Features Chris Isaak Walks A Lonely Road, Page 2

Addicted To Noise: You've said that your new album, Forever Blue, is about a relationship that didn't work out for you. "Somebody's Crying," the first hit off the album, is clearly about that relationship. How'd you write that song?

Chris Isaak: I wrote it at a party. I borrowed a guitar instead of mixing in, getting out of my rut, getting happy, whatever. I said, hey, there's an old Silvertone guitar. I went back where everybody had their coats laying on a bed. I went back there, started playing the guitar, and wrote "Somebody's Crying."


Isaak was born in the summer
of 1956, just three months after
Elvis Presley scored his first
Number One hit, "Heartbreak Hotel."

ATN: What were you thinking about when you wrote that?

Isaak: If you were looking at my life at the time, it looked like everything was okay. That I was having a good time. But in actuality, I was missing her more than ever. I like the first lines of the song: "I know somebody/ And they cry for you/ They lie awake at night." Not only are you saying that this is happening, but it's kind of in a secret way. It's like a little kid's way of saying things. Most of us are as terrified of love as little kids are terrified of the world. Little kids come up to you and say, "I know someone who loves you" or "I know someone who likes you." They say it like, I'm not going to really come out and say it. And for adults, it's probably the same way. They never really get beyond that fear.

ATN: It's also a more poetic way of communicating. What made you think to write that way?

Isaak: That's the way I feel. Still afraid to talk to her. You break up with somebody and that's the one person you'd like to talk to, but the one person I won't allow myself to talk to. I know her number. I haven't forgotten. That's not the reason. I still know how to dial a phone. I have phone service right at my house. [smiles wryly] I have the desire, the phone, everything is all there. Just something stops me.

Isaak, Chris, "Changed Your Mind" (from Forever Blue)
(45 second excerpt)

[PLAY] Stereo MPEG (1.08M)
[PLAY] Mono MPEG (541k)
[PLAY] Mono Sun-AU (360k)


ATN: Why did you choose to let the world know that a lot of these songs were about a real relationship that ended?

Isaak: I think it's helpful that people know what you're trying to say. I used say the music speaks for itself. I no longer feel that way. Call me jaded, but I think the more you can tell people exactly what was going on, the more details you can fill them in with, the more background and color you can give it, the better. It helps them to know where you're coming from. Less and less do I care about embarrassment. Old people do more scandalous things than any rebel you want to name. Because they don't give a damn. They could give a rat's ass what you think. They're 80 years old. They're leaving soon, you know what I mean? I start looking at the world and I know I'm not going to be here forever. I'll try to be a little more honest every year. This record's pretty honest. It's confused. Sometimes you paint yourself a lighter stroke, a better tint, you know. Whether you want to or not, you tell the story from your perspective and it makes you better than you may really be. So I tell people, it's as honest as I can be and still have me be the good guy. But I try to be conscious of not making her into a villain. She's not a villain. Life tears people apart. I love that line. Anthony Quinn said it.


"Wicked Game soundcheck," 52 sec, 3.7MB Quicktime

ATN: That relationship had gone on for three years?

Isaak: Yes. You don't know how much you're going to miss somebody until they're gone. Then you find out. I'm happy the record is proof to her that she created a big impression on me. Despite all the confusion and anger and frustration and whatever the hell we've gone through. I don't know how she feels about me now. She may be disgusted. But whatever she thinks, she doesn't realize that here's somebody who thinks about her. and who's impressed by her.

ATN: Impressed?

Isaak: Yeah, she made an impression. She was a smart cookie.

ATN: "Changed Your Mind" is a beautiful song moody, sad.

Isaak: That's a way out-there song. I don't expect anybody to get it but a lot of people seem to. It's so far out and so dark. I had a lot of fun at the end when it goes: "I want your love/ I need your love/ Too late/ You changed your mind." "Changed your mind" is such a little expression that people use to cover massive things. It's like, "I'm going to love you forever and ever, we're going to always be together and have kids and live in a house and it's going to be beautiful and I'll always take care of you." Then, "I changed my mind." Oh, okay. Then they redefine things. "I'm not in love with you, but I love you." What the hell does that mean? I always picture like a real dark sky, almost tropical setting ... It's funny how when things change so differently, a couple of years can seem like a million years. When things change like that, when you stop going out with somebody, you stop going to the same diner, you don't ride in their car anymore, they don't call you. You don't see the same people. That circle is broken. We used to always go down to this diner and she'd always get a Dr. Pepper and then we'd go over here and take a walk, but I haven't done that now in three years. That's all over.

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