You've often used templates or been inspired by heroes when recording or writing. Is it a device used on The Delivery Man?
There is a lot of great music that I needed to hear before writing something that sounds like The Delivery Man. The songs of Dan Penn ("Do Right Woman" and "It Tears Me Up") have always pointed to that place where soul and country meet.
Have you ever felt a slave to fashion, or are you its victim?
Is this a sneaky way of asking if I am "into leather"? You cheeky young sod...
Describe what singing means for — and does to — you.
Depends on who is singing. I love to hear my wife's singing [Diana Krall]. My own singing is too loud to enjoy in confined spaces.
You nearly retired in 1980. Was that simple frustration or have you thought that a milliner's life might be a better one?
Is "milliner" Australian for "tobacconist"? I've quit about every two weeks for the past 25 years.
Tell us about that day in 1985 at Wembley. In your experience, can music change the world?
Ronnie Whelan crossed from the left and I volleyed it into the top left-hand corner of goal...oh yeah, that was just a dream. Then there was this one about singing in front of 70,000 people (with a billion or so watching it on television)...*
What will digital downloading of music mean for the album?
Everyone will be creating their own album. After that they can all come down to the studio and help us record the next one.
Is the pen mightier than the sword?
Only if you jab someone in the eye with it.
Is there anything off-limits for a musician to comment on in song?
Anything that involves goats and treacle.
Describe your darkest moment.
I recently found myself alone in a cottage during a power cut in Oxford, Mississippi. I consoled myself by playing "Dark Was the Night (Cold Was the Ground)"...
You looked a bit uncomfortable while performing "The Scarlet Tide" at the Oscars this year. What happened there?
T-Bone Burnett and I were simply there for decorative purposes (as we were the composers of the nominated song, "The Scarlet Tide"). Alison Krauss sang it really beautifully and didn't really require our assistance. I played one audible chord on the guitar. It was out of tune.
How was the party afterwards?
I found myself talking to Scarlett Johansson and that little elf boy from Lord of the Rings, while Mickey Rooney lit up when he saw my wife walk by. I don't think it was me he was checking out.
Is there a god? If so, describe your relationship with the divine.
Let me explain my relationship with Divine...or then again, maybe not... +
Elvis Costello and the Imposters tour Australia in November. The Delivery Man is out now on Lost Highway Records.