Q + A with Steve Poltz

One of our all-time favourites, Steve Poltz has made a huge impression on Hillside audiences. He's a little bit wild and a little bit sweet and one of the most accomplished contemporary songwriters anywhere. We caught up with Steve recently for a chat about his weird life and strange times. 

I was just listening to Joel Plaskett’s new album with his dad, Bill, and I thought of you because of your work together. Joel’s someone I first saw on stage when I was 16 years old and we’ve gotten to know each other over the years. Tell me what you think the most interesting thing about Joel Plaskett is.

He has psychic powers. He can bend spoons with his mind. His feet are size 16. He's a catholic priest but he doesn't practice unless the pope calls him and needs him to fill in.

You are very funny. What to you is the funniest thing in the world?

Nothing is funnier than death. Death is hilarious. Especially if someone gets hit by a bus while walking down the street texting. That shit is hilarious. Funnier than Santa Claus on mushrooms trying to drive a sleigh and deliver presents.

You also seem a bit angry. What or who has influenced you to be at least a little angry?

Clowns. They scare me and make me angry. Sometimes I walk through the forest all alone in the dark looking for clowns. When I see them I either yell at them or run; it depends on my blood sugar.

Have you been personally impacted by local or international political developments and, if so have they pervaded your songwriting at all?

This is a crazy time to be alive. I'm proud of the way people are speaking up and protesting and taking action. I was just in Mexico and participated in a women's march. I'm proud to hold two passports: for Canada and the USA. I wish our current president would've said what Justin Trudeau said about all of these refugees. I just recorded a new song for a protest record coming out in Nashville. People are rising up and questioning authority. Perhaps this is what the world needs to bring about change. I still believe we have more in common than we think. I will always be an optimist. Two steps forward; one step back. Slow movement. To paraphrase The Dude from The Big Lebowski, 'This aggression will not stand.' 

recent article wondered if rock music was still relevant. As a rock musician, do you spend much time thinking about the form and your contribution to it? 

I don't really think too much about it. That stuff bores me. I don't care what people think. I used to care. Now I just do what I do and hopefully someone hears it. My contribution is probably that I'm a good listener and a good friend. I'm fun to have coffee with because I will make you laugh.

What’s your favourite question I’ve asked you so far and why? Please use at least 76 words to answer this one.

Probably when you asked me about if I ever caught scabies. I lied and said I didn't. Now I feel bad. I did catch scabies. I caught it on a wrestling mat in 11th grade. I passed it on to all the other wrestlers. We all had to rub Kwell lotion all over our bodies and boil our underwear. I wonder if this is 76 words? I hate counting. This is probably good enough.

What do you most like and dislike about performing at or attending music festivals these days? 

I love festivals. They're like summer camp. Meet new friends and sing songs and go swimming. Camping. Fun. I can't really think of anything I dislike about festivals. Maybe mosquitoes.

Do you have any particularly fond memories of the last time you played Hillside?

My favorite memory of Hillside was swimming next to a bunch of naked people from the band Rising Appalachia. They all had beautiful bodies and I felt so weak and skinny next to them.

What's next for you?

I always tour. I'm in a constant state of motion. I love my job. I'm lucky. I'm always working on new recordings too. It's really fun to create. It's like being a little kid and getting to play. Free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for all!

See Steve Poltz play Mitchell Hall in St. George's Church in Guelph, Ontario on Friday February 10, 2017 at 9 PM.

See more information on Hillside Inside 2017!