I made my first album in 2006 and called it Forever Ruth. It was named after perhaps the last natural-born romantic, from Pensacola, Florida, who went by Grits. After having his heart smashed into millions of pieces by a woman named Ruth, he covered the fishing bridge that ran alongside the main road linking the barrier island with the mainland with messages in red paint, along plain white backgrounds. The simplest, clearest one said only 'Forever Ruth'. I formed a band in Washington DC and toured around for a while. Then I made another record called 'Jamboree' in late 2006. It was about a German photographer named August Sander. Then I moved a lot - Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, and finally came to rest in Brooklyn.
I like to make things with my hands. I worked in an historical reënactment camp once, and the greatest pleasure I got was, one day, chopping up a tree downed by a recent storm, shaping it with an axe, and repairing an old fence that ringed the cabin I lived in. I admire people who make it up on their own - that kind of reductive clarity. John Cage and Edward Tufte - Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen - Jeff Mangum and Marshall McLuhan. Those are my heroes.