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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Interview: Pete Yorn

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Somewhere on 2001's crowded table of rock music's much-heralded critical renaissance (between Dashboard Confessional's weepy emo drip and the payphone drone of The White Stripes), there was a place for an unknown drummer turned singer-songwriter from South Jersey named Pete Yorn. After being named one of Rolling Stone's Best New Artists, he toured for more than a year and a half on the strength of his gold-selling debut, Musicforthemorningafter, which he followed in 2003 with Day I Forgot. He's on tour now in advance of album three, Nightcrawler. Adri Mehra spoke with Yorn for The A.V. Club's Twin Cities print edition.

The A.V. Club: Why such a long break between albums? It's been more than three years.

Pete Yorn: [Laughs.] I don't know, man. I've just been writing and recording. There was no rush. I just kept writing songs, and I wanted to get them all down. It kind of went with the experiencing of life and enjoying being home for a while, because I had been touring so much. I wanted it to be a natural progression as opposed to some sort of need to get my record out for business purposes. I just wanted to experience all of the things that make me write the songs that I write.

AVC: Why an acoustic tour?

PY: Well, it's called the "You & Me" tour, you being the audience, and me being myself. It's just more intimate this way. I've been wanting to do an acoustic tour for a long time and present the songs in their most simplified form. Plus, we had about two months before the new record came out, and having not toured for so long, I felt like this was a good opportunity to get back into it in a simple way and reconnect with the fans on a really personal level. And there's no set list either; we're just kind of feeling the room and how we're connecting with the crowd, and just going on the pure energy of the night to dictate how the set goes. When my new record comes out in August and I come back out with my full band, in a way it'll be more choreographed. These shows are designed to be really loose and more interactive.

AVC: You've stated that this might be your last solo album, and that you may start a band.

PY: When I say that, I mean that it might be the last one for now. I can't say that at another time I won't go back and continue to write those kinds of songs. But I've always envied the great songwriting relationships like Lennon and McCartney–people who have the opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other and then present them in a band format. And I've been working by myself for so long that I'm interested to see what it would be like to be in a band. But I recorded so much music for this project that, who knows, I might put out a giant six-disc boxed set of B-sides before I do that.

AVC: Dave Grohl and the Dixie Chicks both appear on your new record. Did you write with them as well?

PY: I wrote with the Dixie Chicks for their new record, and one of my songs that we did together is called "Baby Hold On." But on my new record, they just performed. I didn't write with Grohl, though–he just came in and played drums. And just nailed it. He's so good.