The 2004 My Morning Jacket show at Bonnaroo is legendary as the breakthrough show for the guys from Louisville, but also because it perfectly describes what Bonnaroo is all about - heat, rain, and a band giving everything it has to an adoring audience that is also weathering the elements.
MMJ frontman Jim James joined Brad, Barry and Lord Taco on The What Podcast to talk about that iconic show and the live double album that's due out next month in celebration of the set's 20th anniversary. James also discusses the relationship that My Morning Jacket has with the festival, how important it has been to the band's career arc, and their return to The Farm this year as part of their upcoming tour (get tickets here!).
Relive the legend of My Morning Jacket's 2004 Bonnaroo set with Jim James on this week's episode of The What Podcast, or you can also watch the full discussion via YouTube. While you're at it, go ahead and like, review, and subscribe to The What Podcast wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow the Consequence Podcast Network for updates on all our shows, and snag our "Radiate Positivity" T-shirt on the Consequence Shop.
Guest: Jim James
As we get closer to one of the biggest Bonnaroo's in history, we talk to the biggest artist
in the What Podcast history.
No one personifies Bonnaroo more than my morning jacket.
So our guest today, the incomparable Jim James.
Jacket returns to the farm to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their legendary 2004 show.
We talk about that and more today with Jim James on the What Podcast.
It starts right now.
You're always trying to do your best.
Don't worry about what happens next.
Because the never ends, it's just begun.
We crash into the set, it's on.
So gather round and tell everyone.
A big day on the What Podcast today.
Welcome back in Barry Courter, Lord Taco.
I'm Brad, possibly the biggest show we've ever done, Barry.
Smiling ear to ear.
How excited are you today, buddy?
This is a dream, an absolute dream.
If you'd have told me in 2008 that I would ever have the chance to interview this guy,
much less be in the same room with him.
What was special about 2008?
That's when I, so my first, well, I went to the first one just for the day.
So 2007 was my first.
So 2002, you went and you just spent a day there just to see what it was like.
Didn't really do much.
Went for the paper.
Did you go after you heard about the news about traffic or had you already planned on going?
Yes, I got to work and the boss said traffic is backed up.
Almost to Nashville going that way and almost Chattanooga going our way.
Here's a photographer in there and see what's up.
And got there and they, just like always, we dreaded the traffic, dreaded standing in line,
walked right in, walked into Centaroo and saw a kid smoking a bong in an inflatable bong.
And I was like, this is a little bit different.
This is kind of cool.
And we did our job and left and I thought I would like to go back.
But I didn't camp, you know, had no interest in camping in a field for four days.
But in 07, they decided that because I was salaried and they were tired of paying hourly people
and I was the entertainment writer, I should go and liked it very much.
But 08, I went and saw my morning jacket, who I honestly knew nothing about at that midnight show
that ended up being four hours.
And I'm not kidding when I say that's all I listened to for six months when I came home,
over and over and over.
And it's been that way ever since.
I mean, you'll hear it changed.
I mean, I'm doing this podcast because of my morning jacket and my room,
because it changed the whole live music experience thing.
I love that story because, you know, those first few years, it was a real struggle, man.
And I hate to be the get off my lawn guy, but you just don't know how good you have it right now.
It's a really well done professional music festival now.
Back in the day, it was a combination of the fish people and just whoever we can get to show up.
It was a free for all.
There was very little organization to it.
It was pretty messy.
And honestly, I don't know if you felt this way, but a tad scary because it was intimidating.
It was extremely scary.
Shakedown Street was legitimately a shakedown.
I'll never forget a guy who was literally waving around a dryer door.
I mean, it was like lunatics off the streets who were just hanging out.
And you had no idea because at the time you could walk into the campsite.
There was no security on the campsite.
So if you just happen to be a wanderer around Manchester, I mean, you were there with thefts like crazy in the first couple of years.
It was a very strange experience.
And to be where it is today is such a wild, wild thing.
You know, I'm surprised it took you so long to come back, though.
I went the first of the second year, 2003.
I'm sorry, 2004 was my first year.
It was the torrential downpour year.
Classic My Morning Jacket show.
I will never forget that rainstorm.
