Is the “Lion” a metaphor? It’s nothing specific or symbolic in that sense — it was the general roar of the production, which Youth really drive. It took me to places with really high-range vocals, which I’m probably going to have trouble with live. But Youth kept pushing me off the cliff, as it were, up into that higher register. And I was really chasing it.
It’s sad that you lived your life out of the spotlight. But now — thanks to a hit-and-run accident last year (for which he was sentenced to three years’ probation and 45 days of Narcotics Anonymous meetings) — you now have an online police mug shot. Well, I can’t really speak specifically about it because I’m not really supposed to be talking about it. And I didn’t want to put that into any of the [“Lion”] work, so that has nothing to do with the record. I keep that whole thing private. And in fact, the actual drug [charge] was dropped, and that relieved me to know that that was recognized. That was good, because I didn’t want that to be a message to any of the fans at all.
Well, at least it’s not a bad mug shot. You still look professorial, but just a little tired. I was tired! That’s why I looked tired.
You dedicated “Lion” to your wife, Beyhan. Why? Because I love her, and it’s about time. She is always there behind me. She directed the “Cuts You Up” video [in 1990], she was there all along through my whole career, so it was definitely about time. She’s a major, major support for me.
What do you know now that you didn’t a few years ago? I’ve learned 1,000 things. I’ve learned that touring is really the most important thing to do now, in order to get the music across. And that’s something that’s quite a challenge, the older you get. And I’ve learned not to take things overly seriously. You definitely have to disengage from them in a way that’s healthy.
So you, yourself, are the “Holy Clown” on “Lion,” perhaps? Yeah. I think so. And there you go!
IF YOU GO
Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $23 to $25
Contact: (888) 929-7849, www.axs.com