e-mail interview with Joey Burns (guitar/vocals) - nov 15th 2001
Barbara H

When did you start playing music ?

Very young as a child, I started playing piano and would drum on anything I could find ; pillows, chairs, pans, hands...

What were your first favourite records ?

Steve Miller's  Fly Like an eagle, The Beatles' early recordings, REM's Reckoning, Kiss' Dressed to Kill and Destroyer.

When did you write your first song ?

In High School, around 15 years old.

What was it about ?

About living in a purple treehouse. Kind of like the wizard of oz meets the land of the lost.

What are you currently working on?

Taking time off, writing, reading, listening to music, hanging out in Tucson with friends or visiting my girlfriend in Chicago.

Have you already written new songs for another Calexico album?

A couple ideas are starting to emerge but nothing concrete.

Do you plan to write the stories behind the concepts of 'The Black Light' and 'Hot Rail'?

Well I guess there are some vague story lines there, but no, no plans to do such projects.

Or maybe to make movies about these stories? 

That could be kind of fun, maybe with some friends.

You wrote 'gift xchange' which is a christmas song, did you ever think of
writing a christmas album/EP?

sure why not.

I know you and John have been playing for years, do
you feel that this success is something of a reward ?

It's just part of life, I take it as it comes with all of the rest of life's lessons.

Did you expect this to happen?


Every Calexico show looks like a party, does it get boring to party every night? do you ever feel like playing more "obscure"shows?

It is not always a party for me, I take the shows really seriously and I am always looking at new ways to express the music and learn from the performances and reactions with the musicians and audience. I think that dynamics are key to music, so sometimes it may appear that there is a party going on or that the dynamic is really intense, but in order to get there you have to start off with something very minimal and quiet.

What is your favourite memory as a musician?

playing piano as a child at home with my foot holding down the pedal. Also I love playing with friends like, John Convertino, Howe Gelb, Rainer Ptacek, Vic Chesnutt, Victoria Williams, Mark Olson, Richard
Buckner, Doug McCombs, Lambchop, the Dirty Three, and our friends, Volker Zander, Martin Wenk, Jacob Valenzuela, Correo Aereo and Mariachi Luz de Luna.

This is the most exciting thing to do in life... to share these rare gifts.