This is Janeane Garofalo. I'm interviewing Eddie Vedder and we're at Brendan's, on the Lower East Side. And my first question will not be a question, it will be a statement. Thank you for letting me interview you, because I know you don't like it, as I don't either. I'm in the stand-up and acting business, which is hard enough, but the music journalists are the harshest mistress. I have never read more people that are waiting for people to fail in my life. I have never seen more type of slanted writing wherein the person cannot wait for sophomore slump. Like with No Code, which sold so many units, you know what I mean? To me it sold so much stuff. And there was one article which said "Why are these guys smiling?" It made zero sense to me. I don't understand where the rock critics or the rock journalist is coming from. Like, Chris Rock, when he hosted the Video Music Awards, he said "Here today, gone today." I don't know if you saw the video awards but he told everybody in the audience to look around, because you're not going to see the same people next year when you come to this event, sitting next to you. And I was thinking, what is it about the music business--not the fans and not the people that you work with, but the rock press--why is it that eager to tear down what they built up?

EV: I don't have answers because I don't do that myself, so I don't know. Even if I don't like someone or I really wish they'd go away, I think they do better with a little encouragement and reinforcement.

JG: I thought that Jamiroquai encouraging Hanson was a really good thing. You know how people like to make fun of Hanson, which I think is a horrible thing because they're children, and I would never take a shot at a child. And Jamiroquai came out and said, in their defense, "Why would you take pleasure in making fun of them? And also, they're children that clearly love making music. They make their own music and do their own thing. What is it that offends you so much about their presence in your business or in your life that you would tear them down?"

EV: I don't really know. I don't have those feelings so I don't know why they would either. I have the same question. You'd need to ask them. But I felt the same way with Hanson. They're fucking kids. I just wonder if they're going to peak way too early. And just the level of exposure. I didn't do that. I made the conscious decision not to be that band that's everywhere, that has its faces everywhere. I don't want to see anybody like that. I don't want to see anybody with that kind of repetition. I think maybe that's one of the reasons that people get sick of them. I mean, historically in music, it's been that way a lot. You look at the people with one or two songs all throughout the '50s and you see that. It's not a lot of bands lasting forever from that time. You know, very few.

JG: What I don't understand is, why would you penalize a band for just starting when they start? I mean, I'm not asking you, obviously, but why would you penalize a band for starting in 1994 if that's when they started? My brother's like that… My brother, who is...thirty-? I'm 33 so he's…

EV: Me, too.

JG: ...He's six years older than I am. And he's one of those guys who refuses to listen to [music that was made] past a certain point. Every band after his line in the sand is penalized for being young. How could you have started prior to 1994 if you're only 20 years old? He accuses them of being one hit wonders all the time and I don't understand wherein that mentality comes from. Then we could have said that the Rolling Stones were one-hit-wonders in 1964, whatever, and Their Satanic Majesty's Request bombed, in theory. So then couldn't we have said that they were done? I don't understand why you are being penalized for your youth or for whenever you would have entered the arena as a musician.

[Tape stops]

EV: I don't dislike interviews. It's just like when you're doing a bunch, when you're trying to do a lot at once, it's just not fun anymore. I mean, it's actually a nice opportunity to have a good conversation about music. You do a lot of European press or international press and, for some reason, you're answering the same questions. And you do a few in a row and you start being cynical and not answering the way you would like to because you're bored. I think it's exciting. As long as you don't do a bunch, I'm excited to do it.

JG: I find that I enjoy doing interviews on television because they can't transcribe anything you said, they can't misinterpret anything you said. You say it and it's right there on TV. Like, I enjoy doing Letterman and Leno, Daily Show, whatever the hell it is.

EV: Oh, totally.

JG: [laughs] Charles Grodin. I enjoy doing Charles Grodin. But I cannot stand doing print and I try and keep it as little as I can because humor doesn't translate, irony doesn't translate, sarcasm. And the journalist is only out to, perhaps put you into the least flattering light they can put you into.

[Tape stops]

JG: Regis, from Regis & Kathy Lee, would like me to ask you: What are your thoughts on Perry Como and are you influenced by him and do you like him?

EV: Perry Como has influenced me in the past. He's made me go to sleep.

JG: [laughing] Have you seen the SCTV parody of Perry Como?

EV: Exactly. That's my point exactly. Da-doo-doo-doo. [Perry Como-style] He'd be lounging. He'd just be laying down the whole time.

JG: And then he'd have back-up singers.

EV: This is my message to Regis: Regis, I have to admit, I've been accused of listening to, or being associated with older music, like The Who, but Perry Como's, I think, a little bit before my time. And if he thinks I sound like him…

JG: I don't know if he thought he was making a vocal comparison. That was something I did want to say. It's not a question, it's a statement again. About your vocals. Especially on one of the songs on Yield. What is it, like song number eight or nine or something. Your vocals just seem so disenfranchised from what you look like.

EV: Ah. Good, good.


JG: When I look at you, I see more of a soft-spoken, gentle-type spirit. And then the vocals are manly-man, almost, somewhat aggressive in a way. Not even in a way. They are actually aggressive. And it just doesn't fit your physicality. There's nothing to say to that, I guess. It's just a statement I've made that, you know, you hear a person like a DJ and you meet the DJ when you do a morning radio thing, or something.

