That kind of falling short seems to be the artist’s greatest worry; his song ”Maybe I‘m Doing It Wrong“ was also the name of a revue of his music done at the La Jolla Playhouse back in 1982. He regrets ”The Blues,“ a song from his Trouble in Paradise album of the following year that mocks a boy who finds solace in playing music; here was the intruding ”I“ that Newman had dedicated his whole life to avoiding. That didn’t mean he didn‘t participate in the goings-on; he wanted to, and did. He still does. He may never be in charge, but he never stands so far away from the essence of things that he can’t feel them. Feeling, he believes, is everything.
I remark how I always thought his hit ”I Love L.A.,“ despite its subversiveness and frank criticism of us, was also joyous and deeply felt. ”Yeah, it‘s so chamber of commerce -- Imperial Highway! -- it’s just funny,“ he exclaims. ”There‘s some kind of ignorance L.A. has that I’m proud of. The open car and the redhead and the Beach Boys, the night just cooling off after a hot day, you got your arm around somebody.“ He crosses his arms again and smiles in wordless satisfaction, smiles from the momentary depths of a rock-star dream on a bright and terrible day. ”That sounds really good to me. I can‘t think of anything a hell of a lot better than that.“