Given my recent revelation to create a subset of this space that includes musicians who used to live in Music City, I just had to reach out to Jill Sobule. I first saw Jill in 2000 open for her pal Warren Zevon at the Belcourt Theatre. After later seeing her promote her great “Pink Pearl” record at an in-store at the old Tower Records on West End Avenue (Thank you Bob Goldstone!) I became a forever fan.
Jill is one of the funniest people alive and she is quite the clever songwriter. In 1995, her and Nashville’s Robin Eaton’s “I Kissed a Girl” got Jill quite a bit of airplay, long before Katy Perry stole the song title. There are several fantastic Jill Sobule records out there for you to savor, including her latest, 2018’s “Nostalgia Kills.” Her 1990 debut was produced by Todd Rundgren, but I must say that her best work was here in Nashville working with Eaton and Brad Jones over at their Alex the Great recording studio.
If forced to pick one Jill song for you to listen to, it would be the song I always get her to play when she takes requests. It’s the great little pop ditty “Rainy Day Parade” from “Pink Pearl.” I’d be remiss if I also failed to mention that my favorite quirky singer-songwriter also happens to be one awesome guitarist. So much so that back in 2001 I got chills hearing her play those great Robert Quine riffs as a member of Lloyd Cole and the Negatives.
I am so thankful that Jill took up my 11 Questions request. It somewhat softens my disappointment that I will not get the chance to holler out for “Rainy Day Parade” at the City Winery this week. Hang in there Jill. I look forward to seeing the exciting projects you tell us about on the other side of this pandemic.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
Well, I live in New York city now. Actually, right now, I’m in Los Angeles. I came out for a meeting on March 9 and have yet to go back. I’m a hobo.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
My first record that I bought with my own money was David Live (David Bowie at the Tower Philadelphia). The last record was an old vinyl copy of the Broadway soundtrack to Hair.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
My first concert was amazing! It was Alice Cooper with Suzie Quatro opening up. I was 13 and did LSD! The last concert was early March at Joe’s Pub in NYC by the amazing banjo player Tony Trishka. I sang on one of his Emily Dickinson songs.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Replace Kid Rock’s with anyone else who rocks.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
When I’m in town, I stay with my friend Robin Eaton (and Karin). They live near Hillsboro Village, so I guess Bonjo Java. I’m not really up on my pizza places, although I heard you have a Two Boots. I’ve loved the one in NYC forever.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
That’s a tough one. Maybe those Patsy Cline records?
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
I don’t know anymore. But in the old days, I remember a place called Multi Bob. Does anyone remember that? Oh, I also loved going to the Shoney’s in old Music Row. It was just awful. I would also buy Elvis Presley Conditioning Shampoo at the Elvis museum across the street.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Hmmm, I don’t know the scene like I used to. I suppose I would ask my friends who also are great writers: Robin Eaton, Bill DeMain and Gretchen Peters.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
I used to love playing the Bluebird. Got my start in a way there. I was supposed to play the City Winery Lounge next month. But of course, it’s cancelled.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.
Gosh, maybe I’ll move back.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Well, I was supposed to be in Pittsburgh at the moment for a month run of my musical, F*ck 7th Grade. It, like all my gigs, has been cancelled. They hope to re-open it up in September, but we shall see. I was accepted into the Orchard Project which is “a leading American institution committed to the creation of bold new work by the most innovative artists from the US and around the world” to write music for a punk rock adaptation of The Scarlet Letter. We will be working on it this summer. And lastly, watch out for a TV show in the near future about, well I can’t tell you, and I don’t want to jinx it.
If it’s the 4/11/2000 Belcourt show you’re talking about, there is a fantastic audio bootleg of Jill’s set from the soundboard.
I’d love to get a copy of that.