It was the worst rainstorm I've ever been in in my life.
And I've sat through a hurricane in New Orleans.
I've never felt more scared in a storm than I did that moment because I didn't know where I was going.
I had no idea what was going on.
I literally watched My Morning Jacket finish as I ran through trying to find shelter.
And then you're just locked down for the next few hours.
To think at that moment, just prior to that fear, there was the most iconic, one of the most iconic Bonnaroo moments in the history of the festival happening literally right to my right as I'm rushing through to try and find shelter is pretty remarkable.
And, you know, it goes to show we've come a long way, my friend.
Come a very long way.
Well, yeah, and at that time, oh, for all I would have been thinking is, I'm glad I'm not in a field in Manchester in a torrential rain right now listening to bands that I honestly.
By the way, that was my first experience with Bonnaroo.
That was my first day.
Well, my first. Yeah, my first day it rained that night.
I remember thunderstorms.
Look, I was sitting in my little pup tent watching it rain thinking I'm going to die.
I mean, we, you know, it's not funny because we Jim James talks about that in this interview that you're about to hear a similar, but I'm thinking, I'm not gonna make it through this, you know, and why am I here, you know, all of those things are going through my and then of course,
the sun comes out and you wake up and you start having the experiences that we talked about on it's that it's that second year redemption because you had the exact same experience you came back in 2008 and you were hooked right you were you and we came back in 2005, and I was hooked.
Something just happened. You know, I had sworn that I was never coming back. I was never kind of had such a terrible miserable experience that first year as I am not doing it. But the second I got back in something happened that that magical Bonnaroo moment happened and just hit me and I, you know, been a sucker ever since.
I don't know if there is somebody that has represented this festival better than Jim James in my morning jacket.
No, I think it might have been a fish festival to begin with and a widespread panic festival but I don't think I don't think a band represents this brand better.
No, they're part of the progression and development and it's fun to hear him talk about the many times they've been and how they've all been special. I guess it was 15 I remember being there and some young person she was probably college age.
We were talking and she said my morning jacket is the perfect Bonnaroo band. And I obviously was already thinking it but to hear it from, you know, someone else especially someone of a much younger generation.
I mean, yep, I can't think. Yeah. And you know, I know that this is may fell may fall on some deaf ears for some of the younger listeners and patrons of this podcast. But the roots of this festival go right through my morning jacket.
2003 2004 2005 2006 that's when this thing was really built. And the thing that you're celebrating and going to every year is made possible by, you know, bands like My Morning Jacket and I'm Freeze McGee and, you know, I know I know it may not be for everybody but I hope that I hope that in the God knows how long this my morning jacket sets going to be.
Even if you don't like them. I hope that you go and, you know, give them back something that they've given us for 1234568 years, you know, if, if nothing else, just out of respect.
I hope that, you know, you at least show up and spend a few minutes with my morning jacket. We didn't spend a lot of time talking to it and it comes at the end but he mentioned something that I think is a key key element and that is that idea of the bands hanging around,
going to see each other. I mean, we've heard about that anecdotally over the years, David Byrne riding around on a bicycle from stage to stage you know those I'll never forget seeing springsteen on a golf cart high five and everybody to the crowd, but that's that's the kind of thing that makes it special right
you never know what you're going to see. It never feels like the bands show up on their bus, go on stage do their usual 90 minute set get back on the bus and leave. It's a it's a community backstage front of house center who camping all of that and it was really interesting
for me to hear him talk about sort of he misses some of the old days when it was a little looser, and they can do that because that that's a huge part of what the vibe was for me that I fell in love with so early was like this is just different, everything about this is different.
And even you'll hear him talk about their bands first year when they answer to everything was yes. Well, can we do this, you haven't you haven't picked up yet Jim James is our guest today and you know let's let's wax poetic about him afterwards but this is a this is a big one Barry because they're
celebrating the 20th anniversary of that magical 2004 show, and it's a it's a multi part series of all of the other great live shows in the history of my morning jacket, one of which happens to be volume three, which is the 20th anniversary of the Bonnaroo show return
to thunder to monitor 2004 return to thunder. I don't understand the significance of Thunderdome is is that what I mean. Okay, all right. Without further ado, I really really happy about this I can't believe. We'll talk about how it came to be after we talked to Jim James of my morning jacket, an honor on the what podcast.
