With his latest album, Goodbye Bread, S.F. rocker Ty Segall departed a bit from the aggressive garage rock he was known for and shifted into more reflective territory, showing the influence of great songwriters like John Lennon and Neil Young. This was on purpose. "I wanted to do something a little bit different," Segall says. "I didn't want to make the record that people were expecting me to make." Segall kept the grit and spare production style of his previous records while tweaking his sound, and ended up making one of the best local rock albums of the year -- 10 songs of thrilling underdog grunge that is young and acerbic, yet attentive to the nuances that make simple rock music penetrating.
Around the release of Goodbye Bread this summer, we asked Segall to take us through the album and speak a little about what inspired each song. With Segall headlining Mezzanine tonight -- and with year-end list-making season approaching -- we thought it was time to share his tour of Goodbye Bread. Here are Segall's words about each of the songs, along with a few of our follow-up questions:
"Goodbye Bread" is about the obvious and the not-obvious, which is kind of what I was shooting for with a lot of the tunes. "Hello Monday/ Goodbye Bread" is just about working. "Bread" is money, and the whole tune is kind of like, "You play the game we all play" -- it's about working a nine-to-five, this whole busy-bee, consumerist lifestyle thing. And then it's also about ... [how] you can't take it with you when you die. So the whole "Goodbye Bread" thing is saying goodbye to money, and a typical, nine-to-five, safe lifestyle.
You quit your day job last year to play music. Do you miss working at all?
No -- no way, man.
[Ed note: Ty Segall grew up in Laguna Beach, and went to high school with the cast of the MTV reality show of the same name.] Most of [these] songs, they're all like kind of reactionary songs to my personal California experience. That song's about [how], just because it's California doesn't mean it's perfect. It's a little bit of a reaction to the whole California beach music thing. Like, "Well, I'm from California, and you can cry on the beach, too."
"Comfortable Home (A True Story)"
Most of these songs are sarcastic. My girlfriend at the time, we saw this couch on the side of the street, and we were like, "Aw, we should get a new couch." And I was like, '"Yeah, we don't have enough money for a couch." That's what that song is about -- me not having enough money to get a new couch and a comfortable home. You don't need a nice couch to have a comfortable home, but I would like to get a nice couch to make someone like their comfortable home.
Do you let your sarcasm out in any other places besides your songs?
No, I think that's the best way to go about it.
"You Make the Sun Fry"
That's just an aburdist, "I'm on drugs and I love you" song. These are the things I would think and say if I was on acid or mushrooms falling in love with a girl. So yeah.
"I Can't Feel It"
It's definitely druggy but not druggy in the sense of actually [being] on drugs. It's the sense of people walking around numb and not knowing why. It's about growing up and trying to figure yourself out and not really being able to.