EV: Well, they have to come up with a radio voice. I mean, there's only certain voices. They have to do something. And they can actually become that voice. And that is the DJ's, you know, his name is, um, Slappin' Jack in the morning, or whatever, and that's your voice.

JG: The morning zoo with your drive-time team.

EV: But with a song, I would say that I would feel free to interpret and sing a song, if I'm writing something in the third person, sing it, like, first person. Even the "Evolution" song ["Do The Evolution"], which I happen to like…

JG: [laughs] The first mammal to wear pants.

EV: Yeah. And still doing it. Yeah, I feel like I'm not singing as me. In fact, I'm not. It's not about the way I feel. I'm singing as a guy who's completely drunk with technology and man's control, and excited by it, and just ignorant and drunk.

JG: You're like a bleacher seat guy at a Fenway game.

EV: I'm like a hunter, out with the boys. Or a guy in a bulldozer, knocking over trees, really excited about how I'm manipulating the earth. So I think it would be too much to say it's like a character but your voice wants to transmit that kind of energy, so it might not be the normal voice that you sing to your wife to, when you're hanging out singing to each other.

JG: …As you are wont to do. I understand that. Your songs are sort of poetic. Like poetry, like these stream-of-consciousness lines that go together. Some are stories, but in this album, when I was looking at the lyric sheet that you sent me, it looked like, um, poetry. And I'm not saying that in a kiss-ass way, I'm saying that's how I interpolate it…

EV: Ooh, you have interviewed before. "Interpolate." Go ahead, sorry.

JG: When you write a lot of songs, do you find that it's easier to write about yourself or to write like, as you're being another person, like in the third person? Or writing about, like, say you see two people doing something, you see and experience when you're out and about, and you write about that as if you are the person.

EV: I have to admit that when the focus starts coming at you and you don't feel worthy of the focus and you want to continue writing songs and getting a point across, that you might tend to write more in the third person, even if it might have something to do with you in the song, just because you don't want it to be about you. You really want to create an ambiguous story where the moods fit, kind of everyone can relate to and it's not just about me and how I feel. Yeah, I think even if I wrote a song in the first person, I would change it to the third, for protection. And again, I just don't want the focus. It's not about me. It's not about who I was in high school. It's really not…me. It's an art form where you can transmit. I've seen one or two pictures of a favorite architect I have – this guy [Antoni] Gaudi. I've seen, I know what Kurt Vonnegut looks like. But I don't read it thinking of his face. I'm thinking about what he's talking about and the people he's talking about. It's great that one person created this art but I look at the art, I'm not obsessed with the people behind it.

[Tape stops.]

JG: I always suspect when I hear a love song written by Bono, or somebody, Billy Joel, who-the-fuck-ever, I don't know. But how do they know anymore? They don't experience anything in a natural way anymore, ever. So, are they writing to gear toward the record-buyer or do they honestly feel… 'Cause I think there's a certain point where you really actually stop feeling things in a natural way anymore. Nothing is just as it is. Everything's loaded. The stakes are higher… Baby, I don't want to give you anymore chips. I'm sorry, I'm not talking to Eddie, I'm talking to my dog. Eddie can have more chips if he wants.

EV: I don't know who it was. Somebody was asked a similar question. It might have been Bonnie Raitt or something. They said "How can you still sing the blues? I mean, you've won Grammy Awards and your concerts are sold out or whatever." And she said, "I'm singing about things that I didn't forget." I thought that was a really good answer.

JG: And if you didn't hear what he said because he's so soft-spoken, he said "I'm singing about things I didn't forget." In a nutshell. But don't nutshell it, because that's not fair.

EV: I'm trying to let go of stuff that I didn't forget. Things that I'm kind of beyond. I just want to not live with all that still floating around in my head. So I'm thinking that, if it remains that I'm still kind of getting it out in songs, then it's actually healthy… But I'm really sensitive to anything that's manufactured and if I were doing it then I would know that someone else knew I was doing it and I would just move on and just start writing really happy songs or something. Which, I think we're writing happier songs.

[Tape stops]

EV: At this point in the interview, Janeane's crawling around on the bar floor looking for a water glass that she set down for the dog and a hoof that--the PETA people might be upset that she's giving dogs hoofs to chew on.

[Tape stops]

EV: This is Janeane's regular haunt. She's now found someone to take her dog for a walk so if there's less dog-barking in the next few lines, you might notice. Note to the transcriber: If you could include the dog barks in the script, that would be nice. And please include all the laughter. Because we've already discussed with print interviews you kind of don't get to hear laughter and sarcasm.

[Tape stops]

JG: They're not interested in making you…

EV: Human.

JG: Whatever it is, in my experience with the press it's been nothing but almost completely negative. And it destroyed my participation in Saturday Night Live, when I was on that briefly. The press made it the most uncomfortable place to work because they can't understand when you say things in context. They just want to take the worst things. You do an interview and they don't care that you have to go back to work there on Monday. You know what I mean? And to tell the truth about SNL is to, in theory, bad mouth them. And if you tell the truth about your working environment there, which is, for some strange reason, among the oddest and most unpleasant working environments in the history of television -- and I think there's karmic reasons for that…

EV: You're still bad-mouthing them…

JG: [laughs]: See, I don't think I'm bad-mouthing them. But to me, it's like stating your version of the truth, which is all I can do. If somebody asks me a question, all I can do is answer them. So, if somebody asks me, "Do you enjoy working there?" "No" is my answer. So to say "no" is to somehow blaspheme or to be a heretic of some kind at the SNL family. And what they do at SNL, or what they did at the time I was there, was they would Xerox copies of your interview and it would be there, as many as cast members there were. And they would have it on the table in the writers' room when you walked in. So there's fifteen copies.