There is, we can hear you. Great. Where are you, where are you plugged in from today. I'm in Belgium Antwerp. Oh my god. Yeah. Oh my god. Well, wow, I can't, you might be our longest long distance caller long time first time.
I'm pretty sure Jim honor to have you with us, Brad Barry Lord taco. We, I don't know if you know much about this little venture of ours but we started this in the spirit of Bonnaroo.
And I don't know, maybe arguably no person and no band personifies Bonnaroo more than you and my morning jacket. So, this is sort of like the grand, the berry keeps calling my morning jacket and Jim James are white whale.
And you joining us today is a is a high honor my friend. Oh, thanks so much. Thanks for having me. And I mean this with all sincerity. We've said on this show that Bonnaroo changed our lives.
And you guys in oh eight for me.
We're a huge part of that.
I left there and listen to nothing but my morning jacket for about six months.
That was sort of like rehab for you.
It was it was well it reintroduced the fun of live music. Oh, that's awesome for me and so I want to, I want to start with that Brad's been in radio 20 years I've been was in newspapers for 37 years so live music it's sort of gotten cookie cutter kind of stale, you know all the shows seem like they were
on the same schedule and choreography and everything and then Bonnaroo and you guys happen so I don't want to do all the talking because I know we're here to talk about oh four but I wanted to just sort of set the stage there, and I don't know Brad you, you, I know you were making notes
about it. I'll let you know I mean I have I think I think that it's it starts, you know, just in general about your feelings about Bonnaroo what does Bonnaroo mean to you, specifically in my morning jacket.
Well Bonnaroo for us was really the first place we ever experienced anything like that, you know we we had really only played like clubs and we had done like a couple festivals.
And we were there, but that was the first time we'd ever really experienced the, what it was like to kind of go to another world like an alternate reality. And that was kind of what we. I mean you know the show itself, getting to play in front of that many people, especially,
those first few times that we got to do that you know as a younger band those first times you get to play in front of, you know, a sea of people is such a crazy experience but beyond even that just the, it was an alternate reality you know it's a chance to kind of go into this
other reality and really dig into it and really explore it and really have a lot of fun running around and experiencing all the other bands and all of the silent disco late night stuff you know just we would just run you know for days.
And that was just one of one of my first experiences of like what it was like to kind of enter that that kind of alternate alternate space.
I mean I love those lines and how much did you know ahead of time what was your anticipation or perception, I mean it was also new. It's hard for people to remember 2002 2003 and four, you know with your, your show really, you know we're looking back now so it's,
it's a new light but how much did you anticipate that it might be like that going in. Well we never knew what to anticipate, you know as a kid.
And in culture you hear all the legends of of Woodstock and you know all the things that came before your generation. And, you know, coming up in around Louisville in the area, Bonnaroo is like the mythic, you know like Woodstock or whatever thing that that, you know, we always
wanted to do as much we could get on I mean it was still pretty new back then but we had been hearing about it we're just like oh we can only get the Bonnaroo you know that's like the, that's the key to everything.
And so we were just so excited to get the offer to play that first year we played in the tent, which I can't remember if it was 2002 or 2003.
2003. Okay 2003 yeah.
So we went, we just like went.
We went in deep you know we just went in like, we stayed there the whole time and just like had, you know, partied and danced and had so much fun, kind of just out in the, out in the world.
2003 is at that tent so you stay all weekend. Was there a moment that you remember in 2003 that got you that it immediately connected or was it the performance that the stage show, or is it someone else's show perhaps.
Yeah, it was just it was like yes it's like everything was like yes like every question you ask is like yes, yes, yes, yes you know it's like, is our show going to be awesome yes, are we going to see lots of other great bands yes are we going to have lots of
free drinks everywhere yes so they're going to be amazing people everywhere yes are we going to dance all night long at this fucking crazy silent disco thing yes are we going to meet wild like characters out and then you know it's just like every single thing.
