Jill Riley continues to check in with musicians across the country as the COVID-19 epidemic continues to put a freeze on the music industry. Last week she caught up with Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers to talk about politics, solidarity, and armageddon.
Jill Riley: Patterson, how are you doing?
Hey, doing good. Hangin’ in there.
You guys are supposed to be on the road, promoting a new record. But here you are. You’re at home. So how are you coping with this whole thing?
Hangin’ in there, you know? Doing the best I can. We were supposed to be playing the Fillmore in San Francisco tomorrow. We were supposed to have been in your town. We love St. Paul and Minneapolis so much. We’re rescheduled and hopefully this will all end in time for us to be back out and come see you.
So, Sept. 11 at the Palace Theatre. So we will look forward to it. So, Patterson, you’ve been at home in Portland? What are things like in Portland right now?
Oh, very quiet. I mean, in our neighborhood, everyone’s definitely staying in. You’ll see people walking around the street, but they’re keeping their distance. It’s very serene. We’ve all barely left our house for anything but just groceries or just walking the dog.
The title of the latest record, The Unraveling, just seems so appropriate right now. You haven’t shied away from politics and calling things like they are, as you see them. How do you see the political climate that we live in right now? How do you see that playing a part in how the country is responding to the pandemic?
Well, I mean, the lack of leadership at the top is appalling. I think it’s caused an already horrific situation to be just that much worse than that. Much more stressful because of the mixed signals. You know, for weeks when scientists and doctors were saying this was coming. The President was saying that it was a Democratic hoax. And now they’re saying that we should be happy to sacrifice our grandparents in order to get the economy back on track. I mean, good god. Are we living in the Twilight Zone? But you know, I’m lucky. I’ve got my family. We’re all together. I don’t think any of us have it. We’re staying hunkered down just in case. Reaching out to friends on the phone, talking on the phone like a teenager.
Do you have some words of hope and optimism? I mean, what’s a message that you want to pass on to keep people positive during this time?
Well, the thing you have is just knowing you’re not alone. We are kind of all in this together. God, do I just miss the rock show. You know, I miss playing it. I miss going to see shows. I still go to as many shows as I did when I was much younger and I can’t wait till this all passes and we can all go out and have a beer.
It’s like you don’t know what you got till it’s gone. And it’s just such a basic human need to connect with other people. So while we’re doing it through technology and through the phone, we do look forward to better days when we can shake hands and hug and touch and all that good stuff, for sure.