything that the person listened to! I mean, he might go out on the edge and listen to Judas Priest, but it just didn’t seem like…. And then the hardcore people all just wanted to be – everything just narrowed. But the way J saw stuff and the way I saw stuff, there was just so much to draw upon. And J literally started writing great songs right after that, that somehow encapsulated all the different things we listened to.

Crawdaddy!: Was Dinosaur intended from the beginning to be mainly his outlet? Because it seems like you had a lot of input on the first album too. At least it sounds that way.

Lou Barlow: It sounds that way, but it’s not. J wrote all of the songs that I sing. And I tried. Our very first demo had a song on it I wrote that didn’t make it onto the album. It kinda set a precedent. With Deep Wound at least, it started off like J was, “Okay, we’re in it together” and then he basically took over. With Dinosaur, I didn’t even have a chance. He was so prolific, and so on! I was working the way I still work now; I collect things and they take shape over periods of time.

Crawdaddy!: See, that’s hard to believe considering how many two minute songs you wrote back then. I mean, you wrote a ton of songs.

Lou Barlow: Yes, I did. But it was all sort of based more on the weird tunings than anything else. And it was all this stuff that I didn’t know how to streamline to the point that I could bring it to J. You know what I mean?

Crawdaddy!: Yeah. It’s not like Dinosaur Jr. could play “I Love Me” or something like that.

Lou Barlow: Yeah! Because with Dinosaur, we’re playing standard-tuned instruments and playing into a rock setup. And whatever I’m doing, or whatever unique I was coming up with at the time – that kind of uniqueness wouldn’t really…. I mean, I tried to bring it over to the other side, but the scale was just astonishing. J was commanding his instrument. It was shocking. He was just coming up with these chord progressions that were cooler than Mission of Burma and Husker Du combined. And that was like, those were our…. That was, you know…. Fuck! It was incredible! Like The Birthday Party and all that other stuff we listened to.

Crawdaddy!: Those early Sebadoh records – were they recorded at the same time you were in Dinosaur?

Lou Barlow: Yeah, pretty much.

Crawdaddy!: Did playing music become any less fun or more stressful when it switched from a hobby to a career? Did songwriting ever feel like a chore?

Lou Barlow: I was thinking about that, because we’re working on the Sebadoh reissues -- one for Bakesale, which was like a really great time, and one for Harmacy, which I hate. I hate Harmacy more than any record I’ve ever done. That period signals for me when everything got really hard. We just got really caught up in the label stuff. Bakesale did really well, and our next record was gonna do even better. And in the meantime, I’d had a hit with Folk Implosion, which totally screwed things up. It didn’t screw things up for me, but it screwed things up for everybody else, because it was like, “Oh no. Now there’s gonna be a Sebadoh record that’s coming on the heels of ‘Natural One,’ which hit the Billboard charts.” My feeling was, “No, we’re Sebadoh. Our drummer plays with us because he’s the guy who can score pot! That’s why he’s playing drums. It has nothing to do with how good of a drummer he is; it’s just like he’s a really good friend and we hang out and we have a great time together.” And that’s why he was playing drums. But to start going into the studio for Harmacy and then to realize that this was going to be a really big problem because he couldn’t play the drums and because my new songs couldn’t really take off….

Crawdaddy!: Wait, was this Bob Fay? Or somebody after him?

Lou Barlow: Bob Fay. Bob Fay. He couldn’t play. Not that I thought he could! I couldn’t really argue his case: “Well yeah, right! He can’t play! I mean, is that a big deal?” “Yes, it’s a big deal.” “Why is it a big deal?” “Because you’re not gonna get played on the radio, and we really need you to get played on the radio because we just gave you $100,000 to make a record!” Which was new to me, that kinda stuff. You just realize that all of a sudden there’s money being thrown around to promote –

Crawdaddy!: But he played on Bakesale too, didn’t he?

Lou Barlow: Yeah, he did! But the songs were supershort. We kept all those songs really short and the production was really mid-fi. And when we stepped in to do the next record, all of a sudden everything was sounding more pro, and that’s when all of a sudden it was like, “The weakness is revealed.” We had had really good luck with Tim O’Heir with Bakesale, so we were like, “Okay, we’ll do the next record with you.” Tim comes into the situation going, “Let’s push this to the next level. Let’s make this happen.” It was a totally cliché ‘happens to a million bands’ deal. You get into the studio, your friend’s the drummer, and you gotta fire him. Except we didn’t fire him. And we made a record that was just absolutely soaked in this feeling of failure. Sub Pop lost tons of money on it and it was a huge failure, and Jon Poneman and Bruce Pavitt had this huge public falling out, and that’s when Sebadoh kinda lost it. We sorta lost our thing, and there was less people coming to the shows, and that continued through the last Sebadoh record (The Sebadoh).

