By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
I always did. And I never have been L.A. Weekly’d. I think I’ve tried several times in the past, and they couldn’t accommodate.
It’s a confounding world, but this time they said yes.
It’s not something for your fans, is it?
Not really, because they know me. They perhaps see enough of me, so I don’t view press interviews as promotional or necessary, but for the most part, I try and avoid them.
Interviews can be terrible.
I think if most people are asked under the spotlight to expose their soul and their reason for being and why are you on Earth and why you are a human being, few people can answer. But if you make music, you’re meant to have an outstanding, magical answer for everything, and you’re supposed to know the secrets of the universe.
Which is so ironic, because people who make music usually do that because they can’t say those things normally in words.
Well, that’s why they make music, because they can’t have functioning relationships otherwise, everything goes into the recorded noise, which is okay.
You’re one of the last great truly mysterious icons who have a real sense of mystique, and the older I get, the longer I work in journalism, the more I value that —
Because everyone is so overexposed and humanized, especially rock stars are so humanized now, and in a way I don’t want to be a part of any kind of the humanizing, but at the same time I do and . . .
Well, that’s the interviewing process, isn’t it, stripping down and presenting the singer to the public in a way that makes the public realize that there’s actually nothing there. It’s a sense of exposing and revealing and reducing.
I don’t want to do that.
But that, unfortunately, is what modern journalism is.
That’s so boring.
Yes, and it doesn’t really apply to any other art form. But for pop music or rock music, it’s all a question of stripping down. And that’s the thing I don’t really like, because it’s quite rude, really. It’s quite rude. But you also have to consider that most people who make music have actually nothing to say as interviewees. They haven’t formulated any opinions whatsoever, and that for me is quite despairing. So, we know in a sense that the musician is quite nonthinking. Anything that happens in the studio is really quite magical, but otherwise, take the musician out of the studio and there is absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing of interest.
Would you say that of yourself?
No. I’m the exception to the rule. [Laughs.] That’s why I really keep away from everybody, because I don’t want to be branded, I don’t want to be amongst the herd. I find people who dig ditches more interesting than musicians and singers and so forth. You don’t believe me.
No, I’m sure that’s true; you’ve been in the business so long.
Oh, a hundred years.
Yeah, I don’t mean it like that!
I can take it. We went through two world wars. I can take it.
I’m sorry; I wanted to thank you for your music too.
Well, that’s really touching, because people never say that. And that’s very, very touching. In England, of course, with writers and journalists it’s, how dare you make this music, how dare you attempt to be remotely intellectual?
Really, even now?
More so now.
Oh my gosh.
It’s not the case in the European mainland; people are very appreciative; writers are very appreciative. But in England, it’s still a question of, “Who on Earth do you think you are?” And even after 25 years, they’re very reluctant to even admit that I have a point. Which is . . . baffling.
Umm . . . [Bobs head from side to side in a dubious manner, makes odd grunting noises.]
[Odd grunting, laughing sound.] . . . Well, where do you live?
Why are you asking me about my life?
Because, uh . . . why should you get away with it? [Laughter.]
I read an interview where you said that you used to drive around near where I live on the Eastside.
Yes, I know exactly where you live. But then I am very romantic, and I drive around and I dream I live in every house I pass, and I feel everything so intensely, it’s a bit of a pain, really.
Okay, I want to ask you, when you were — I hope you haven’t been asked this a million times —
I probably have been.
I know, you probably have.
But dive in.
All right, I’m trying to imagine experiencing glitter rock fresh, and I want to know what it was like for you when you were 11 or 12, and you were seeing it happening as a kid. Did it seem like these were other English people to you or did it seem like they may as well be from Mars?
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