Photo by Chapman Baehler

Photo by Chapman Baehler

Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: Hi, how are you?

John Rzeznik: I’m fine, how are you?

MP: Good. Are you tired?

JR: Yeah. It’s been a pretty crazy tour.

MP: What are the things that make you feel fully alive?

JR: When I’m around people who are incredibly passionate about what they’re doing, people who live their lives in a more selfless way than most people. That’s when I’m inspired. That’s what I aspire to do and be.

MP: What are some of the things that make you feel vulnerable?

JR: I’m a guy so I equate vulnerability with fear. What makes me fearful. I feel vulnerable when I release material, my work, to the world, and I have no control over the outcome. Those are very vulnerable moments. I’m getting married on Friday.

MP: This Friday?!

JR: I’m getting married Friday. It’s pretty crazy. I have to let myself be vulnerable in order to have a good marriage. That’s something I’m really going to have to work on. A lot of times I’m really guarded because of what I do for a living, what I’ve done in my life.

MP: Congratulations!

JR: It’s a really scary thing. I’m excited about it. I know it’s not a mistake, it’s the absolute right thing to do. I’m really happy about it. I really, really love my fiancee. We’re good friends and I think it’s going to work. But that’s just the point—it’s going to take work. It does make me feel vulnerable to be like, wow, I’m committed to this person for the rest of my life.

MP: What are some of the things in life that break your heart?

JR: Wow. Really, honestly? Seeing people who are impoverished, when there’s so much money around. Seeing elderly people when they’re lonely. Seeing kids who’ve got nothing. That really f*cks me up.

MP: I’m already inspired by you. You’ve struggled with some things in your life. What has kicked your ass?

JR: I’ve mostly kicked my own ass, you know? I’ve had a lot of struggles with growing up in an alcoholic family, and my own struggle with alcoholism. It’s not a big deal, it’s everyday. I gotta take care of it every day or it comes back. I’ve quit drinking hundreds of times. It’s a bitch, man, it’s a real bitch. It’s so hard to keep it together.

MP: Is there some kind of daily routine, something that you have that helps you maintain your center and your focus?

JR: I work out. I try to work out every day. That keeps me in the moment, which is great. Keeps my head from thinking about the future and the past too much. I love working out. That really helps me a lot.

MP: I was like, he has not aged in fifteen f*cking years, what is going on? Is he doing yoga? What’s he doing?

JR: I’m just working out, doing the usual things. I kind of love the idea of doing yoga. Do you do yoga?

MP: I do. Yes. I do a lot of yoga.

JR: Wow. See, now, I want to start doing that.

MP: It breaks my heart open. It’s a constant state of surrendering and owning your shit. It’s been really good on many levels for me. I want to go boxing or running, faster, harder. It’s really good to settle your f*cking ass down for a minute!

You’re on tour right now with Matchbox 20 and you have a new album that came out last month, Magnetic. Is there anything about this album that’s more emotional or different than the work you’ve done before?

JR: I think the work is always personal. This album differs. It seems to be a lot more positive. It seems to have a certain amount of optimism about it.

MP: How has your work changed? Has your processed changed?

JR: It has to change and evolve with you as a person. Your art from ten years ago, it doesn’t come from the same place that it comes from now. All that has to evolve as you do, and hopefully we’re always evolving. Whether that means it’s going to be commercially successful or not, that has really nothing to do with it. It has to be an honest reflection of where you’re at at that time. Then again, sometimes I just make shit up! That’s just a great sounding song, so I like it.

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