Musicians Say Odd Things to Strangers on the Phone

"I can't get too far away from that traditional country sound, but I grew up on AC/DC and Molly Hatchet. From song to song, you can hear a lot of influences. In the little towns where I grew up, there wasn't much of a line separating country and Southern rock or classic rock 'n' roll."

Gretchen Wilson

"When I started doing a mix of free jazz and country-and-western, this type of juxtaposition was unheard of and critics felt they had to explain it as ‘deconstruction' or some other kind of nonsense. The listening audience now is used to this type of activity, however, and I really feel I need to devote myself to performing the original works I have created. Otherwise they will be forgotten. In fact, I forgot many of them myself and have had to relearn them."

Eugene Chadbourne

"I had a friend listen to our recording and he liked it, but he said he just didn't understand the vocals, why the lyrics had to be about what they were. I just thought, ‘What else would they be about with this kind of music?'"

—Carey Balch of Warband

"If you put me with the London Symphony I'd sound different. I'd suck."

Dave Alvin

"When somebody you admire in a certain field, Einstein or something, makes that benchmark of what is good, what is achievement, what is mastery, Jimi [Hendrix] was like that for me. In his essence, not in any particular riff or song—the vibrations of his soul and his expressionism and his facility on the instrument. He was the benchmark of greatness for me."

—former Television guitarist Richard Lloyd

"Stephen [O'Malley] and I laugh a lot, and we know there is something absurd and ridiculous about the amount of equipment and volume. But they're the tools that help create this mood that can be ominous and dark. I mean, the music isn't funny, it could never be, but it can get absurdly heavy."

—Greg Anderson of Sunn O)))

"It's stuck with us. It's kept us alive. I get a check every year. And it's a good song. We could have gotten famous for a turkey."

—Lemmy Kilmister of Mötorhead on "Ace of Spades"

"I went in and gave a sample and the doctor said, ‘Don't let him give any blood transfusions!' My blood had apparently become some kind of chemical soup."

Lemmy Kilmister

"We're a rock 'n' roll band. That's what I came from, that's what my roots are, and that's what my f--king band is."

Lemmy Kilmister

"All we want to do is keep doing what we're doing, keep playing and not die. Not starve. Just keep doing it. At this point it's a big if. We don't have jobs at this point, or money in the bank. But this tour is about just taking the jump, saying ‘F--k it' and doing it anyway."

—Ryan Schaefer of Royal Bangs

"It's my fault we play so many shows. People keep offering them to us and I keep saying, ‘Sure, okay.'"

—Brandon Biondo of Wyld Stallyns

"It all came together. It was like, it's the right time for this to happen. Now we're going to take over Knoxville again. Maybe the world."

—Craig Fralick of the Scenesters

"We don't really have goals. We think the journey is interesting. Getting there is interesting, and I don't think anybody in this band feels uninspired right now."

—Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth

"I'm like herpes. Once you think I've gone away I come back."

Les Claypool

"What bothers me is how 90 percent of our write-ups have to talk about how we're stoners or how you have to be stoned to listen to the music. It just trivializes everything that I'm trying to do."

—Tobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow

"I grew up Catholic. I just think icons are interesting. For some people, icons are actors or movie figures or athletes—and my icons are religious. There's a lot of power and a lot of beauty and a lot of history in it. I mean, [religion] is one of the most powerful things on the planet, from goddess figurines to the Catholic church down the street. That's pretty powerful stuff."

—Exene Cervenka of X

"I don't want to be a rock star at all. But I don't have another job anymore. I make enough money playing music now, and that's all I wanted in the first place. It's the only thing I like to do, and without it I'm basically f--ked anyways."

—Nathan Williams of Wavves

"You can't joke around when you're playing 32nd notes. Sixteenth notes, maybe. Thirty-second notes, not so much."

—Andy Wood of Down From Up

"I used to work, doing hard labor and digging ditches, stuff like that. Of course, I wasn't as good at that as I am a singer, but I've been down that road. I've done it. And I feel like we're a blue-collar band. I tell you one thing these people can count on—whatever they pay for their ticket price, they're gonna get about four times what they paid for."

Wayne Hancock

"I've been in like five new bands since I moved [to Baltimore]. Some grow flowers and some wither away like time-lapse photography, but they are all fun. And it's with all different people— kind of like an orgy room of partnering and re-partnering."

—Martin Schmidt of Matmos

"I had no technical skills whatsoever when I started Swans. I might as well have been playing with boxing gloves on. But I wasn't interested in nuance, and the music was more about sound and rhythm and some insane fellow shouting on top of it so it didn't matter."

Michael Gira

"Yeah, Guitar Hero… well, I don't really know what to make of it. I suppose if it's a stepping stone to people picking up a real instrument, then I think it's a great idea. If it's just a game and you get your digital applause for a few minutes, then I'm thinking, ‘Are these really the rewards we're after in life?' Even if you're a good musician, you're in music for other reasons—usually—than just to show off on stage and get the accolades. Most musicians who have a longer career just love music and creating music, and they perform relatively modestly on the whole. So, you know, Guitar Hero might be teaching the wrong values, I suppose. If you're a good guitar player, the point isn't to become a guitar hero, you know? I mean, that's never the point."

Richard Thompson


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