Artist Q&A

@JamminJavaMei's Q&A With Dan Wilson


Dan Wilson might be best known as the frontman for Semisonic and the writer of their hits "Closing Time", "Secret Smile", and "Chemistry." He's also a mega-successful songwriter for other artists, having written hits for Adele, Dierks Bentley, Josh Groban, The Dixie Chicks, and many more. Fans of expertly crafted pop songwriting: PLEASE do not miss this show! Dan's here 6/13. "For a while now I've been creating these illuminated set lists as a way to help me map out my shows. And at the end of each of my Words & Music shows, we hand out copies to members of the audience so that they have a cool souvenir of our evening. Here's the latest one I've made for my "Words & Music by Dan Wilson" tour this month." -- Dan Wilson


Where and when was your first show?  

Aside from piano lesson recitals throughout my youth, my first rock and roll gig was performing “Pinball Wizard” (the Elton John version) with homemade puppets (of Elton John and band) made by me and my brother Matt, at my 9th grade talent show. We lip-synced, or rather, puppet-synced. The puppets were pretty big, so the kids could all see them well. It went over great. Much better than my next 10 years of gigs, for sure. That same year I also played a selection of top 40 hits at several parties, with my brother Matt on drums and my friend Jimmy Harry on guitar. I played the keyboard, whatever keyboard I could borrow or beg for the show, I think. Later I learned that bass players were in more consistent demand, so I learned to play the bass.

What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence?


Carole King

Jim Hendrix

Andrew Lloyd Webber, against my will

Joni Mitchell


Favorite Food - Touring Experience: My favorite food touring experiences were eating sea centipede in Australia, paella in Spain, horrible tasteless fish-and-chips in Manchester, UK.

Favorite Drink: a fan once bought me a double shot of 25 year old Macallan whiskey, that was lovely. I drank a great dark & stormy variant in New York at a place called the Dutch. Some fans once bought me several vodka oyster shooters, that was a good way to have seafood and also become very drunk.

If you were to have a film/movie based on your career, which actors or band would you select to portray yourself?

Hmmm. I’d have the Arctic Monkeys play the role of Semisonic. They rock. Very young pre-adolescent musician Dan could be played by Scarlett Johansson. I'm not sure she would be the best actress for the job, but it would be a great excuse for me to meet her. Songwriter Dan in later years would be portrayed by Kris Kristofferson. I’ve always wished I were ruggedly handsome like him.

What two words would best describe your music? Lonesome. Hopeful