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Saturday, 17 July 2010


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My favorite Frank Zappa quote about writing and music has always been his take on rock journalism: People who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read.

I think I got that right.


I am humbled by your diligence.

Thank you so much for setting the record straight. This is one of my favorite music-related quotes and, judging by the number of times it seems to have been around the block, being attributed to a variety of sources on the way, it is admired and repeated by a significant number of other people as well.

So now we know. The provenance of one celebrated pearl of wisdom has been ascertained. That probably won't stop it from doing the rounds again, but I certainly won't forget.

So thank you Mike.
And thank you Martin Mull!

Speaking of Elvis Costello, wasn't it David Lee Roth who opined that rock critics like Elvis Costello because most look like Elvis Costello?

Guitar player Adrian Belew once said that "talking about music was like whistling about chickens". I always loved that.

Similar to your "not Frank Zappa" attribution is my practice of attributing any quote I'm not sure of (the source, that is) to the very-quotable Disraeli, as in "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." (Disraeli)

…as in "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." (Disraeli)
except of course that would be Mark twain who said that one… :) But Disreali can work as a default for me as well

I've always appreciated this one:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This is often attributed to Nelson Mandela, but was actually written by Marianne Williamson in her book 'Return to Love'. She did say once that she would have been honoured if Mr. Mandela had used her words, so may that count for something...


I met Elvis Costello in the '70s. A club in Boston called the Rat. A lot of famous musicians would visit this basement punk rock hole after they played their gigs. The conversation was short but he was a very pleasant. IMO few were capable of mixing up their music like EC could.

Like Dylan and Paul Simon, Elvis Costello had something to say.

Wish I was into photography back then. (Sigh.) I could have had a fair amount of vintage/historical shots featuring a few name-brand folks.

One of the funniest lines I've ever heard came from Martin Mull at a live show in Toronto close to 30 years ago. Someone in the audience in an upper balcony laughed loudly out of turn, just getting the previous joke I guess, Martin looked up and said, "Shoes too tight?"

I've always hated that quote, mostly because you CAN dance about architecture... or about anything else.

"Tenor Madness" is no slouch, either.

Sonny Rollins? Talking about Sonny Rollins recordings? There was never a better album than 'Way Out West', not never, nowhow. See!

One of the most-attributable people ever is, of course, Winston Churchill - so I've taken the habit of attributing unknown quotes to him. It even worked once with a quote about cellphone etiquette.

(I am of the opinion that anything Ms Anderson says is quotable, but maybe that's because I'm a nred.)

(Ooops. I'm a *nerd* who needs an editor.)

Martin Mull! How nice to see him mentioned; he is cool personified-Mr. Cool, I should say. One of the best American comedians to come to attention in the 1970s, but alas, little seen in the years since.

I liked "nred" better.


Rob and Kerry,
Truthfully, trying to recommend three disks by Sonny Rollins is like recommending three recordings of J.S. Bach. Okay, not that bad. But still, I think the *minimum* SR library would be...15 disks? Might could do....

Saxophone Colossus
Tenor Madness
A Night at the Village Vanguard (2 disks)
The Bridge
Thelonious Monk with Sonny Rollins
Newk's Time
Vol. 2
Sonny Rollins with the Modern Jazz Quartet
Way Out West
Thelonious Monk: Brilliant Corners
Rollins Plays for Bird
Sonny Side Up (I always recommend this album to people new to jazz)
Vol. 1
Sound of Sonny
Sonny Rollins on Impulse
Sonny Meets Hawk! (A bit oddball, but a personal fave--I love CH)
Plus Four
Our Man in Jazz
Miles Davis: Bags Groove
Now's the Time

Well that wasn't so hard after all. Of course there are a bunch of individual cuts I'd also have to have, for instance "Global Warming" from the 9/11 concert, the version of "Bags Groove" from "The MJQ at Music Inn," "Sumphin" with Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt, and let's not forget "Waiting on a Friend" from the 1980 Rolling Stones album "Tattoo You"!

Oh and back to albums, Miles Davis's "Dig"...and Thelonious Monk's "Monk," almost forgot that.

And Clifford Brown's "More Study in Brown."

I didn't even get into the Max Roach sides.

Am I up to fifteen yet?


Speaking of the Village Vanguard, I can personally recommend the Wynton Marsalis, Live at the Village Vanguard set. I picked it up on iTunes for around £8, for something like 7hrs of live performance. Personally it was worth it for the 1hr - 1 track version of "In the sweet embrace of life" originally seen as the first 5 tracks of the 2nd CD of "In this house on this morning". It has some of the best 7/4 clapping you'll ever hear.

I like this quote (actually a song title) from Martin Mull: "Let's not say au revoir, lets just say hors d'oeuvre".

The scatter gun aproach eh?
Cornwall. UK

Thanks Mike! I was going to ask him the very same question next time I saw him! And not only is he a painter, but an AWESOME one at that!!

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