I'll never understand how destroying families through deportation benefits our society. How we treat the undocumented says a great deal about us as a people and whether or not we'll continue to fulfill the fundamental American promise of equality and opportunity for all.

Screaming is bad for the voice, but it's good for the heart.

I try to keep the idea that there's an audience in as little space in my mind as possible, but you can't erase it entirely, the idea that when you're sitting down to write a song, people are going to hear it.

The idea of forever is kind of ridiculous, which is unfortunate because it's kind of a nice thing to say, you know. I think it softens the blow of mortality and having to say goodbye to everything you know and everyone you love and all that kind of thing.

If you think about Protestant and Catholic or Shiite and Sunni, they are basically the same thing... one eats with their left hand, the other eats with their right hand.

When I started writing songs, I was doing it for myself and a small circle of friends. And gradually, over the years, an audience became involved.

I think we should be pushing for amnesty and a path to citizenship for every undocumented person residing in the United States who has not committed a violent crime, with a special emphasis on keeping families together.

My favorite rhymes are sort of half-rhymes where you might just get the vowel sound the same, but it's not really a true rhyme. That gives you far more flexibility to capture the feeling you're trying to express. But sometimes it's best not to have any rhyme.

Considering our history, I can think of nothing more American than an immigrant.

I've always been slightly preoccupied with death or whatever those kind of silly big questions people will tell you to not spend your time worrying about.

My main thing is just to keep writing. I've been doing some songwriting that's for my own record, I suppose.

When I would first come to New York on tour, I hated the place.

The best feeling I ever get is when I finish a song, and it exists, and it didn't exist before, and now it's there, and it makes me feel a certain way.

My family is Catholic. I went to a Catholic school, that kind of thing, so that was my childhood for sure.

The one recurring theme in my writing, and in my life in general, is confusion. The fact that anytime you think you really know something, you're going to find out you're wrong - that is the rule. The moments where you think you have something figured out, those are the exceptions.

No lies, just love.

There's all body types, but there's just one size.

They say it's better to bury your sadness in a graveyard or garden that waits for the spring to wake from its sleep and burst into green.

I prefer career artists that have spent time honing their craft, as opposed to, 'I won a karaoke contest on a reality show and now I have a record.' That's such a drag. The music that comes out of it is so poor.

I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours over everyone I love.

Now I believe that lovers should be draped in flowers and laid entwined together on a bed of clover and left there to sleep, left there to dream of their happiness.

On every Bright Eyes record, there's some kind of sound collage that begins it. Some of them have dialogue, some don't. I like it because it can kind of slow down the attention span a bit. It's a way to draw you in to the rest of the record.

It's dangerous to buy into praise and criticism for what you do when you're trying to present your music to people. I don't ignore it completely, but I don't dwell on it too much.

People resist change; if they like something, then they want you to keep doing it over and over - but I think if you like what a particular band or artist does, then you should want to see what they're going to do next.

I used to work at a school as a teacher's assistant, and my mom is a principal at an elementary school. I don't know, I think that's a pretty good life, teaching kids.

We must memorize nine numbers and deny we have a soul.

When I try to explain to people the big influences in my life, or at least when I first started, the most important ones were my friends who were also writing songs and were typically four or five years older than me.

One of my favorite modern American authors is Denis Johnson. I'm deeply inspired by all of his work - I rip him off constantly.

I would prefer to be a little nervous, because when you stop being nervous is kind of when you stop caring.

If you think about the concept of reincarnation, it's essentially uploading yourself and your spirit into a new form, a new hard drive as it were.

When I run into a person or a kid that comes up and gives me the spiel about, 'Hey, I got your record at this time in my life, and it really helped me,' that stuff totally still rings true. If you're standing there talking to someone, it's really easy to tell if they're being authentic or not. And that's great.

I don't really premeditate what I write my songs about; you know, they just kind of happen, and I can't start writing songs to please a certain group of people or propagate a certain message all the time. That's just not how my songwriting works - it just sort of comes out, and the songs are what they are.

I read the newspaper online. Mostly 'The New York Times.' I'll still buy papers if I'm getting on an airplane or the tour bus, though. I like physical things.

When I was younger, I was somewhat of an idealist. I guess I'm a little bit more of a realist now. I think there's a lot that can be done to make the world a better place, but it's more about choosing your battles.

I have on many occasions spoken my mind from stage. I have offered organizations table space by the merch booth. I have donated a dollar-a-ticket, or the entire guarantee, to different causes. I have registered voters. I have played on behalf of political candidates.

We've all seen the power music has to spread messages of solidarity and hope.

So much of listening to lyrically driven music is projecting your own feelings and experiences into the music.

Music is unique because you can get behind enemy lines a little bit, get into people's houses and into their heads, on their stereos, and win hearts and minds.

I think there's so much about Rasta culture that's interesting. Just the idea of preaching one-ness, that we're all in this together.

I like the Alice in Wonderland sculpture in Central Park. I love how it's been rained on forever and looks worn down by time.

When you write a song, the goal is not to convey the details of your life. You should write a memoir or something if that's what you're going to do.

I was raised Catholic, and I have an aversion to anyone who takes religion to the extreme.

To me, a political song is also a personal song. Most political activism has been driven by empathy for other people and the desire for a world that's less divisive. Even if songs aren't overtly political, they can make a listener more empathetic.

You can't manufacture inspiration, so a lot of it is still a waiting game for me. There's still a lot of mystery to songwriting. I don't have a method that I can go back to - they either come or they don't.

On good days, I can see the inherent goodness in people, and that human beings have a high capacity to learn and adapt. But things like the environment, nuclear weapons and ideas like peak oil - if you think about them too much, they can really freak you out.

I've cried, and you'd think I'd be better for it, but the sadness just sleeps, and it stays in my spine the rest of my life.

I'm proud that with 'Bright Eyes' we've always experimented and tried to make a different record every time out.

I try to make all my songs good. I don't ever write one to finish one. A lot of protest songs end up that way, driven by some kind of emotional response.

I don't feel real confident expressing myself except when I'm writing. I feel kind of scatterbrained. I can see everything from both sides and that makes it hard to reach conclusions. Writing enables me to clarify things.