Simpson interviews are incredibly rare, and few and far between, as he typically stays away from the media and the spotlight.
However, Rogan has had him on the podcast quite a few times, and as always, he brought a ton of insight, some wild stories, and a behind the scenes look at the innerworkings of his songwriting process.
He admitted that he used to sit down with a guitar, and string together chords and lyrics, but as he’s grown as a musician he has a new method.
Now, he doesn’t even pick up a guitar, he writes poetry, writes what he wants to say, and then worries about the music and melody later:
“I discovered I’m really just a poet. It’s easier to write the words out, and craft the meter and phrase to those words musically in the studio.
I would say all the other three records I wrote half of them while you go in to make the record. You think you have the songs, and you realize the songs aren’t supposed to be part of this record, so I would go in and night and write songs that fit the record.
Or, I would come in with parts, like ‘Sailors Guide’ I had a lot of parts that would get pieced together in the studio and these guys all probably thought that I was fucking insane.”
And while improvising in the studio can be intimating, Sturgill called it the fun part.
But he also admitted that he had his keys player Bobby Emmett play all of his solos, which was Sound & Fury at the time, with a joint in his mouth so he could just let it flow.
“So from that point on, every time he played he had a joint in his mouth so he’s not just thinking about the music… anything to just settle. And it worked.”
Rogan also asked the singer if it’s possible to get too high to play music, and Simpson hilariously responds:
“I’m still trying man… I want to get so high I don’t even know what song we’re playing.”
Needless to say, ol’ Sturgill is one of a kind.
I’m still praying the man makes a comeback and drops another album or two.
Sturgill Simpson Confirms “Dood & Juanita” Is His Last Solo Album
“I don’t want to say I’ll never make another record, but this five-album narrative was really clear when I moved to Nashville. My wife really helped me carve that out, in terms of how to go about the beginning, middle and end for each chapter. But then after that, I am not sure.
I love the studio. I like sleeping in my bed. I like seeing other people succeed. And I really love helping other people succeed—people like Tyler or Margo or Lucette or anybody else who would be willing to work with me.
I can’t think of any other greater way to use the knowledge or experience—or whatever you want to call it—that I’ve gained from the last seven or eight years, then by helping other people who I’m already impressed with make more music that will improve the musical landscape, as opposed to just 20 more Sturgill records.”
At the time Sturgill had pretty much finished his new album, but the future of Stu in the country music world appeared to be in more of a producer capacity. However, now that “Dood & Juanita,” Sturgill’s 5th studio album, is here some 6 months later… has anything changed?
Not really… but sorta.
According to a new interview with Rolling Stone, Sturgill is making good on his promise that this is indeed his final Sturgill album.
“This is the last Sturgill record. I always said there would be five, and I wondered if I’d go back on that.
But it really has cemented every step of the way how much I don’t want to carry all that weight.
Going forward, I’d like to form a proper band with some people who I really love and respect musically and be a part of something truly democratic in terms of creativity.
Not having to stand up there behind my name would allow me to be even more vulnerable, in a way.”
So while we haven’t heard the end of Sturgill Simpson the musician, it seems as though we have heard the end of Sturgill Simpson the solo recording artist. He also added that he has a few band members (and band names) in mind.
And if there was one more thing you were wondering about, he says that he’s content to never play an arena show ever again.
“I don’t care to step into an arena ever again. I don’t want to play shows where the first rows are 50 yards away.”
Of course, prior to the pandemic, Stu was just beginning a massive area tour with Tyler Childers, a show with a such a demand that some cities were offering multiple dates. Unfortunately, he was just 12 shows in when COVID hit, and the entire live music world was put on pause.
But if you were hoping to see that tour rescheduled… doesn’t look like that’s on the docket.
At the end of the day, whether it’s solo artist Stu, band member Stu, producer Stu, actor Stu…. whatever he has his hand in, you can bet your ass I’m going to be paying attention.