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Peter Mulvey - The Triste Interview
|US singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey earned his musical spurs busking in the subways of Boston and later on the streets of Dublin: a musical apprenticeship which helped develop his unique detuned guitar style and provided him with a repertoire of hundreds of cover songs. In the Spring of 2002, more than half a dozen albums into his career, Triste caught up with him at a gig at Chester's Telford Warehouse where he was supporting his old friend Chris Smither on a joint tour of the UK and Ireland. His latest album, "Kitchen Radio", was released in early 2004
Triste: Looking at the last album, The Trouble With Poets quite a lot of the songs are from a while back. How long does it take to write enough songs to create an album?
Peter Mulvey: Well, I write slowly. But in this case, I had a handful of songs, maybe three or four, that had come along, that Goody [David Goodrich - Peter Mulvey's cowriter and producer] and I had shaped together. And then we recorded the album in August. In June, Goody came to my house and he had a bunch of sort, of Ďpre-createdí little musical ideas on tape, and we just sat there and took the seeds of them. In the space of a week, we more or less wrote the other six or seven tunes that make up the album. Which was great. Thatís a great way to work, because itís just material. You get less involved in, ďWhat do I have to say?Ē and more involved in ďWhat are we doing in the present moment? What does this thought lead to, and what does the next thought lead to?Ē And it helps to have another person there, to argue these things back and forth with. But then, you know, Iíve fallen back to my usual pattern of writing, just occasionally. I should write more often. I write every day, in a journal, to just sort of keep the pen happy. But I should really just create every day. Because I really do believe that creativity is just a muscle. Like any other.
Triste: So you have to write a lot of shit to get some diamonds?
Peter Mulvey: Sure! Oh, I absolutely think that thatís true! But also, you know, I think we all want to be Tom Waits. Tom Waits doesnít write anything, and then he sits down and he writes twenty tunes, and fourteen of them are fantastic. That, by his report, is his process, and we might as well believe him. But most people are not like that, and I think that the really great writers are the ones that just write and write and write.
Triste: So youíre not particularly prolific in terms of actual finished songs?
Peter Mulvey: I am not prolific, no.
Triste: So how do you see albums in general? Are they just a collection of your best dozen songs of that moment, or a place where you are in time? Or is there sometimes a theme, linking, perhaps? How do you produce a CD?
Peter Mulvey: You know, I think that theyíre always just your best dozen songs at that moment. And sometimes they might become a themed album, or something that addresses a given thing, but I think that happens to be because your best dozen songs at that moment are, Ďof a pieceí, you know what I mean? I know very few people - I suspect maybe Elvis Costello - actually can sort of pick and choose. I think most people, you just put out whatís on your mind.
Triste: Because if youíre producing songs over two or three years, to get a so-called Ďthemeí, is very difficult, I presume, isnít it? Because your mood might have changed: you might have got married!
Peter Mulvey: Right, right. And yet songs are also about what doesnít change. So in that regard, you know, hopefully, any collection of songs that comes from a strong and well thought out perspective is going to, I think, hold together. Letís hope. Weíll see.
Triste: You mentioned before your co-compositions with David Goodrich. What exactly is his input? He is a guitarist, first and foremost, I presume, isnít he? I assume youíre the Ďwordsí man? Are all the words yours?
Peter Mulvey: I write all the words, but he shapes them, just by saying, ďNo,Ē or, ďYes,Ē or, ďIt could be better,Ē or, ďWhat if?Ē So I tend to write them, but he tends to be the guide. And the music, in the case of The Trouble with Poets, the music was probably both of us, but someone - I would say two thirds him - brought in a raw idea, and then weíd just start batting it back and forth.
Triste: So he acts more as an editor to your novelist?
Peter Mulvey: Yeah. Lyrically, heís definitely the editor. And then musically, either of us can be the novelist, and both of us can be the editor. Musically itís a bit more fluid.
Triste: Again, going back to the last album - this one, compared to Deep Blue - he actually produces as well. He has a big say, doesnít he?
Peter Mulvey: Absolutely.
Triste: Personally, I find Deep Blue to be slightly over-produced. I prefer the sound of The Trouble with Poets.
Peter Mulvey: Oh, absolutely. I think so. I also loved the way the album Rapture was produced, because it wasnít really produced, you know? It was my first studio record, and we just went in and recorded it in two days. Thatís a great way to make a record. And I think in some ways, we had too much time with Deep Blue. Itís always, sort of, striking that balance, because when you making a record, youíre not performing the songs. Not really. Youíre creating something that people listen to when youíre not there. And so you either try to capture the feel of live performance, or itís a perfectly healthy idea to just throw that concept out the window and to create something that is nothing like your live performance, but that in itself, captures a Ďfeelí thatís like the feel that you want people to get. I think we got closer with this one. Weíll see.
