Saturday, August 20, 2011

Return of the Rat

So many people consider you a stellar guitar player.  But you've said in early interviews, with Jack Rabid in The Big Takeover, that you never really practiced or trained, and I got the impression that you consider yourself more of a 'recording person' than a guitar player.

There'll be times when I won't even touch a guitar for six months or something. I don't play it as a hobby.  I actually like it better when I don't play music at all, and then I'll just pick it up, that's where I'm at my best.

Is it just more spontaneous?

I just like the rawness of it that way. Like I'll just hermitize myself sometimes, and not listen to music of any kind for long periods of time. Or just be involved with something on the opposite end of the spectrum, and then, when I get into it, I like what I come up with because it's unadulterated. And yeah, when people started emphasizing me as a guitarist I kind of started shying away from guitar; I think that's when I did that acoustic album, Straight Ahead.  I never considered myself a good guitarist. In fact, I think Spin rated 'the Top 25 Guitarists' and I was like number 3 on this list. I heard through the grapevine that some really, really famous guitarists were really upset about [it, like,] 'Who is this guy?' The attitude was, 'Who the hell does he think he is?', like I had nominated myself or something, and I kind of prided myself on not having technique. To create anything, whether you're a painter or a sculptor or a musician, to stay real you can't be involved in it. You can't have your ego involved, you have to stay as removed as possible, I think. That was my idea, originally, back in '79, when I decided I wanted to make records: How could I do something that was completely and totally different, musically? I used to work in a movie theater, and I was always impressed when someone had the artistic vision to be able to blend sound and image together. It was a powerful thing, and that's what I wanted to do in music.

interview with greg sage

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