MB: How did you choose the musicians to play with? Is Ida the name of the band‚ is that where the name came from?
Ida's a band that's been around for a long time. They sort of chose me. They invited me to this recording session along with Tara Jane O'Neil in New York. They flew us to New York and we didn't really know what was going on because they were going to just record this album we figured. It kind developed into recording with me after a while. All the sessions were in New York in this one studio‚ the Levon Helm studio in Woodstock…
MB: In his barn‚ right?
...Yes‚ in the barn. Except for the last one‚ which was some other place in Manhattan. We did a lot of stuff; they let me choose what I thought I wanted to release. They seemed to like everything that we did; I didn't like a lot of the stuff we did…. Finally after about six sessions it got a little special.
MB: In those situations‚ how do you choose which ones you'll do by yourself? Like the first track‚ "It Must Be Gelatine," how do you decide to sit down and do one by yourself and not with the band.
With Ida‚ I didn't do any of them completely solo except for one time they told me‚ "Just go on and play‚ just keep playing songs and we'll be recording them." I don't think we we're ever going to use any of the ones I did that night. I probably sang about ten songs.
MB: Were you not happy with them?
I think that was just for the purpose so they could listen to a bunch of stuff. I like the vocals with the ladies and I like all of the accompaniments of Ida Con Snock. I meet a lot of folks who've heard of Ida‚ and I think Ida's been around for about 15 years. The first time I heard them they came to Portland and played at the Doug Fir‚ which is a lounge we have here. They have these plates in the floor that light up. Soon as I say lounge I think of these yellow squares in the floor.
MB: Have you played at the Doug Fir?
Yeah‚ a few times.
MB: How is it playing there?
It's okay. There's other places; there's a lot of places in Portland to play. I like playing here [at Papa G's Organic Deli]; I like playing at less formal places that aren't really theaters or bars. I tend to be moving out of bars a little bit. This place doesn't depend at all on what the music does; they don't have really any interest in making the money on music. They want particular things now and then here for their amusement‚ you know‚ for the owner's amusement. If I had a place like this‚ I would probably want the same thing‚ bring people here to play. I bring people to Astoria to play now. We play in an art gallery there. I invite people to come play in this gallery‚ but we don't make anything. They might make their gas money…. If I play‚ it guarantees at least five people will be there. [Laughter]
NJ: In Astoria you mean?
It's really hard….
NJ: Is it people you owe money to?
[Laughter] It's really hard to get a big crowd in Astoria. I'm going to start producing here in Portland.
MB: Producing records here?
No‚ shows.
NJ: Are you going to do a tour at all?
I'm going to do a tour with Jolie [Holland]. It starts October 1st and ends the 7th when I get to Portland.
NJ: West Coast.
Yeah‚ it goes San Diego‚ L.A.‚ San Francisco‚ Seattle‚ Portland‚ and then no more touring until January when I go to England‚ Scotland and Ireland for a few weeks.
NJ: Do you do well over there?
Okay. I've been around the circuit now for maybe 15 years. England is a good market; Scotland is kind of a good market. There's a few places in Ireland to play‚ not many for my level of showbiz. As far as their folk-music-type things go‚ they have tons of folk music over there. They don't have much demand for the Americana in their folk circuit.