Oh, how true
Even if someone makes something terrible—like the music the Insane Clown Posse makes—at least they’re doing something that speaks to them. And they kept going even though people told them it was terrible. And they found their audience, and now they built a community around their work. Look, you couldn’t pay me to listen to their music, but I still feel like I have more in common with the Insane Clown Posse than I do with someone who just sits on the sidelines and shits on other people’s work and who never puts themselves on the line.
When I was a young boy, I put on Stockhausen or Albert Ayler, and I said, “I hate this music. I hate it! But what is it? Who are these people and what the hell are they doing?” I don’t feel our young people get that feeling anymore, or when they think about playing jazz, they’re really thinking about idiomatic certainty. Jazz equals walking bass, drum set, chord changes, a particular kind of voicing. But it’s all a known space. If I knew what it was about then I wanted to go to something else, because I came to see that music wasn’t about just style. What attracted me to the discipline of music was this component that I couldn’t understand, but I could sense, in every kind of music. It helped me to see how little I knew about music. It also helped me to learn humility, because whatever you can do there’s always someone who can do it better. There’s always someone in a different idiom who can do something that pushes my buttons and makes me want to work harder because I’ve been inspired.
Perfectly stated by the eloquent Anthony Braxton
That Barton Fink feeling
A lot of what I did in X was making fun of ’70s music… I remember watching the Doobie Brothers on this Christmas rock concert. The songs were already boring and pretentious to begin with, and then they did this one where the whole band stopped and the guitar player took this solo-wheedly-wheedly-wheedly-playing lots of notes and making all these faces and shaking his hair. And he wasn’t even doing anything. There were a lot of notes, but it was a real easy riff, you know? I noticed that all of these rock groups were always making these faces, trying to make it look hard but not really playing anything. So as a joke, I would play something difficult and just smile and not look at the guitar and act like it was nothing. To me, that was funny. In the beginning, most of the audience got it, but after a while, people looked at it and thought, ‘Well, he isn’t doing anything hard, or he wouldn’t look like he was.’
I always loved the way he did this and now I know why he did it