Randall Roberts: When you were growing up, did you listen to a lot of rock music with kick-ass drum solos?
Glenn Kotche: No, I grew up in the suburbs, so I was exposed to classic rock Beatles and Stones, that kind of stuff but not really anything with drum solos. I guess Zeppelin maybe. But I didn't gravitate to the super prog stuff with solos.
As a drummer, were you sorry when punk rock killed the practice of a super-huge ten-minute drum solo in the middle of a righteous jam?
No, not at all, actually. I wasn't exposed to punk rock at first, but when I was, I totally fell for it and agreed. I wasn't a champion of the drum solo by any means. I've got no problem with them, because I'm a drummer, but I can understand why most people don't like them. I consider what I do "solo drums" more than "drum solos." I just kind of draw the line at whether it's a piece of music or a vehicle to display your technical facility.
Did you know that Mobile was going to be on Nonesuch Records before you recorded it?
No, I made the record and when it was finished they knew that I was doing an arrangement of "Clapping Music" by Steve Reich. They were curious to hear that, because Steve's also on Nonesuch. They liked it enough to put it out. But a lot of the stuff on that record wouldn't have happened had Wilco not signed to Nonesuch and if I hadn't been re-exposed or exposed to some of it for the first time to a lot of that music.
Did you think about the Wilco audience while you were recording it, and what their expectations might be?
I had to take that out of my thought process. Wilco fans are great music fans and they're more open-minded than any other rock-band fans that I'm aware of but at the same time, I don't know [if] there's a ton of crossover between the Wilco audience and all the side projects. Sales-wise there's a big difference between something like Loose Fur, which Jeff [Tweedy] is a member of, and Wilco. I learned when I joined Wilco, and when I became friends with Jim O'Rourke and Darin Gray, that when you make a record, you can't really factor in things like that. Otherwise you start second-guessing yourself and you start making decisions for the wrong reasons. If you start thinking, 'I need to make this more accessible for the Wilco fans,' I'd probably make a record that won't be true to myself.