Chris Isaak doesn’t want people to think he’s lazy.
Even though last year’s “First Comes the Night” (Vanguard) was the “Wicked Game” singer’s first full album of new material in six years, Isaak is quick to point out that he put out “Beyond the Sun,” his tribute to early influences like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, in 2011. He was also busy coaching contestants on “The X Factor” in Australia, in addition to continuing his regular touring schedule.”
“I’d hate for people to think, ‘Oh, he only puts out albums once in a blue moon. He’s probably in the Bahamas on vacation,’ ” Isaak says, laughing. “I never stop working. . . . I have the Teddy Roosevelt attitude. If somebody shot me, I’d say, ‘Wait, let me finish the gig.’ ”
But considering how well “First Comes the Night” is put together and how Isaak already has 50 or so songs started for future projects, no one will be challenging his work ethic.
How did you decide which songs fit together for this album?
I think of it like flower arranging, like I had seven red flowers and a little white one would set those off nicely. That idea stays in my head, that we have enough fast songs and we need another ballad. I don’t say this album is called “When the Rain Falls” and all the songs are about breakups. . . . But mainly I think of the fans. They want good songs and they want to be able to put a record on and not be jolted from one song to the next. I always used to lay in bed and listen to music with the lights off, so I like to think of an album that I would not have to get up to touch the record. I also don’t like putting novelty things on the record.
That shows, especially in a song like “Insects” that, in lesser hands, could have been seen as a novelty.
I liked the idea of the song that this world is based on relationships and not money. Rich people don’t have it all. Good news for the rest of us, that ain’t everything. . . . Then I got the line “Bad ideas are like insects on the windshield of my mind” and I thought, “That’s too far out for a song.” But I kept it. I like it. It describes what I’m thinking.
What are you thinking about for this tour?
I’ll do the hits that people want to hear. . . . I’m really proud of my band. We put on a show and we dress up. We wear clothes that Liberace wouldn’t have worn because Liberace would have thought they looked too gay. . . . I love being in show business.