What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
Hearing 'Visions Of Johanna' by Bob Dylan, at age 13, diverted my course from wanting to be a mad scientist into being a songwriter. It's hard for me to imagine what I would have been without that song - the eye that blinks atop the Dylan lighthouse, and beams across the inky sea. `Visions Of Johanna' made me want to write songs just like it - which is pointless as Dylan had already written it - but it directed me towards writing songs that go in emotionally in two directions at once: up and down, happy and sad, funny and cynical. So you laugh on top and cry underneath. In pursuit of that, I've learned how many other moods a song can carry, and most of them are worth hearing for the way they cradle and unleash those moods: but `Visions Of Johanna' is the template for my songwriting and fundamentally my approach to life. 'Inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial' and 'The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face' are lines that wrote me as surely as Dylan wrote them.
Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 (Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, and Bill Rieflin) play an early show (1 pm) tomorrow at Rams Head in Annapolis. They also play Merriweather Post Pavilion with The Decemberists and Andrew Bird on June 8th.