The Pitch: In the late '60s and early '70s, it was fashionable for pop musicians to project themselves as tortured souls, but in your music, there's always been an old-fashioned ethic of entertaining.
Sebastian: I am a creature of pretty conventional show business. My mom was a radio writer, and my dad was a classical musician. When I was a little kid, I was at parties where Jimmy Van Heusen [composer of "Love and Marriage"] would sit down and play the piano all evening and charm the hell out of everybody. I would sit under the piano.
On your first two solo albums, it's like you were writing as a Brill Building songwriter: Each of those tunes could be covered by a totally different sort of act blues, blue-eyed soul, chamber pop, folk rock.
I've always been a fan of a lot of different forms of music, but on those albums, we would go to extremes. We'd say, "Well, if we are going to make this a tropical mood, let's bring in an entire steel band." That's why I still supposedly owe Warner Bros. $100,000. [Laughs]
Some songs on those albums, like "Magical Connection" and "She's a Lady," are so unashamedly romantic. Songs that romantic aren't really written anymore. Do you still write songs like that?
I'd have to say I do still kinda write songs like that. And, you know, excuuuse me! And I'm addressing the music business at large when I say that. But these songs are like my ugly stepchildren. They never got a chance, and it's therapeutic to talk about them. Thanks, doctor.