You hear a lot that the music industry is a small world, and either that's true or Jesse Malin is indeed the most well-connected man in rock and roll.
Malin has a gaggle of music legends to thank for his new album, Sunset Kids: Joey Ramone, Charlie Watts, Steve Earle, Tom Petty and of course Lucinda Williams, who co-produced the album with her husband Tom Overby.
Malin tells Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke that he first heard Williams' voice on Earle's I Feel Alright album in 1996. Malin became a fast fan, but he never thought the two would become friends until a conversation with Ramone, in which the punk rock icon revealed that he was friendly with Williams.
"So I went out and I started seeing her play, and then in the early-2000s, I met her at the Blue Note at a Charlie Watts jazz gig," Malin says. "We just started talking and she was just this great, sweet, cool woman. I was a fan; I was really excited. But we stayed in touch over the years ... she's just down-to-Earth but really inspiring. She's very humble."
In the fall of 2017, Malin says he went to see Petty at the Hollywood Bowl — what would be Petty's last concert. Williams played for an hour as Petty & the Heartbreakers' main support and the following night, Malin, Williams and Overby went out to dinner to talk about making an album together.
"It had come up in a joint interview with Rolling Stone," Malin recalls. "It just was in the back of our heads. So I brought it up and we decided to go forward with making this record. Then Tom would pass a few days later, and that put everything on ice for a little bit."
Williams' and Overby's handiwork is evident on Sunset Kids, which finds Malin's punk rock sensibilities channeled through sublime acoustic guitars and jangly single-coil electrics. Williams and Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong even lend their voices to a few tracks.
Watch the full interview in the video player above.
Here Jesse and Derek Cruz perform "Chemical Heart" from the new album:
Here's the official music video for "Room 13," featuring Lucinda Williams from the new album, Sunset Kids: