If you’re not already a Shooter Jennings fan, you will be after you read this interview. Even if you’re a Jonas Brother. (Maybe not if you’re Bret Michaels, a member of Rascal Flatts, or someone involved in choosing the performers for last month’s Grammys…). Today, Jennings celebrates the premiere of his CMT Crossroads concert with close friend Jamey Johnson. "It’s not a real raucous show. I play piano for most it," he says. "I tried to take it as psychedelic as we could possibly go." (Look for their "wild" cover of his father Waylon Jennings’ "Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand.") Tomorrow, his compilation Bad Magick: The Best of Shooter Jennings & the .357’s hits stores. Expect that to tie a ribbon on his time straddling the country and rock aisles. "The reason I chose to name the package Bad Magick is because the music I’m making now [with a new band bound for this summer’s Warped Tour] is kind of an extension of that song we did," he says. "[My next album] will be a new sound, probably the most anti-radio but most progressive thing I could possibly do."
After taking our EW Pop Culture Personality Test, there’s no doubt he’s a little bit country, but a lot more rock ‘n roll…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You called precisely on time. Is that typical for you, or did we just catch you on a good day?
SHOOTER JENNINGS: I’m usually pretty punctual. I’m not one to like to be late. When I was younger, I was the guy who’d leave the house early if I had to get somewhere and drive around for a while until it got to be time to show up.
[We like him already.] Let’s jump right in. What is the best concert you’ve ever seen?
That’s a tough one. I’ve seen some good concerts. In terms of being so excited that I couldn’t hold myself together, and production value and everything, when I saw the Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral tour. It was with Jim Rose Circus and Marilyn Manson. I remember seeing it at Vanderbilt Auditorium in Nashville. Most of the time I get bored at concerts by the end, and that was one where from top to bottom, I just couldn’t believe what was goin’ on. I felt dirty, I felt all kinds of stuff watchin’ all that s— go down, you know. I saw My Morning Jacket and the Raconteurs last year at the Greek [Theatre] in Los Angeles within two days, and those were both great concerts. I saw the new Guns N’ Roses, the first show they did on New Year’s 2001 at the House of Blues in Vegas, that was pretty wild. But in terms of the kind of glory that goes on in a teenager’s mind, that Nails show still stands out to me as one of the best.
The act you still need to see?
I would have loved to have seen Zeppelin if they were really gonna reunite, which I guess now they’ve called the whole thing off since Plant isn’t gonna be involved. Back to Nails again, I really want to see this tour with Jane’s Addiction. I never saw Jane’s Addiction play, and to see the entire group would be really exciting.
The song you wish you’d written?
"Please Come to Boston" [by Dave Loggins], as cheesy as that sounds. Or "Loving Her Was Easier" by Kris Kristofferson. Pretty much anything Kris Kristofferson ever wrote I wish I’d written. "Isis" is another good one, that Bob Dylan song.
Your guilty pleasure dance song? Have you been able to resist Beyoncé’s "Single Ladies"?
Okay, "Single Ladies" didn’t resonate with me quite like it did with other people, but there are things on pop radio now adays that I can get down with. Like, I didn’t hate the Justin Timberlake record. "What Goes Around… Comes Around," I definitely didn’t change the channel when that was on.
[Laughs] Look, the production was quite progressive on that record. I dig that. I’m kind of a stickler for progressive music to some degree. Not like Dream Theater, but if something seems different and new to me, I can kinda get down with it. Oh, you know what song I don’t mind? "Lovebug," that Jonas Brothers song. It feels like the Beatles to me in a way. And then at the end, when it rocks out, I’m into that. I’m not afraid to say that. You’re probably just gonna print this part, and then I’m gonna f—in’ read this thing, and be like, Jesus. So you gotta state that there were expletives all around this statement. [Laughs]
Oh, it will be noted.
Oh yeah: "Jonas Brothers’ ‘Lovebug,’ that’s his favorite song!"
But you get the Jonas Brothers.
I get it for what it is. I don’t own the record. It feels very muchlike teenybopper music, but I’m not gonna hate on them before I’m gonnahate on Rascal Flatts or somebody, because their stuff feels a lot morehonest. Even though those guys are part of a machine, they still seemlike they’re doin’ their thing, so I can respect that. I can respectMiley Cyrus. I’m not gonna walk away and say that s— is completelyinvaluable, because I don’t believe it is.
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