You're an artist who clearly loves to play live. In developing Yes and Also Yes, how much did you play some of these songs before an audience prior to entering the studio? And did any of the cuts change drastically from how it was initially conceived compared to the final version?
I've been playing a lot of comedy shows, around Brooklyn and Manhattan, as a musical guest, and I played "Na Na Nothing", and "Day By Day By" at nearly every one of them, plus, maybe, "27 Jennifers". If I play something a lot, before or after recording it, the phrasing will change ever so slightly, so there'll be a cumulative evolution that I barely notice, unless I listen to a five-year-old version, and then it's kind of startling. So, I don't really know.
Are you feeling more or less pressure to succeed, now that you run your own label again?
"Succeed" is a tricky word. I live on music, and I don't have to work another job, so that's success to me. I've had richer and poorer years, relatively, since I started making solo albums. But I have to say, as a solo guy I've made a lot more money than I did in Soul Coughing, though that band sold a lot more records. My only extravagance is flying business class, which I'd probably do even if it was straining my finances, because flying is so wretched. That said, there's more pressure to generate cash from the album, because, since it's my label, I did it all on my dime.
Now that you've done a song in German ("Makelloser Mann"), any desire to musically explore through other foreign languages?
Well, "Makelloser Man" is a bunch of random, peculiar phrases. I hope to write a real song in German some day. Always wanted to learn Spanish, to read Borges, Octavio Paz, and Pablo Neruda in the original.
Given that you answer only to yourself (owning your own record company) was it less problematic to arrange to have Rosanne Cash (who last I checked was still with Manhattan Records)?
It wasn't problematic in the least. I don't think anybody on the planet has the brass to tell Rosanne what not to do.