Michael McDermott performs and talks about success, addiction and redemption (Car Con Carne)

Michael McDermott is one of the greatest songwriters of the past 25 years. If you’re familiar with McDermott, you probably already know that Stephen King’s a fan (“Not since I first heard Bruce Springsteen singing ‘Rosalita’ had I heard someone who excited me so much as a listener, who turned my dials so high, who just made me feel so *expletive* happy to have ears”).

For this episode, McDermott joins me for an ill-fated burger in Elmhurst (“Is this mold on the bun… that’s a green that I do not see on the olive”).

He talks candidly about falling into years of drug addiction. Back at the beginning, he said to his friend, “Show me the gutter.” Years later the friend said, “I didn’t know you’d stay down there.”

McDermott goes on to talk about how dark things got:
“Looking at 3-6 years in prison… that was scary.”
“The next step would’ve been suicide by cop.”

If you believe in happy endings, McDermott found one. He’s been sober for 2+ years and just released what may be his finest work yet: Willow Springs. We talk a bit about lyrics, songwriting and the new album.

And while the interview’s one of the most compelling you’ll hear on Car Con Carne, it’s nothing compared to McDermott’s backseat performances of “Willow Springs” and “Getaway Car.”

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