FRESH AIR: I’m Terry Gross. My guest Loudon Wainwright seems to have been an imperfect partner, husband and father. But he’s written remarkable songs about family and how we hurt and heal each other only to do it all over again. Now in his new memoir, Liner Notes, he writes in more detail about his life as a husband, father, son, philanderer and musician. His first wife, Kate McGarrigle, was a singer-songwriter, too. And she wrote songs about their relationship from her point of view. Their two children, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, are now well-known singer-songwriters. Loudon had a long-term relationship with another singer-songwriter, Suzzy Roche. And their child, Lucy, also became a singer.
The book, the memoir, includes lyrics to Loudon’s songs as well as some of the columns written by his late father who worked for Life magazine from the 1960s through the ’80s. Loudon is officially Loudon Wainwright III. His father was Loudon Wainwright, Jr. Loudon brought his guitar and is going to perform some of his songs. I’ve emphasized his more autobiographical songs. But he’s also known for his topical songs. He’ll do his Donald Trump song a little later. He’ll also do his first and only big hit, the 1972 novelty recording “Dead Skunk.” And he’ll do some really great autobiographical songs. MORE