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|Jason Webley Session|
February Relaxing Her Fingers After A Long Winter’s Grip
Buřtguláš (Pork Gulash) (Jana Vébrová)
ONE: What is the motivation behind the hiatus that you’re set to start in November?
Jason Webley: Every once in a while you get a clear signal about something, and I got a very clear, like, “Okay Jason, it’s time to take a break” note about six months ago. I’ve always been telling myself…I tour pretty unrelentingly, and I’m always telling people, “Yeah, I’m going to slow down next year” or “I’m not going to tour as much next year,” but I never do. So, there was this combination of things, but I realized that if I’m going to take a break, I have to actually, really take a break, and I have to tell everyone that I’m going to do it so that I hold myself to it in a more concrete way than like, “Oh yeah, I’m going to take some time off next year.” More than that, I think if any new things are going to enter my life…I mean, I love what I do, and I love the path that I move through the world on, but it has a certain shape to it, and I’ve been living within that shape for quite a while now, and maybe that’s it, but I feel like I need to give some space for other things to take root. If that means potentially sacrificing whatever this wonderful thing is, I feel like I have to be open to that.
TWO: How did you meet Amanda Palmer and begin collaborating on Evelyn Evelyn?
Jason: We met in Adelaide, Australia, in 2000. I was a street performer. She was a street performer, too, and she just saw me playing accordion. She was doing statue stuff down there. I think we were both like, “What the hell are we doing down here?” Someone had told us to go and busk at this festival in Australia, and like fools, we went and did it. The scene there was kind of nuts, and it cost so much money to get down there…we hung out a tiny, tiny bit. This is a couple years before the Dresden Dolls existed, I think, and we didn’t do anything musical at all, but when her band started up…One thing that’s amazing about Amanda is that she is a very inclusive person. That’s something that I’ve really tried to learn from her. As she started becoming successful, the way her mind works, she just starts thinking like, “Who have I met that I think is awesome?” and so she contacted me, and I started opening for the Dolls, here and there, when I could. Through that, the desire came to try and write some stuff together. I had just started this project of doing these collaborative songwriting things with a lot of different friends, and so, as I was touring with the Dolls, I was kind of trying to court her into wanting to do one of these collaborations, but when we actually got down to doing it, I was a little bit frustrated, because she quickly was like, “Oh, but we can’t just make a little limited-edition 7” out of this! We need to make this whole album!” and I was like, “Uh, I just want to make a little 7”.” But it ended up being great, and it ended up being this big, crazy thing.
THREE: Is there anything that is going to make you want to tour again?
Jason: To be completely honest, and this isn’t something that I’ve been talking about with anyone other than my closest friends, but, if and when I start touring again, if I’m going to be really honest about it, it will require a similar impulse to the one that’s asking me to stop. Though it might seem like a kind of arbitrary thing, those impulses, when they’re clear, are actually rare. If I’m being honest, it could be…I don’t know what the impulse is going to look like that makes me decide to do stuff again, and I don’t know what the stuff I do, at that point, will look like. It might be boringly the same old crap, you know, it might be the guy with the hat and the accordion, driving around, playing little galleries here and there, or maybe something different will happen. As to what it will take to make start touring again, yeah, it’s…things rise up. They rise up in the world, they rise up within us, and I think that it’s important to try to keep your finger on both of those pulses— what’s happening out there, and what’s happening in here, and do what you can to reconcile, or hopefully marry those two.