Straight Talk

TALK TO ME Rock and roll crooner Chris Isaak, known for his signature rootsy, soul-stirring sound, is currently on tour with a new CD, Always Got Tonight, and will be making stops this month in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Meanwhile, The Chris Isaak Show, the Showtime series in which the 46-year-old plays a fictional version of himself, begins its second season this fall.

I met you in person briefly in 1989, when the record Heart Shaped World came out, and you signed a promotional poster for me. But I'm really not a memorabilia-type person.
Me neither. I met Roy Orbison and got to sing with him. We were working on some songs together, and I was at his house. As we were playing, I noticed this old photograph of him on the floor and I thought, "Gee, I should ask him to sign it." And then I thought, "You can't just ask." When you start asking people for autographs, you put them in a position of star and you of fan. Sometimes it separates you more than it brings you together. If people come up and talk about music and stuff, of course, that's natural. But after a while, the thing that I think is really nice is if people talk to you about something besides what you do. If you talk to a baseball player and ask, "So, are you guys going to win the pennant?" or "Uh, how's your knee?"—okay, those questions are legitimate. But after that, if you say, "Man, have you seen the new Chevy?"—all of a sudden people will go, "Yeah, now you're talking to me like a person."

Okay, let's talk about Texas.
We have to go to Texas. My drummer is from Texas, a little oil town called Borger, near Amarillo. I remember we played one time in Texas, and it was about two o'clock in the morning. They finished loading all the equipment and someone said, "Your bass player isn't here." We waited about an hour and finally got on the bus. We were going to call the police when all of a sudden this Volkswagen full of women pulled up next to us. I said, "Just keep driving. It's a bunch of fans." The Volkswagen pulled up again and honked, and I said, "Just ignore them. Keep driving." Then someone said, "Look, your bass player is with those girls."

Do you remember where you were? No. But the hottest gig I've ever played except for Thailand was in Texas at Gruene Hall. By the way, when we come to Texas, we're bringing the biggest band ever.

Bigger than Lyle Lovett and His Large Band? Our band makes Lyle Lovett's Large Band look Lilliputian.

(See Austin: Music/Dance; Dallas: Music/Dance; and Houston: Music/Dance.)

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