В начале 80-х годов Роберт Фрипп выступил в печати с несколькими статьями. По непонятной причине, эти статьи были удалены из Интернета.
Впрочем, на Elephant Talk официально была объявлена вот такая причина: We have a number of articles by Robert, and some other contributions (Please note that most of these article have been removed from ET Web by request of DGM. The intent is that Robert Fripp will host these and other writings at the DGM web site. Look for them there in the future.).
Все эти статьи публиковались в журнале MPL – Musician, Player and Listener
"The New Realism: A Musical Manifesto for the 80s." MPL 22 (Jan. 1980)
"Touring: The Troubadour Today." MPL 28 (Nov. 1980)
"The Musician in Politics." MPL 29 (Dec. 1980)
"Bootlegging, Royalties, and the Moment." MPL 32 (April-May 1981)
Данная публикация возвращает читателям эти статьи. Как говорят в России - "Слово не воробей...". Мы принципиально не стали переводить статьи.
Читайте в оригинале.
Публикация Sven`a L.
The New Realism
A MUSICAL MANIFESTO FOR THE 80s
Record sales aren`t all that`s coming down. The mega-industrial dinosaurs of the music industry are toppling into the tar-pits of the new smaller economy. The new creatures, the smaller, more adaptive, warm-blooded mammals, like you and me and your favorite artists, have to find new ways to stay alive and still be creative. Them good old days are gone.
By Robert Fripp
It is paradoxical that while music itself shows signs of ever increasing vitality, the music industry has never been in poorer health. I`m intrigued to find that as the industry publicly paddles in the tar pits, the performance and enjoyment of music, at least from a New York perspective, increases markedly, with a proliferation of new clubs, groups, and an expanded audience. Meanwhile, a friend of mine continues to make records with his manager attending mixing sessions in order to pass approval on the final mix - or veto them if they aren`t "commercial" enough. This "commercial" act has in turn had massive record returns from the shops, (of mixes guaranteed "commercial" by He-of-The-Green-And-$-Shaped-Ears), large unsecured advances, and a large deficit resulting from touring with an extravagant stage show and expensive band of session musicians (on large retainers while not working in the studio... ).
In Europe, the craft is the art, and success follows the craft. In America, success is the art, and the craft the means. The implication is that the means of achieving success are irrelevant, in a commercial culture success is accorded the highest social esteem. Consider this example from the music industry`s conventional wisdom:
1. One does not make an album, one makes a hit album.
2. Hit albums result from hit singles.
3. It follows that unless an album has a single which will receive air play, it need not be made.
4. Commercial radio does not play records unless they are already hits.
5. So it follows that unless an album is already a hit, it should not be recorded!
Frequently, the shape of an album is decided by a Manager and Big Ears from the record company, who will forecast the reaction of Radio Ears, possibly consulting a friendly neighborhood program director in the process. These people will judge the record`s chart potential as defined by established commercial practice. (A potential Peter Gabriel single, "I Don`t Remember" was considered by Atlantic Ears to have No Hit Potential because it, couldn`t receive radio air play on account of Fripp`s "irritant" guitar playing.)
As radio plays close attention to the charts, so too do record companies. Charts are compiled partly by monitoring radio play, (which is unlikely until the record is already charted by having been played), partly by advertising with the publications listing charts, and partly by the number of records shipped to stores. It has been standard practice to ship high numbers of records in order to "earn" a gold album and chart attention, and to generate radio play and then sales, Often colossal numbers of records are returned to the company, producing large scale market distortion, dislocation of retail accounts, and generating an atmosphere of pessimism. These elaborate contradictions are known synonymously as double binds, whirligigs, and knots.
The New Realism
New music will not` have a market history, Without history, it will not appeal to Manager Ears, Record Ears, or Radio Ears. By my own observations, hip executives are between two and five years behind current taste. (This is particularly recognized in the Disco industry, where Street Ears are being appointed to positions of responsibility.) Even if one succeeds in making a contemporary and non-format album, it is unlikely to receive the kind of financial backing necessary to underwrite the kind of tour support and advertising needed to properly introduce a new work. On the other hand, if one does receive executive level support, one immediately knows that one`s work is historical.
