In moderation: Stephen Kellogg talks politics, crowdfunding | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

In moderation: Stephen Kellogg talks politics, crowdfunding

"The bad part is that you're planning a record and you feel like you're constantly NPR fundraising."

Stephen Kellogg has been in music for two decades, most prominently as the frontman of Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. That band called it quits in 2012, after almost a decade together, and Kellogg released his first post-Sixers album, Blunderstone Rookery, last year. His current tour brings him to Club Café, on Thu., Dec. 11. He talked with CP last week about his current crowdfunding campaign, touring and being a moderate in a polarized political world.

Halfway through your PledgeMusic campaign, how are you feeling about it?

It's going very well! My whole thing is, I'm trying to have some real fun with it. For better or worse, I put records out on labels for the past 10 years. There's a part of me that loves this because it's so much more personal. We can tailor it, and it's really exciting when a fan you don't even know comes in and buys some big package to help you make music, or sends you a letter. The bad part is that you're planning a record and you feel like you're constantly NPR fundraising.

Home for the holidays: Stephen Kellogg
Home for the holidays: Stephen Kellogg

You have a new Christmas song you're releasing, and your last album had a song called "Thanksgiving." Is the holiday season a special time for you? What's it like being on tour during those weeks?

Obviously, the holidays are really special, and I have four young kids; it's strange to sometimes not be there. Last time I got home the day before Christmas Eve, and this year [at Thanksgiving], I was out of there right after the last piece of turkey got eaten. One thing we've learned to do as a family is, rather than just make the day the big thing, we do make it up. When we have to celebrate a birthday a week early, we just do it. We don't make a big deal about that. Thanksgiving is about having a day when you sit down with your family or friends, make a list of what you're grateful for. It's not really the fourth Thursday in November; it doesn't have to be.

There's a song, "The Brain Is a Beautiful Thing," on the last album, where you lay out something of a political philosophy. It's not really hard left or right; you almost come off like an outspoken moderate. How would you describe where you stand politically?

I do feel passionately about the things I care about, but I tend to read and try to give an opportunity to both sides of the traditional aisle. And when it comes to viewpoints, there's things that I don't really care a lot about, certain social issues, and I'm just always like, why are these in the political discussion? I don't get it. And I feel like most of the people I hang out with fall in this middle ground. But unfortunately, for politicians to win elections, you're not allowed to be moderate.