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Comedian John Mulaney interviews musician Eric Hutchinson
Hutchinson is giving away 1 million copies of his new album. But first, he opens up about Kelly Clarkson, Fergie, Springsteen, and more
Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson
Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson (Ramsey Mellette)

John Mulaney: Your new album Almost Solo in NYC is acoustic. What happened to your electric guitar? Did you have to sell it?

Eric Hutchinson: I didn't sell it. It just gets really tiring carrying two guitars on the road. The Almost Solo tour was really out of laziness.

John: Because acoustic guitars are lighter. Because they're not filled with robotics?

Eric: Exactly. Light acoustic guitars have almost no robotics in them these days. It was fun to do an acoustic tour and play the songs stripped down that way.

John: That sounds really fun. Was it fun for your band to not get a paycheck and not do the shows?

Eric: I took one guy with me. My guitarist/keyboardist, Elliott Blaufuss.

John: Is that his real name?

Eric: Yes! He's really talented and he's become my musical director so I don't have to do any of the hard parts. Anyone who's seen me play the last few years would recognize him.

John: So like 10 people would recognize him. (Sorry, you left yourself wide open for that one).

Eric: Rimshot.

John Mulaney

John: You're giving away the first million copies of the new album for free on your website, EricHutchinson.com. How much do you plan to charge the poor son-of-a-bitch who buys the 1,000,001th copy?

Eric: Not really sure. Maybe I should make him pay for the first million copies? Sort of an anti-Radiohead thing. Pay what I want you to pay.

John: Yes, he should have to bear the brunt of the million freebies. I like that idea a lot.

Eric: Yes. And it will really be fun to see if downloads stop right around 999,867 because people are afraid of being the 1,000,001th person.

John: You tell a lot of funny stories on the new record. Stuff about being on the road. Were there any you left out that you would like to include here?

Eric: I told a story about playing a private concert for Fergie from Black Eyed Peas. My lawyers advised me to leave it off the record.

John: Oh wow! Can you reveal anything about it? Was it just you and Fergie? (Also, I like that you have multiple lawyers.)

Eric: I have multiples of everything these days. I can't say much about the Fergie story, except it ends with her trying to feed me a hamburger.

John: That's interesting. So these were actual jokes? Not just Springsteen banter.

Eric: Yeah I like trying to make the audience laugh. I saw Springsteen last summer at Fenway Park. It was awesome. But why does he talk like a grizzled preacher now? We all know he lives in a fancy mansion in Jersey.

John: Springsteen is going to kill you. Okay! Who is the funniest musician you've seen?

Eric: Prince was outstanding live. He did a few solo acoustic songs and had such a good time with the audience. Totally charming and charismatic.

John: I saw Prince live at Madison Square Garden. At one point he stopped the concert and sulked on a purple sofa because the crowd wasn't cheering enough. We had to cheer until he got up.

Eric: Prince really seems to love purple sofas. I don't think that's an act.

John: Did you do any covers during the Almost Solo tour?

Eric: Yes. I did an acoustic version of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police. Sting would roll over in his grave if he heard it... I don't know very many cover songs. I was playing guitar with some friends recently and I knew like nine songs. I guess I'm just used to playing my own songs at this point. Does that make me a bad person?

John: It might. I mean, you might be in that Phil Spector category of musical innovator/terrible person.

Eric: Thanks for your honesty.

John: This is a great new album and I'm very happy you stripped it down and made a more personal record. My final question is: Do you think you could turn a chair on The Voice?

Eric: I always wonder that. I toured with Kelly Clarkson and we would do a duet every night during her set. Hearing my voice next to hers was intimidating. But I'm gonna go ahead and say YES, I'd turn a chair and I'm hoping for Team CeeLo.

John: Do you have any stories about touring with Kelly Clarkson on the new album?

Eric: Nope.

John: Okay, I'll buy it anyway. For free. Unless I'm 1,000,001. Then I'm screwed.

John Mulaney
John Mulaney is a New York-based comedian and writer with two stand-up specials, The Top Part, and New In Town. From 2008 to 2012, he worked at Saturday Night Live, where he appeared on "Weekend Update" and co-created such characters as "Stefon" with Bill Hader.

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