So I think everybody knows in life in the real world there's a lot of no, it's like there's a lot of you can't do that nope not here not that way.
You know I think a lot of people it's like the.
It's an escape you know it's definitely an escapist thing because I think a lot of people you see people out running wild.
That need that escape from there every day.
So I think it's kind of a, obviously as long as you're doing it like in a kind way or whatever you know it's hard to say healthy because there's so much drugs and drinking and stuff involved but I think as long as kindness is in your heart you know and you're
and you're exploring and searching.
And I always felt like the vibes there were kind and you know I felt really welcome and good and the experience felt really positive.
I mean you guys I mean you specifically I don't know I'm not going to speak for the rest of the band we're still babies.
Yeah, oh my god yeah did you did you did you think at the time you're like oh no no no we did this so well we're coming back next year.
Oh no I I'm kind of guilty of being very defeatist I always think everything's going to be the last I've spent a lot of time in therapy, trying to get over this, because we always would just joke like, well that sure was fun I guess we better enjoy you know like
this is the last time they're ever gonna have us back, because we just always felt like such a sore thumb. We've always felt like we never fit in anywhere.
Musically and the first couple records we made we like made them. We literally made them like 74 minutes long as long as the CD was or whatever because we're like, well we better put all our music on these records because we're never they're never going to let us make
the records so we better get it make it get it all out there so no we just kind of every every single thing we ever did. We always thought it was going to be our last so I don't think there's ever any thought that we would come back.
I'm glad to hear you talk about that 03 because it sounds like one of the things about Bonnaroo and hearing you say it's all about yes and everything is you kind of have to experience a little bit to know where the boundaries are or that there are no boundaries so I'm
glad that sort of helped inform the 04 show right because you've done it you you kind of knew what the vibe was like you know what the farm was like so did that kind of open doors for you guys to say yeah we're going to go in this next time and and just hit it really really hard.
Well it's funny because for a while yeah I mean it is you know everybody knows that feeling of the first time you do anything there's so much fear and just confusion because you have no idea what it even is so then the second time you come back you're like okay at least we know what this thing is but at that point we're still just kind of in survival mode kind of like trying to get just trying to keep going because we had had our original guitar player John our original keyboard player Danny had left the band and we had gone through the
big kind of you know traumatic change that we thought might be the end of the band so once Bo and Carl joined the band and then you know we were on tour quite a bit leading up to that 04 Bonnaroo but that was still kind of like we were just like we got to survive this somehow it wasn't even like let's think of what we can do to make it cool is just like I hope we can make it through you know we were just trying to make it through period.
And that's what's so interesting about the 04 show to me is like the the beginning of it especially was just so hot and so dry and so brutal you know just felt like somebody put heaters all over the stage and just it was just so brutal you know and when you look at the crowd they're all like melted and everybody's goes it was so you know we're trying our best you know we're like and it was fun I think the beginning of the set is good too but it's just like and I think most bands.
And I think most bands would agree it's it's kind of hard playing in the daylight anyway at least for me it's just like kind of like you know there's nowhere to hide and you're so vulnerable and exposed but then when you crank the heat up to 1000 degrees and it's just like it's crazy so that when the rain came in and storm came in and it's just like it was that was like you know it was like a baptism for sure because we were like okay we can stop just trying to survive and actually like let's enjoy this and build this and.
Relish this as opposed to just trying to live live through it.
That's a interesting way to describe it considering if you've spent all these years and all this time and all these experiences thinking that it was the last time you would ever do it or you had to defeatist attitude the fact that you went in thinking I don't know how this is going to go.
We've got to we've got a guitar player I don't know if it's going to work out and then the universe literally gives you a torrential downpour that is the heaviest that bonder has ever seen I can't imagine you guys going like well they don't want us to finish they do not want us to ever play.
Yeah, I didn't know in the moment it was great because it was just so fucking hot I mean it was purely like a body thing you know it's just like I was just glad that my body wasn't going to be roped into death anymore I was like I didn't even think about the implications.