For example: I attended, a dinner given for a band of my personal and professional acquaintance by our mutual record company at a cost of $8,000. This was only a small part of a large promotional push during which some 150,000 albums were shipped. I, myself, received a total of $5,000 non-recoverable tour support for two months in America as part of the Frippertronics World Tour of offices, canteens, salesmen`s conferences, record shops, small cinemas and restaurants. My album, Exposure, outsold the other group at a fraction of their budget, following high returns of their record. However, the group`s new record is receiving radio interest because of the good (actually fabricated by initial overshipping) chart position of the previous album.
Some Helpful Hints on the Care and Feeding of Dinosaurs
1. Any system becomes fixed at its moment of inception.
2. Once established, a system`s first aim will contradict the aim of its creation: i.e. ... its first aim becomes sell -perpetuation. - The President is elected to serve and govern the people, upon election his aim then becomes re-election. This may not be in the people`s best interest, as we discovered with the Watergate fiasco.
3. Any fixed system perceives a creative element as an implicit threat, as a creative element increases hazard, and thus the likelihood of change within the status quo.
Raising Mammals for Fun and Profit
1. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive rightness. Some concepts of intelligence define it as a measure of adaptability. I conceive of intelligence partly as the capacity to choose appropriate courses of action in dynamic conditions where there is not sufficient information for rational decisions. In E.F. Schumacher`s terminology, this is "divergent" as distinct from "convergent` problem solving, where formulaic solutions to mechanistic situations may apply.
2. One can act from intelligence or from necessity. Recognizing the drift gives one time to act before certain possibilities become closed.
3. Some relationships are governed by size. For a bride to bring along all her old boyfriends on the Wedding Night might make a lot more people happy, but would hardly be in the best interests of their marriage.
The New Realism, (a phrase coined by Ed Strait of E.G. Records), implies an acceptance by the music industry that in a contradicting market, conventional excesses are no longer acceptable. This is acting from necessity. Since, as We`ve already noted, one can act from either intelligence or necessity, the New Realism is an implicit acknowledgment by the music industry of its own stupidity. Five years ago Walter Yetnikoff committed Columbia Records to become the largest record company within five years. Following a series of decisions criticized within the industry, it is salutary to note that Columbia`s toes have been the first to tickle the tar pit.
I find the monumental abuse within the music industry personally offensive. A CBS promotion man of my acquaintance was told to manufacture expenses so as not to undermine the larger expense accounts of higher personnel; the comfortable hotels and luxurious meals for record company people. I have sat conducting interviews by a hotel pool while the local promo man pumped down hefty shots of Chivas before proceeding to treat his personal friends to dinner and drinks as my interview continued outside. It is frustrating to have to argue over advertising budgets after watching one`s promotional support being spent in this way.
The exclusive support of a highly placed executive and a gigantic publicity outlay for a new group, evidently comprising some very nice people with musically antiquated ideas, might give rise to questions regarding the nature of the executives` incentive. I have been touring recently, and have seen the energies and morale of local promotion men evaporating under threats of dismissal while pursuing this historic cause.
Small is Beautiful, Intelligent, and Necessary: Appropriate Budgets for the 80`s
The U.S. music industry is controlled by a small number of people with access to large resources. The idea that publicity sells records is a fallacy, other than at the point where all profit is lost and yet confidence in the product persists. The function of publicity is to establish the market credibility of the artist to the music industry by creating history. The conventional wisdom demands that to receive industry support one has to make records for a small number of people whose taste is suspect. The support or the industry for the performer is vital.
The New Realism contains the hope that in contracting markets, industry executives will recognize the financial viability of an intermediate level of performer who will generate a respectable amount of business without colossal investment.
Some Current and True Examples of Conventional Recording Budgets
1. Big Star and Platinum Expectations: $250,000 - $1.000,000
This will probably include a cocaine budget of from $10,000 to $25,000. Traditionally, one increases a New York budget by 50 to 100% if one is recording in Los Angeles. A further point of interest: star producers often inflate the budget by demanding limousine service and first class flights. A friend of mine`s producer flies first class, while his artist, my friend, flies second class.
