Photo by Laura E. Partain
As long as popular music has been a concept, artists have struggled with a particular conundrum: the more singular they sound, the harder they are to market. Some try to solve the problem by shoehorning themselves into ill-fitting genres; others mangle adjectives into what they hope will become new ones.
But no one has been able to find an appropriately sticky label for Robyn Hitchcock. And he’s fine with that. After four decades of sonic output variously described as art-rock, psych-rock, pop-folk and surrealist (not to mention eccentric), the wry British expat still finds it easier to define his music by what it isn’t.
“You can’t dance to me,” the silver-haired, polka-dot-loving Nick Lowe lookalike notes cheerily, speaking from his Nashville home. “I’m kind of top-40 proof, and always have been.”
He definitely eschews inclusion under the “time-capsule” Americana umbrella.
“There’s a lot of great musicians playing in bars in East Nashville, and the thing they’re most likely to be playing is ‘Cortez The Killer.’ The year zero here is 1975; it’s like punk has yet to happen,” he jokes dryly. “But this is also because it’s an era in which musicianship flourished, rather than attitude.”
His formative influences hark back to when “all the glorious beasts that became classic rock began to stalk the earth”— among them Jimi Hendrix,... Sign In to Keep Reading