Citizen Cope enjoys his “super cool” fans, but maintains a distance when it comes to overzealous photographers. (Courtesy Alex Elena)

Citizen Cope’s seventh album worth the six-year wait

Folk-rocker Citizen Cope (born Clarence Greenwood) didn’t intend to take six years making his seventh album “Heroin and Helicopters,” which he self-released March 1 on the imprint Rainwater Recordings. The album —brimming with anti-Trump sentiment in “War,” “Justice” and “Forbidden” — entailed extenuating circumstances. He was dealing with writer’s block; constantly touring to underwrite the sessions himself; and spending as much time as he could with Lula, his daughter, now 8, with his singer-songwriter wife Alice Smith. “I didn’t want to take any shortcuts,” he says. “I wanted the record to be really great, and I feel like it’s the best one I’ve done in awhile.”

At one of your wife’s San Francisco soundchecks, a pushy fan of yours spotted you and physically inserted herself into a serious chat you were having. But you didn’t welcome her, you shooed her with an icy kiss off. You don’t suffer fools gladly, do you?

There’s a level of autonomy that is important in life. Not everyone’s going to have the best tact. But people sometimes think they have this ownership of you. I was in a bar the other night, after the show, and somebody said they wanted a picture. And I said, “You know what? I’d rather not take a picture inside the bar. I have a daughter, and I don’t want her growing up to see those pictures. I’ll go outside later and take some pictures with you.” But later, this same guy comes up and shakes my hand, and he had some other person taking our picture. In the bar. My security guy had to erase his pictures.

Nowadays, people take selfies at concerts with the band ardently playing behind them.

That’s the dynamic that social media has brought on. I was just talking with Alice about this today, in fact. People want to take a picture with you before having an authentic conversation with you. It’s really about that, not any kind of human interaction. And it’s like a drug.

But you truly have a rabid fan base, though.

Yeah. And for the most part, everyone’s super cool. But I used to like to go out to the merch table and mingle and say “What’s up” to fans. But now it’s just become this photo-fest. And I really hate those flashes.


Citizen Cope

Where: August Hall, 420 Mason St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday March 27

Tickets: $46

Contact: (415) 872-5745,

Pop Music

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken different approaches to transit and infrastructure funding. <ins>(Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)</ins>
Bay Area transit has big hopes for a Biden administration

The best chance for local agencies to get relief may be a change in federal leadership

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

San Francisco DJ and producer Jah Yzer livestreams most mornings from his home. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Roots & Tings build community through music

Lateef the Truthspeaker, Jah Yzer and Winstrong call for voting as a form of healing

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

Most Read