Q. When did you write your first song?
A. I was probably 16 years old when I wrote my first song, after inventing the A minor chord on my first guitar. Can’t tell you what it was about but I suspect either unrequited love or unsatisfied lust.
Q. What inspired you to start writing?
A. I started writing as a really small kid in France. My first work was out-and-out plagiarism—I copied some poems from a book and claimed them as my own. I got into a lot of trouble. From then on it seemed easier to do my own stuff. Additionally, both my parents wrote, so there was always the clacking of a typewriter when I was raised.
Q. Who are your musical influences?
A. Classical influences include Poulenc and Ravel, Debussy and Copeland. I was lucky enough to grow up in a musical household so something was playing all the time. I love Piaf, and the works of her one-time guitarist George Moustaki. I like Johnny Halliday, Aznavour, Sinatra and Brel. Love the Stones, Dire Straits, Smithereens and Yma Sumac.
Q. How was your experience working with Cancer Can Rock?
A. Working with CCR was fabulous! I’m so grateful for having had the opportunity to get into a studio with a bunch of pros. It was great seeing how Jim built the song from my really basic composition to something both fun and original. The musicians and engineers got the best out of me—I can hold a tune but I’m really not that great a singer—and I never had the sense of being rushed. The professionalism was topnotch.
Q. What is next for you musically?
A. I play with a group called Cash and Carry, http://www.cashandcarrymusic.com/ which is me and a couple of really talented musicians. We do originals, and so far people seem to like our stuff. Not sure about gigs. I stopped playing out when I decided schlepping a ton of equipment at three in the morning in winter was not worth the $50 paid after the gig. I’d like Cash and Carry to do a CD in the near future… I’ve been playing pedal steel for a couple of years now and am just realizing the incredible breadth of the instrument. Professionally, I’m a writer. That’s what I do for a living, although it’s feast or famine with a preponderance of famine. I have a few books out and I’m waiting for the world to discover my Great American Novel! And of course, there’s my health. I’m hoping that I’ll beat the cancer. More will be revealed.