You know, because from the stage, as the wind and the rain and the gray clouds rolled in. You just watched the crowd. They were all like little burned flowers, and as the rain started to come. Everybody just went up and like came to life again you know and it was like just this, this baptism for everybody
that was so amazing you know just just purely like physically you know and then it turned into a spiritual moment, like a really beautiful experience but at the beginning it was just like, we've been wandering the desert, you know, and now there's water.
We're familiar. Was there a moment in the show, like during the rain, I guess you don't even think about getting I don't know electrocuted, but is there a moment that you guys all looked around during a certain song or, you know, I don't know if it was a certain break but
was there a moment where everybody looked around and said oh my god, there's something, this is there's something going on right now.
It definitely felt great you know and we've always had this motto since the earliest days of the band of like, you don't stop, like no matter what happens, you do not stop playing, unless somebody literally comes up and grabs you off stage and hauls you off stage, you don't stop,
you know and so that was kind of the half the fun for us was like okay here's this rain and here's this, and we're not going to stop, you know, unless like somebody drags us off stage or eventually the rain killed all of our amps and killed all of our speakers you know so like the guitars
went out and the bass went out and that's the part I love of the end of the show is like the only thing still going we're like Patrick's drums and Bo's amp still work for some reason you know so it's just Bo and Patrick playing at the end and yeah it's just so we kind of, we definitely looked at it as a challenge and at the time I mean I've kind of had my struggles with different mental problems or issues and
at the time I kind of hoped that I would just get electrocuted or something because the force of it was so powerful that you know running around in my bare feet and all that water with all the wires and stuff and I still remember the visceral feeling of like my bare feet in this pile of wires with all this water full you know like this water up to my, you know, covering my feet, and I was just like, man like if this if I get electrocuted right now like that what a cool doorway this would be to walk out of this fucking crazy
life that I've struggled with so much and I'm glad that didn't happen but at the time I was just you know that was kind of part of it for me too I was like maybe this is my way out.
I mean Jim I don't want to take this to a dark place but afterwards did you sort of reflect on that and say to yourself, oh that was that was maybe not the right way to think about that.
No, I mean I've just gone up and down my entire life you know sometimes I've really enjoyed life and, and I mean whatever everybody does you know but sometimes I just really have struggled and not enjoyed this, this realm.
And I have just not really. So I've kind of gone up and down with thoughts like that.
And luckily I've spent a lot of time in therapy and doing a lot of work on myself and I don't feel like that anymore but, well thank God, you know it's just kind of a weird.
It's a weird thing you know it's like it's no secret that so many people struggle with mental illness and all sorts of things and depression and
it's surprising that you can look back on the show so fondly if it holds such a, I mean that's a major piece of darkness that comes with it.
Well that's always been a part of my life though and unfortunately I've had a lot of friends that have committed suicide and a lot of a lot of my heroes you know I've seen die from suicide and drug addiction.
You know it's something that was always in the back of my mind and I'm so glad that I never fully went there or whatever but it's like, you know, I don't, I don't, a lot of people who struggle with depression or mental illness, you know it's like
suicide's this kind of fucking being that's with you all the time you know it's like sometimes it's like leaves and you forget about it and other times it comes back and it's like yeah what do you think and what you think is now the time to walk out the door or whatever.
And I think the more that the more time I've tried to get to know myself and do therapy and make myself comfortable with just the idea of death in general. I've just learned more in recent years, how to become more peaceful and how to embrace this, this realm and this
stuff but yeah it's it's really interesting that how things roll and how things go you know but but when I look back on it now though I didn't even though that was a big part of it for me, I still also see the joy of the show, you know what I mean it's like I really
know this concept of both and you know it was possible for me, even in that moment and now for that show to be both unbelievably joyful and unbelievably painful at that point in my life you know that that juncture so yeah I hold both those feelings
for me. I mean I think that's the thing about this show is that you're either from reading or hearing from people it's that weird dichotomy of you're in front of 80,000 people being loved and yet you're having these dark thoughts, you know it's kind of a guilty why are they here listening to me, man I'm glad they're here listening to me.
Yeah, you know, struggle I guess.
I mean this show. And I don't mean to change your subject, Brad if you have another.
At what point I mean this show is such so legendary obviously it's 20 year anniversary and you guys are releasing a, you know, a double vinyl set on the ninth of June, which, by the way I've ordered and I can't wait for it to get here.
