<bt>Call Steve Poltz brilliant or call him absurd, the singer/songwriter has a worldwide following, plays in large and small venues, and has been known to perform yoga on stage while sipping a can of beer. He co-wrote one of the highest-charting songs of the 1990s, Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me," but he's also written songs such as "Your Hair Sucks," "The Star Wars Song," and "Give You Up for Lent."
Poltz's styles range from pop to punk to folk, with the occasional kazoo solo inserted. His new album is "Chinese Vacation," released on his record label, a nod to his days as a high-school wrestler, 98 Pounder Records.
Q. Connection: When did you write your first song?
A. Poltz: When I was six. I wrote a song for my dog, whose name was Bojangles, but I called him Hunson. Back then, though, I only heard songs from the Beatles and Herman's Hermits, so I thought you were always supposed to sing in an English accent. So, it was a 6-year-old singing like Herman's Hermits to his dog. The song was called “Hunson a Dunson.”
Q.: You've played now extensively with your band, the Rugburns, and also as a solo artist. Which do you prefer?
A.: I don't know. I guess I like whichever I'm doing at the time, but I know when I'm playing with the Rugburns, a lot of the time I think, 'What am I doing with all this folkie stuff? I need to rock out.' I like rocking as a solo artist, but I'm happy in both.
Q.: You've played in small clubs and in bigger arenas. In your experience, which makes the better show?
A.: Small places, definitely. I love just having 100 people in a small room. I like the intimacy and the ability to interact and tell a story.
Q.: You're pretty into yoga. How does that relate to your music?
A.: It gives me balance. All of my shows are high energy, and yoga is a way for me to relax and just balance out my days. Otherwise, I'd get drunk every night, and that'd be no good. Everything in moderation, including moderation.
Q.: You just got back from Australia. Did you have any adventures while you were there?
A.: I chased a kangaroo in the outback. I learned really quick that those guys are strong, though. I found out the hard way and decided not to mess with them anymore.
Q.: What are you looking forward to when you come to the D.C. area?
A.: I always like to go to thrift stores. I like to find that one area of the city that has the coolest vintage stores. Oh, and I love going to the Smithsonian. I subscribe to their magazine.
Q.: What should people expect when they come to your show?
Q.: Anything else?
A.: Nudity and a large collection of guns.
Steve Poltz performs May 19 at Jammin' Java, 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information, call 703-255-1566.