Triste: You say itís probably more worked on, more produced, but the length of time youíve spent on both those albums is not very long. Weíre talking days, rather than weeks or months. Weíre not talking Pink Floyd, spending year's in the studio. So youíre still quite a fast worker, I presume?
Peter Mulvey: Yeah, I tend to be. I mean, one thing that I donít ever feel the need to do much of is fix anything. Iím much more in the school of thought that you just sing the song, and if there are some notes awry, or whatever, the main thing is that it sounds good. So weíll do two or three takes of everything, and then usually itís take one. Sometimes itís take two, once in a while itís take three. But whichever take feels good, even if itís got a couple of technical mistakes. I just did a show in Cleveland, when I had bronchitis. Iím just getting over it. I did a show when I was in the thick of it, and I could barely sing. I could just sort of croak. And it was good! I felt like I turned in a fine show. Which tells you that singing technique is really not the main attraction with me. Itís not what I do.
Triste: But your singing is not entirely secondary to your guitar? I think the singing on the last album is particularly good, to be honest.
Peter Mulvey: Oh, I am, I mean, I am a singer, but technique is not why people come to see me. I mean, again, I am in the group of people who thinks that Bob Dylan is a fantastic singer. Because he has phrasing, and he has commitment, and he has the ability to get in there and light up the words, and thatís what I go for. Itís to sort of, step into the character. So, yeah, I just think thereís a lot more to singing than technique. Although Iím not underrating technique - and there are some technically great singers whom I love.
Triste: But probably more Ďnon-singersí, like yourself?
Peter Mulvey: Well yeah. Like David Hidalgo is one of my favourite singers in the world. I would say itís singers like him and Dylan, and probably me, and itís kind of a crude brush that we paint with. We donít have a ton of finesse. And thatís fine.
Triste: But you liked Jeff Buckley, didnít you?
Peter Mulvey: Oh, I loved him! He was technically brilliant.
Triste: And heís the opposite, isnít he?
Peter Mulvey: Heís amazing! He could do anything he wanted to do. Technique, thereís a lot to be said for it.
Triste: Do you think a lot of the speed of your recording is due to you playing live a lot. Because you tour a hell of a lot?
Peter Mulvey: Absolutely, absolutely. And that comes in really handy in the studio, because Iím not afraid to sing a song, you know? I find that fascinating. Sometimes you will see people, and you can tell that they donít tour, because they just canít play. And itís just because they never have. Didnít Jennifer Lopez just have her first concert? You know, sheís sold millions of records, and apparently sheís never had a concert. Which seems so odd, butÖ
Triste: Iíll go on to the live stuff later on, but keeping with the album: you mentioned, I think, in your performances that your songs aren't autobiographical. Youíve quite clearly pointed that out. Why do you think it was important to make that point? Because youíve actually kind of stated, that, ďItís not me, this.Ē Were people sometimes mistaking you for the characters in the songs, and associating things which shouldnít be there?
Peter Mulvey: Yeah. I guess I wanted to make that point because I have done things that were autobiographical. I think now, if I had it to do over, Iíd just say, in some ways it doesnít matter. If itís a good story, it doesnít matter whether itís true. I mean if itís a bad story, and you lean over and, you know, if youíre watching a bad movie - (I heard Tom Waits say this) - if youíre watching a bad movie and someone leans over and says, ďHey, this happened,Ē youíre still watching a bad movie. So, yeah, whatever your source is, it doesn't matter as long as the work is vital. The vitality of the work is much more important than whether itís autobiographical or not.
Triste: But obviously thereís a spin off. Like, going back to Dylan again, his "Positively 4th Street" obviously has other layers behind that, which sometimes people get tangled up in, rather than the song itself?
Peter Mulvey: Absolutely. Yes.
Triste: So, what actually inspires you to write songs? Just taking this album, or in general, what kind of inspirations have you? For me, some seem to be visual images? Take the song "All The Way Home", you got the flags slapping the flag pole. That seems to me like youíve seen something flapping, maybe that was a visual image?