At what point did you know it was a special show. Oh man.
I don't mean necessarily during it but maybe months and weeks after. Oh right when we walked on it changed the attitude right when we walked off stage I mean we all just huddled right there on stage and we're just so stoked so excited you know we felt like we won the Super Bowl or something
like so. It was so beautiful, you know it really felt like a baptism and like a securing of that we were supposed to be a band you know that Carl and Bo really fit in and they really made it through this challenge they didn't run you know they didn't get
scared by the rain and run off stage or whatever you know it's like this thing that we were like all in it together so it was really like the baptism of what my morning jacket was meant to be and has been you know it's bone Carl.
It's it's their 20th anniversary as well you know so the majority of the band is them you know and so it was the beautiful beginning to that that I bet it also helps that the set was actually good and sounded the way that you want to sound to right or else.
Well that was incredible yeah because we got that we had the for the files and the documentary all the video files and audio files it's like you know they were all on some old outdated hard drive system you know from 20 years ago that they had to dig through you know
crates and pallets and shit and yeah luckily they found them and it was a lot of work going through and stuff but yeah we were so stoked once Tucker Martin got them all pulled up and and mixed it and stuff it was so cool hearing it back the first time and being like oh my god this sounds really great.
Whose idea was this to go back and start it all over and make an album out of it and come back to Bonnaroo to sort of celebrate.
Well we started doing this live vinyl series a couple years ago this will be the third volume of it and we're just trying to do you know just to kind of showcase the live side of the band on you know on recording or whatever
because we really had only done our Okanokos album so long ago and we were like you know we want there to be other proper documents because there's tons of you know bootleg recordings or whatever but it's so cool when you have a live show properly mixed and properly you know just sounds so good.
So we started doing that and throughout that we want to jump around in time a lot so we were trying to think of what's what's one of the earlier shows that people talk about all the time that we have access to the multi track recording of it and stuff and Bonnaroo was one that you know came up quickly as one that people always talk about from the earlier part of our career so yeah luckily we found the files and were able to.
Mix it properly.
How how much did it change. I mean you said you guys when you walked off you felt like this is the band, but you beforehand you you know you said you kind of had that defeatist this will be our last one and that sort of was that from that point on you're like we can do this, and we found our voice so to speak and all of that and then
move forward immediately or did it still kind of ride the roller coaster. Oh god. It's always roller coaster you know it's it's like a basketball game or something you know it's like it's like a close game you know it's like you're, you're winning.
And then you're down you know and you think that you've got your loft, and then somehow you get it back and you get back you know it's like, at least that's how it's been for me, I don't ever.
Feel really that confident about anything and as the world goes and changes it's crazy too because it's like what the world wants changes and shifts you know and even within the time we've been a band.
For some years, things are down, and it feels like you know, does anybody even care anymore, and then other years they're back up and like oh I guess people do like the band that's cool, you know it's like, and it's really just feels all out of your control,
you know it's like, all you can do is, is try and make the best music you can, you know and try and play the best shows you can, but the rest of it.
It's so out of my control.
Yeah, how did all of so oh three and oh four how did that lead into oh eight, which was that four hour started at midnight also had rain.
I know it's crazy. Well there were I think there was a couple more in between there. I think we did 2005 and six 2005 is the one with the, with the goofy things on stage right you had like yeah we had the puppets yeah Marie Antoinette and giraffe and
the double B or something if I remember correctly. Oh yeah, those are the squall squallis puppeteers from from Louisville. You know we just every year we were like okay if we're going to keep coming back to this place.
We wanted to try and do something different every year you know because we kept coming back to her like what can we do you know can we bring puppets, can we you know what can what can we do besides change the music obviously you know that's the first first
thing we did was we kept changing up the sets and changing up and you know putting new music in there and switching the order and you know letting the improv moments, they're going to always just be what they are whatever but the, the.
So yeah, then we as we kind of work towards 2008 or whatever.
You know there were just so many covers that we wanted to do and so many songs that we did that late night set and we really didn't have a time limit, you know they weren't like because most really most sets especially festival sets, you've got a hard time limit,
you know you've got an hour 30 minutes, you know if you go over you're fucked. Everybody's pissed.
