Q&A: Steve Poltz Says Jewel is Hot and Austin is Stupid
Steve Poltz is a Canadian-born singer-songwriter currently based in San Diego. Perhaps best know for co-writing “You Were Meant for Me,” the No. 1 hit for Jewel (and having a brief fling with her), Poltz’s songs are filled with satirical lyrics and simple melodies that often endear themselves to the crowds on the coffee house circuit. His most recent effort, Traveling , might well be his best yet, featuring such signature smart-ass numbers as “What Would Ghandi Do” and “Serve Me My Food.” Poltz took some time during his on-going tour to speak about his music, his life and whatever else came to his warped mind.
On a scale of one to 10, how hot is Jewel?
Hotter than the scalding water Glen Close used to boil the bunny in Fatal Attraction. Hotter than the blood in Bill Belichick’s veins when Eli Manning completed “the pass.” Hotter than a Catholic priest at Boy Scout meeting. Hotter than the shotgun Dick Cheney used to shoot that guy in the face with. You get the idea. She goes to 11 just like the amps in Spinal Tap.
Your solo work has a sarcastic bent. Do you think the average listener can pick up on your dry humor?
No, but they can pick up my laundry, cook me a hot meal.
What happened while you were on Mercury Records?
Danny Goldberg signed me and told me I was a genius and had a huge party for me in his office with all kinds of powerful press people and cameras snapping and cute girls smiling. A year later, I called up wanting to purchase some CDs for road sales and when his secretary answered the phone, I told her my name and she said, “Poltz? How do you spell that? You’re on the label? Funny, I don’t see your name. We’ll get back to you at a later date.” I’m still waiting for that call.
What role do hangovers play in your music?
They used to play a role, but I’m off the booze. I used up all my drink tickets, as they say in the business of not drinking. Most of my best work was in my pre-teen years while I was still hate on whiskey.
Your music has been described as adult alternative pop. What the hell does that mean?
It means I swing both ways and that I am a lady boy.
How is your new CD Traveling different from previous releases?
It’s the same songs with a different cover. People don’t listen to CDs anymore. They just buy them because they feel sorry for me; because I come to their cities and amuse them like some sort of clown -- not a creepy clown but a sad one like Shakes the Clown.
If you could only have one CD in your car, what would it be?
It would be an audio book of Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck read by David Carradine. I loved him in Kung Fu and I love him reading that book. It makes me cry every time Lenny kills the mouse. So tragic and beautiful. Tragiful, I guess. I hate music. It all sounds like noise to me.
What is coolest city in Texas?
What paper is this for? The Dallas Observer? Yes, Dallas for sure. I mean, come on. Who killed J.R.? Need I say more? Austin’s stupid and Houston is too humid. Plus, they couldn’t even keep the Oilers. Dallas wins by a long shot. Marfa takes a distant second.
Dallas has a high rate of crime and high percentage of women with breast implants. Do you think the two are related?
Most definitely. I just finished my doctoral thesis on silicone and handguns. It’s going to be published in Time magazine so I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say Dallas doesn’t come out smelling very pretty. I’m just a reporter so don’t hate the player, hate the game. -- Darryl Smyers
Steve Poltz performs with Blue Mountain 8 p.m. Friday, February 8, at All Good Cafe.
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