EV: You just have to get there early...

JG: [laughs]: Scoop 'em all up. Yeah, it's just very strange. I was listening to Norm McDonald on Howard Stern this morning. I don't know if you listen to Howard Stern?

EV: I don't.

JG: Norm was unceremoniously fired from SNL for some reason. And he doesn't know why and no one knows why, I suppose, except for the people who fired him.

EV: This just happened?

JG: This just happened. So he was on Howard Stern this morning, honestly speaking about it and I remember thinking when I was listening to it, "He is in huge trouble. He is in such trouble," because you cannot tell the truth. You cannot, in the press, tell the truth about things without these major repercussions. And the most interesting thing about entertainment is learning how to negotiate everyone that you work with. Because you realize among your peers--I don't know if peers is the right word, whoever you work with or work for--to speak the truth is to somehow get yourself in trouble. And when you show up for work the next time, you have explaining to do. And it's all because the journalists not only print the truth, but take the truth to a level where it's harmful and hurtful and mean-spirited, even though you didn't intend it to be anything of the sort. You know?

EV: I know. I'm going to relate to that by saying that, some of the things that I was saying at a certain point when a lot of ... in Seattle, everything that would come out of there was really getting over-blown and our lives were changing drastically, really quick. And, again, there was everything that, kids growing up, including us, would wish for, in a certain way. But it started getting really crazy and really exploitative and some kind of bad things were happening. And if you said that "This isn't that cool. You know, I still love music but some of this stuff's getting really weird or really kind of fucked up," that's all they would print was that you hated… I still don't know how to communicate it the right way. It still sounds weird to me.

JG: The thing is you're not allowed your personal life. You're not allowed to have an opinion. For example, today on Howard Stern, somebody was saying, "Maybe you were fired because you don't like hanging around with the other cast members." And Norm was saying "So?" And that's how I feel. Is that a bad thing? He's not allowed to say, "I didn't like hanging around with the other cast members." But people would kind of turn it around, like that was a bad thing. You work with these people so many hours a day and why would you then turn around and say "Yeah, let's hang out." That's his choice. He's a person. Why are your individual tastes and choices and all the things you might say about a topic turned into something that is somehow bratty or disingenuous or ungrateful? That you're grousing about something when there's just all these riches that you've been presented with. That you're a complainer. It's so not that at all. It's just, they asked you a question. You're being interviewed. Why would you not answer a question? Then to be punished for answering those questions is to me a very odd concept.

EV: If you make good art--you're making people laugh or you're making people turn their stereos up--and you're doing good work, you should have the freedom to do your job any way you want. And maybe you can, but you just can't talk about it.

JG: So then why be interviewed? It's just an odd concept. I mean, you're agreeing to be interviewed by me or by whomever--I'm watching the wheels like an annoying interviewer--you're agreeing to be interviewed and then somehow denied your right to express yourself in whatever would be your way of answering that question. I don't really understand what the payoff is or what the gain for the journalist is. Does the journalist actually enjoy when they type up the interview at night, making you look bad? Like, when the Lilith Fair was trashed--I'm still angry about that, when people were trashing the Lilith Fair. I don't know about the Lilith Fair, I wasn't there, but I know that it was a great idea and a great thing and to look for things wrong with it makes me angry.

EV: It was trashed because it was successful. Because if it hadn't been successful, no one would have cared and no one would have said anything.

JG: Or they would have relished pointing out how unsuccessful it was.

EV: In a way, they get a story... No, I didn't mind doing the interviews that were brought--some of them--this time because...this time around, I really felt like just kinda saying, "Hey," and setting the record straight and talking to people that read CMJ, and maybe even get into issues. It's kind of weird because it's a one-way conversation. I mean, you're talking and they read it. But I'm really interested in college music radio and I'm really interested every time I'm kind of around someone or someone introduces themselves who works in college radio. I'm always interested in the kind of play list that they have, who they're sponsored by, if they're funded by the school or if they actually have to do their own advertising or get their own advertising, if they're satellite or if they're cable, how much freedom that they have as college radio people. That was, all of a sudden college radio a few years back, and I definitely don't have my finger on the pulse. I don't go to a college. Actually I never did, so I really didn't care at all. But just on a music level, 'cause that's where people kind of grow that go on further into radio. I'm just wondering what the atmosphere is like. Hopefully they're not having to do their own advertising and they get grants and things like that from the school.

JG: I'm assuming college radio is paid for by the college.

EV: I'm going to guess, and hopefully I'm right, that I would say it's maybe 30%.

JG: Who else would pay for it, though?

EV: They have to, that's part of their job. That way--maybe this is the idea--that now, anybody interested in radio, they have to actually learn how to do promotions, too. Sell advertising and all that stuff. [pauses] Uh, okay, that's just teaching them how to be evil.

JG: [Laughs] Well that's something.

EV: Yeah, and you'll need it, you know? But some people don't. Rolling Stone kind of painted a picture of me as being a careerist or something – pretty funny – but, you know, I sleep really well at night, or in the morning, knowing that we've never ever stepped on anyone or stabbed them in the back. And I think it's important. Maybe some people wouldn't remember that or they can block that out... O.J. Simpson.

