Frontman for Pedro the Lion
EVENT: Pedro the Lion plays the Showbox with the Gentlemen, Damien Jurado, and Lodi on Wed Dec 20.
How did you get the name Pedro the Lion?
"It was this character I came up with, this little story, back in 1994. And it turned out the story was really dumb.... There's something about the confines of a certain amount of syllables in a verse that helps me edit myself. But with a blank piece of paper it turns out bad."
About the, well, ecclesiastical bent to your songwriting....
"Struggles with faith have been a pretty important and defining theme in my life. I think that they just come out. And in general I think that whether a person believes in God or not, we are all deeply spiritual. That's a big part of who we are, how we are situated--or what our relationship to an idea of God is.... So poking at that idea is a good way of expressing the disgruntled feelings I have. I'm in a lot of conflict about those types of ideas and have been for years. For me it's an important part of the process, and it seems that some people are responding to it okay, but some aren't so pleased."
"Aren't so pleased"?
"When people talk about their conflicts in their songs, talk about 'Oh, am I going to break up with my girlfriend?' or something, it's pretty trite, so this is almost like a high-literature-minded approach to what art can do. There are albums that give you the feeling that there is a greater history. Or art and literature, people on the edge of madness because of the conflict that exists within them, the conflict with the human condition.... Just the idea that someday I might be able to do something that satisfies me in that way, it just drives the whole thing for me. Every now and then I'll be in the car with my wife and [a song] will come on the radio and I'll just start crying--not because I'm sad or happy but because there's so much conflict. It makes me feel like I'm alive for a second or two."