2. Intermediate: Sales expectations of $100,000 - $350,000. Budget:$100.000 - $250,000.
3. Art Level: Sales expectations ofS5,000 - $30.000. Budget: $3,000 $75.000. At this level musicians are expected to provide their own transport, drugs, sandwiches, and beer.
New Realism Budgets
1. Star Level: $250,000 - $1.000,0000. This kind of dream-like existence does not, by definition, respond overmuch to the intrusion of common sense. So it goes.
2. Intermediate Level: $30,000 to 100,000. Recording costs for Exposure were $80,000, inclusive. This high figure resulted from it having been made twice, and from recording at a major New York studio, with double rates for musicians and much more for singers, I have produced albums for others between $30,000 and $60,000 without privation.
3. Garage Level: sales expectations of $50 to $25.000. Budget: $40 to $15,000.
Frippertronics falls within this category of recording costs, but with intermediate sales potential. I consider this to be successful activity within the marketplace. There is nothing intrinsically grubby about earning a living`. Some of my best friends try to do it ...
Epilogue: Food for Thought
Recently Bill McGaffy of Polydor and I were out to lunch at the Kitchen Kuma restaurant on W. 57th St. in New York. At the conclusion of the meal he pulled out his Polydor credit card to settle the bill, But for him to buy the meal would cost him nothing, and therefore be meaningless. So I paid. "Bill", I said, "when the artist takes the record company out for a meal. you know something is changing."
The Troubador Today
The cart is finally put behind the horse and live performance is declared the end and not the means.
By Robert Fripp
Most groups only make money after breaking up. Because running costs are so high very few "successful" bands earn more than subsistence wages until the costs stop. When the group disbands record and songwriting royalties continue, for two reasons:
1. Royalties are paid 6 to 12 months after the event;
2. The life of a classic record can be 10 years or more.
Put another way, a group must stay together long enough to break up. Currently, the League of Gentlemen can`t afford to work because it can`t finance itself, and can`t afford not to because it`s $30.000 in debt. Note that when a band loses money-on the road it is still liable for agency (10-15%) and management fees (25%).
Before the recent League tour of Europe and America I made three stipulations:
1. The tour should make money, or at least cover itself: $3,000 a week for the privilege of playing music is a high price to pay and in the context of the League tour, depressing,
2. The tour should not be a series of one-nighters. The main drawback to touring is the traveling, because it exhausts the Happy Gigsters and is expensive. Finding an alternative to daily moving would save energy for music, and reduce overheads.
3. The venues should be rock clubs with room for dancing, and preferably a bar. My advice to the audiences was to actively listen while maintaining a sense of one`s bodily presence in motion; i.e. to listen white dancing. For the League, a dance band with the emphasis on spirit rather than competence, to play in a seated concert hall would invite erroneous expectations and comparisons with King Crimson.
In Europe the tour lost money in a daily series of mostly inappropriate venues: in America it lost money in a daily series of mostly appropriate venues. Because the tour was booked as promotional, with the accent on visiting record markets rather than paying venues, it failed as a working tour. But as the record being promoted was Fripp`s God Save the Queen/Under Heavy Manners, Polydor had difficulty identifying the League with their artists and the promotion was ineffective.
The advantages of the tour were an improvement in personal and group competence, group feel, some exquisite music and audiences, and an educative overview of the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. and Canada in mid-1980. How else could one really experience the unemployment in Youngstown, Ohio (where a Young Turkey shouted "Play like Genesis"!) or read a sign in an elevator: "All conversations are monitored for your safety" (Cincinnati car park adjoining a store).
On a commercial level, the reviews were mainly favorable and interest in the League well tickled for the future. The three months were excellent research in the field for a thesis (presumably Ph.D. Rock, Hons.). But the working conditions were intolerable.
So why should one tour?
