Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Convergent Inspiration

 Yesterday everything reminded me of Mike Patton. Notably this interview which managed to crop up on my facebook newsfeed after months of fb not letting me see any of the content I'm actually interested in:


Reading about one of your idols is interesting, I mean the man will have a lot of fans, and many of those fans will be fans because they choose to relate to the man. I am sure I am no exception, but this was the first interview where I heard about his approach - and just generally we are the same, and again I'm sure a lot of people are.

But stuff like this:
And this is what I love about small-town bands or musicians. They gotta work hard to be inspired. There were no venues when I lived there. There was a bar and grill that played blues. There was a bowling alley for, like, five minutes. We would pool together money and rent out a grange hall, like an Elks Lodge type of place. We’d buy the insurance and put on a show. A few hundred people would show up and we’d be happy.

BLVR: How often do you think you’ve failed?

MP: Oh, all the time.

BLVR: Looking back, do you see mistakes in the music you’ve made?

MP: I have a hard time listening to my own music. Like, if you put on my record I’d just start cringing right now. Not because, you know, I’m Mr. Shy or anything, it’s because if I really were to sit down and listen, I hear the mistakes. You don’t hear the good things. But that’s changed a little recently. When you get older, you let go a little more. When Faith No More did a reunion tour, I had to relearn all the stuff I wrote when I was nineteen. And I actually heard more good things than I remembered. It made the entire thing really pleasant, like a homecoming.

BLVR: And then with a group like Moonchild, which is also with Zorn, is there written music?


MP: In theory, yes. But—

BLVR: But you’re not much of a music reader.

MP: No. Zero. I don’t read anything. But Moonchild is a specific thing. Normally, most of Zorn’s projects are very written and very structured—apart from this “Cobra” stuff—but Moonchild, when he started it, the way that he described it to me was that he wanted to use the oral tradition of rock music. He’s like, “I want to do it the way that you guys do it.” I’m like, “What do you mean, the way we do it?” He’s like, “The way you, like, hum each other a riff and then you jam it out for a while, and then you record it.” That’s normal for me. But for him that’s exotic.

BLVR: A lot of your recent music is specifically for film, but your whole career has cinematic influences, from direct references to covers to borrowing techniques from film scores. Would you say you think about music in a visual way?


MP: Absolutely. I mean, with pretty much every musical situation that I’ve been in, like Faith No More, especially, we always would say, “Picture Harry Dean Stanton in Paris, Texas.” And we’d use moments like that. Or the pistol-whipping scene in Goodfellas. I recorded just a few weeks ago with Zorn, and we were kind of trying to come up with a vocal approach to a certain piece, and I said to him, “I’m kind of hearing, like, the narrator in Alphaville.” You know that Godard movie where he’s had his throat blown out in war so he’s got one of those electronic ones? And Zorn’s like, “Perfect!” So it’s a point of reference that you can use. Instead of saying, “Hey, a quarter note here and an eighth note there and a minor seventh…” No. To me it works much better to say, “Now picture this.”
Before I just go reproduce the whole article though, there was plenty of stuff that was different between Mike's methods and processes and mine. Obviously the biggest difference is that at the age of 19 Patton had achieved more than I am likely to in my whole career, but otherstuff like listening to music on shuffle, and yet other stuff was not different but just things articulated I never thought about before, like the approach the performer takes to the audience.

Anyway it's a great article go read it, apart from the token indie interview where they transcribe the subject going to the toilet or eating a hamburger or whatever...

Then while waiting to meet a friend on Gertrude and Smith I ducked into a record store and found a composer series CD that literally leaped out at me from the rack by Mike Patton.

Then when popping in on another friend afterwards I wound up watching a spanish band that had featured on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, and it was totally that, that Sergio Leone feeling of watching a film in your head as the music played.


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