Exclusive Audio: The Shins' James Mercer Talks to RS

January 26, 2007 12:00 AM ET

James Mercer, lead singer and songwriter for the indie-pop powerhouse the Shins, sat down with our very own Jenny Eliscu for a glimpse into his perfectly harmonious, yet tortured mind and what inspired their new album Wincing the Night Away. Read the full article here.

It's rare for Mercer to be this open about his creative process, so we wanted to share it with you, faithful Shins lovers. Check out Mercer discussing his personal songwriting technique, as well as why his lyrics are so obscure.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »