Last month Dan Bern released, Hoody, the latest in a neverending string solid-to-classic records. (I am currently attempting to tackle all of said records in one massive review. I'm struggling. But keep an eye out for it soon. You can read my short review of Hoody for exclaim! here.) The album is further proof to my claim that Dan Bern is one of the greatest living songwriters. His albums have come to serve as marking points in my life. They always have something to give me, whether it be a nugget of wisdom to ponder, a few tears to clean out the ducts or a laugh to get me through a day. His music has been a constant source of inspiration, in fact, if you recall, Dan Bern is the main reason this 5 Questions exists as well as the first answerer of the questions. Doing this over the last year has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. With that in mind, I caught up with Bern last month at his stop here in Victoria and asked him if he'd be into coming back for Round 2 to ring in another year. Just like last time, we did it completely unprepared after the show. I wrote frantically as he answered the questions. The meat is here and the trimmings are in my mind. Don't worry about it. 5 wasn't enough, so we did 10. It's a special occasion. Enjoy.
*As this is the 1 Year Anniversary of the 5 Questions, I've taken a "Best of" approach for this Q&A Extravaganza and taken some of the best Guest Questions.
Support good music and buy Hoody (Or maybe something else from the vast Bern catalogue. Let me recommend Drifter.) right over here.
1. When is the last time you did something for the first time? (DJ Murge)
I don’t recall but I know the next thing I’m going to do for the first time is learn to ride a unicycle. I made a pact with a friend that I would learn. I really gotta get on that.
2. If you could spend a day with anyone living or dead who would it be and what would you do? (The Gaff)
I’d spend a day with my dad. Maybe we’d go to the movies. Or I’d spend the day with my family, just doing what we do.
3. If you could combine two superhero powers and become a new superhero, which two powers would you choose? (Danny from HighKicks)
Easy! Flying and invisibility. Those are always the two, right?
4. Who would you want to play you in a movie about you? (Dan Bern)
Brando. Hopefully 23 year old Brando but I’d settle for the 300 pound horror.
5. If you had the power to give true, lasting happiness to one person on Earth, who would you give it to? (Jim Infantino/Jim’s Big Ego)
My daughter. No question. Easy.
6. How much money would you require to cut off your eyebrows? (Colin from Pigeon Hole)
That’s hard because the moment you set a minimum that’s what you’re going to get. I’d like 2 or 3 million, but I’d probably take like $7000. I could do I wanted for a couple of months and really, who gives a fuck? I’ll paint ‘em on. I can get fake fur for my eyes.
7. What was the first album you bought with your own money?
It was Tom Jones Live in Las Vegas. I got it for $3.98.
8. What’s your most memorable concert experience?
Well, there’s a lot. Arlo (Guthrie) in Chicago, outside, sun going down as he started. Or how about Lightin’ Hopkins a week before he died. I remember he got really mad and yelled at his handler. I saw three nights of Dylan at the Palladium in Hollywood. Or how about the White Stripes in New York, two days before 9/11. Do you want some more?
9. Stones or Beatles?
This is something music nerds will argue over forever because the answer is always and forever different. It is entirely dependent on which one you heard last. I mean, if you just heard “Paint It Black,” then “Paint It Black” is the coolest fucking song you’ve ever heard. But if you hear “Yesterday” then “Yesterday” is the best, most beautiful song you’ve heard. There is no answer.
10. What’s your most beloved sports memory?
Probably teaching tennis to Wilt Chamberlain. Yeah, right? Six formal lessons in a public park in Encino (California). That or maybe breaking into Wrigley Field one night and having the whole place to myself.