Festivals are hard for me. I think the daytime is ugly. I don’t want to look out and see a rainbow of sunburns. It’s not very rock’n’roll. The whole time I was growing up in Florida I was waiting to be old enough to move to London and never have to think about the sun. Whenever we play festivals, we end up having a good show and the crowds have a good time, but I’m not an outdoors person.
One of my favorite shows ever was watching Jay-Z at Glastonbury [in 2008], so I do think it’s possible to be great in that setting, but it’s hard to get into a prime state for performing. I can never gauge the audience. People are getting something out of these things that I just don’t get.
Back in my early 20s, it was incredibly exciting to hang around the festivals after I played — I felt like I knew everyone in every band. Then a few years went by, and I didn’t recognize anyone anymore. Half the bands that I knew broke up. It’s funny, I was watching the Anvil documentary the other day, and they were talking about how seeing other bands at festivals would motivate them to play even better. “Fuck! Those solos were sick, we gotta outdo that!” I really like that idea, but I don’t know if it still exists.
Touring is a machine, and you have a schedule you have to stick to. There’s no time to watch other bands. If I had my choice, I would never play a show outside ever again.
The Dead Weather’s Sea of Cowards (Third Man/Warner Bros.) is out now.