I've got a whole city to hold down

June 07, 2004

Weighing in on Wilco

In advance of the band's Saturday 6/12 show at the Vic and 6/22 release of its new album, A Ghost Is Born, both local dailies splashed Wilco across the front page of their Sunday entertainment sections this past weekend.

The Sun-Times package included a long feature by Jim DeRogatis that draws on two interviews (one pre-rehab, one post-rehab) with Jeff Tweedy and also quotes John Stirratt, plus sidebars on Ghost and Tweedy's rehab experience.

Maybe the most interesting revelation in all of this is how Tweedy's perception of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has evolved in the three years since that album's completion. With Ghost, he says, "I just wanted to make a record that was more passionate and more appealing than the way Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sounded to me over time. I stand by that record -- I really am proud of it -- but one of the things that changed about the world for me between Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and this record is that I don't think you can hide the passion anymore. I think there is a distance to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ... ."

Greg Kot's spread in the Tribune also offered both a lengthy feature on the band (with Tweedy and Stirratt interviews) and a separate Q&A with Tweedy on his rehab.

Kot, as anyone reading this far knows, has written a biography of Tweedy, Learning How to Die (due in stores next Tuesday, 6/15). (See Chicagomuzikblog's book-related colloquy with Kot here - scroll down to April 21 entries.)

The initial version of that book barely mentioned Ghost, and was completed before the band's most recent lineup changes and Tweedy's rehab stint. Kot said in April that he'd since updated the book to cover the new album and the late-winter melodrama, but we've browsed the final version and just about everything new is in the Trib feature - in some cases word for word.

The most intriguing tidbit of that feature, or certainly the one destined to cause the most consternation among the Wilcolyte legions, comes from John Stirratt: "If it all ended, I think we've had a pretty good run," the veteran bassist says. "It's been a long run, longer than most bands. We're living on borrowed time in a way."

Update: Good god, enough already.