Clarence Greenwood - Citizen Cope

December 14, 2004

Tell me how you got into music and into the style of music that you perform.

I don't know. I just started with poetry and then I started plucking on the guitar one string at a time and just felt inspired to make music. From there I guess my style ultimately developed into what it is today.

When you write your songs, what goes through your mind as you write?

It's usually an instinctual thing. I don't know what goes through my mind. Just in a deep meditative process where I'm just trying to get something out and touching somebody.

So you're inspired by the things you see in everyday life and feelings you have?

Oh, inspired. Yeah, by life and everything that's in life I guess. People you've met. Places you've been. Situations you've had. Women you encounter. Those kind of things.

You have a new CD out called The Clarence Greenwood Recordings.

Yeah, it was a lot of fun to make. I wanted to make something that had a really good flowing tempo and be a CD that could scope from start to finish when you listen to it. Just sound really cool and be really cool to have. Strong lyrical content.

Tell us about a couple of songs that you like.

There's "Son's Gonna Rise" which is about rebirth. I used the analgoy of a man driving his wife to the hospital when she's having a baby. In the middle of delivering her child, before the sun has risen, the child being the sun or the actual son and coming up in the morning. Touches on rebirth and birth.

I was listening to some of the songs and "Pablo Picasso" was one that I really liked.

Oh, cool.

For some reason that song kind of reminded me of the situation with Dimebag Darrell. That obsession angle with the deranged fan who loved Pantera.

That's interesting. Kind of looked into the delusional stuff. You never know what was going through that guy's head when he did it. Maybe he thought it was whatever. Actually that whole thing since I heard about it the other day, it kind of makes me a little bit more sad everyday I hear and think about it. Obviously I didn't know these people that were killed but my heart goes out to the people who loved them. There aren't words that can really describe what that must feel like.

He was from Dallas and I did see him at a lot of shows and it's weird now knowing I won't see him around.

I can't believe how that could have happened and know what that person was thinking. There are a lot of crazy people out there man. It makes you wonder. Like with John Lennon. The guy who killed Lennon was going to kill Johnny Carson but then just decided to kill John Lennon. At what point did these people just flip out?

I think sometimes people see signs of mental illness in others and just ignore it. Then something crazy happens when the person just snaps. It's like maybe if it hadn't been ignored because I think the guy was mentally ill long before he thought about killing Dimebag. You never know. Another song I liked was "Hurricane Waters".

Yeah, "Hurricane Waters". It's kind of hard to describe the songs. I made the record mostly at Electric Lady Studios. The album was a lot of fun of to make.

You started out as a poet and then decided to set your poety to music?

Well, I don't even know. It was something I started to just do. Something creative to do. Just as a release. I got the word part earlier than the music and yeah, I started putting music to it. I've been doing the melodies and singing and everything one step at a time. I guess I evolved into an artist.

It reminds me a lot of what Bruce Springsteen does. That introspective stuff where every song is well thought out and you can relate to all of them.

Thank you very much.

I thought it was a really beautiful record.

Thank you very much. That means a lot to me.

I look forward to seeing the show tonight.

I'll be doing a solo show tonight but I'm coming back with the band later on. In a month or so.

Do you have anyone out on the road with you?

I'm with the soundman. I'm just going to do a solo acoustic set. It's going to be cool. I play like that a lot. I'm just bringing the band next month I think in January. January 28 or 29 I'm going to play with Marc Broussard at the Gypsy Tearoom again I think.

How long have you been out on the road?

I've been out pretty constantly since May. We've been doing different aspects of different tours. It's been going real well. Everything is doing really well on the East coast and the West coast and we're trying to break into Texas right now. It's been hard but it's like we're not on radio a lot down here. We don't really get radio play. We're underground. We're trying to get that thing going by playing a lot of shows.

It's hard to get really good stuff on the radio these days.

Yeah, I know. We're not really thinking about that. We're just seeing what we can do which is play live and try to play really well. Also the word of mouth has been really tremendous. It'll be cool to see. It'll be a good show.

When do you get to go back home?

To New York I get to go back the 23rd and then I start back out on the 27th just until right before New Year's Eve and then I have a couple of weeks off in January. Then I'm going back out at the end of January.

You're a busy man. Any other thoughts or comments?

I just really appreciate your doing this.

Citizen Cope