Some artists need boredom to pave the way to creating something new. Todd Snider is not that kind of artist. “It’s been the most dramatic year of my life,” says the loquacious, humane songwriter. “This week I rolled my car—I was going really fast and spun all around. I thought, OK, I’m going to either wake up in the hospital or not at all. I got pretty Zen. Luckily I woke up and just started driving home, and five blocks from home I got surrounded by all these police…”
It had already been a full year for Snider: penning a memoir titled I Never Met a Story I Didn’t Like: Mostly True Tall Tales; appearing in The First Waltz, a rockumentary about his jam band, Hard Working Americans; and getting divorced. He originally planned to rerecord some of his classic songs for his next CD, as well. Then his thoughts turned over in his head.
“Todd Snider is a movie star now and folk music’s beneath him!” he exclaims by phone from his Nashville home. “I’m a lead singer in a jam band and I like to take acid. My name is Blind Lemon Pledge and Todd Snider is dead and hasn’t been heard from—that’s my plan. I want to make a Blind Lemon Pledge solo record. He’s kind of country and makes up confusing rock songs that I have no idea what they are about.”
Even more confusing is the fact that his March 11 concert at the 20th Century Theater is booked as a solo Todd Snider show featuring Todd Snider tunes. “I think this is one where I sit down and do ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ for two hours, spill beer,” he says. “I can still do that pretty well.”
Clearly, there is no prediction for the upcoming Oakley performance that is too outlandish or existential. “I want to keep myself amused, even if that means leaving two songs into a show,” says Snider. “I don’t owe anybody anything. I’m making a cognizant decision to bark at the moon.”
Originally published in the March 2015 issue.
Photograph courtesy Snider.