JG: He'd block it out before anyone. He's not a fan of college radio.

EV: Obviously he's able to block out things that he's done.

JG: Well, you heard about his recent quote in Esquire magazine?

EV: No, but I have one, too. What's yours?

JG: In Esquire magazine, he said, "Let's say I did kill her..."

EV: Hmm?

JG: "Let's say I did kill her"-- yeah, he did, honest to God. In the interview he said, "Let's say I did kill Nicole and Ron. It would mean that I would have to have loved her very much, wouldn't it?'" You can interpret that any way you want.

EV: [Rolling his eyes] Wow.

JG: But we could go on and on about the O.J. thing. There's a million things about O.J. being pay-back for the years of injustice done to the black man, and the black man's triumph over whitey. You know, he married the Nordic homecoming queen and triumphed in the end. There could be so many levels you can read into that whole case.

EV: O.J. hadn't been black for a long time.

JG: No, well, you know. Suffice it to say, you don't marry Nicole Brown--it's such a white move. And that's going to be interpreted as racist on my part, to even separate in any way. But the reality of life is there are separations to be made in some capacity... In an interview, anyway. [Laughing] See, interviews aren't like real conversations.

EV: We're doing pretty good, though. In New York, there's a store and they have some things that are autographed by, I don't know, sports people. So, I have this friend that I've known for a long, long time and I went into this store to look for something. The guy tells me today that O.J. Simpson had been in and the energy was just crazy. Crazy. And then people started piling up outside the windows and all this kind of stuff, to watch. But here's the quote. He was looking at a picture of Mike Tyson that was signed and going to sell for $350. And O.J. looks at it and says, "Why do you have him? He's not a role model."

JG: [Laughing]: Not like him.

EV: And this guy who works there, he's pretty cool. He just looked at him and didn't say a word.

JG: But, really, the role model quote...

[Side one of tape ends.] JG: [Emphatically] Role model. Role model. You just missed the best, most profound statement by Eddie about role models that I can't even recreate because it was so good. Role model-wise: That is such an interesting concept to be thrust upon anyone. And they always put it on athletes. And it is, to me, in and of itself, kind of a racist construct. Like, you're the spokesmodel for the ghetto now. You're a black guy who made it out and he played ball. Everything you do is now scrutinized by every child in this ghetto. At the Cabrini-Green project. If you are to slip up and sleep with a woman, that is of--culturally speaking--loose morals, you have now disappointed the entire project. It's like, our community always expects the black man or the black woman to be the absolute paragon of… uh… I am the least articulate woman in the world, so I can't say what I mean.

EV: What if they could work around this problem? What if every Time magazine or People would highlight the doctors or scientists…

JG: Or teachers! Have you ever seen Mystery Science Theater 3000? At the end, in the credits, they say, "To the teachers of America." Did you ever notice that? Which is a really wonderful thing. And my father's retired but he's now a teacher. And he's teaching in the inner city in downtown Houston. And I talk to my Dad all the time. He doesn't get it. I feel so terrible for him. My dad, he's like 60 years old. He doesn't understand that kids can talk back now or use slang. He's just…uh….chagrined. Every night, he comes home and my father is chagrined at the back-talk. They're flippant, as he would say. And he doesn't get it that that's the way it is now. You're going to go teach in the inner city and you're going to get kids that are going to talk back to you. And I'm not for kids "talking back" but, also, I'm not one for "you owe respect because a person's older than you." I've never understood that concept and I don't believe that. And I find that over and over again at the dog park, if I may be so bold as to utilize the dog-park analogy. When I go to the dog-park, sometimes there's dog owners who are elderly, if you will, and they're very rude. They're just not nice dog owners and they're not nice, kind of communal to dog park culture nice people. Why do I have to be really nice to them because they're elderly? I mean, I don't feel good about telling an old woman to shut up…

EV: It's fine because you bring [old folks] up in such a negative way, but I've been realizing lately – and I thought this might be an interesting forum to bring it up in because basically college music is younger folk--but I'm kind of sick of hearing about young people, myself.

JG: You wanna come home with me for spring break. You know, hang out with my dad and his new wife. [Laughing] They're 60. They're a lot of fun.

EV: It's the young teenagers--and this is not the Gen X thing at all, because that's despicable to have this large clump of people stereotyped, but to create a new box of people. I feel like I've sat at a lot of tables for many hours, bitching about things with people that, I think they're bitching because they're youthful and they have energy to change things but they're not. They're just coming up with negative questions and they're not coming up with one answer. And for the last year and a half, I'm over that. Just over it. The older people that I've met and spent a lot of time with recently--and even a couple are here in New York--that are in their late '50s, but they've got energy of a bright-eyed thirteen year old and everything's possible, and if it's not, it's like Vonnegut looking at things kind of ironically. It's kind of like changing a negative into something kind of beautiful or at least funny. And maybe that comes because they've been through it. Or these are people that tried to change things, succeeded in small ways, the problem still continued, and now they have complete perspective on it and it's not that bad anymore. Or it's an interesting subject but nothing to just sit around and be negative about. I feel like I'm really, really anxious to be old, and I'm getting there fast, which is great.

JG: You wanna get older? I don't think it's a bad thing and I'm not crinkling up my nose…

EV: Just in my head, you know?

