Taken from the expanded edition of Songwriters on Songwriting, which was published in 1997. The interview was conducted in 1993.


And some of your treatment of Stevie’s songs, especially, have been so brilliant. I think of "Sara" and "Gypsy," for example, which you turned into amazing works of music.

Yeah. Something that could have been pretty mundane otherwise. Those two I do throw together. "Gypsy" I like a lot. That’s a really quintessential meeting of Stevie’s strong points and potential foibles and me being able to fill in the gaps and make it work.

Was it satisfying for you to bring your talents to someone else’s songs like that?

Oh, yeah. In a way, it’s more so. It comes easier.


"The Chain."

That started off as---jogging the memory here---it was really Stevie’s and mine to begin with in the verse: [sings] "Listen to the wind blow . . ." And my ever-present pseudo-blues riffs in there. And at some point I think Christine fashioned the feel of the chorus, and the chorus was certainly Stevie’s lyrics. And then at some point there’s this bass line which came in at the end that’s kind of a hook, and there was some case to be made for it to be a valid enough contribution as to deserve songwriting credit. I can’t honestly say that Mick had anything to do with writing the song. But we did give credit to all members of the band.

Were you thinking of the band with the line "never break the chain"?

You’d have to ask Stevie. For all I know I think she was talking about me. Some of those things, I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. [Laughs] As late as Tango where I thought maybe that was about me, but there had been so much water under the bridge I don’t know how it could have been. I never asked her much about that stuff.

"That’s Enough For Me."

Oh, yeah. I like that. Yeah. That’s like Stray Cats meets something from outer space. That’s a really heartfelt thing. I don’t know what to say about that. Sometimes it’s hard to comment on subject matter because it may have a specific reference for you and you sort of compose that over somebody else’s and it may just take away . . .

That must have something to do with Stevie. This was something that was done in my bathroom. I think I had just gotten the bug from the New Wave stuff that was coming over. It wasn’t any particular artist but just the spirit of that, which is why Tusk came out the way it did.

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