Glimpse certain touring acts' recent set lists, and you'd swear time stopped during the 1990s. Dr. Octagon reprised 1996's Dr. Octagonecologyst at two July shows, and Green Day played 1995's Dookie at England's Reading Music Festival in August. This Wednesday, Madison gets a visit from Matthew Sweet, who'll perform Girlfriend, his power-pop masterpiece from 1991, at the High Noon Saloon. Sweet reminisced about the album during a recent phone call.
Why'd you decide to tour Girlfriend again?
I was sitting around in December of 2010 and realized, "Wow, it's gonna be the 20th anniversary of Girlfriend." I called up my manager and was like, "Gee, should we do something for this?" It's really become a trend for bands from my era to play albums from back in the day, but when I started this tour, not many bands were doing it. Cheap Trick was the only one I knew of, so they were my inspiration.
Right after Girlfriend was released, you told Entertainment Weekly you'd be able to write good songs in the future because you'd "still be depressed enough at some other point." Snark aside, do you think you write better music when you're feeling down?
I tend to write heavier stuff when I'm in a terrible state.… [Being depressed] was part of my life back then, but I didn't fully know what was going on with myself. Now I know I have bipolar disorder, so I can control it more. Getting treated doesn't totally take away the ups and downs, so I just write about how I'm feeling at the time. I don't know if it's better, but it feels honest.
Do you perform the songs any differently than you did in the early '90s?
Not much.... We tend to be louder and more electric in concert, so it's a more rocked-out experience even though it's a pretty relaxed record. It's been really fun to play again. People who had Girlfriend when it first came out, they saw themselves in it in a weird way. When they come to the show now, it's like they're re-feeling what they went through back then.