On the “Geraldines” cover, you’re clutching a paintbrush, next to a mural. Have you started painting?
No. It’s metaphorical. It’s sonic painting – I paint with sounds. So no visual artist has to worry about losing their day job to moi. It’s just a nod to the visual artists that we all know and love.
What techniques did you borrow from painters for this album?
Well, I think it’s about hearing their paintings. When I can hear a painting, then I’m beginning to get it.
Do you haunt museums?
I’ve gone to museums all over the world over the last five years. But I also get art books everywhere I am, and I take them with me on the tour bus.
How did Cezanne inspire the track “16 Shades of Blue”?
I didn’t get Cezanne for the longest time. And then I was looking at his painting “The Black Marble Clock” and I started hearing the rhythms which became that song. So these song structures were inspired by paintings – I would look at something and hear it, not see it.
Are you a museumgoer who just sits on a bench, staring at a single masterpiece?
Maybe. But I walk around a lot, too. I think I’m the person that paces – I walk around and then come back to things.
What other art or artists fascinated you?
A lot of Impressionists from the 19th century. And the song “Weatherman” was inspired by that – by painters that would go out into nature and paint. And “Maids of Elfen-Mere” was a Rossetti drawing that I saw and thought “OK, you have a tale to tell me.”
Did you catch any exhibits in San Francisco your last times through?
You want the truth? I went to the SFMOMA bookstore because I didn’t have much time, and I bought loads of books. If you only 35, 40 extra minutes in a town? Grab the art books! That’s what I say!
IF YOU GO
Where: Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland
When: 8 p.m. Monday
Tickets: $57.50 to $73.65
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com