1. To earn a living;
2. As an education;
3. To enjoy the intrinsic qualities of one`s work:
4. To participate in an event with others, both players and audience.
How can this be done? Everything follows one principle: live performance is the basis of the music industry. Live music is the foundation for printed music, records and radio (in the U.S. at least). The income of recording artists has halved in the past two years and, .with the shaky future of Megabucks Records, an emphasis on live performance as a way of making money becomes increasingly likely. In England during the 1950s stage shows were the Big Earners, their position taken during the 1970s by records. But the decline of the performer`s importance is long term, and the reasons for that decline and the consequences of it have considerable implications for the industry throughout the 1980s.
Records are to rock what scores are to straight music: they freeze a performance forever. Written music, and records even more so, preserve the state of the art but fail to develop it. In the Middle Ages musical notation was only a guide for performers, an aide memoire and basis for improvisation. Up to 1830 at least a player who took a score as given would have been considered a Big Dullard. After Beethoven`s death the increasing emphasis on notation changed music from a visceral to a literary experience, and switched the emphasis from the performer to the composer. With the Romantic elevation of composer to deific status, a performance would necessarily demean his sublime insight, expressed in perfect detail on a score.
The growth of music publishing and performing rights in the 20th century has cemented this split between composer and performer. The phenomenal increase in record sales, from $44 million in 1939, $158 million in 1969, to $3,501 million in 1977 (U.S.), and radio, from 200 stations in 1922 to 5000/6000 today, has turned music from a performer`s art to a re-performer`s, or reproducer`s, art. This became quite apparent with the rise of the discotheque in France during the early 1960s, with the parallel in straight music-of the "star" conductor taking wild liberties with the text in all details but the notes. (Listen to twelve different conductors on "L`Apres Midi d`un Faune" consecutively and see what you think).
A creative side to this re-performance is "rapping," probably first pioneered in a major way by Jocko in New York during the 1950s, and by Pete DJ Jones, Hollywood, Eddie Cheeba, Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow in the 1970s, with close parallels between rapping and the reggae toasters. The use of "dub" and "the version", are now well known and widespread. Negative aspects of re-performance are a decrease of audience experiencing music first hand, and the pressure on artists to duplicate records on stage. The problem of translating a burning live band onto record belongs to the producer, but the problems going from the studio to the stage belong to the artist. As with film, any magic in the moment can be frozen. But the "definitive performance" implies that for all future performance the playing can only be, at best, a repeat of that moment: the experience of live music changes from instantaneous to historical. For the player there can be no definite performance: all that matters is the moment in which the music is performed. This isn`t to criticize the development of recording as a new creative medium, where the aim is not to reproduce live performance but to generate-new music; i.e. the record is itself the "performance," a synthesis of new "instruments" and compositional tools derived from studio techniques and technology. When working in a New York studio with Eno last year I saw him operate a Lexicon (variable pitch and delay line) with a musicality and facility that turned a sophisticated echo box into an actual instrument.
Just as live performance in the concert hall has been ossified by too much attention to the score, and all that that implies, so in live rock the influence of recording and the recording industry has restricted the possibilities for the performer to meet music and audience in a way that stirs the blood: e.g. it kept the Beatles from playing live. The tremendous enthusiasm for live performance by young players since 1977, mainly in punk or new wave groups, has stressed (deliberately or otherwise) non-competence or non-musicianship, and was initially met with scorn by the music industry. This democratic incompetence broke with the (historically recent) tradition of performer as uninvolved executant, simply because the rich new performer was unable to execute. The mechanical restrictions abandoned and the writer/player divide ignored, the performer can once again get stuck into the music as a contributor. A whole range of new music has been built around new players capacities and idiosyncrasies. Now that players are regaining their freedom the next step is to develop competence to explore that freedom. Nobody criticizes Parker or Coltrane because they had more chops than Lester Young.
So ,what solution for the touring musician today?
