"The first time [hearing The Fall], I just thought 'This is absolutely awful. This bloke can't sing, it's repetitive, it doesn't make any sense, all the things are out of tune, it just goes on and on the same. I hate it'. Then I heard it again and for all those reasons I thought, 'This is also brilliant'."
"There's nothing worse than comedians saying they're like freestyle jazz musicians, because usually what they mean is that they had a photograph taken of themselves smoking..."
"This is another thing we've forgotten about is that with Mark E. Smith and Dave Graney, you buy into all the things that they're saying or their point of view can shift. Are you being addressed by them as a person, are they in character? You don't really know enough about them to assume anything. So it actually means they can do anything.
Whereas if you live your life through Twitter and blogging everyone assumes that what you write is an extension of making yourself public, one of the things about writers and musicians historically is that we project onto them, or we choose to take different things away from them. But it's increasingly hard to do that because everyone's living like a Philip Dick novel where they're supposed to have an online presence as themselves."
"There was this great bit on Jools Holland the other week. They had McCoy Tyner on, who was John Coltrane's pianist, him and his little quartet were trying to find the right chord to resolve this jazz improvisation. They'd probably hit their time, but they couldn't quite find this resolution, and Jools Holland had to just walk across and introduce Elbow. When the dust of culture settles, that will seem like an amazing moment."
Stewart Lee is ace and this interview is ace (mis-spelling of Sonny Rollins' "Freedom Suite" notwithstanding). The quote about Mark E Smith/Dave Graney and the mystique some of us still like to invest in artists is absolute nail-on-the-head stuff considering i read it just a couple of hours after a terrible generalising careerist article about "how to build an online presence for your band", which basically seems to take as first principle the idea that all bands and artists are the same and want the same thing for their music, and that all fans are the same and want the same thing from their artists, and frankly the assumptions of what both sides want seem so stultifyingly limiting and mundane that i don't think i'd ever want to hear any artist that would willing follow the advice given in the piece.
Actually, i don't "want an authentic connection w/the artist", ta all the same; i want to be able to project and imagine and interpret and speculate and postulate, possibly/probably incorrectly, and fill in the gaps for myself. It's reassuring that someone as high-calibre as Lee thinks the same.
Being 20 minutes long, "Freedom Suite" is not YouTubeable, but this video of Rollins playing with Don Cherry, Henry Grimes and Billy Higgins is also pretty sweet.