Indy: I've read that you wrote 150 songs or so for the new Five for Fighting CD Two Lights, and that's typical for you with each album. That seems like a lot of writing.
JO: The songwriting process probably takes a year and a half or so. I usually write 150 to 200 songs at least, get them to a certain place and evaluate them. And most of record-making, at least for me, is failing and going back to the drawing board and re-crafting and re-thinking and changing keys and changing tempos to try to get that take that you think presents the song in a way that's going to resonate.
Indy: But to have 150 song ideas worth pursuing must mean that you have no shortage of ideas.
JO: It's getting harder for me to find inspiration for songs. Maybe that's because I'm getting older. I also think that as you mature as a songwriter, your range of ... acceptability shrinks, and you become more critical of yourself. I doubt I would be able to write "Superman" today. And as time goes by ... I would be surprised if my kind of songwriting process doesn't change.
Indy: Why couldn't you write "Superman (It's Not Easy)" now?
JO: To me, I would probably look at that song as too simple. That's probably why one day, you probably won't hear me on the radio anymore, and that's probably a natural thing. You'll end up writing yourself right off the radio. I don't need to tell you that the best artists, at least the best songwriters, you never hear on the radio.
At Denver's Soiled Dove, Monday, Oct. 30.