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items tagged with Freedy Johnston

Out of His Own Way: Freedy Johnston, January 23 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2010-01-12 15:52:38

Freedy JohnstonIf you followed the career of Freedy Johnston, you might wonder what happened to him after 2001, when Elektra released his Right Between the Promises album.

Until Rain on the City (out today), Johnston released a live record and a CD of covers, but the man behind the 1994 single "Bad Reputation" -- who was Rolling Stone's songwriter of year that year, and whose major-label discography included albums produced by Butch Vig and T-Bone Burnett -- doesn't want to talk about the more than eight years between albums of original material.

"That's why we put it in the bio," he said last week. "I didn't want it to be talking about it every time, rehashing the same story."

In that official record-label bio, Johnston -- who will perform a Daytrotter.com show at RIBCO on January 23 -- is vague: "It takes a while to re-adjust one's priorities and get back on track after working with the big budget that the majors give you. I went through issues with the IRS, had a relationship go south and a touring vehicle grind to a halt, but through it all I never gave up writing and gigging whenever possible."

In our interview, Johnston didn't elaborate much on the specifics of his personal life. (In addition to living in Austin, Texas, in Nashville, and in New York, he did live in downtown Rock Island in 2002 and 2003 and married a woman from the Quad Cities.) But he did discuss his difficulty completing songs.

"I used to have no problem writing songs before I had a major-label deal," he said. "All of a sudden it was really hard to finish the damn things. ... Now I'm on the other side of it. ... Maybe I just needed to reset my clock. I'm working better now than I ever was."


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