My close friends always tend to be women. I’ve never been much for the company of other men – I find it hard to open up to men. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part my closest friends are women. However, if I want to go out on the town drinking, I always tend to call up a dude (with the exception of my dear friend and guest blogger Miriam Doyle). Perhaps that’s why the majority of the people on this list are men – I want to drink with them, not pour my heart out to them. I want to pick their musical brains, sure (I mean, these are all people I deeply revere), but I also want to see what they drink, how they drink, and, most importantly, if they can keep up with my alcohol intake. The artists below will be ranked thusly.
Warren Zevon, circa 1982
What He Drinks: Whiskey, possibly on the rocks, possibly in the form of an Old Fashioned.
What We Talk About Musically: Songwriting structure. I’m desperately interested in how he creates songs that aren’t too much alike each other but still thematically relevant to each other – like on Excitable Boy, how he managed to make a disco song work in the album…because it did.
What We Talk About (beyond music): Who we would kick in the nuts if we could. I bring it up, but he runs with it. He has a fucking list, and he doesn’t need to check it twice.
How Much He Drinks: I’m passed out under the bar. He drives home.
Levon Helm (of The Band), circa 1978
What He Drinks: Beer, domestic, with a shot of whiskey on the side.
What We Talk About Musically: Drumming. I’ve never been able to drum, ever. I can play multiple instruments, and sing while playing them, but I’ve never been able to play the drums with basic proficiency, let alone sing while doing it.
What We Talk About Beyond Music: How much of a prick Robbie Robertson is. I mean, really.
How Much He Drinks: We both leave the bar, arms clasped around each other’s backs, both in a symbol of camaraderie and in an effort not to fall down.
Stevie Wonder, at present
What He Drinks: Something with fruit in it, but curiously strong.
What We Talk About Musically: WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED AFTER 1976. I mean, really, Stevie (we’re on first name terms by this point), how could the man who wrote “Sir Duke” and “Maybe Your Baby” write and perform “Ebony and Ivory?” I mean, seriously?
What We Talk About Beyond Music: Nothing. After that, he gracefully excuses himself and leaves.
How Much He Drinks: See above. I pay the tab.
Tom Waits, circa 1979
What He Drinks: Bourbon. Cheap bourbon. Straight up. Down the hatch.
What We Talk About Musically: Nighthawks at the Diner. “I don’t care about your other albums, man, just that one.” I want to know how it was recorded, how he came up with the ideas, how much of it was improvised, etc. “Can you play me ‘Big Joe and Phantom 309?’”
What We Talk About Beyond Music: Booze. Specifically, why don’t we have more in our glasses right now.
How Much He Drinks: I wake up in the hospital, charcoal all over my lips.
Melora Creager (of Rasputina), at present
The only exception in my male drinking partner list. I’m desperate to find out if she’s as funny in real life as she is on stage.
What She Drinks: She has no steady drink – she drinks a new drink with every order.
What We Talk About Musically: Bowing technique. I played upright bass for a score of years now and I’ve never been a hundredth as good with a bow as she is. It’s a different instrument, sure, and a smaller bow, but technique is technique.
What We Talk About Beyond Music: Zombies. I was totally right, she is as funny off the stage. She’s shy at first but opens up after the third drink.
How Much She Drinks: After the fourth drink, she’s ready to challenge me to a drinking contest, but she remembers she’s gotta get home to relieve her babysitter for her new kid. Another time, she says.