PM: I've heard or read you describe yourself as a deadhead Portland guy, like a rainbaby. Did the songs of the Dead ever influence you at any point?
TS: What, the Dead's songs?
PM: Yeah. Did you like them?
TS: Oh, yeah, yeah. I still would like--I got a friend that knows Robert Hunter, and I'm trying to get to meet him. He does a great abstract thing--I love the Grateful Dead.
PM: Yeah. And so few people will say that in music today. I'm a closet deadhead, for sure, being a California guy.
PM: Now, is the friend of yours that knows Hunter Jim Lauderdale?
TS: No, but I do know Jim. Do you know who Peter Cooper is?
PM: Yeah, sure.
TS: He writes for the Tennessean? [The main Nashville Newspaper.]
PM: Sure, great guy.
TS: He's like one of my main drinkin' buddies, and he knows Hunter. In fact, when Hunter came to down, I think he might have stayed at Cooper's house one night. He said he had--what are those things, a didgeridoo.
PM: He did?
TS: He was playing a didgeridoo and smoking pot through it.
PM: Holy jeez.
TS: I know. I just love his lyrics, like "Box of Rain," or "Saint Stephen," "Truckin'." We used to play, "I Need a Miracle" when I had a band. Off that one weird record--not a disco record, but that was the record that had that chick singer on it.
TS: Yeah, yeah.
PM: Yeah, I saw her just the other day [laughs] as a matter of fact.
TS: You're kidding me!
PM: No. I ended up on this Caribbean Jam Cruise.
PM: My friend Steve Kimock was playing with his band Zero, and Donna was singing with him. And she's an old buddy of mine.
TS: No shit?
TS: And what was that like? Who else was on that cruise?
PM: You know, like Galactic and all these jam bands, like Derek Trucks, Greyboy Allstars, ALO, New Mastersounds, tons of them.
It was really great.
TS: I like that stuff.
PM: I would love to help you meet Hunter sometime too. We got to hook that up--
TS: Oh, man! I would love that. I've been kind of fantasizing about trying to get a lyric lesson from him, somehow. Because I've had a few guys that I've succeeded at that, like when I just saw it in my mind, "I'm going to find Kris Kristofferson, and that guy is going to teach me something about songwriting, or I'm going to die trying."
PM: Did that ever happen, per se? I know he's a friend, but did you ever take a lesson from him in that way?
TS: Him and Prine. I'm not going to tell you what they taught me, because sometimes they said, "Don't tell nobody that."
PM: Ah, that's really good.
TS: I know specifically Buffett taught me something one time, and he said, "Now, that's not up for"--you know, "Don't go telling everybody what I just told you."
PM: Oh, wow.
TS: That made me happy. I said, "I won't." And I use it every fucking night.
PM: That's incredible, that somebody told you something that's a secret, and that you actually can use it in terms of songwriting. I hope someday we're good enough friends where you say, "Okay, Frank, now don't tell anybody this."
[laughter]PM: We may get there. continue