DON'T ARGUE WITH THE CAPTAIN
history - interview
A FINE MADNESS
from england 1 december 1969 ZIG ZAG #8
note: all pictures by rod yallop
part 1 - THIS is PART 2
was the title 'strictly personal' devised because the music was so personal to you?*
no, it was just that people have a right to receive personal mail which hasn't been tampered with. but, as you say..., you said you knew about robert krasnow, didn't you (yes). it was phased and, how shall i say, butchered while we were in england. we don't use phasing at all - i don't think white noise is the answer. the music was done honestly and shines through like a diamond in the mud - you know what i mean? because we were really playing - then someone who wasn't, got a hold of it.
do you ever get round to listening to any other music when you have a break from playing?
i don't have a break from playing. i listen to a lot of coltrane, coleman: the givers.
and you reckon it's people like them and cecil taylor that are going in the right direction?
i don't know about any direction.... i don't
think there is a route. that would mean there's a delivery, and if there's
a delivery, it means too harsh a forethought. then what would that come
in the category of? not playing!
you're playing sax on 'trout mask replica'....
i had played it only twenty-five times before i did that album, just played. and my cousin, the mascara snake, painted before he started playing, and on 'hair pie' that was the first time he'd ever had a bass clarinet in his mouth.
well, about as amazing as a trout in a stream. if you have to say psychedelic, that's psychedelic to me. that's it, isn't it? well, not it..., but it's playing. like a flower - how on earth could you expect a flower to be anything but a flower? who'd want to? it's really difficult to talk... it's work! because of the fact that it's in a form.... i don't think there's a way to put feelings into words, but what you're doing is good because at least people get a chance to see that i'm interested. and yours is a good magazine - it's not the 'red book', or 'harpers bazaar', where they advertise whales being mutilated and put on women's faces for men to lick off.
'bizarre records' is putting out an album of whales singing. whew! wait till you hear it, wait till you feel it. really. they went down 1500 feet, and these whales are singing, and, oh man, there's no way you can listen to it: just feel it. no special designated area, no point of interest. there is no point - have you ever seen water run square out of a round tap?
you recorded 'trout mask replica' without phones, by just listening to the music....
no, i did it without the music. i was playing, just like the whales.
how did you mange to synchronise?
i don't think there is such a thing as synchronisation. that's what they do before a commando raid, isn't it? it's planning, isn't it?
who did the drumming on 'trout mask replica'?
drumbo, who's he?
drumbo 2, now we have drumbo 1.
yeah? what comes after drumbo 1?
the band's broken up, and you'll be bringing yet another magic band over next year. right?
well, we don't know yet. antennae jimmy semens went back to the desert. i don't know why, and i can't ask why. he got in a little fight with rockette morton and broke his dentures, but it all ended up alright. it was just a natural reaction, i suppose. if there is a natural reaction... if there is a reaction. but, for some reason or other, he's happier out of the group.
was the group involved in music before they joined you?
they were always involved, but now they're playing. i don't know who they were with before.
did it take very long to record 'trout mask replica'?
it was done in a total of eight and a half hours.
'frownland' reminds me of woody guthrie's writing. do you ever read him?
never have.... i suppose he's probably eating off the doughnut up there. but every person drinks from the same pond.
miles said you were desperate to come over here to live. what are your main criticisms of the states?
i'd like to be here, and there and everywhere, but i don't like guns. that's the epitome of not being able to communicate - guns do nothing but take life. i mean, like, i use my organ for urinating and production - you know what i mean - and who could invent a thing like that? i don't like to think about guns too much. i don't like to think, because that's a lie. i don't know how to get the feeling - just play i guess. but thinking about guns - that's just a death wish.
i think the constitution is a good document - if they would go by it. the people who wrote that really cared, but you and i both know that the government doesn't go by that. it's a shame.
so you feel most comfortable when you're playing?
i don't know how i feel when i'm playing.... you know what i mean?
but it's a relaxation to pick up the instrument?
i never plan picking it up.... or at least, i don't know if i plan picking it up. when i do play, i go on for eight or nine hours - so they say, the ones with orange watches. i like to play - i don't think you can be responsible when you play, same as i don't think a child can be responsible. he won't hesitate to plunge his hand in the water, and can only eat what he can hold in his hand.
i think we've got to go; we were only allocated half a circumference of the orange watch....
that's like the fright at midnight - when they said the world would end: too religious.
(to rod:) got a picture for the cover?
cover? that's a terrible word..., to cover... death. to cover anything.... to cover a part of the body - with semen or anything - is... i wrote a song recently called 'the world wears a semen hat', which is almost like a.... there's no breath when you cover your mouth.
thanks for your time.
i don't have any time.
thanks for your trouble then.
i don't have any trouble either.... nor do you, don't kid yourself.