June 26, 2008

the sun highlights the lack in each

Helen Levitt, New York, 1945

* Q&A with Will Oldham. excerpt:

Q: I have listened to and enjoyed a lot of your music; why do you not sing your melodies? is there a precedent for this somewhere that i am unaware of?

A: this is an interesting question. guessing that you mean why do the live melodies differ from the recorded melodies, well it’s just what happens when a song gets sung under different circumstances, at a different time of day, with different musicians, in a different key...there are restrictions of rhythm and lyric, and the melody can change, so to make the singing something specific to the instant in which it is occuring...?

Q: you seem to like drinking. do you view this as a positive thing in your life? how's it working out for you?

A: it has treated us very well of late; there are times when it is revolting and weakening, both physically and morally. sometimes there is no drinking, sometimes a little, and someitmes a lot. it is something not entered into lightly or negligently, at the best of times.
Q: Do you ever have any doubts about what you say lyric wise?

A: when singing, it is not our job to have doubts. it is our job to sing. when writing, the doubts get wrought out.
Q: Do you smoke weed?

A: yes we do sometimes.

Q: What do you think of Lars Von Triers oeuvre?

A: we are not partial to the school of thought that puts a group of movies or records under the classification of an individual. so...we liked BREAKING THE WAVES and THE IDIOTS, but not for any of the same reasons. We will probably not see DOGVILLE.
Q: More broadly, have you ever met or wanted to work with those whose work you admired or has possibly influenced you? Or do you prefer to keep your distance?

A: not being much of a hypothetical thinker, the distance is fine. most heroes visit in our dreams, and that is good. of course it is a thrill to meet Raymond Pettibon, Black and Pink Nasty, Leonard Cohen, Mira and Christina Billotte, Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Evans, Johnny Cash, Lydia Lunch. even better that it happens in conjunction with our actions.
Q: Which song took the longest to write?

A: maybe "Sheep" or "Hard Life"

Q: Shortest?

A: "Lost Blues" or "Marriage"
Q: Silver Palace?

A: is eternal.

Q: Any chance of you wearing Bali dancing pants and a "save the baby humans" tee?

A: if you send them, they will be worn. where can I get swimming trunks that are short shorts?
Q: But missing your show made me wonder about your setlist. If the Bush
reelection campaign called and demanded a 5-song set (one of which had to be a cover, Rumsfeld was insistent on that) for a fund-raising dinner that'd be attended by all the GOP hard-hitters, what 5 songs would you choose?

A: We wouldn’t play that gig. If we did, the cover would be "Open Arms" by Journey.

* Marc Masters' No Wave book featured in Book Notes at Largehearted Boy.

* "Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit." -- W. Somerset Maugham


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