I am a long-time fan of the musician Robyn Hitchcock. I first heard him when he was with the Soft Boys, a legendary British strange-pop band. The song that came over the crackling reception of Madison's WORT-FM was "Kingdom of Love," and I loved it immediately. Unfortunately for me, I didn't catch the name of the band as the DJ spoke it after the song, and I wandered aimlessly in the forests of Wisconsin for years until I made my way south to Wax Trax in Chicago and found a 12" single, coincidentally titled "Kingdom of Love." Could it be the same song, thought I? There are probably many other songs with the same title, probably by the Huntsville, Alabama First Baptist Ladies'Friends of Jeeheebah Choir or Robert Goulet or Grandmaster Flash. But lucky me, it turned out to be the song I remembered from the radio, and I immediately started buying up all the Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock records I could find.

Robyn Hitchcock has a very unique sound and style -- there is no mistaking him for anyone else once you hear him. There are many worthy musical references in his work -- notably the Beatles and Syd Barrett -- but his lyrics, surreal and silly and literary and thoughtful all at once, make the songs undeniably his. He is a wonderful live performer who is always effortlessly funny and interesting, whatever he does.

My considerable estimation of him only increased today, after reading this interview:

This is my favorite part:

CNN: I've heard you called "the alternative Bob Dylan."

Hitchcock: I wish! ...

I always say, the deeper your roots, the broader your branches. Dylan used to do many different kinds of music, read many plays and went to movies, drew pictures -- he still does. He absorbs a lot. But he goes down deep. If people get anything from my stuff, it would be nice if it's an emotional [reaction]. In the end, it's how you make people feel about your songs that lasts. If I have a fraction of that, then that's fantastic.

The "alternative Bob Dylan" tag I don't really agree with, but I love what Robyn says about his songs and what is important to him about them. Music is really about communication, as are all artistic ventures. You have succeeded in the best of what is possible to get from it if what you have created connects with someone else. Sometimes art says things for people that they cannot articulate fully, awakens feelings in them that were long buried or ignored, makes them feel a little less singular in an often frantic and confusing world. It doesn't always have to be profound. Sometimes, it can just be fun, and this has just as much worth.

Robyn Hitchcock totally gets that being able to write and play for people for a living is an immense privilege. He is comfortable in his own skin, loves what he does, appreciates what he has, and is not a giant asshole. What more could you want from a rock star?

Robyn Hitchcock -- "I Often Dream Of Trains"