Silent Uproar: How does it feel to have the new album out? Is it a good feeling to finally have it out there or does it make you nervous to see how listeners will respond?
Pete: It feels so good to have it out; it is like a giant weight off my chest. It feels good to let something go and it so it feels great to finally have it out there and let people have it for themselves. I have had it to myself for a long time.
SU: Do you put a lot of emphasis into how people respond to the album?
Pete: I don't know. It's a balance of hoping that your fans are going to embrace what you do, but at the same time knowing I have to make the music that moves me and makes me excited. So now that I put it out, it's just nice to let people enjoy it and for me to know that I made a record I’m proud of and that I like to play live. The main emphasis is me feeling like I've done my job as far as making something that I feel is fresh and is something that I'm proud of.
SU: What was the meaning or idea behind the Morning, Day, and Night album titles?
Pete: It didn't start out as this kind of thing where oh, I am going to do morning day and night - my song writing and the whole process of it, the experience of writing songs and putting together records was quite mysterious to me. So I am still trying to figure it out myself.
I guess after the second record as I was continuing to write songs and explore why I write and how I write and what I talk about I realized that I keep addressing certain themes in my life and I think they are universal themes in everyone's life. Things like love, relationships, jealousy, our own mortality and materialism and how those play out differently in other people's lives.
So the Morning, Day and Night thing I realized sorta bring things that all together. I had said it was a trilogy, and I didn't mean like a Star Wars Trilogy where it's one story at all – really its a guy living more and experiencing more and going back and commenting on themes that he has commented on before. So it is kinda like ‘check back with me in 3 years and we can continue this discussion on something we talked about before and see how my perception of those things has changed over the years’ as I have had certain things happen to me or gotten to observe other people. So it is a sort of continuing analysis of those topics. - and the Night would represent a later phase.
SU: So that kind of sets you up for what comes next? Does this mean the start of a new theme or do you still want to explore the previous one?
Pete: I think it allows me freedom to do whatever I want on the next record. I mean I have always been free to do whatever I want anyway, but I feel like I have recorded the same way from a technical standpoint as well and I feel that when the time comes for me to make the next record I can address anything I want in any way I want. So if I want to start a band or do something under a different name, I feel like I have a complete freedom, which is a nice thing.
SU: Along those lines – there have been rumors hat this may be your last solo record and you are looking to put together a band - any validity to that?
Pete: There is validity to that, but there is also validity to the exact opposite of that. If you listen to my records they're all over the place production-wise, and so is my mind. Depending on my mood when it's time to make the next record, we will see what direction I choose to take.
SU: What interests you about working with a band as opposed to solo?
Pete: I figure if I am going to put a band together, I want to put a band together where we are all writing as opposed to just me. I am a pretty solitary writer for the most part and always have been so I am kinda envious of like the Beatles where you have Lennon and McCartney and they can bounce ideas off of each other. I am envious of having that creative bond with someone besides the bond I have with my live band, which is also a great bond, but as far as song-writing it seems interesting to me to have that. So I don't rule out trying that out for a record or two. The possibilities are very exciting.
SU: You've spaced out your album releases pretty well with live albums in between. Is the live album another part of want you want to share with people or do they simply buy you time to work longer on the next record?
Pete: I always though it was important to capture where you are at a certain place. The “Live From New Jersey” record I put out was the last show for the last tour on that record and so we captured that. I am happy that we were able to get that because I don't see that band and that incarnation getting back together anytime soon. So I have that part of my life frozen in time as it is on “Live in New Jersey”.
Nowadays I have a new live video going online every other day that a wonderful camera phone records and puts on YouTube. Which is great too - I have actually seen some of them and they have a good vibe to them. So that's pretty cool.
SU: I see you played a bunch of smaller clubs in the last couple weeks and you have some bigger shows overseas next month. Which type of show do you prefer?
Pete: I like both for different reasons. I like sweaty bars, especially ones with a good sound system, because I like the intimate show. When I was just starting to promote this record it was good to get out there into smaller rooms. But then I am also going on tour with the Dixie Chicks and I am going to go out a limb and say most of their audience won't be familiar with my music. So I really embrace the idea that I have the opportunity to get out there and try and win over a completely different audience and hopefully expose them to some music they like and haven't heard before.
Besides that in itself, playing the big rooms is a thrill, its fun to get out there and play an arena every once in a while. It is definitely what you dream about when you are a kid so I like doing both. I think for my whole career, no matter how big or small I get, I think it will be important for me to appeal to both sides of that.
SU: The Dixie Chicks tour came as a surprise to a lot of your fans - how did that come about?
Pete: We had worked together on a bunch of songs for their record. I wrote songs with them and one of them actually made it on the record that just came out, it's called "Baby Hold On". Through that we just had a good relationship together so I asked them to play on a couple songs that I was recording and their management expressed interest in me opening for them. I was all for it and am especially looking forward to the Australian dates because I have wanted to go to Australia since I was a kid, so to be able to visit and also to play music is something I am really looking forward to. I think to be able to go over there and potentially reach a bunch of people through their audience is a great opportunity for me.
SU: At this point in the bands career are you happy with the level of success and recognition you have received, or do you feel like you still have something to prove?
Pete: I always feel like I have something to prove to myself. I am my harshest critic and am harder on myself than anyone else ever could be, no matter what they say. I feel really fortunate to be able to have a career making music and that people have interest in seeing me play and have a connection with what I am doing as an artist. And every day when I wakeup if I am in a weird mood I just think about how lucky I am and that definitely drives me. I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am and I want to continue to reach as many people as possible with my music.
SU: Thanks a lot for your time.
Pete: My pleasure. Say hello to North Carolina for me - I love it there.