Never mind the critically acclaimed Wilco and Uncle Tupelo albums. Forget the Grammy awards. More than anything, Jeff Tweedy's solo performances are remembered for one thing: his small talk with the audience between songs.
Jeff Tweedy stage-banter videos have practically become a channel on YouTube. There's the one of Tweedy doing a dramatic reading of Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." "I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips," Tweedy reads slowly, like a spoken-word poet.
There's the one of him answering a female fan's offer to marry him. "You would be so miserable," retorted Tweedy. He went on to tell her how he sits around farting, swearing and scratching his privates all day.
"I think I'm in love," yelled a male audience member.
"Oh yeah, it works for dudes," Tweedy yelled back.
Tweedy's Madison fans will get their chance to see him up close and personal when he takes the stage alone at the Capitol Theater on March 28.
Tweedy's remarks seem to win more attention than those of other musical performers because there is an unexpected element to them. After all, his musical persona is otherwise dark, brooding and mysterious. He's been open about his battles with depression and anxiety. He's long been afflicted with migraine headaches and fought an addiction to pain medication in 2004.
Some of Tweedy's most poignant songs express a kind of hope that sounds simultaneously beautiful and unreachable. You can hear the tension of hope and resignation in "I'm Always in Love" and "California Stars."
Given his penchant for expressing political feelings onstage, perhaps Tweedy will comment on the recent Madison union protests Monday night. Last December, performing in Washington, D.C., he made this remark: "It's good to be back in D.C. I was here a couple of weeks ago for the Rally to Restore Sanity. Unfortunately, it didn't work."
No matter what he says, though, at the Capitol Theater, Tweedy will soothe the world's insanity the best way he can - with music.