Real sadness is such an all-encompassing intense thing that it takes you out of your humdrum existence. If you can still function, you want to show it while it's peaking. So when people tell you to cheer up, it's not always the best thing.
So there's no guarantee if you like the music you will empathize with the culture and the people who made it. It doesn't necessarily happen. I think it can, but it doesn't necessarily happen. Which is kind of a shame.
My opinion is that somebody certainly has the right to do cartoons that make fun of somebody else's religion. But to reprint them just to provoke a fight and just to provoke it like thumbing your nose at someone else and going, "What are you gonna do about it?
It's a fundamental, social attitude that the 1% supports symphonies and operas and doesn't support Johnny learning to program hip-hop beats. When I put it like that, it sounds like, 'Well, yeah,' but you start to think, 'Why not, though?' What makes one more valuable than another?
I think it's really hard to make songs that pursue an agenda. You can kind of do it a little bit through a character, so the character gives voice to something or their story, the story of the character tells you something, but, for me anyway, it's really hard to write directly about politics.
As I define it, rock and roll is dead. The attitude isn't dead, but the music is no longer vital. It doesn't have the same meaning. The attitude, though, is still very much alive - and it still informs other kinds of music.
Metal buildings are the dream that Modern Architects had at the beginning of this century. It has finally come true, but they themselves don't realize it. That's because it doesn't take an Architect to build a metal building. You just order them out of a catalog - comes with a bunch of guys who put it together in a couple of days, maybe a week. And there you go - you're all set to go into business - just slap a sign out front.
Living "in" a story, being part of a narrative, is much more satisfying than living without one. I don't always know what narrative it is, because I'm living my life and not always reflecting on it, but as I edit these pages I am aware that I have an urge to see my sometimes random wandering as having a plot, a purpose guided by some underlying story.
Do I wear a helmet? Ugh. I do when I'm riding through a precarious part of town, meaning Midtown traffic. But when I'm riding on secure protected lanes or on the paths that run along the Hudson or through Central Park - no, I don't wear the dreaded helmet then.
I think that if they want people to listen to ten or twelve songs, they have to give the listener a reason to listen to ten or twelve songs or to buy ten or twelve and listen to the whole thing instead of just pulling one or two for their iPod or their computer.
I really enjoy forgetting. When I first come to a place, I notice all the little details. I notice the way the sky looks. The color of white paper. The way people walk. Doorknobs. Everything. Then I get used to the place and I don't notice those things anymore. So only by forgetting can I see the place again as it really is.
Sometimes the European and North American public like some things to be exotic and kept at arm's length. They don't want sometimes to know that foreign artists are doing something that's at least as relevant as what's being done here.
I'm really curious how the private listening - iPods, people listening on their phones - how that might eventual effect music. There'll be a whole genre of music that really works on a kind of one to one headphone or earbud level but doesn't really work when you play it in a room.
Probably the reason it's a little hard to break away from the album format completely is, if you're getting a band together in the studio, it makes financial sense to do more than one song at a time. And it makes more sense, if you're going to all the effort of performing and doing whatever else, if there's a kind of bundle.
I'd been keeping tour diaries, and especially when I go somewhere where I felt the experience might be interesting, like Eastern Europe or South America or whatever, where the whole perception of what I was doing there and stuff that I was seeing and music I was hearing, I could put all that into a diary.
I'm being probably naïve, but I would like to think that once something moves you and you have an emotional involvement with it, and you see some relevance in it to your own life, then it's a little bit harder, maybe, to look at the people that produced it as being just exotic others that don't have any connection to you or relevance to you.
The most common music that you hear anywhere in the world now basically has its roots in that union that happened in the last century, or in the century before that. That kind of music that's groove or beat oriented just didn't exist in lots of cultures before that.
My favorite term for a new kind of performance is "security theater." In this genre, we watch as ritualized inspections and patdowns create the illusion of security. It's a form that has become common since 9/11, and even the government agencies that participate in this activity acknowledge,off the record, that it is indeed a species of theater.
I sense the world might be more dreamlike, metaphorical, and poetic than we currently believe--but just as irrational as sympathetic magic when looked at in a typically scientific way. I wouldn't be surprised if poetry--poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs--is how the world works. The world isn't logical, it's a song.
What's been missing from digital music sales has been the possibility of added depth. In a printed package one can only include so many images and so much text - for example - but digitally it's wide open. For the most part at the moment we get less information for slightly less money - though we could be getting a lot more.