By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Kevin Costner—you may recognize the name from such TNT classics as Bull Durham, Waterworld, Dances With Wolves, Field of Dreams and The Untouchables—has been leading a double life.
In one, he's a successful actor. In the other, he's a rootsy country musician who has been performing (often with singer-songwriter John Coinman) since the '80s. And back then, well, he was big in Japan.
These days, Kevin Costner & Modern West are touring in support of their 2008 release of Heartland-loving Americana for the common man, Untold Truths.
In anticipation of his upcoming show at the Granada this Friday, I didn't catch up with Costner in person to chat about the tour with his very capable band or his life as a musician.
You began playing instruments and singing as a young boy. Was it a natural interest?
KC: About as subtle as a cockroach crawlin' across a white rug!
Right. And were your parents supportive of your musical and acting interests?
My father was no devil worshiper. And I'll have words with any man who says otherwise.
Fair enough. Moving on...Your partnership with John Coinman has been decades long. Do you two share musical inspirations?
Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.
I'll assume he does as well then. So how does it feel to be back onstage after so long in front of a camera?
This is English courage. [long pause] I just happened to be there when the wheel went round.
Gotcha. And what was your motivation for recording and touring? Love of the music? The audience?
I want the girl. That's all. [thinks for a moment] Well, I tend to think of the golf swing as a poem.
Really? But your brand of good-ol'-boy country rock seems more about American life and spirit.
This is my corn. You people are guests in my corn.
I'm not sure I understand.
Yeah, well... You're not from Chicago.
That's true, actually.
You know, Phillip, you have a goddamned red, white and blue American right to eat cotton candy and ride roller coasters.
Phillip? Mr. Costner, are you all right?
I have been known on occasion to howl at the moon.
Mr. Costner, it seems you're just quoting your own lines from various films. Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about the storytelling songs on Untold Truths or the tour?
Tell me something: How much mail can a dead postman deliver? [W]hich are we, gentlemen: policemen, or lost causes?
Yeah, I'm not answering those. And I think I've got all I need. Thanks very much.
It's time to work on your interviews. [Winks.] Sex and golf are the two things you can enjoy even if you're not good at them.
My name is Dances With Wolves. I will not talk to you anymore. You are not worth talking to.