Wilco | 10 Songs, 10 Stories


On Monday, Wilco will perform at The Pageant; it will be their first performance in St. Louis since LouFest in 2013. The show is sold-out. TWEEDY will also be making a special appearance at Vintage Vinyl at 2PM.

To preview the show, here are 10 Wilco songs, with brief stories attached to them.

Written by Jason Gonulsen.


Phones still ring
And singers sing
Speakers are speaking in code

For Speakers in Code, all roads lead back to Wilco and this song. Last year, I got to interview Jeff Tweedy for the first time, and we talked about this song, and how our site was named after it. Wait, did that really happen?


What am I gonna do when I run out of shirts to fold?
What am I gonna do when I run out of lawn to mow?
What am I gonna do if you never come home?
Tell me, what am I gonna do?

I used to love mowing the lawn. And I loved cranking this song while doing so. But things change, people change, and now I never want to see another lawnmower, bag of fertilizer … I never want to label shoes as “lawn shoes” or have “lawn jeans” or … seriously … I’m cool with renting.


One day we’ll disappear together in a dream
However short or long our lives are going to be
I will live in you or you will live in me
Until we disappear together in a dream

February of 2009: I remember traveling to Columbia, MO, to see Ryan Adams. It was raining — oh my God, it rained — and my friend Matt was driving (speeding — dude, you were so speeding). This song came on. How is it that when the elements outside are barking, music is more powerful?


You hurt her but you don’t know why
You love her but you don’t now why

Wilco hasn’t played a show in St. Louis since LouFest in 2013, and minutes before that performance I was standing in the photo pit with Jarred Gastreich, and he was telling me how much he loved this song — my favorite Wilco song. Of course, just a couple minutes later, Wilco takes the stage and opens with “Misunderstood.” Since we had Louis Kwok also in the pit shooting for SiC, I put down my camera and just enjoyed the moment.


I understand I am just a fan
I’m just a fan

I took a road trip from St. Louis to Manhattan at the end of 2010. The sun was setting behind me, I was driving, everyone else was asleep. I listened to this four or five times and thought: how devastatingly gorgeous.


Something about this song. I used to live in an old apartment in Richmond Heights where the wind would leak in through the deteriorating windows, and I played this song on repeat for so many nights. The ending is not for everyone, but I think it’s beautiful, and the perfect way to close out Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I recommend listening at 2AM.


Are you under the impression
This isn’t your life?

I was in Denver with my cousin, Amanda, and we were laughing about how funny it would be if Wilco named their next album, Wilco (The Album) like they had named a song, “Wilco (The Song).” Well, it happened.


Bless my mind I miss
Being told how to live
What I learned without knowing
How much more I owe than I can give

2011 was such a magical year for me personally. So much hope, so much love, so much new. It taught me so much about living in the moment. I know that is cliche, but let’s face it: what else do we have? This was my favorite song of that year.


I am so out of tune
With you

In the summer of 2010, I traveled to South Bend, Indiana with a friend (well, at the time she was just a friend), and we made crucial mistake. Or should I say I made a crucial mistake: I forgot about the time zone switch from Central to Eastern … so I thought I had another hour to burn. But what we got instead was hearing Wilco open the show from the parking lot of a Minor League baseball stadium. They played “Sunken Treasure,” and somehow it was fitting — the timing was never right between us, but we still had fun. Such is life.


Can you take me to the store, and then the bank?
I’ve got five dollars we can put in the tank
I’ve got a court date coming this June
I’ll be driving soon

October 6, 2001: The first time Wilco played The Pageant in St. Louis. It was also my first Wilco show. I remember being amazed at how many people in the crowd sang along to this song. One of the first moments where a concert felt like home.

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