Peter Mulvey: Yes, that is a clear case. That absolutely was a clear case of an image that simply is the starting point for a song. Most of my stuff - Iíve started to notice - thereís a pattern to most of my stuff, and that is to start with some specific image in the world, follow that, and thereís this little diversion, sort of, two thirds of the way through the tune, where we sort of talk about the larger world, or ramifications, or wherever it goes. And then it returns. I guess itís just the shape of the way my mind works? But then, something like, "Words Too Small to Say" doesnít follow that shape, at all. "Words Too Small to Say" is almost philosophical. Itís almost that series of questions, you know? But then sometimes that can be just a theme. Like "Every Word Except Goodbye" is just a series of instructions. And what matters in that tune to me, is that it matters as much, not just whoís giving these instructions, but who theyíre giving them too, and why. Showing just a part of the picture is often the best way to get at the whole picture, you know?
Triste: Less is more, sometimes?
Peter Mulvey: Less is almost always more, I think.
Triste: Going back to "Words Too Small to Say", I like the way you can slip in a word like Ďdeicideí, and then use colloquialisms like the Ďbig fellaí. I donít know what the phrase is and Ďdeicideí is not often used, is it?
Peter Mulvey: No, I think I may have coined it?
Triste: No, it is a proper word: "To kill oneís gods." I think death metal groups tend to be the only groups to use this word regularly.
Peter Mulvey: Yeah! I tend to range in my own life from fantasticalÖ You know? The Dalai Lamaís concepts of insight meditation, all the way down to how a truck works. Why donít we just say today? I mean, Iím just built like that. I tend to think in, I guess you would call it , a fairly Ďscatter shotí way. Ineluctable. The word Ďineluctableí came up today. And I always think, well where does that word come from? It seemed to me that it would be to elucidate. You canít elucidate. So that would be a way of saying, Ďitís ineluctableí would be a way of saying, Ďitís trueí, but I canít even see why itís true. So, I fell in love with that word.
Triste: And the other thing about it: you are quite literary in your terminology. What was your study course at college? Were you an English major?
Peter Mulvey: I was an English minor, and a Theatre major. Iíve always just loved great words. And I feel like Iím one of the few people I went to school with that actually used what he got his degree in, you know? In Dublin, I had one of Ďthoseí shows, which you have every two dozen shows, and I knew why. It was because I had just suddenly, really firmly, stepped into the characters in the songs - in the meanings of the songs - and become sort of a conduit for whatever the song is trying to communicate. I love those moments. And those moments are pure theatre, which is pure reality, I guess.
Triste: But can you also fake it, when itís not working, some nights? Thatís obviously part of your craft, isnít it? Sometimes you donít probably feel like it, youíre thinking, ďFive hundred miles to drive in the next two daysÖĒ
Peter Mulvey: Absolutely. Youíre always going to have something there. But sometimes, you just fake it Ďtil you make it! Thatís a great saying, I love that. Or to put it in another way: well, thereís two things going on. One is oneís own perception of whatís going on. A show is not always necessarily the most reliable one. Because you can come off stage, and you say, ďOh, that was a terrible seven songs,Ē and someone says, ďThatís the best thing I ever saw.Ē Theyíre right. You know? I mean, theirs is the experience that counts. My feelings about it are only valuable in so much as theyíre a guide, to get the deal out there.
Triste: But does it worry you sometimes when you come off stage, perhaps, and you think you stink, and then somebody comes up to you and praises you? Do you not feel like telling them the truth?
Peter Mulvey: It used to. It used to, but it doesnít any more. Because my own little perspective is just a little fleck of foam on the ocean, you know what I mean? My own little perspective of it has dwindled. Although it seems, at the time, it can seem enormous. Either way, like, ďOh, Iím really on tonight,Ē or, ďOh, this is terrible,Ē can seem like the biggest thought in the room, but, you know, that happens less and less. The best thing you can do is just try to get it out of the way.
Triste: Keeping on "Words Too Small To Say", you mentioned "the hole remains unfillable". Was that a Kierkegaard reference or not? The God-shaped hole? It tends to hint at lack of faith and spiritual emptiness. And obviously you mention Freud and Nietzsche.
Peter Mulvey: I think I did probably hear Kierkegaard voice that concept. I studied him just a little bit. But Iíve probably heard that concept voiced by other people, who probably got it from him. Peter Gabriel has a great one: ďI can hear the distant thunder of a million unheard souls,Ē on that Us record, which was a pretty good record. Definitely!
Triste: Do you never worry, sometimes, about being pretentious. I mean, itís very easy to say, "Oh, heís quoting Sylvia Plath" or whatever?
