PM: It's got to be fair or accurate to say that it's kind of a complicated relationship that you have with Nashville, right?
RF: Well, no, not anymore. That's happened so long ago, and a lot of my frustration was really aimed at a place that was representing me as a publisher, API. I worked with them for about four years, and they just never had any luck getting any of my stuff cut. And even demoing stuff was kind of hard with them. I lived in Chicago, and that was part of the trouble, too, that I wasn't around all the time. I wrote them something like 120 songs and--
PM: In four years?
RF: Yeah, yeah. And I did the co-write dance, and tried to be around a lot. It cost me a lot of money to travel down there. I was down there for maybe a third of the time or something, a week to two weeks out of every month. And I just never got anywhere with it. It was kind of disappointing. But on the other hand, looking back, I didn't write as well as I'm writing now, and the songs I was writing weren't as good as I thought they were, so there was some of that in there. If I were doing it again, I would definitely do it differently. I would be more aware of who was cutting when and what they were cutting, and what kind of stuff the good writers that were getting cut were writing.
PM: Right. The stuff you're writing now, as hyper-intelligent and clever or deep as it may be, it's still cut-able. And it's hard to believe that you couldn't get it in the hoop, if that's what you set your mind do, and if you were in Nashville and up with the guys that are hot at the moment.
RF: Yeah, I think I could definitely do it.
PM: If one is so inclined--I mean, you're really about your own career, I would imagine, and as evidenced by this great record that you just did.
RF: Well, the country market has definitely got like loads of stupidity and incompetence, as in any other field of endeavor. But it's really the closest mass market music to what I just naturally do, so that's why I went down there in the first place. And that's what keeps drawing me to it.
PM: Right. But you never lived in Nashville, did you?
RF: No, I never did. I would just come down there on the bus or the train or the plane or whatever, and sleep on some guy's floor for a week, and did it that way.
PM: I know you have tons of friends in this town. I was on the phone with several of them this morning for different things. Lorne Rall says that he's looking for his share of the publishing.
PM: I couldn't believe that your publishing was called Lorne Rall Music. So I left Lorne a message saying, "Dude, what's up with this?"
RF: [laughs] Yeah, I just named it that.
PM: [laughs] That's really funny. You just named it your buddy's name.
RF: Yeah, why not?
PM: That's great. And another friend of yours asked me to ask you if you knew a good group in the Chicago area called the Rattlers?
RF: Oh, sure. Were you talking to Ollie O'Shea?
PM: Yeah. He's cutting a fiddle track for me tomorrow.
RF: Oh, good.
PM: I'm looking forward to seeing your Opry Plaza gig on the 24th. Yeah, because I'm really late to the Robbie party, but I'm already a deeply avid fan now. I went out and bought everything I could get my hands on.
RF: Well, thanks, man. Yeah, the party is winding down, but you're welcome in it.