It's like if you went to a marriage counselor, they'd tell you "You need to find new things to do..."
"You need a hobby now that the kids are out of the house!" My feeling is that Brian and I have such intense chemistry with each and we literally just love playing with each other so much that the chances of the band not playing again together are very slim. But I think it's going to take us a while to figure out what incarnation that might take.
How did the whole Ben Folds thing happen?
Ben Folds e-mailed me, out of the blue — he sent a message to the band, a fan mail basically, saying "Hey, I'm Ben Folds, I'm in Japan touring, I picked up both of your records, they're really incredible, I just want to wave and say I'm here." After I got over the initial shock of how flattering that was —
You were of course a fan of the album he did with William Shatner a few years ago, I take it.
Well, no! I didn't even know about that record. I was familiar with Ben in passing — I think I owned one of his records. I knew some of his other hits. But I was by no means a die-hard fan. And I think that was lucky, because if I had been a die-hard fan —
It would have been weird?
It would have been weird. But instead he came to me, like "Oh, I really respect you, I really like your music." I sort of went back and revisited his music, I bought more of his music, I got more familiar with his stuff, I got the William Shatner record — that blew me away, that really tipped me over the edge. When I heard that he produced that, I thought, "He obviously can produce a great record."
Did he have any Shatner stories?
His stories about William Shatner were all wonderful, he did a great imitation of Shatner. Ben was just incredible to work with, he was really really easy to work with, he was totally professional, there was no drama. And it was really nice to go into that work environment and — I also put a lot of faith in him. I went down there with a big pile of songs, plunked them on the table and said "I trust you". He took a lot of my songs that I really didn't have arrangements for, and he completely arranged them from top to bottom. I had faith that he would do the right thing. I would leave Nashville, come up to Boston, and sit behind my computer waiting for a mix, and he would send something up and just blow my mind. And for that I feel really lucky, I've had other creative projects where I naively walked in saying, "Oh, this is going to be great, no problems, it's all going to be awesome," and things would really not necessarily work out. But with Ben, he totally got me, he got it, he nailed all the songs.