You know, but, but that's the cool thing about playing these late night festival sometimes they're like whatever man play as long as you want so we just played and played and played and played and played and played and played, you know, and it just, it was just yeah it seemed to.
Yeah, so, so long. What I'm just, do you plan on doing a hard out this year, or are you just going to go.
We don't know. There's the. I mean if it's fun you know it's it's hard to say what the spirit will be like and what the time will be like but I mean we're excited to play and yet it's another one of those things where he knows how long, how long it'll go.
So when you when you look at the list is 2003 2004 2005 2006 2008 2011 2013 solo, or with with the side project and then 2015 of all of those I mean, if we call chance the rapper the mayor of honor you've got to be the fun uncle.
You know, all of these 12345678 appearances at Bonnaroo with a super jam in there as well with someone who shall not be named.
Which one's your favorite. Do you have a specific memory that that sticks out for you.
Um, God I mean doing that super jam with john oats was so that was so beautiful like getting to collaborate with him and all the different I mean there's so many different moments so many different people it's like so many different.
It's it's really it is like a blur of light or something you know it's kind of like looking back on your life on your deathbed or whatever there's just like so many things that were so beautiful, you know and so many things that we're trying and hard and so much love and so much joy.
So much exhaustion so much heat so much wetness you know it's just like the.
It's another relationship I've ever been in. Yeah right I mean it's just like, it's another life. It's just another lifetime, a little another part of this, this existence that's just like a little different you know it's like a little.
It's somewhere you get to go run wild, wild and free, you know, in this different way.
Did those that any of those later ones feel like the first one. I mean the first one is always so first of anything can always be so special honestly every single one was special in its own way because we still, you know, every single one of them.
Like this is the thing I don't think a lot of bands realize especially as you go on through your career. Every at least for us like every fucking time we play. We're like, we gotta bring this shit, because if we don't, this could be over you know if people come and see us and they're like oh they suck this time you know 2004 is great but 2006 they sounded like shit, you know they were half drunk and like could barely play you know it's like, so it's like, we've always taken it really see like tonight.
For example, we're in Belgium, where basically our career started in Holland and Belgium, and, and it's like, been a long time since we're here. And so we're playing Belgium tonight and it's like, we better fucking be good, you know, or else people are going to see us, and they can be like oh they used to be good so long ago back in 2002 they were so great but now they're stuck, you know it's like, so there's that kind of pressure, you know that comes in.
That's part of the deal you know but yes so every Bonnaroo we've ever done, like fuck man how do we like up the ante, how do we beat 2004, how do we beat 2008, like how do we keep this fun, and I think now it's like, I don't know yeah it's just like that's been a big part of it.
And also, you have fun you know like how do we do this and have fun too. But the fun part, a lot of times isn't in your control, either, because you, you know you might want something to be fun, but then your amp breaks or your guitars out of tune or you feel like shit that day or you're sad or depressed and
you know it's like fun you can't, can't always force to happen.
Are you, are you a fan also I'm assuming that you are of the farm and the artists that are playing, how much time does the band and you spend on a normal Bonnaroo year, just meandering around watching other stuff.
I mean it's different every year for the first years. We weren't touring quite as much so we would go for the whole time pretty much you know and just run wild for the whole time and other years have been different other other years will stay longer and hang and.
And then some years you're on tour or whatever you know and the only time you can play like that's kind of how this year is like it's like that we have to just come play our set and then leave because we have to get to the next place or you know there's all those, all those variables.
Well I hope they kind of open it one thing that's kind of gotten tough about it too is that they've locked it down a lot as it's changed ownership and it's changed hands from whoever owns it or whoever manages it now.
It used to be easy to run around to different stages and see different artists, and now it's all locked down, and you can't get on the side of the stage unless you have a VIP pass so you can't get, you know it's like you can't really move around as easily as you used to be.