1. View the tour as a tour; i.e. viewing live performance as the basis of everything else, it needs to make money. Set the break-even point, which for the League is around $3,000 a night in the U.S., and don`t work below it. An opportunity to play in Pittsburgh for $500, as a record promotion requires a $5,000 gig somewhere else. Promotion can be arranged around the booking rather than bookings around the promotion. Touring- has three aspects: playing, traveling and promoting. Any two of these in a day is enough for me, but on the Frippertronics tour of 1979 1 did three a day nearly every day for four months.
2. Play in venues of 500/1,000 capacity for two shows a night, for two nights. This reduces traveling (and tiredness and expense), requires less equipment than in large halls, gives time to explore the town, enables more personal contact with the audience and a better chance of dealing with their expectations. In practice, 250 people is the top I can handle as a soloist and 500 with a group. Beyond this expectation and excitement can get out of control. With falling gig attendances, smaller venues are at least more efficient, but worked this way still have a potential gate of 2,000/4,000. The objection that not everyone interested in the band might see it can be met by occasional larger, but appropriate, venues: Hammersmith Palais instead of Hammersmith Odeon, or an open air concert. Note: working this way one is unlikely to "break out" and become a big star.
3. Create residuals by intermediate recording. This smaller way of working builds genuine support from below rather than having "popularity" imposed from above by high powered advertising. Gigs are a way of preparing for recording and getting music into the body, so that first takes, oozing passion, needn`t break down from lack of familiarity with the notes. The League record at Arny`s Shack in Parkstone, Dorset, a 24-track at $26 an hour.
4. Develop a local music industry. With the possibility of transport difficulties in the middle 1980s, how can one work as a traveling musician? For me, I look to the area I live in: the West Country, or what was called Wessex. A network of people interested, in music should accept responsibility for promoting in Bodmin and Truro, Wimborne and Weymouth. This could be the local manager of a record shop, musician or music fan. A local group can headline a dance and be supported by a band from a town further away, this being reciprocated by the support group in their home town. Steve Smith, guitarist and singer with Wimborne`s Martian Schoolgirls, is currently organizing the League`s English tour of November 1980. This helps a local musician work, decentralizes the industry from London, and is the beginning of a local network independent of Mogul Pressure. Recently the number of rock venues of various sizes has increased in the Wimborne area, despite the recession. Recording studios are well established outside London, such as Rockfield in Monmouth, and others in Bath, Reading and elsewhere. This enables national groups to base themselves in the provinces. And once Wessex has its network of reciprocating units it can build up exchanges with the networks of Cumbria and Mercia.
See you at the Brewster Arms?
The Musician in Politics
The future unit of musical organization must be small, mobile and Intelligent. If you want political change, go into music.
By Robert Fripp
There was a popular idea in the 1960s that rock music could change the world. This evaporated along with hippies, kaftans and beads during the 1970s as it became increasingly apparent that rock music could also underwrite the conventional wisdom of the music industry. It is my conviction in 1980 that rock can, in fact, change the world, but as part of an overall action and not in any way which we might expect. The "new world" may well be the "old world" but with a subtle difference involving not much more than a change in perception.
Is it reasonable to suggest that a qualitative shift in the world can be made possible by the quality of music? "Any communication process, once initiated and maintained, leads to the genesis of social structure -whether or not such structure is anticipated or deemed desirable" (Klaus Krippendorf). "The `style of life` is today one of the most positive forms of revolutionary action" (Jacques Eflul, writing in 1948).
Jean Renoir grew to doubt whether the cinema could prevent war. My feeling is that through music an alternative, structure can be built on the inside, regardless of outer forms of politicalization.
Handel, Bach, Mozart, Verdi and many more lesser figures in music, quite apart from Shakespeare, became adept at working in (for us) very difficult political and economic conditions, quite apart from rigid conventions and musical taste. Surely the most surprising point is how much inspired work had prosaic origins. By creating an industry structure which facilitates the growth of musicians as human beings they become more productive in a real way and acquire a measure of independence, independence defined as the capacity to work with others. Larger changes in social and political organization inevitably follow from this: "The new technologies will be in the image of the system that brings them forth, and they will reinforce the system" (Schumacher). The industry reflects values which have become concretized in its structure and which, when taken overall, restrict the possibilities for creative work (as defined in the preceding issue). For creative musicians to function within the music industry their actions must inevitably be political, since in order to work the creative musician will necessarily try to change the industry, simply so they`ll be able to express themselves essentially. As T.S. Elliot wrote of the poet: "Being incapable of altering his wares to suit a prevailing taste ... he naturally desires a state of society in which they may become popular, and in which his own talents will be put to the best use." And then: "He is accordingly vitally interested in the use of poetry." There are three aspects to this:
