says. “So I decided a long time ago to play places where I can drag the audience along with me, play new songs, do what I want to do, and not make this about ‘Am I the biggest rock star in the world?’ ”
Four decades in, he’s reached the point where “I don’t get paid for going onstage, I get paid for leaving home,” he says.
He emphasizes that he has little use for money or fame. The former he says, he too often squandered when he was young — “I either spent it or lost it or wasted it on whiskey or women,” he says — while the latter has only proved to be an irritant, especially when he found himself tabloid fodder as he dated Ryan and then Christie Brinkley, with whom he split last year.
“I hate it,” he says. “I don’t know why anybody would give a [crap] who an old man would go out with. I could [not] care less about anybody’s personal love life.”
These days, his constant companion is his paintbrush. At the time of this i nterview, t he accomplished painter declared that he had not left his property in 45 days, instead spending eight hours a day on his feet, painting. His Midwestern work ethic doesn’t tolerate sitting around.
“I’m a very active, Type A-type of guy,” he says. “If a day goes by and I don’t make something, I feel guilty. I exercise every day. If I don’t paint or I don’t write a song or I don’t do a performance, then I’m being lazy and I need to get to work.”
But he warns this summer could be the last chance to catch him in large outdoor venues and vows that he is one act who will never play the festival circuit.
“If I have to do those things, I’m quitting,” he says. “If your motivation is the money, it’s the wrong motivation.”