Key to the Highway: Robbie Fulks

Interviews Key to the Highway Series

Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series

Fans always clamor to learn more about their most beloved musicians and those who travel with them. There’s such an allure to the road, with its serendipity, inevitable surprises, and sometimes unexpected discomforts. This interview series is a set of questions we are asking some of our favorite roots rock Americana artists to get to know more about them and what they’ve learned and experienced on the road. We are sure they have key insights to share and stories to tell. Here’s one from Robbie Fulks.

How do you like your coffee or other morning wake-up beverage?

I’m a softie, I like cappuccinos and lattes. But black coffee is O.K. too.

What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed (while on the road?)

In New Haven there’s an Econolodge with wet small dirty towels on the floor when you walk in, as well as blood on the sheets — or there was that day. Outside Rochester there’s a local hotel where they might give you keys to a room with a very frightened woman who wakes out of a sound sleep when you come in. Then they exchange your room key for another which leads you to a strange room under construction, with no curtains, but with, memorably, bees. In Olympia there’s one with bedbugs. Man, it’s really a toss-up between those and 15 others.

If one CD is stuck in the player in the van for the entire tour, what do you hope it is? And why?

Anything with Rodd Keith singing. Song-poems are great for all occasions and tastes.

What’s one personal item you must have with you on your road trip?

A couple books.

What is your relationship with food? How do you handle this on the road, and what’s your favorite dish on the road, (or restaurant, and what do you order there)?

I like pho, and I like okra, and I like pizza, and I like lots of stuff. Some of my favorite places are West Town, Longman and Eagle, Lula, and Little Goat in Chicago; Hattie’s Hat in Seattle; Koronet Pizza in NYC; Pok Pok in Portland; Little Dom’s and Silverlake Ramen in LA; and Kerbey Lane in Austin. I don’t have high-falutin’ tastes, and in fact some of my favorite places to go are not good food at all (Norske Nook of Osseo, Wis., Au Coquelet in Berkeley; every Waffle House in America) but just make me feel good about the world beyond my charmed bubble.

If you could pause your life for a few weeks and spend some time living in a place you only have passed through, which would you choose, and why?

Among the redwoods in northern California. I usually stop for 5 minutes when passing nearby, but two weeks there would be such a salubrious and total head-clearing from toxic civilizational static.

What quote or piece of advice have you gotten from someone on the road that has really stuck with you?

“What we’re doing now is the equivalent of falling to earth from a 20-story building. Put on your fucking seatbelt!” — bassist Lorne Rall

Purchase Robbie Fulks merchandise here:   Check for other information here:  See an earlier edition here:  Key to the Highway: Dan Baird And sign up for Americana Highways’ weekly newsletter so you get reminders each Friday for this series and more: