Posted on June 9, 2008 by Sara Hickman. | 1 Comment

hi cliff!

i’m sorry we keep missing each other, so i thought i’d interview you with some questions to get us started:

how old were you when you first knew you wanted to be a writer?
CS – Probably 19 or 20. Before that I played Tuba (and still own one!) and a little bass guitar. Started playing acoustic later and decided I’d rather write than play other folks songs.

did you have any early influences/mentors?
CS – I didn’t know anyone at all who wrote till I started venturing out to open mics & songwriter groups. I learned from that and still learn from it. As for pro writers, Steve Earle is probably my biggest musical influence. He really opened a lot of doors for me & turned me on to music I wasn’t into before him.

what makes you laugh? when you laugh, do you giggle, chortle, guffaw or snicker?
CS – I’m a sucker for really bad, crass cartoons… The Squidbillies, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, South Park, etc… I’m not easily offended (except by any form of hate!) so I like offensive cartoons! I don’t know if I chortle but I sure like the sound of the word!

if you were a household object, which one would you be? why?
CS – Animals aren’t objects but I’d really like to be a cat… Laying around being aloof all day, then random burst of energy & only loving on people when you want to. Cats really call their own shots!

do you play any instruments?
CS – I do, guitar, dulcimer, dobro, bass, piano (poorly), djembe, tuba (the only thing I’m classically trained in) and singing of course! Mostly it’s just guitar & singing these days, most of the other stuff is just for fun.

do you have pets?
CS – I do, a miniature dachsund named Buddy. He’s dappled (all kinds of splotchy colors) and has blue eyes. People love those blue eyes so much that they’ll let him get away with anything he wants and then they just fall for those eyes. Also have an all white cat named Bali (like south pacific) She despises other cats and pretends to despise Buddy but I know she really loves him.

have you ever been on a picnic and heard the snuffling of a bear in the woods? what did you do?

CS – I’ve not but I’d be equal parts excited & spoooked. Never had to deal with bears in Indiana.

have you ever had to stop, drop and roll?
CS – Nope, but I did see a friend light the bottoms of his shoes on a campfire (intentionally) and then do cartwheels with his flaming feet. Much more entertaining than stop drop & roll. Don’t think I’ll be telling my little boy that story though (for a while)

how do you think the alphabet came to be in the order it is? doesn’t it seem suspiciously perfect?
especially “…m..n…o..p…q…r…”…it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

CS – Could have something to do with aliens or conspiracy theories. Read a really cool book once called the Gods of Eden that tied all these notions of world religions & other conspiracy theories all back to aliens. Some of that Old Testament stuff makes a lot more sense if you’re thinking about space ships! smile

have you ever visited austin, texas? did you know we are trying to keep it weird?
CS – I did read that you are trying to keep it wierd. Never visited but want to badly. I’ve got all these notions that it could be the greatest place in the world for a songwriter like me. Plus I really LOVE a bunch of TX songwriters. Hayes Carll, Ryan Bingham, Steve Earle, etc… I’ve got this idyllic vision that I could move to Austin, ride my motorcycle ever day, find folks who really enjoy my music & then help you & Steve Earle stop the death penalty while I’m at it.

ok! this is all for now. i can, of course, follow up with some serious, in – depth questions about
politics, spirituality and the perfect pie crust, but that’s really up to you!

sara hickman


  1. nonymouse says:

    i have been waiting for ten years to see a someone interview an interviewer. bravo! can you do teri gross next?

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