And how cyclical is music that now, rock bands are just dying on the vine left, right and center! Rock stations are folding up shop and switching to talk radio or sports radio. Country music is the biggest genre in the world right now, it feels like. But at the start of the 2000s, it was the complete opposite, and rock was totally dominating.
Your album was released on September 11, too, which is unfortunate timing. Do you remember there being concern at the label, or in the music industry in general?
We woke up that day and we were glued to the TV just like everybody else was across the entire globe. We were on the tour bus, driving through Pennsylvania an hour and a half South of where one of the planes crashed. Then someone on the tour bus said, “Holy shit, our record came out today.” It became a complete afterthought. It wasn’t at the forefront of anyone’s mind. Everyone just thought the world was ending.
It was a very, very strange feeling that day. But, for some reason, and I’ve heard this a lot, people seem to latch onto [“How You Remind Me”] as some sort of an anthem — even though it had to do with relationships — probably because the song has an anthemic quality to it. I’ve heard, countless times, that it’s helped someone get through a hard time around then. That always feels good, when you can help someone like that.
That makes sense — there can be something empowering about muscular, high-octane, really alive rock music, and “How You Remind Me” delivers that. I heard it a lot on U.S. military bases overseas in the years following. Do you ever tire of playing it live?
No. I look at that as a great sing-along moment. By the time we get to that big, climatic pause that you and I have referred to in this conversation, the entire crowd is screaming at the top of their lungs. I don’t even have to sing it. I can just point, and the lighting director will light up the whole crowd, and they do their thing. It’s amazing, to hear people screaming your lyrics at you. It’s the best feeling in the world.
How do you feel about “How You Remind Me” as a song today?
When you have a song that grows into what “How You Remind Me” did, it really does take on a life of its own. I hear it now and it doesn’t feel like it’s mine. It belongs to the world. And the world has heard it so many times. If you were The Eagles, and you started with “Hotel California,” you can’t just sit there and be like, “This is mine!” It’s like, “No, that song belongs to everyone. You wrote it. You gave it to the world.” The fans know every nuance of it. They know every aspect. When I hear [“How You Remind Me,”] I feel like I listen to it the same way anybody else does. I almost don’t think it’s me, to a certain extent.