1. Changing the structure of the industry.
2. Changing the value system which gives rise to the structure.
3. Reciprocating with and influencing other forms of industry beside the musical, and in a wider context than the market place. Taking these in more detail:
1. Changing the structure of the industry. Organization in large units brings about authoritarian control. The authoritarian personality is fixed and unresponsive, to change. Therefore, the kind of personality drawn to a large organization will be exactly the kind of person who will kill it in a time of Change by failing to adapt.
The replacement of large scale industry by an alternative is vital. Because of inertia in the system, traditional industry will not collapse immediately, and in the transitional period it should be persuaded by argument, example and cooperation to increasingly divert resources under its control to a second-level tier of industry while this is still possible. My personal sense of timetable is that this second level of operation should be established by the end of 1981, consolidated by the end of 1984 and fully functional by 1987, while the years 1987 to 1990 will be characterized by the honorable burial of dinosaurs with all rites pertinent to their station. As I have written elsewhere (on a record label, actually) the future unit of organization is the small, mobile and intelligent unit, wherein intelligence is defined as the capacity to perceive rightness, mobility the capacity to act on that perception, and small the necessary condition for that action in a contracting world. The function of the small, mobile and intelligent unit in the 1980s is to drop in and form an intra-culture rather than, as in the 1960s, to drop out and create a sub-culture (although I doubt if it is possible to remain outside a social process in any real way).
Earlier this year I attended Zigzag magazine`s party, having been invited to play "Sister Morphine" with Marianne Faithful, who couldn`t make the show because she was busy at Shepperton, and "The Lord`s Prayer" with Siouxsie and the Banshees, but Siouxsie had laryngitis. A solo singer accompanying himself on guitar was performing a piece reflecting his recent contretemps with the Special Patrol Group. His song made frequent reference to the words: "Kill! Kill! Kill! the S.P.G.!", declaimed with considerable enthusiasm. It seemed to me that he was trying to establish the principle that to kill whomsoever one sees as a non-congruent element of the larger social system is permissible. If this principle were to be accepted by the social organism no doubt the SPG would also embrace it: in which case the singer would be at a considerable disadvantage when settlement came between the two sub-systems. Several points were raised by this:
i) The elimination of either of the two parties would be, at the least, an inefficient use of resources;
ii) Force breeds an (at least) equal reaction and on a practical level is therefore ineffective, ethical consideration aside;
iii) Impartiality is a higher level of operation and therefore an inherently more stable state than prejudice. Can one work with people one personally dislikes, or whose values seem contradictory and offensive, in the service of a common aim? A subtle problem I found on the recent League of Gentlemen tour was that one rarely deals with big, nasty, horrible villains who are obviously the baddies (although I met some!) but often with pleasant people who are one`s friends and with whom one has worked for several years, but who have different aims and aspirations.
2. Changing the value system which gives rise to the structure. An appropriately sized unit of organization may not have a "better" ethical system: one can be a small bread-head as well as a large bread-head. But greed, which is neither mobile nor intelligent, is becoming unrealistic and impracticable.
3. Reciprocating with and influencing other forms of industry beside the musical, and in a wider context than the market place.
An idea is a piece of quality information; it Contains energy and can have a life of its own. This idea might be a musical idea. Music is a high-order language system; i.e. it is a meta-language. The function of a meta-language is to express solutions to problems posed in a lower-order language system.