Peter Mulvey: Yes, but at the same time, I guess I donít haveÖ I guess I do have a little bit of an urge to please the whole world, but you canít. At most, I would say what I do would appeal to - if you could find every one of them - six or seven million human beings on Earth who would say, ďNow thatís for me!Ē Iíd love to find them. I mean, right now, I only am acquainted with maybe twenty or thirty thousand of them. Iíd love to find a couple of hundred thousand, but I donít have any aspirations, you knowÖ And that brings me to just two random connected thoughts: ĎTrying to fill that God shaped holeí is a Bono lyric on "Mofo", from Pop, which is one of my favourite of their records, (their fans hated it, but I loved it). And Bono - that band really does seem to want to win over the entire world! And more power to them, thatís great - but itís not even in my horizon to think along those lines. I donít want to sell a million records. I donít want to sell half a million records. Iíd love to sell 50 thousand, 100 thousand, 200 thousand, you know, would be fine. But after a certain point, I think youíd get away from some things that I love very much. And maybe would be replaced by things that Iíd love just as much, but I very much like small rooms, I love a magic room like this. Just to put a hundred people in a room, and they all kind of get together and have an experience. Thatís fantastic to me.
Triste: On the same song, you were talking about lack of faith, and you mentioned the ones and the zeros were a computer / binary reference, and youíve got your Deep Blue, of course. Is that a big fear to you? The kind of growing technological capacity of the world and maybe kind of dwarfing the human aspects of it, or not?
Peter Mulvey: Itís not so much a fear, itís just a resentment. I just - I bridle, sometimes, at the thought of us being reduced to neurochemical events, you know? I mean, I know that in one sense we are just a walking cloud of neurochemistry. But itís more than that, and it irritates me to see that done. Did you see ĎThe Phantom Menaceí?
Peter Mulvey: He follows that path. George Lucas comes up with some term for it, some sort of substance - biochemical substance - that Ďthe forceí resides in. Oh, give me a break! I wanted to smack him at that moment. Because it isnít. It shouldnít be reduced to that, even if it can be reduced to that - leave me alone in my belief that we are more than that! [Laughs]
Triste: "Tender Blindspot": thereís quite a bit of talking on it, and again on the previous album,"Birgitte" Thatís again another spoken one. Do you have a certain affection for spoken voice?
Peter Mulvey: I do! Ever since I heard Leo Kottke do it. I love it. Bruce Cockburn does it too, but I got it from Leo Kottke - I love that. I love - and it happens in, I guess, a number of my songs, almost all of the ones that I have that are spoken have a sung chorus, and I love that too. Because then it makes the speaking sound more like speaking.
Triste: And you split the album up with the Fats Waller song - "You Meet The Nicest People In Your Dreams" Was that to partition off the album? To give it two sideslike an old vinyl LP?
Peter Mulvey: Yeah - I love that dividing. I think records have gotten too long! I love nine songs on two sides of vinyl. Itís a great way to experience - itís just the perfect amount of music to experience. So we did that for this record, and the Fats Waller tune seemed just the perfect thing as an intermission.
Triste: It lightens the mood a little bit, too, doesnít it?
Peter Mulvey: Absolutely, absolutely.
Triste: Just to broaden the scope a little bit, you use lower case a lot. Is that an ee cummings reference?
Peter Mulvey: It was. I really shouldnít do it any more.
Triste: Even your emails tend to be heavily into lower case.
Peter Mulvey: Yeah, I mean, it started for me years ago, when I discovered ee cummings. I was a teenager, and I said, ďAah, Iím going to adopt this!Ē And unfortunately - you know how this is - when I write upper case letters now, since I havenít really written them in 16 years, my handwriting is bad! I canít, physicallyÖ Iím just at that stage where Iím thinking, ĎIíd better get with this, and learn to write properly.í Especially when I type. Because the thing is, ee cummings, threw out those conventions, but he learned them first. And then, like many kids, I come to it, and I think, ĎOoh! I donít have to learn it because he threw it out!í But now Iím in that process of sort of going back. Which is actually,part of my whole process. I came in with all these unconventional tunings. I didnít know how music worked, and Iíve had that initial burst of creativity, and now, over the past few years, Iíve gone into things more deeply. Like Iíd better learn the standards, learn how this works, learn what it means. Learn to punctuate sentences, capitalise, you know?
Triste: Itís like Picasso; heís a great draughtsman. Ornette Coleman's famous for his free jazz. But if he wanted to he could play a straight blues as well as anyone. Before you throw things away, you have to think about exactly what you are throwing away.