[Tape stops]

JG: I still think that your perception of New York is going to fall apart, by the millennium. But I'm a landowner, so I can't take it as lightly as others might. Because it's a money sinkhole. It's a sinkhole. And, as a character actor, which I am, who knows? How long can I work? What can I do? And I plan on having children. What am I going to do? I need to have enough money.

EV: Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins...

JG: Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins have a flow, an unbelievable flow.

EV: They have to work as hard as...

JG: I think you're confusing Janeane Garofalo with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, which is a very disparate...

EV: I see talented people who work hard and put them in the same group.

JG: The financial stories of Robbins and Sarandon and Garofalo are so disparate. Basically, my nest egg was squandered on my New York apartment. And I thought, "Okay, I'll just squander it and start from scratch."

EV: You're going to keep working. I mean, I'm sure you're getting paid a lot for this. [Laughs]

JG: Yeah, this interview. As I'm totally misfeeding my dog. It's him chips. But you never know. I've been given an unsolicited vacation thus far. I haven't worked since the beginning of November.

EV: [Laughing] Unsolicited...

JG: It's a vacation I didn't ask for. You never know when your next move.... But this is not really why we're here. We don't really need to talk about my movie career.

[Tape stops]

EV: At this point, Janeane's gone to get me another beer. They're from Seattle--they're called Red Hook. And she's shown me the pictures of her dogs. The other two that aren't here, which looks like they could fit in each one of her pockets. But, it's really pretty amazing because they're like kids. I think she called them kids earlier. That's lovely. I'm glad she had these dogs before her biological clock ran out.

[Tape stops]

JG: Urine? Urine tests for actors?

EV: A year ago, in USA Today, I read one of those USA Today polls and they asked "Should rock stars be tested--have urinalysis tests--for drugs?" And I was kind of shocked to find the answers like 50/50. And that is something that hasn't happened.

JG: Urine tests for what purpose, though?

EV: Should someone who gets behind the wheel of the song be tested for drugs? Now this is 50/50 and this has yet to happen, however, I know for a fact, that this happened recently to someone whom I respect and who has never had a drug problem. But he's had to take a piss test this week.

JG: A urinalysis?

EV: A urinalysis, for a movie. If it was demanded upon you that you take a urinalysis for a movie, would you do it?

JG: Yeah, but for me it's easy because there's nothing that would be in it except maybe a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon. I know that Courtney Love was asked to do one for Larry Flynt. I'd never heard it prior to her story. I would think that song-wise, you should judge lyrics first and then, if they're lame-ass Boyz II Men-type lyrics, then the urinalysis should be put in place because they should be thwarted at any avenue.

EV: So what you're saying is, if you write lame-ass lyrics, you should take a urinalysis test. You should have to have some drugs in your system before you start writing...

JG: If you're mediocre, if you're John Q. Public as a lyricist, as Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys, various and sundry Celine Dion-type artists are, then I think you should be subject to the urinalysis...

EV: I don't think any of those people write their own songs. Some of them don't. Celine Dion certainly doesn't.

JG: You know what I found interesting? Can I say this? Wheels spinning? Can I say this? At the MTV year-end wrap-up--I thought it was interesting, and it's a good demarcation of who enjoys the Spice Girls and entertainment for entertainment's sake, commerce for commerce, art being a different thing--the Puff Daddys, and people like that, the Spice Girls, they are so quick to say "No, people just wanna have fun. They don't want to think. They just wanna have fun. And three million people can't be wrong." Whereas artists... don't say that. People who actually write their own stuff and care about it, don't have that opinion of "people don't want to think." There's such an interesting dichotomy between who can't write and who's not that special to who is special and.... I don't even know how special people swank in. I don't even know how you guys made it. That's what's interesting to me. And I'm not kissing ass, but I think you guys are very special. How did you get mass popularity? Suffice it to say that, ordinarily, it's odd that a band that is actually good lyricists and good musicians crack the mainstream to the degree that you guys have cracked it. And I'm not downplaying any super-mega bands that have done it, because they're all special, too. I'm a huge fan of The Who and Led Zeppelin and so on and so forth, but you know what I'm saying...

EV: Okay, well hypothetically speaking, if I'm to answer the question, it's just pretending that, "Yeah, we are special," or letting me believe that for a second...

JG: Well, all it has to be is that I believe it. You don't have to believe it.

EV: That's great. Because I probably don't. But I think it's something to be taken advantage of. It would be like if an Edward Albee play got attention. This is a great thing. In a world of Beauty And The Beast on Broadway and Miss Saigon, with the huge helicopter that people come to see. An Edward Albee play getting attention...

JG: Grease, with Joe Piscopo? Are you even attempting to badmouth Grease with Joe Piscopo and Xena, warrior princess, as Rizzo. On stage. Yeah, Xena. She fucking kicks ass on stage, by the way, p.s. A Varga girl, come to life, on your New York stage.

EV: Yeah, but that's for people who want to have a good time.

JG: Go ahead, smash the marketplace, I don't care, Eddie. Go ahead.

