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“I just get a little high,” multi-talented singer-songwriter Phil Cook tells me over the phone on a drive back to his home base in Durham, North Carolina.
What follows won’t be another sordid rock ’n’ roll tale of drugs and wildness. No pipes or prostitutes, just a whole lot of positivity. See, Phil Cook is getting high off of the vibes provided by the people he surrounds himself with. Watching his friends and family be creative and just plain living, that’s what gets him off.
This brings us to Cook’s upcoming, jubilant sophomore solo record People Are My Drug. It’s full of joyous odes to the human condition. It basks in the tradition of old spirituals and New Orleans brass music while being one whole, free-flowing entity. It’s a wonderful surefire smile-inducer.
During our chat Cook — who many may know from being a member of Hiss Golden Messenger and Megafaun — touched on how the album came to be (beers with buds), how he finds the good in every person, and how he himself remains one happy dude.
You’re currently in Durham but where were you born in Wisconsin?
I was born and raised in Chippewa Falls. The home of Leinenkugel’s beer.
I know it well. My grandparents have been in Chetek for years.
Oh yeah up in the North Woods. (Slips into pitch perfect Northern Wisconsin accent) Log cabin lined bars everywhere man!
So you finally had enough of M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger) that it was time to put out another solo record?
It was more of a late night conversation with two of my bandmates who simply asked what we would be doing this year. Within 20 minutes we amped ourselves up and booked studio time. This was last July and we got in the studio this past January. It was a very productive round of beers.