Crawdaddy!: What did you think of the last Sebadoh record?

Lou Barlow: I loved it. I really liked it.

Crawdaddy!: Was Russ Pollard a real drummer?

Lou Barlow: Yes. He played really well. He could play anything, and like Jason, he’s a multi-instrumentalist.

Crawdaddy!: Was he also a friend of yours?

Lou Barlow: Yeah. Jason was living in Kentucky, and Russ was part of that Louisville scene. You know, the Slint people, King Kong….

Crawdaddy!: Do you have one album that you feel like is you at the peak of your powers so far? Like if somebody said, “Hey, what album should I hear by you?” I know it’s hard because you do so many different things, but I’m just curious if there’s one you look at and go, “Wow, I was really on fire on that one.”

Lou Barlow: Sebadoh III. I think that the four-track recordings on that record are really good. I just think there’s something special there that I can hear every time I hear it.

Crawdaddy!: That’s the one that kinda made your career, isn’t it? That was when I first heard of Sebadoh.

Lou Barlow: Yeah, there was a momentum that started there. It was our third Homestead record, and Gerard Cosloy had just left Homestead, and Ken Katkin had started there and he was really into the record. So we got a little better promotion and it came out really quickly. And listening to that record, I’m like, “Yeah! It’s an interesting record.” It would be interesting even if it came out now, because it’s a very odd record. And I like it because it’s before I really – when the band became an electric band and started touring, there was a certain amount of streamlining that had to be put in place just to keep the flow going between playing live shows as much as possible and recording quickly to capture the band before they go on tour to play it, you know what I mean? And we kinda got into that cycle. Sebadoh III was the last record before that happened. Eric’s songs are so unique. He put so much work into them. And I worked really hard on mine.

Crawdaddy!: Is Harmacy the only one you’re not too fond of?

Lou Barlow: Yeah.

Crawdaddy!: So what’s next? Are there gonna be more Dinosaur albums, you think?

Lou Barlow: I’m not sure. I think that’s the idea. J is kinda raging right now. He just recorded a solo record. That’s coming out on Sub Pop. And J’s apparently getting ready to start writing new Dinosaur songs! I was shocked at how he’s managed to get up to speed. It was a little slow with the first reunion record (Beyond), but after that record something just switched in his head. For the Farm record, he was writing a couple of songs a day! “Here we go – bam, bam, bam.” It was really impressive! He had riffs and drum parts; they were all ready to go.

Crawdaddy!: Isn’t it hard to be away from your family so much?

Lou Barlow: Yeah, it’s really hard.

Crawdaddy!: But you gotta bring home the bacon, I guess.

Lou Barlow: Yeah. I think other people are away a lot longer than I am. When I’m home, I’m home. When I’m home, I’m at my wife’s beck and call. I’m not like, “Hey, I’ll see ya later! I’m going to the studio.” When I’m home, I’m as focused as I can be on being a good husband and parent.

Crawdaddy!: Do you write songs when you’re home still?

Lou Barlow: With my family? I try! I think that’s my whole thing. It’s a challenge.

Crawdaddy!: How old is your daughter now?

Lou Barlow: She’s five.

Crawdaddy!: Does she like your music at all? Has she heard it?

Lou Barlow: No. She likes music, but I don’t really like listening to my own music around the house! When I sit down to play the guitar, it kinda freaks her out. I kind of imagine it from her point of view: when an adult sits down and plays a guitar and sings forcefully in your presence, it’s kind of a lot to take. I don’t know. The way the songs that I play and the style that I play, I’m not like this guy that smiles and picks up a guitar and starts singing a goofy song! I mean, I can sort of do that, but we do that on another level – when she sings songs. She gets impatient when she hears me singing, and she wants to sing. And I want her to sing! But I don’t know. Maybe it’ll be different with my son. I’m not sure.

Crawdaddy!: And he’s less than a year, right?

Lou Barlow: Yeah, he’s ten months.

Crawdaddy!: Does your daughter like having a baby brother?

Lou Barlow: Oh, yeah! She’s really into it.

Crawdaddy!: Wow. A son and a daughter. Is that it, you think?

Lou Barlow: Absolutely. There is no fucking way we would have another child! Oh my God. Man.

Reader Comments

Andy Krajewski
This was a fantastic interview. Talked about the 80s and 90s stuff, too, which is always interesting.

Add your thoughts?

Lou Barlow's many fine work can be buy here - just click four times!

If your "bar" is too "low" and you have to go to the "lou" ("loo"), click here to return to MarkPrindle.gofuckyourself.