Peter Mulvey: Absolutely. Itís one of the dangers of living after one of these cultural, cosmological, revolutions, is that you can take it for granted. Thereís the danger of a baby being in the bath water that got thrown out.
Triste: You mentioned tunings?. Do you still write songs in normal tunings?
Peter Mulvey: Oh yes! In fact, the most recent tune I wrote came out in standard. Iím starting to really like standard, as well.
Triste: Yeah, but it probably sounds quite weird to you!
Peter Mulvey: Yeah! Itís a nice, unique thing. But also when you start playing in standard a lot, you see why itís there, you know? You have access to all those great major chords, right there, you know, you have this perfect combinationÖ I mean in some ways, itís just bitterly strange. Itís a series of fourths, with one minor third.
Triste: Again, song writing: you say youíre not particularly prolific. Do you have lots of fragments, which you kind of re-hash and put them together occasionally?
Peter Mulvey: I do, I do. Iíve got probably 15 things, floating around, now. What usually happens is, you get 15 things floating around, and then you get to the stage of, well, I better write a record, now. And you use three of the things that were floating around, and come up with a bunch of new ones. So thatís probably whatíll happen. Actually on this trip I play a half hour set every night, Chris [Smither] does all the driving, so Iím trying to get a little bit more creative work done.
Triste: And in Ireland, were you headlining?
Peter Mulvey: No, Chris was headlining.
Triste: He was headlining all the way through? Right, because the impression I got was that you were quite big in Ireland?
Peter Mulvey: I do quite well. In Ireland I definitely did longer than just your typical six song opening set. Which Iíll probably do a lot of, really, just short sets. In Ireland, itís to the point where Chris definitely draws better than I, but between us, we can really pack a room. And what was nice to see is there were people who just really dug us both. Which was fantastic. I love to see, like, some 19 year old kids that I brought out to the gig, and they come back, and theyíre like, ďOh, that Chris is good!Ē Yes - yes he is good!
Triste: Yeah, thatís what I said - I caught you, not by mistake, but I went to see Chris, he never turned up, and you played, like, two long sets. You played the whole night basically. You played probably a lot more than you would normally? And I stayed, obviously! Are you comfortable on stage with the whole environment. Like addressing the crowd and keeping them interested in between songs when you're tuning up for example?
Peter Mulvey: Iím comfortable with it, except when I listen to it on tape, and then I think this guyís talking way, too much, you know? And I try to float: Iíve seen people who say the same thing, night after night, and that can be, actually very effective. And Iíve seen people who say what comes to mind, and thereís a danger in each. The one is danger of it becoming by rote and dull, and the other, the danger is of saying things that make no sense, and donít help the audience at all. So, I try to sort of float, in there, and find something that will just put people at ease.
Triste: I suppose itís like theatre? Itís the difference between total improv. and working to, or around, a script.
Peter Mulvey: Yeah, and of course, improvisation is a wonderful thing, when itís up and running, but you know, you can never forget that when they do Hamlet, they donít improvise! And they shouldnít! Theyíre good words!
Triste: The two extremes of that, as far as I can see are, someone like Townes Van Zandt who had his little set stories and jokes. He recorded a live album in 1973 and he was still telling the same jokes the year before he died. And have you heard of a guy called Hawksley Workman at all? He's a Canadian guy, heís new. And he likes the danger of improvising so heíll go off on flights of fancy between songs. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it comes crashing down, but he likes to court danger. It's horses for courses, I suppose?
Peter Mulvey: Yeah, you chose these things.
Triste: If you get an audience which is talking, or heckling, how do you deal with them? Do you ignore them, or tell them off?
Peter Mulvey: I used to get so mad with audiences that talked, until I realised that if an audience is talking - theyíre in a bar, with their friends, you know? And thatís what people do, you know? And then I just shut up and play. You know what I mean? And hecklers: I donít really get enough of them at gigs to even have a method, or a thought about it. Iíve never really been heckled very badly. I donít know, when you do, I donít know what you do.
Triste: You played in the subways, and stuff, busking. Did that help the whole process of dealing with people, and bringing people in?
Peter Mulvey: Yeah, itís the best thing I ever did. I still - and I mean I play a lot of gigs - I still have, probably, (if you added up all the time), spent more time playing for people in the subway, than I have on stage. And Iíve played, you know, well over a thousand gigs. But the thing is, in the subway, you just play for hours and hours and hours. Thatís where I learned to play, where I learned to perform. Whatever performing is, when youíre good - performing is not difficult, itís just elusive. And I think that itís because youíre not doing anything. You arenít doing anything, youíre just making yourself sort of a lightning rod, or a receptacle, or a transmitter, you know? And I think itís something that all you can do is do it over and over, until you even begin to see that. So the subway was fantastic - it was great!
