Pete Yorn has wanted to do it for years. To leave the bandmates and collaborators and other instruments at home, and get onstage totally alone, just him and a guitar … and a massive audience, of course. After a false start in 2006 (he got “cold feet,” he says), Yorn is finally setting out on a year of solo performances, including one in Indianapolis on Tuesday.
Here's the good stuff from our September phoner with Yorn.
On his Colts connection:
“I played a show a few years back and this guy comes in the dressing room with some people and says, 'Hi, my name's Jim Irsay. I'm the owner of the Colts.' He was really into the kind of music that I was doing. He seemed really into music. I remember we were talking about Tom Petty. Another time I came and played, a bunch of [Colts] players came. I remember all these big linebackers. I was like, that's cool, football players coming out to my show. They were big guys.”
On going solo:
"I attempted [a solo tour] in like 2006, and then a week before, I got cold feet doing it all alone, so I brought some band members out, a bass player, a drummer and a piano player. I still had it in my head that I always wanted to do it, and it took me all these years to kind of get up the courage to go out and do it by myself. … I did a bunch of West Coast shows in May and early June and they went so well. I really enjoyed it."
On his record store acoustic EPs:
"That really was me alone. That was when there were still a lot of indie record shops. There aren't so many anymore. That day, I would go and play a little solo show at a record shop, then we'd record it right there and you could get a little EP. I played so many different songs. There's like 40 or 50 of those EPs (Editor's note: Including one recorded at our own LUNA Music) floating around from all those different record shops. … Back in the day I would definitely hit up the record shops. I needed something to do in the afternoons when I was waiting around [for the show]. Usually, the venue, if it was a cool theater, you'd walk a few blocks and you'd find one. It was always a cool hub. I know a lot of them are gone, some are still there. It just it was it is, you know?"
On full circles:
"I started off on an acoustic guitar, just by myself. The first shows I ever really started to play in front of people were just me and a guitar. I was a kid then, but coming back now, I find that naturally I just feel more connected to everybody. There's a lot of elements that are stripped away and I feel like it has a good opportunity to reveal what's at my core. Sonically, there's nothing covering up my fingers on the strings, and the inflections in my voice, and I can really play with that. If anything, it just gives me freedom. And that's something I always crave. That's why I started playing music in the first place. It just gives me freedom – there's no setlist ever, I kind of purposefully don't know what I'm going to do before I get out on stage. I just walk out and let the atmosphere tell me what I should play first. Then it just goes. I kinda go into weird mode as it all starts to flow out."