By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
I finally put those last recordings of mine out, in 1986, and that is the music people who know anything point to and say, ”That‘s when he played good.“ The amazing thing is that I’m alive to see it. Van Gogh never did get to see what happened.
To what do you attribute your longevity?
The analysis I went through taught me to accept who I am, and that‘s what pulled me through. Analysis put me into contact with areas of myself that I was unaware of, and they would’ve killed me by now. My attempt at perfection was always there and was never satisfied, and that‘s a tough way to live. The constant hatred of what I was, which was deep down in there, the constant disrespect for what I was doing . . . those things would’ve murdered me by now.
Do you still consider yourself a musician?
Not a working one, but some things can‘t be erased. It’s still going on in my head and in my sleep, and I hear subtleties in music that drive me crazy when I‘m out at a restaurant and there’s something playing. I can‘t help thinking like a musician. I wake up and there are chord sequences going on. I miss playing -- you couldn’t do it on my level and not miss it -- but it would kill me if I tried now, because I can‘t play what I hear in my head.
What do you listen to for pleasure?
Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations, Beethoven‘s A-minor Quartet -- I don’t listen to much trivia anymore, and I don‘t listen to singers. People send me tapes, and I listen and say, ”Yeah, another diva, so what?“ The Beatles didn’t do much musically. Sure, they wrote some nice little songs, but ”Jingle Bells“ is nice, too. There isn‘t any new jazz to listen to, and I’ve heard the old stuff over and over and over.
What‘s the most pleasurable part of your day?
When the phone stops ringing and I can read without being interrupted.
What are the qualities of a life fully lived?
A sense of having accomplished something you respect. There are things I’ve done that I know are as good as it gets. I think people are entitled to be judged by their best, because everything else is accidents that happen along the way. When a guy does something important, he deserves credit, because it‘s hard to do. You do it in spite of the world.