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).
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?
John: Okay, I'll buy it anyway. For free. Unless I'm 1,000,001. Then I'm screwed.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- 8 ways you're probably overspending without even realizing it
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why the West should accept ISIS as a sovereign nation
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- 6 constitutional amendments that just missed the cut
- What Ann Coulter and atheist Richard Dawkins have in common
Subscribe to the Week