EV: It's never come out of [Edward Albee's] mouth: "People just want to have fun." The last Edward Albee play I went to, it was a newer play so I hadn't read it or anything and I sit down at this thing and the curtain goes up and the first three lines are completely unnerving and uncomfortable and they're in a social situation between a family in a living room – I mean, it never moves out of this room. And I'm thinking, "Well, why do I like this? Why do I enjoy this so much?" And it's because I will pay money to watch people have conflict, personal conflict, on a real base, family, human level. And it's not entertainment, only in that I'm watching – but I'm not having fun. But I am! I'm not having fun like completely, goo-goo, ha-ha, guffaw. I'm thinking, "This happens. People need to know that this happens. This is helping me deal with something that I've gone through." And I'm both happy about that and not happy about it. But I know going in that I might have to deal with something here. He's putting a mirror up to society, but walking out of that, you can't just be like "I got my money's worth and I saw good special effects," or "I got my money's worth because, God, that was fun," or "I got my money's worth because it was so fun that the date I had was holding my hand and we were laughing together," or whatever. You came out a step ahead because you somehow understood the human condition a little bit more, or you knew that you were going to have these kinds of conflicts to look forward to when you're in your fifties and maybe it will help you when you get there, or you see problems based on miscommunication or lack of communication and you think, "In my own life, maybe I'll keep it from getting that way." So, I think, important art says something. And obviously, there's an Arts and Entertainment network, so does that mean between twelve [o'clock] and six it's just funny stuff and six to nine you'll see art. What would be art and what would be entertainment?

JG: Evening At The Improv ends at 11 and then you get bio of Howard Hughes after that. First of all, you need your set-ups and then you need your rebels.

EV: Okay, stand-ups. Aren't some of the better ones--including you!--not just telling jokes, not just .. Didn't Jerry Seinfeld just come out that he's not even happy with himself as a comedian/artist, because he's kind of...

JG: He's technically brilliant. I don't consider myself an artist in any way, shape or form. I consider myself lucky, lucky, lucky to have swanked into show business on whatever fucking track I swanked in on, as a standup who can't write a joke. And, to my benefit, it's worked that my style chose me, I didn't choose it.

EV: Well, going back to your analogy about our band, I'd just like to say I'm glad you got through...

JG: Well, thank you. I just think that I don't do anything special. I just got lucky. Jerry Seinfeld is technically brilliant. He can write a joke that can appeal to the most amount of people. And also he does a show that is actually smart. His sitcom is really smart: It moves quickly and it deals with a certain type of person.

EV: Now, was he referring in that quote to what he's done as not being what he'd like to because what he's done--to this point--has been somewhat, in some way, trivial? As opposed to bringing up issues, and making them funny. I'm not talking about Dick Gregory or Lenny Bruce or something like that. But you've done that. You've talked about real things, you know, mirrors to society.

JG: Mirrors to magistrates, as Shakespeare? The mirrors to magistrates? I'm sorry. He's called the mirrors to magistrates...

EV: Yes, I know.

JG: [Laughing] Are the wheels spinning? I, in no way, hold mirrors to magistrates. I think that Jerry Seinfeld, while being actually a nice man when I've met him...

EV: And worked with him...

JG: And worked with him, briefly. I think that his show is really smart and he does an interesting thing and he does something that is great within the confines of doing it a very safe way. Whereas Ellen DeGeneres has done something very profound, very profound, by just being herself. She's done something incredibly important. And then there's people like Bill Hicks, the late Bill Hicks, who tried to do something really important, and that's why he never made it to the point of Seinfeld or DeGeneres. He tried to do something that was so very important. I mean, it was my honor and my privilege to open for him. I opened for him a couple of times when I was younger and it was among the greatest stand-up experiences I could have ever retold to a tape recorder.

EV: So he was entertaining? Was he just wanting people to have a good time?

JG: No! No! God, no! That was not it at all. And going back to our original thing...

EV: Did people have a good time?

JG: No! He would walk the room...

EV: I have a good time listening to him.

JG: Oh, of course, because you're smart. And, again, don't misrepresent me as trying to say, elitist, "you're smart, you get it." Bill Hicks used to walk the room like you've never seen and for those who stayed and those who hear what he's saying, it's like a gift. Bill Hicks is giving you something. He means something. His life was not squandered. He's one of the most important people, in his way, in his short life he lived, to be a social critic, I guess, if that's what you want to call him. He was so important. And that's why so many people would leave, because they don't get it. I can remember--and I love my sister, she's a very nice woman--but I used to live in Texas and when I opened for Bill, I lived in Texas for the most part, and my sister used to say "He's not funny. He's not funny. I don't get it." And my sister, she loves watching Home Improvement, but you know, she needs that. And I'm not downplaying Home Improvement and I think Tim Allen does provide a service in his own way. I think he's a nice man. I like Tim Allen. I think he's a funny man. My sister needs something, too. She's got two kids and husband and she needs to know that her choices are okay. And Home Improvement makes her choices okay. You know, "I'm a mom and that's what I do and Tim Allen makes me okay. And there's pride in raising good kids." And there is, and she has great kids.

EV: Is that why people like the Spice Girls? Because they dress like that in real life?

JG: The Spice Girls and Tim Allen, that's not even in the same conversation...

EV: [Laughing] I'm just trying to make you laugh.

JG: [Laughing] I'm not saying you didn't succeed. I'm just saying that Tim Allen and the Spice Girls are two totally different avenues that we could go on for discussion. But Tim Allen is important to my brother and sister. He means something to them. He needs to be there.

EV: If Tim Allen wasn't there, they'd find something else, of the same ilk. Then they'd need that.

JG: Either way, he needs to be there for them.

[Tape stops]

EV: Okay, at this point, Janeane who, with my wife's permission, I'm totally in love with, and she is too without even having met her--she's gone off to look for the dog one more time, and she's just finished, I think, glass of wine number three and she's really picking up speed, here. Here she comes.

