Who actually sits down and writes out the set list?
Well, mainly me. But I have run out of formulas. [Laughs] Now we just throw it in the air. It is what it is. The thing we try and do is move people; take them high and bring them low. If you get one song in the wrong place, it throws the mood. It doesn’t carry the audience. It puts them off balance.
It seems like no matter what, you like to begin with “I Can’t Explain.”
It’s got to be “I Can’t Explain.” We don’t even need the music. We should just say it like a poem. Here we are at our age and we still can’t explain!
“We try and move people; take them high and bring them low. If you get one song in the wrong place, it throws the mood.”
Do you feel 71?
Yeah, but if I shut my eyes, I’m 21. [Laughs] I try and avoid the mirror. Obviously, I hope I’m wiser. I hope I’m less arrogant. Of course, you feel different, but life is a joy. I’m very aware that I’ve had a life of privilege thanks to the music business and the support of our audience. I’m very aware of that.
Pete says that the two of you are closer now than you’ve ever been. Do you feel that way?
I do. After all the testosterone of youth, all of the problems and middle age and drugs and losing people we love, in the end you suddenly realize you deeply love each other. We are like brothers. Family is like that, aren’t they? One minute you love them, the next minute you can’t stand them. But as soon as it looks like they’re not going to be around, they’re knocking on the door.
Did losing John change the dynamic between the two of you?
Yeah. It woke us up to our mortality. Of course, it’s a different world now. The horrible shock of 9/11 shocked the world. And then John dying the next year did make us realize we’re mortal. If we believed in anything, it was the power of music bringing people together. If we’re touring for anything, that’s a good enough reason for me.
You have 54 shows on the books this year. Will the tour go beyond that?
If people want to add shows and we still feel great, then it will go for a while longer, but not that much longer. It might last two years. I also know that Pete wants to make another record.
What’s the status of that?
He’s just talking about it. I’ve heard a couple of tracks, which are great. There are loads of things we can do in the future, but we can’t keep doing this sort of tour. This bit of our career is closed, but maybe two more doors open up. Pete is an incredibly vibrant musician. I could see us playing acoustically in some ways.
An acoustic theater show with just the two of you could be amazing.
Then you don’t have to tour. You just get down in New York for a couple of weeks. That’s not touring. It’s a piece of cake. You go home every night. It would be civilized.