Wilco’s latest album, Star Wars, was released as a surprise in the middle of July. As it turns out, the album wasn’t named for the band’s exceeding love of Star Wars, the movie. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Jeff Tweedy was asked if he’s a fan of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, and the whole crew. His answer? “No! In fact, I didn’t even know there was a new Star Wars movie coming out until my lawyer told me.”
He continued: “Everybody advised me against it, because there is a heavily protected trademark involved. But I think from our point of view, it was clearly recontextualized, clearly did not have any of the look and feel of what would be protected under law. So, you know, we’ll see.” Disney, who owns Star Wars, has yet to file a lawsuit against Tweedy and the band. Yet.
He also explained the album’s feline-featuring cover art:
That painting of that cat hangs in the kitchen at the [Wilco] loft, and every day I’d look at it and go, “You know, that should just be the album cover.” Then I started thinking about the phrase “Star Wars” recontextualized against that painting—it was beautiful and jarring. The album has nothing to do with Star Wars. It just made me feel good. It makes me feel limitless and like there’s still possibilities and still surprise in the world, you know?
Tweedy also said he’s “about halfway done” with Wilco’s new LP. On the new material:
I had put together a whole lot of material and kind of convened everyone into Chicago for a brief little stretch to play them what I had, and being really secure and confident as musicians and comfortable and Wilco and everything they just said, “Hey, it sounds fucking great. What should we do?” For the most part, I kind of built them all and had the guys come in, sometimes individually. There isn’t really one track on the record where everybody was there at the same time. So anyway, that’s kind of the starting point for a lot of stuff, and there’s a whole other record that we have a working title for that is very different but almost in the similar state of completion to where Wilco started on this record, if that makes any sense.
When asked if the songs didn’t fit with Star Wars, he said: “No, it wasn’t that other songs didn’t fit in; it was more that these songs sounded great in this sequence, and what I wanted to do was make sure that almost everything was over a certain beats per minute, for the most part.”