JG: It's Elvis's birthday today. What does that mean to you?

EV: Ahhh. It's Christmas. This means it is Christmas in the Johnny Ramone household. Is it January 6th?

JG: It's the 8th.

EV: This is when Johnny Ramone celebrates Christmas and last year I was there.

JG: At the Ramones house?

EV: Yeah, and he's going to be angry if I'm not with him this year.

JG: You're grappling with that, among other things.

EV: I am. By the way, the Ramones actually released a live record at their last show. And that's being released for consumption and I hope it gets played on radio. The Ramones don't get as much attention, let's say as the Sex Pistols, because they never had a reunion. They never quit. They're playing the same way that they always played for 2318 shows.

[Tape stops--new tape]

JG: Eddie Vedder's going to start talking right now.

EV: Thank you. Thank you very much.

JG: On Elvis's birthday, by the way, p.s.

EV: It's Elvis's birthday, and he would be, I wonder how old. I have to admit, as much as Elvis is good, I'd be less interested in what Elvis had to say these days than what, maybe, John Lennon had to say these days, which might go back to our conversation that there's a big difference between art and entertainment.

JG: Explain more how it applies to John Lennon.

EV: I think John Lennon would be more art and Elvis would be more entertainment. Even though, Elvis kind of had a spiritual side, gospels and all that. But that seemed to be kind of... there was something spiritual going on there but, again, it's about God and not maybe based on reality.

JG: Can I ask what your feelings are about God?

EV: Sure. I think it's like a movie that was way too popular. It's a story that's been told too many times and just doesn't mean anything. Man lived on the planet -- [placing his fingers an inch apart], this is 5000 years of semi-recorded history. And God and the Bible, that came in somewhere around the middle, maybe 2000. This is the last 2000, this is what we're about to celebrate [indicating about an 1/8th of an inch with his fingers]. Now, humans, in some shape or form, have been on the earth for three million years [pointing across the room to indicate the distance]. So, all this time, from there [gesturing toward the other side of the room], to here [indicating the 1/8th of an inch], there was no God, there was no story, there was no myth and people lived on this planet and they wandered and they gathered and they did all these things. The planet was never threatened. How did they survive for all this time without this belief in God? I'd like to ask this to someone who knows about Christianity and maybe you do. That just seems funny to me.

JG: Funny ha-ha or funny strange?

EV: Funny strange. Funny bad. Funny frown. Not good. That laws are made and wars occur because of this story that was written, again, in this small part of time. And now, this is my real concern, and it doesn't have that much to do with God, but what we've done in the last 50 years, which is like my fingernail, and how fast things are moving, and what's going to happen in the next bit. I mean, we're really fucking things up. And now I'm the young guy bitching but I think there is an answer and I hope people educate themselves about technology and what's happening. I think you should educate yourself about...

JG: Who, the you me? Or the you general?

EV: The you general.

JG: Me?

EV: No.

JG: Wait, I think you were more personal about that. You mean I should educate myself?

EV: I want all my friends to, so they know and I hope that the picture gets broader and they understand that there's a lot of people planning our future and they're not thinking straight. Or there's a lot of profit involved. I don't know where we're going. We're moving really fast and they don't know where we're going and it hasn't been well thought out. And this technological wave that's going to happen, and it's already happening but we don't notice it.

JG: You're thinking of bar codes? Bar codes?

EV: Am I?

JG: No, I'm just saying. Bar codes?

EV: Oh, speaking of bar codes. Well, that's a subtle convenience but it's going to get more to where we're not going to know what joy is. We're not going to know anything simple. We're not going to be able to experience... We might not be able to experience love. This is what I'm predicting. You know, give me 50 years. Things are moving so fast, I guarantee I'll be right. It's going to be strange. I just wish everyone would slow down. This is why I think radio is great. Because it still lends imagination to the experience. There' s no visual involved and hopefully no commercial interference as far as play lists for college radio. I don't know if this happens--it's just an analogy--a playlist approved by the dean or someone in a power situation. I think that that's a simple pleasure that I hope continues to last. Record stores might not survive this. Oh, they won't. Fifteen years, record stores? The tactile experience? Gone. It's going to be convenient and I imagine the compromises, they're going to be vacuous. You won't have the same experience.

JG: What?

EV: Vacuous. Meaningless. Empty. You'll be able to acquire music so quick, it won't mean anything to you. You know, it'll just be another thing that you punch up and you don't even own it. You just order it for five minutes. You'll order a song for five minutes and it'll cost you 50 cents or something. This is in the very near future. You won't have to buy records anymore. You're going to be able to download records onto CD without any artwork. Probably listening to poor-sounding computer speakers. Things are happening fast...

JG: I think...I thought you were saying... I'm not trying to create a false opposition to you but. I'm just saying...

EV: Just for the fun of it, please do.

JG: Well, if it would be fun for you, I would like to. I'm just saying that I don't think so. As far as music is concerned and things like that. Why even purchase it? Why even go to the trouble of punching it up if it's not aesthetically pleasing to you in some way?

EV: You'll get it, it's just going to be such a different experience. And I don't mean to be a Luddite and say I only listen to vinyl, which I mostly listen to vinyl or I just enjoy vinyl. I just... [Pauses] Do you listen to a new song or do you listen to the virtual playing of the song? What was your question again?

