One time I was in the back of a cab. I was in the middle of a bender—the 23 year old kind, not the sad kind—although I was, in fact, very sad at that moment. Me and the woman I thought i was going to marry (the third one) had just broken up. I revealed to the cabby that I’d broken up with this woman and then sloppily tried to get back together with her a few weeks later but she wisely opted not to date me again. That’s why I was so drunk, I explained, and was telling my every secret to him. Poor guy. The cabby turned to me and said, “That’s the difference between men and women, man. While we be sleepin’, they be thinkin’.”
If you can take it out of context a bit, ignore momentarily how sexist it is, focus on how nicely it rolls off the tongue and how pleasing it is to hear it in a Jamaican accent, then you’ll have a good idea how I’m doing seven years later. Except nowadays I’m not the drunk 23 year old boy or the unlucky sexist cab driver who had to endure the 23 year old’s bloviating, I’m the spectral woman who is thinking while all her peers, friends, ex-lovers and family are sleeping. I’m not trapped in some cab. I’m no longer putting up with the crap of some man child. i’m Tina Turnering, living my best life now, not looking back, kicking butt, taking names.
As Elvis would put it, TCB in a flash.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Simple Man”?
Does it sound like a Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac song or is that just wishful thinking?
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
I had a nasty fight the person I loved. That night I had this paint-by-numbers Freudian nightmare; I was naked and tied up in my back yard as everyone I knew, led by my significant other, laughed and threw things at me. I woke up and thought it was so funny. My unconscious can have a sense of humor through it all. Why can’t my conscious self?
In retrospect, I probably should have changed the lyric about my d*** being in my hand, but it felt important to me at the time to lighten the mood.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes. You’ll see.
The single comes off your new EP Ain’t Got A Reason – what’s the story behind the title?
Say the phrase a few times. It’s so pleasing. Reminds me a little of the pleasure that comes from saying ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.’ On the hand, i’m opposed to well educated people using ‘ain’t’ in a folksy way but, on the other hand, the language of rock’n roll is inherited and the phrase is just so pleasing to say.
Also, it makes a complete sentence with my name. Walker Lukens Ain’t A Got A Reason. Walker Lukens ain’t got a reason (fill in the blank.) I ain’t got a reason to complain. I ain’t got a reason to be late for our meeting. I ain’t got a reason to be turning these questions in late. I ain’t got a reason to still be talking…
How was the recording and writing process?
Writing and recording music is when I’m happiest. I was making a record with the best group I had ever played with up until that point. The drummer from one of my favorite rock bands was producing it at a studio where some of my favorite songs had been recorded. It was a happy albeit very hectic time.
What was it like to work with Jim Eno and how did that relationship develop?
Picture three highly caffeinated men. One is hunched over a large mixing console, dressed in all black. The second one is seated in front of a computer screen, or standing in front a formidable wall of esoteric musical equipment patching said esoteric equipment together with short cables that the first man refers to as ‘music ropes.’ Sometimes, the second man is making more coffee. He’s quiet and mainly just listens to what the first and third man have to say. The third man has a cup of coffee in his hand or his cellphone or a guitar. Sometimes, he’s walking around the neighborhood with headphones on typing lyrics into his cellphone.
Sometimes, the three men reach a kind of wordless harmony that allows them to bring forth sound out of nothingness. Other times, they watch videos on YouTube. There is pacing involved. If tracking is more or less done for the night then sometimes they drink beer.
Imagine doing this for a a couple days a week for a few months. That’s how I got to know Jim.
How much did he influence the album?
Jim engineered and produced the album. It wouldn’t sound like it does without him and I’m eternally grateful.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes, Bonnaroo. Firefly, west coast, east coast, every bar, dive, and juke joint in between. See ya somewhere.
What else is happening next in Walker Lukens’ world?
Wilco’s trying to break your heart, i’m trying to become indispensable to you.