Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals play Massey Hall Friday and Saturday (September 28 and 29) at 8 pm. $39.50 to $59.50. 416-870-8000.
Why record Lifeline in such intensive sessions? Why in Paris?
Recording in such a short time gave the music a particular sound and feel that you usually won't get when you take an extended length of time. Paris seemed like it had something to offer in the creative process.
Why do you think Paris Sunrise #7 is being seen as a standout track?
It's hard to say why people have gravitated toward it, but I'm just glad they have. Usually the regular guitar players get all the attention, so it's always a triumph when us slide guitar players get a nod here and there.
What do you mean when you say, "The songs I care most about are the songs I haven't written"?
I feel that statement is clear enough not to need further translation.
Fight Outta You aside, Lifeline feels less political than some of your previous material and more about love and relationships. Are you mellowing out, giving up or just going in a different lyrical direction?
Department of redundancy department.
Are you optimistic for the 2008 U.S. elections? Do you see positive change coming in American politics?
You grew up near the Inland Empire; your wife, Laura Dern, starred in the David Lynch film. Is there a connection?
It is one of my all-time favourite films. He got the name as we were driving out to my hometown.
What one thing about yourself would fans be shocked to discover?
I can say the alphabet backwards.