Triste: And you got a fair repertoire of cover songs, obviously.
Peter Mulvey: Hundreds.
Triste: You know some people, some people are very precious about, ďIíll only play my own tunesĒ But you will slip covers in?
Peter Mulvey: All the time. I realised recently that I have only written around 100, 150 songs, and I have not really kept most of them. But I have learned hundreds - hundreds of songs, and I should be learning more. I mean, itís like a diet. You just pass those songs in a three year, intellectual, aesthetic system. And it really rubs off. I hope.
Triste: If we rewind back to your start, how do you get from college, Ireland, and busking to record deal? How does that process take place? Because it's obviously not a career plan, to do that?
Peter Mulvey: Not at all - I went to school for theatre, and I was going to be an actor, you know? But I met another guy, and we started a band. The band actually did really well. And I had done an exchange semester - thatís what got me started on music. I had played for many, many years, but I went and played on the streets of Dublin, and was playing for people: and that was fantastic. To be young, and playing music in front of people. So we came back and we started this band.
Triste: What kind of time period was this?
Peter Mulvey: This would have been in 1990 - 12 years ago. We got to the point where - it was acoustic folk-rock, packing clubs. And then we all graduated, set off. And I moved out to New England. I started off playing the coffee shops, etc. but for me, I was playing on the Ďfolkí scene, and the Ďcoffee houseí scene, but I was also playing in the subway. So I had fans who, didnít care where I played, they just liked what I did. And I think that that really helped me in that city, and that city is where my whole career still lives. You know, my manager is in Boston, my record labelís just west of there. I think, basically, I owe all of this to the subway. Or thatís the seed of it. Which is what Iím returning to, actually - thatís what Iím doing for the next record. Iím making recordings in the subway. Iíve done more sessions than I want to think about.
Triste: And how much do you earn on a good day, from busking? Can you survive just busking, or not?
Peter Mulvey: I did. In those days? Oh sure. I mean, there were only a few months of my life when I had to do it, but you can do it if you have to. You know, you can earn, (on a great day), $15 - $20 an hour! In cash - thatís fantastic!
Triste: It is! Did you have beliefs, in this period, when you were kind of going from busking to the record deal, that you actually would become a professional musician? Or was it just swept up on the chain of events?
Peter Mulvey: No, I definitely decided that I was going to do this. And unbelievably, it seems to have happened. I mean, definitely, Iím not wealthy, and definitely, Iím not known by even hundreds of thousands of people, but - it just amazes me, sometimes. I was just thinking about that the other day: we packed Whelans, in Dublin, and itís just a mystery to me. Like, how did that happen? Five years ago, Iíd never been in Ireland. Itís just persistence, itís sticking around - itís a beautiful thing. You know, if you have something to say thatís of some value to people - if you do something thatís of some value to people - then you just come around. People find you. Itís amazing, because think of all the advertising work thatís gone into me: none!! I shouldnít say none. A considerable amount, but, you know? Letís put it another way: I sell more records and I bring more people out to shows, in the long run, than a lot of people who just have huge, huge effort put into it. And Iíd like to think itís because I have a clear understanding of it. Iíve got my eye on exactly what I want to have happen. I hope!
Triste: So, thereís no despair at the attitude and workings of the record industry?
Peter Mulvey: Aah, yeah, well it definitely is a screwed up situation, itís terrible. But, everythingís a screwed up situation. Capitalism: Iím not a fan of capitalism, in the way that it works. But at the same time, human nature is such that if you want to step outside it - and in some ways, Iíve stepped outside of it, (or the accepted channels of it) - you know, you can thrive. And if we step even further back, as I am fond of doing, all of us here, by and large, have never been hungry, and have never wanted for shelter - and weíre doing fine. Itís a real treat to be able to engage in art.
Triste: So thereíll always be room for Peter Mulvey?
Peter Mulvey: And hundreds of us! There are so many people that make a good living, giving good art to good people - itís staggering, and itís delightful. Kate Rusby, Chris Smither, Cormac McCarthy, Tish Hinajosa, Sean StaplesÖ David Goodrich makes a good living - you know what I mean? And I personally know a couple of hundred more! Delightful!
(Thanks to Kerry Bernard for helping with this interview)