Jeff Tweedy Explains the Title and Enigmatic Artwork for Wilco’s ‘Star Wars’
As pleased as the music world was when Wilco released their latest album as a surprise free download last month, there were a lot of questions. Why call it Star Wars, after the iconic film franchise that has a new film coming out later this year, and how does the album art make any sense? In a recent interview published today (Aug. 18), frontman Jeff Tweedy revealed that there wasn't much thought behind either choice.
Tweedy said he actually wasn't aware that a new Star Wars movie was coming out in 2015, saying, "I didn’t even know there was a new Star Wars movie coming out until my lawyer told me. Everybody advised me against it, because there is a heavily protected trademark involved."
As for the album art, it is simply a familiar painting he had grown to enjoy:
That painting of that cat hangs in the kitchen at the [Wilco] loft, and every day I’d look at it and go, "You know, that should just be the album cover." Then I started thinking about the phrase "Star Wars" recontextualized against that painting — it was beautiful and jarring. Th album has nothing to do with Star Wars. It just made me feel good.
He also talked about why the band avoided the pre-album hype by giving the record a surprise release:
I was really dreading the modern roll-out pattern. Usually by the time the record comes out, I hate it. I hate talking about it. I hate all the people that have weighed in on it. I think it’s done a disservice to our records, the way they’ve been heard in dribs and drabs, and a lot of people think they’ve heard a whole record after hearing one song. That’s not the way Wilco records work.
Listen to Star Wars (the album, not the movie) below.