JG: I was saying that I don't understand what you're saying. I understand what you're saying about the sweeping of technology and the movement is so fast but when it comes to listening to music or something that goes in your ear-hole, what's the point if it doesn't mean something to you?

EV: Okay. I'll say this. Besides just whether or not you can enjoy a record as it comes across your terminal, let's set that beside the point. Let's just say that when you go down to a record store, and maybe you walk there and you walk by some interesting people and then you walk in the record store and you talk to an interesting person who knows about music or sees you purchasing a record and then says "Oh, did you see these guys live, last time they came through?" Or "these girls." And you say, "Oh that's really cool. Oh yeah, yeah, I might have seen you." And "Oh yeah, yeah" this and that, "Oh, do you know so and so?" "Oh yeah, yeah I do?" And "What did you think about the venue?" "Oh, it was this and that." And "Are you going to see this other band?" "Oh, I'm thinking about it. I'm thinking about it." "Do you have this other record?" You meet someone and then you say, "You know what? Give me your number or something and maybe I'll give you a ride." Or "I've got a bootleg." There's this conversation that takes place between humans in a record store. I'm just using that as an example. Maybe that's what I'm worried, is it going to be lost? Some kind of human interaction. And that takes place on the Internet. This is the other side. I mean, people do converse on the Internet. They talk a lot about music.

JG: I think people converse more on the Internet, though. I think they converse more on the Internet than they do in the record store. Because there's an uncomfortability in the record store of someone standing there...

EV: One guy looks cool with a mohawk and the other guy's got braces...

JG: I think that music and entertainment will always be something that is an interesting thing for people to... purloin? Is that a new word? Did I just make up a word?

EV: Purloin?

JG: Purloin?

EV: Purloin. That's good.

JG: Gosh, I don't know. I think I kind of disagree with you.

EV: Okay. Like Jerry Falwell and Larry Flint, we agree to disagree.

JG: We agree to disagree, respectfully. I think that no matter what, music will always kind of be a thing of taste that people, if they download it, even if they're downloading it, they download it because they like it. And they'll talk about it. And on the Internet, I think they're inclined to discuss more than they would in the record store.

EV: Are you going to get... Can you marry someone on the Internet?

JG: Me? No.

EV: No, I mean can anyone?

JG: Of course they can, and they do. They can and they do.

EV: So sometimes you do meet and, you know...

JG: Absolutely. People meet people on the Internet all the time, for good or for ill. They meet people all the time on the Internet. Me, personally, Janeane Garofalo, I can't even... I can't... I can't connect in person.

EV: So who do they email once they live in the same house? Do they start having affairs immediately because they're missing out on this....

JG: Well, hopefully, once they're under the same roof, they can make it happen...

EV: [laughing] Dispose of the computer!

JG: ...under the same roof. But to me, it's like the brides who marry prison inmates. It's like the same thing. People live on the Internet.

EV: It's a totally unhealthy situation.

JG: ...They marry Internet people. Those are the people that would marry Richard Ramirez.

EV: So who's point is that for?

JG: No one's. No one's. I don't know. Gosh. See, I think the Internet is a good thing so I have no problems with the Internet.

EV: I think there are good things about it, I just don't think it's a good thing.

JG: I think it's great that people are even typing and doing. That's better than just masturbating and watching Jerry Springer. I think it's great that they're on the computer. And I didn't mean to be crass. I'm sorry, tape recorder. Can I check my dog again?

[Tape stops]

EV: Okay, Janeane just went to check on the dog once again, who actually I believe is sleeping and she's going to use the restroom. So, if you wanna print this up. I'm going to do a monologue here. Maybe college radio will be broadcast over the Internet. I know that there have been some radio shows on the Internet and I think it's a form of pirate radio at this point, which I totally encourage. Maybe it'll be a positive experience. The only thing I was trying to state before is that the tactile human experience... Here she comes, the dog is awake, part three.

[Tape stops]

EV: You know, college radio, I don't think they play our music that much, or didn't. And maybe there's a couple of songs that they will be excited about playing but if you don't, don't. I think it's a great format not to play our music. I think that there's enough avenues, there's commercial radio that plays our music, so there's really no need to... You should be playing Built To Spill and Shellac and Stereolab and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and all kinds of other things. So, don't worry about...

JG: And Merkinball.

EV: Merkinball. If you're going to play something of ours, play Merkinball. That's Janeane's idea. I'm really not doing this interview to promote a record on college music. Play whatever you want, that's my main concern.

JG: Is that your motto? That and "No fat chicks." Is that your bumper sticker motto?

EV: Believe it or not, I was always actually mature enough to be offended by that motto at a young age. Actually, it wasn't "No fat chicks," what we used to say was "Harpoon fat chicks," so that was even worse. No, my main concern is that college radio has the freedom to play what they want. Janeane's disciplining her dog now, so that's why I'm talking.

JG: In summation? In summation, I'd like to say that it has been an honor. I just, I have nothing to say in summation. I'm the worst. I have been... Am I not the worst interviewer ever? I can't. I can't think of anything to say...

EV: At this point I'm wishing that Janeane would get over herself, she's been just fine.

JG: [in the background, laughing]: I can't even keep my own dog occupied, let alone a seminal artist.

EV: [Laughing] It's just a mess right now. [Pauses] I think it's really important that college radio has the freedom to play whatever it wants because commercial radio doesn't. It's the last bastion, so to speak. So, good luck. Power to you. In summation.