Video Premiere: Steve Poltz “Quarantine Blues”
“I baked a hundred loaves of bread and fell down on my head,” Steve Poltz sings as he opens his new track “Quarantine Blues,” echoing an experience that many have had in these strange few months.
Along with a new cartoon video – which premieres here today – the Nashville singer-songwriter chronicles his time in quarantine with humor and honesty, from watching “every single movie” to praying for a vaccine.
“Quarantine Blues” was recorded at Jason Mraz’s studio So-Cal studio (Mraz even supplies keys on the track), but for the visual aspect Poltz enlisted “a Panamanian dude named Ivan who is living in Argentina” to create the video.
“[Ivan’s] work spoke to me. Just like drugs used to speak to me,” Poltz explains. “His work said, “I’m the one! Use me! You need me! We both like the color pink!”
Watch the video for “Quarantine Blues” and read Poltz’s full “Pandemic Note from a Crazy Person” below:
I tried to kill my father. In late February of 2020 I took my dad on a music festival cruise ship called Cayamo. I played about seven shows in a week on this floating extravaganza where everyone touches the same things and passes germs — Brian Wilson, Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy, Sara and Sean Watkins, Lake Street Dive and heaps more. We cross-pollinate and share songs. A total blast. But here’s the thing — I introduced my dad at every show. He’s 90! I told everyone to hug and kiss him. Then we flew from Miami to San Diego and I had a packed out show at The Belly Up on Feb. 29. Leap year! I had my friend Steve Wozniak drive down for the show in his brand new Tesla and pick up my dad. Woz was probably one of the earliest people to get COVID. Then I had my dad introduce me on stage and recite a crazy poem he’d written and to follow it up I asked everyone in the club to hug and kiss my dad. I tried to get him to crowd surf but we were worried about hip breakage.
How he never caught the virus is beyond me. Feeling grateful that I didn’t kill him.
So a tornado wiped out a lot of Nashville on March 2. Right near where I live. We survived it and I decided to throw a tornado benefit show at in Nashville at City Winery. I remember sitting backstage and my friend Grant Lee Phillips wouldn’t shake hands or hug me because he was paranoid. I was laughing at him. I kissed my pal Langhorne Slim on the lips and hugged Robyn Hitchcock. In fact, I was supposed to do an eTown show in Boulder with Robyn the following week. Boy was I wrong and Grant was right.
Everything got cancelled. And I mean everything. All the festivals we had booked and shows and more shows. Flights, rental cars, hotels, merch etc. Cancelled!
So I wrote a bunch of songs. One of the songs I scribbled down is called “Quarantine Blues.” I liked it and I drove from Nashville to San Diego to see my dear old dad. Jason Mraz’s studio happened to be free one day so I drove up to his house and got my pal Jeff Berkley to produce the track. Jason played keys. We recorded it live. It took 57 takes! Boy was I tired.
I searched for cool person to make a video for the song. Have you ever heard of the internet? It covers the world wide web. It’s really cool. I found a Panamanian dude named Ivan who is living in Argentina. Like I said, I searched everywhere. His work spoke to me. Just like drugs used to speak to me. His work said, “I’m the one! Use me! You need me! We both like the color pink!”
I’m thrilled to share with this video with you. I’m supremely happy I didn’t kill my father. I’m honored to tickle your eardrums and eyeballs.
As always, I remain your humble musical servant. And thanks again to Ivan Casis for having so much fun with this video. See ya on the road sometime in the future when the COVID germs get squashed. Oh yeah —
wash those hands!