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.
IF YOU GO
Where: August Hall, 420 Mason St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Contact: (415) 872-5745, www.ticketweb.com