And that's something that's been really bummer that I hope the organizers can change because because I think a part of what makes a festival special that how Bonnaroo used to be and how Newport Folk Festival still is, is artists should be really able to see each other easily
and to meet and to go watch the other tents, because that's half the fun is, you know, you're playing at this stage over here but you want to zoom over here to this stage and see this artist that you've always wanted to see. But after you keep trying to go do that and you can't get in, you know it's like, and I understand there have to be some rules you know you can't go into Paul McCartney's dressing room or whatever you know it's not like you should be able to go everywhere.
Yeah, the way it used to be though, and I'm not trying to just be like good way used to be you know like waxing for the old times, I think it should be like this always is that there should, especially at these festivals.
There's this incredible opportunity for new collaborations to happen for new artists to inspire each other and meet and create and show how so many things that I've been involved in came from those moments, you know that I totally never planned.
But as the as the corporations get more of a stranglehold on these festivals though, they're really locking it down and it like last time we were at boundary.
There's, it was after we had walked like, you know, all the way across to some way way far away out in the middle nowhere.
We played. I think it was the year we played the big stage or whatever so we've been we've been had a path for the big stage, and they wouldn't let us in to see the, the band that was playing over there or whatever and we still watch the thing from like we went out
in the crowd, but then we were like trying to get back to our bus, and they had these golf carts, they've literally like a row of like five empty golf carts sitting there with just people sitting in them.
And we walked up to the thing. It's like, four in the morning we're completely wasted, you know, and we walk up to the golf carts and we have our passes and we're like yeah is there any way that you can take us back to our bus behind the main stage here's our pass,
and all the, all the kids that are controlling the golf carts they go.
No, I'm sorry, these are only for party like rock star VIPs.
We were like, we were like, we are the rock star. It's so funny. We think we're like rock stars party party and out here, and we can't even get a fucking golf cart back to the bus you know it's just like so funny.
But, and it will. Let's wrap up here in a second. In the spirit of that though.
You think you're finding yourself on the super jam stage this year, you're going to make a triumphant return. I don't even know when the super jam is or who's doing it.
I have no idea. Cory Wong, you're a Cory Wong guy, a Cory Wong fan? I don't know who that is, Stanley.
Okay, all right. Well I'll check them out.
All right. Jim, look I can't say thank you enough not just for being here. This part is inconsequential but for what you mean to all of every Bonnaroovian, what you mean to the farm, what you mean to the festival, what you bring to the culture of all of it.
I mean I, I hope I don't speak for the entire group of us but man I can't thank you enough for being who you are and what you mean to the festival. Thank you so much for everything.
Yeah, I'm very sincere when I said that 08 show changed, literally changed my life. Thanks so much. For a lot of good reasons. I'm so grateful. Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you. I'm so grateful to be a part of it.
Jim James on the What Podcast. You know Barry, I know it's been your white whale. It's the one that you've been wanting the most. I would argue, Taco, you're the historian here. Have we had a bigger artist ever on the What Podcast?
Absolutely not. This is the biggest one we've gotten. This is the one we've been waiting for. When we started this whole thing we said you know what, if we get Jim James we can shut it all down. So, hate to say this is the last one we'll ever do. Good night everybody.
Hope you enjoyed it. He was so nice. Incredible. So kind with his time and a very lovely, very lovely man. Yeah, and he said everything for me that I hoped he would say that even stuff I didn't, you know, couldn't ever have hoped that he might say.
Like, he gets pretty deep. You know, he got pretty deep talking about being on stage in that storm and just what the festival means and that first year. I just, everything is great. Every answer was just exactly what I hoped.
It was an absolute honor and I really do hope that we give them back everything that they gave us over the last eight different chances to see him at Bonnaroo. So, again, this is one for the ages. I'm so, so happy and I feel like we, I don't know how we stole 30 minutes of his time.
But I feel incredibly lucky and I'm so thankful for the people that helped make this happen. It's been a long time coming. We spent over a year on this. And, you know, I just, I couldn't have been happier that he's as great of a human being as I thought he was.
Even though it took us a little time, it came through and I'm so happy. Well, I'm glad we waited because it worked out the timing with the release of the record. Yeah, which I'm very excited to hear. I can't wait to relive it, especially when the documentary comes out.
All right, guys. Thank you. Thank you for being part of the What Podcast. We'll talk to you next week.