[laughs] Well, you could have someone be very critical of the band who doesn't really get what you do.
Or understand music at all or know what the fuck they're talking about. But everyone has an opinion.
It's a healthy checks and balances thing though.
Yeah, I guess. Look, I respect that people just don't give us lip service about the shit we do. We don't write the same song when we write songs -- we try to be different about what we do. And you know what? Sometimes the song we come up with isn't going to be a song that a fan likes or what a typical jam band fan likes. I'm not going to be the guy that goes out and just write every song to be a twenty-minute opus of noodling that's going to feed your drug habit for you. This will keep you grinding on the girl in front of you for the next hour, so this is what my job is. That's not how I really look at things. I look at it differently -- if I heard something I like…
[call interrupted, Rob's son dials on the other line]
Hold on. [laughs] I said this to my wife earlier; thirteen year old boys have to be the dumbest creatures in the world. It's like as soon as you hit thirteen the dumbening starts to happen. It's unreal. I'll tell him something specifically and he'll be like, "OK." And then I'll say, "What did I just say? And he'll say, "I don't know." I told him this morning that I was doing an interview and he asked with who, and I told him the whole deal. He went into the other room and I said to Becca [Rob's wife],"How much do you want to bet that when 9:00 rolls around that he's going to grab the telephone even though he knows I'm going to be on the phone and that someone is calling me." And she said, "Well, he's not supposed to call anyone before 9:00, so I bet he picks up the phone while you're on the interview." [laughter] You know, even though we just had this conversation, it doesn't register that two people can't be on the phone at once. Actually, we've been on the phone a while, so I have to cut him a little slack. What was I talking about?
Just about the fans reaction to you doing different things.
Right. I'm a fan of jazz; I'm a fan of improv; I'm a fan of Frank Zappa; I'm a fan of pop music. If I feel like writing a pop songs and fans don't like it, I can't help that. It's what I like and it's what I like to do. There's definitely going to be backlash from people having their opinion about what music should be, but that's really not my concern. If I feel like I'm doing something of quality, I'm going to do. And sometimes it isn't. If I write a song of poor quality and I don't catch it, I'm glad when someone points it out to me and I realize it's not worth doing. If I can see the logic in why something is bad, then I'll stop doing it. If I don't, I'm not going to.
Along those lines, when you're playing live you get to see a lot of different reactions. You can see that a lot of times people are getting loose at your shows. You must see some strange things from up there?
You do.
[laughing] Is there anything that stands out that's worth sharing?
Ah, fuck man. Dude. You know how long I've been doing this and how many weirdos I've seen? [laughs] It's the amount of time that passes and what you've seen over time, it's not like at a typical show that you'd see that much happening. But over the span of shows that I've played there's... it's tough to watch sometimes because at this point I'm 43, I have 3 kids, and I don't go up on stage with, you know, a handful of pills to pop or whatever. I don't party -- I stopped doing that like fifteen years ago. I don't do anything like that anymore. So just watching kids that aren't that much older than my oldest son, and seeing them just out of their tits, it's kind of a bummer to see. They're just too young to be that out of their mind and like throwing up and seeing like... I don't know, I don't want to get into this. It's depressing. [laughter]
I'm all for people going out who are in the realm of being of age, having enough beers to get loose and if they're going to smoke a little bit of weed: cool. That's fine. But seeing people lose complete control of themselves, you know? You'll see young girls who just don't have a concept of what's going on and are just all messed up on ecstasy or whatever it is, and just being, like, humped by dudes around them. And you know, you're thinking, "Why is this happening? Do they even know what's happening?" And that makes you feel really bad. And that can ruin a show sometimes. Because people don't see it if 2000 people are there. I'm not saying that that happens every night, but I've seen it enough that's it's made an impression on me. And it's kind of depressing.
But then there are people that will do some really funny shit while you're playing -- like the drunk guy who will take off his shirt and he's really fat [laughter] and that will crack you up. There are all sorts of goofy stuff that happens while you're playing -- some of it's good and some of it's bad. It's like a cross-section of life when you're playing.
Right, you see the deep darkness and the deep...
It's like driving again [laughter]. If nothing happens during the drive, then it was a good drive. If you see a giant horrific car crash, you're going to remember it for life. You think about that every time you drive, but the reality is you've see that like twice during all the journeys you've taken. [laughs]