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Zen and the Art of Life on the Road: An Interview with Fred Eaglesmith

JP: Your new record is called Cha Cha Cha. So who will you be in this Cha Cha Cha world?

FJE: We're putting together a little circus act...a little traveling show. Our heads are really all around that. A traveling menagerie; a haggard, rough sort of thing. It's really time for that. When we do it, people sit right up. You put on the clothes and you go do this thing. I think that's what's going to happen. The 40s and 30s to me was really circus time. That's when the circus was vibrant. It feels like to go there...it feels like it's relevant.

JP: When you say circus, are you talking about quirky characters?

FJE: I want an elephant but I don't think I can make that work [laughs]. I need a big train and an elephant [laughs]. It's more the attitude of it and the sort of shoddiness of it. Because music is done on computers now and art is all computerized, but that [circus] isn't. Neither was the Tinderbox. Neither were the snake preachers. You can't handle a snake on a computer. So I'm sort of interested in, well what if that was now? There's not a lot of room for doubting anymore. Everybody's looking good. Everybody showers everyday and changes their clothes and puts that stuff on their hands [rubs hands together]. It's a sterile world. The circus was sort of gross...a little nasty. And the guys were nasty; stealing from you. They had a scam going. I'm very interested in this. I think traveling this way is very cool; where we stop staying in motels and we do this other thing staying in trailers. This is a hard one for me. It's going to take a long time for me. That's what we talk about these days.

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