Girlfriend and 100 Percent Fun were my two peeks, around '92 and '96. The reality is that the times I had the most media success, sold lots of records and played bigger shows, I had the least control of my own life.
First off, I don't want anyone to think I'm this huge thing in Japan. Every group from here that's made any records over any length of time - even indie bands - have a Cheap Trick effect in Japan.
I went to a rare live Van Dyke show and met him there. And then he came to a show of mine and we spoke back stage. The third time was at Brian Wilson's birthday party.
It became a question of do I want to be on a label where it could take three years to put out a record instead of putting out three records over the same period of time on my own.
When I did the record, I was coming off a time when my contract had been sold and the music industry had changed a lot. I didn't understand how to make records for big labels. I was waiting for a new kind of record label to emerge.
You know that they're not just into it for the moment, they really care about it and value it over time.
He wanted to play accordion on something of mine and I said you can play accordion, but I want you to play piano and organ on some stuff. He came over a couple times a week for two weeks and gave me therapy as to whether I should do The Thorns or not.
My family lives there, so I come back sometimes between shows for a couple days. I get back a couple times a year. When I was 30 to 34 I was weirded out when I came back - you know, how your past gets away from you. It's grown so much.