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Published: 2008/05/15

MMJ: I Dont Think Ive Ever Been More Pumped Up and More Nervous and Anxious

For all I knew, it was like a coffee house, singer/songwriter Ben Folds says. I had no idea. And then we walked out on stage and theres like 60,000 people.
But, even if Folds hardly knew what he was in for when he first took the stage at Bonnaroo back in 2006, but his second time around hes prepared to play to a crowd he finds surprisingly knowledgeable and refreshingly respectful given the sheer size and scope of the festival.
Its nice to look out and see people and feel people that get it. What youre seeing on mass is a much more intelligent picture of young humanity
Folds addressed reporters as part of a Bonnaroo Press conference, which also featured candid comedian Jim Norton and My Morning Jackets own upbeat percussionist, Pat Hallahan.
Of all the bands on this years bill, My Morning Jacket is one of the most heavily anticipated, as they prepare to release their 5th studio album just three days before making their 5th appearance at the Roo.
I think the initial change over from home life to touring life is a little crazy, Hallahan admits, but its just like anything You jump into it and it becomes like breathing very natural.
Hallahan felt very natural fielding inquiries about his band, their new album and their epic three-hour long late-night set at their last showing in 2006.
How do you even put that into words. I mean, I think that that was one of the most electrifying experiences of my life personally and I’m sure within the bands existence, it was just something out of the heavens thats for sure. I dont think Ive ever been more pumped up and more nervous and anxious to hit a stage in my entire life.
Hallahan is excited to once again be playing the midnight slot on Friday night with a new crop of material to unleash upon the equally anxious crowd. Currently the band is brainstorming ways to one-up the 2006 performance.
Well, we were trying to hire Ganesh to come hover over the crowd for the majority of the set, but that kind of proved to be out of our budget. So were going to the drawing boards right now. Thats all I can say for right now. Were not having any floating gods.
Spiritual beings respectfully declined comment, though comedian Jim Norton was eager to answer questions, looking forward to the festival as both a performer and a fan and offering Bonnaroo audiences a backhanded compliment with his characteristically blunt style of observational humor.
Id just feel really stupid if I offended a bunch of people who are barefoot on acid.That was great last time I was there though. There was no problem. [The fans were] all kind of hanging back, having a good time, and this crowd is really hard to offend.
The 2008 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival takes place from June 12 to 15 in Manchester TN. For more on My Morning Jacket please read the June issue of Relix, featuring an interview with Hallahan and his bandmates conducted by Grace Potter. Report by Dan Schneier

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