The always interesting Jonny Craig hit SXSW this year, and Senior Writer Jesse Richman had the chance to catch up with Jonny for a new interview. Jesse and Jonny discussed his current solo career, having true fans, IndieGoGo, The Voice, and much more. Check it all out below!
When did you get down to South By Southwest?
We got here yesterday or the morning before around 1AM.
POZ: You’re playing one showcase today. Do you have others lined up?
Jonny: I played yesterday, I played two showcases. One at the House of Blues Annex, and one at the Firehouse. Today is at the Annex again as well. Then we’re heading to Dallas, and from Dallas we’re going to San Antonio.
Have you gotten to see any bands while you’ve been here?
We’ve kind of just been hanging out and staying away from the roar, the loudness of everything. Just trying to find little pockets everywhere and not get fucking screamed at. I’ve just been hanging out with some good friends.
How has the first solo tour been going?
It’s going pretty well, you know? The first couple days were rough; we were getting into the groove. I think now we’ve got it, and we’re just killing it every night. Doing great, merch is doing well too. The crowd reaction is amazing. Some markets are a little rough. It zig-zags a bit. Coming up, we have three or four sold out in a row. It’s going to be good.
What kind of material are you playing?
I’m doing a mix between the old CD and the stuff I’m trying to push out now. I have an acoustic set.
How does it feel being up there just as Jonny Craig, instead of being a part of another band?
It feels good. I get to have more freedom to do what I want and say what I want. I don’t have to worry about getting offstage and being ly, “man, you guys played like shit.” I’m picking people that are with me that are playing solid. I know I’m going to do my part every night too. It’s a lot better.
You’ve had your ups and downs. Do you feel like you have to build things back up?
I definitely have ride or die fans that, even through all the bullshit, still love me. Even people that got ripped off. There are a couple people I ripped off in the Macbook thing, and you know what? They still tweet at me all the time. Some of them actually donated to my campaign.
POZ: That’s cool, but it’s also a little scary!
Jonny: It is! It’s going to be 50/50. I know I have a lot of work to put in, but there are definitely still a lot of fans.
How is sobriety treating you?
It’s tough, I’ll tell you that. To be sober from drugs for over a year has been pretty fucking intense. I never thought I’d be able to not do drugs for that many days.
POZ: Is it strange being out on the road sober?
Jonny: It’s definitely a little harder. I have to think a lot more now, about the things I do and the things I say and the way I treat people. I have such a hard time right now dealing with my emotions, because I don’t know how to deal with things. I was just like “Fuck you. You don’t like me? I don’t care. See ya.” I don’t want to treat people like that anymore, and it’s hard for me to see that I’m doing that. It’s definitely a trip right now, but it’s all a life lesson.
How do you deal when people shit talk you, knowing they probably have some right to do it? How do you that that and move forward and be productive?
I’m trying my best to keep a level head, but sometimes there are one or two people that get to you, that say the wrong thing at the wrong time. A lot of times I brush it off. I ignore it. I don’t give a fuck. For that one person hating me, I have five or six that love me. It’s definitely tough when that one person gets you in that wrong moment. It’s hard to deal with it.
You have three singles out right now. How have the reception to them been?
It’s been pretty good. Some people, they’re a little different about the vibe, they want full-band shit, they want me to go back to Dance [Gavin Dance] and stuff like that. It’s just not going to happen. I want to do my own thing. I’ve wanted to play this kind of music forever. In my opinion, it’s the best I’ve ever sounded while being in it and focused. It’s the best I’ve ever played so far.
POZ: So is this the one musical direction you want to focus on? Do you see yourself having other projects, exploring those other sides of you in the future?
Jonny: I’m open for anything. I love music. Right now, I’m just going to focus on my solo shit with a more R&B vibe. That’s what I want now; that’s what I feel like I am.
PropertyOfZack confirmed in an interview with Jonny Craig today in Austin, TX at SXSW that Craig auditioned for the upcoming season of The Voice. While Craig suggested that the judges approved of his vocal skills, he did not end up advancing into the NBC competition show due to his background. Craig said to PropertyOfZack that “I was too controversial.” A full interview will be coming to POZ soon, so make sure to check back.
Cassadee Pope covered Michelle Branch’s “Are You Happy Now?” The Voice last night and has advanced into the next round.