I’m just sort of trying to find a place to pound my nails… It seems like there’s a board there and all the nails are pounded in all over the place, you know, and every new person that comes to pound in a nail finds that there’s one less space, you know… I’m content with the same old piece of wood, I just want to find another place to pound in a nail.
0:10 Image from “GULLIVER’S TRAVELS”
0:16 Image from “BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN”
0:21 JACK NICHOLSON in ANTONIONI’S “THE PASSENGER”
0:31 OVERHEAD SHOT of the ocean from “THE BLACK STALLION”
0:40 JOB INTERVIEW scene from KUBRICK’S “THE SHINING”
0:52 OPENING SCENE from JONATHAN DEMME’S “MELVIN AND HOWARD”
All the black and white footage comes from John Huston’s “LET THERE BE LIGHT”
I am usually collaborating with the interesting dead… Rilke or Cicero or Shakespeare or Dante or Conrad or Verdi… these are the living dead with whom we all work, and sometimes we have to knock quite loudly on the tomb to get them to play a part in living art.
This great BBC Documentary shows that Ziggy Stardust was less a creation of a lone genius and more a creation of what Brian Eno calls a “scenius.”
When Ziggy walked onstage and blew everyone in Britain’s minds, Bowie seemed like an overnight success, but in fact, he’d spent over a decade trying to “make it.” It was the combination of Bowie’s amazing talent, his knack for knowing what to steal from whom (Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Little Richard, Andy Warhol, Vince Taylor, etc.), and a small army of people including his wife Angela, who provided him with encouragement, costumes, and hair; his band, The Spiders from Mars, with Mick Ronson on guitar, Trevor Bolder on bass, and Woody’ Woodmansey on drums giving him his sound; dance instructor Lindsay Kemp, who taught him a flare for theatrics; and his manager, Tony DeFries, who funded him and decided to make him a star.
I’m influenced by the records that influenced [my peers]. I know that if it were not for Jim James I probably wouldn’t be listening to Marvin Gaye as much as I am now. I’ve always loved his famous songs, but Jim James has inspired me to dig a little deeper. There is a lot to be found… If [my record] sounds like the Beatles, it’s probably because for the last 15 years I’ve been listening to all the people who influenced them. People like Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry and Little Richard and the Everly Brothers. I am very influenced by the people who influenced my influences, and I am influenced even more by the people who influenced them.
You can take influences from anywhere… You can go anywhere in daily life and have your ears open and hear something, either something someone says to you or something you hear across the room. If it has resonance, you can use it in a song.
We live in a post-authentic world. Today authenticity is a house of mirrors. It’s all just what you’re bringing when the lights go down. It’s your teachers, your influences, your personal history, and at the end of the day, it’s the power and purpose of your music that still matters.