It one accepts that music is a high order language system, it follows that music can be negentropic and problem solving, the function of the musician in this sense, then, is to convey high quality information. This does not have to be complicated. John Heilpern, traveling with the Peter Brooks troupe in North Africa, came across some remarkable players: the Peulh. "The Peulh music showed us that a universal language might be as simple as one note repeated many, many times. But you must discover the right ht note first." To discover this note 9 most musicians require a discipline to reduce "noise," or superfluous notes, and increase "signal," the essential music. To be open to ideas, i.e. to be able to use the energy of musical "information," in a playing situation is the aim of all improvisation: this is active performance, A mime in ancient Greece named Memphis was said by Athenaeus to convey in a brief dance faultlessly the whole essence of Pythagorean doctrine, although Memphis did not necessarily understand it.
If one were interested in political change one would not enter political life, one would go into music. Since the first aim of any system is to perpetuate itself, the professional politician would tend to perpetuate rather than solve political problems, the self-interest of the professional musician, on the other hand, lies in perpetuating music......
Bootlegging, Royalties and the Moment
by Robert Fripp
There are two sides to bootlegging: professional and amateur. I recognize that at its real level music belongs to everyone. In fact, the ownership of music is a fairly recent phenomenon. It began in the 19th century, and was firmed up in the 20th by the Copyright Act of 1911, the formation of the PRS in 1914, the Composer`s Guild (straight) in 1944, the Songwriters` Guild (popular) in 1947 and the Copyright Act of 1956. All these reinforced the notion of music as personal property; this is our market background.
Given that background, if money is to be made by the sale of my work then I wish to receive my share of it. All of the sex scenes in "Emanuelle" feature music lifted from "Larks` Tongues in Aspic, Part II." Following a lengthy legal action, my rights as composer have been acknowledged and a settlement made out of court. The implication that receiving royalties for one`s work is inherently bad I find very queer and somehow peculiarly English. I espouse, through the Drive to 1981, "Action in the market place but not governed by the value of the market place." This presents all the dilemmas regarding money that any sane soul might need. Having lived in the States, I`ve seen some of the contradictions of a commercial culture, the other side of the famed "American Dream." And I`m familiar with Proudhon`s "property is theft," communalistic philosophy and praxis, and some of the arguments of the Leveller, Ranter and Digger movements of the 17th century - all reactions against our widespread belief in the sanctity of private property.
Facing all the hazardous contradictions borne by that sanctity, the real issue is surely: what might one do with one`s royalties? The principle I follow is that proprietary advantage involves proprietary responsibility; that is, if one makes more money that one needs, there is an opportunity to use it socially. Different religions traditionally recommend giving 10 to 15% of one`s income to charities; the church tithe was compulsory; our tax system is “supposed” to enforce the proprietary responsibility, by involuntarily redistributing income more equally than it is divvied up, willy-nilly, by market forces. I recognize that different kinds of people want - and therefore feel they "need" - different standards of living, and that mine is higher than some and lower than others. The wide difference between class levels seems queer, the exploitation and social pretension of involves is offensive.
What I`ve chosen to do is to support a farming project in Cornwall, an adult education experiment in the States and a naturopathic hospital in England. The hospital is bankrupt, the farm and school are in serious trouble. The League of Gentlemen has a deficit of $30,000; my house has no hot water and the rain leaks through the roof; and, keep in mind, I wish to remain financially independent of the industry so that my musical choices remain personal and musical. And then there are those concert-goers and record-buyers and ideologues and "fans" who criticize artists who seek full royalty payment for their work and who try to halt exploitation of same by profiteering bootleggers. Forgive me but I find their posture exasperatingly naive.
Conversely, I have great sympathy for amateur bootleggers. With them, enthusiasm for the music is the motive. After all, are not the best Charlie Parker tracks live bootlegs? I also know quite a few performers who don`t mind, such as the Instant Automatons in England [and the Grateful Dead — hbm], who have gone so far as to provide a facility wherein audience members may hookup their cassette recorders to the hall`s mix-board. Admirable, but not for me. My views are generally known to my audience: to bring a recorder is a deliberate violation of the ground rules, at best a violation of courtesy: it`s rather like taking notes of a personal conversation to circulate of publish later. This from someone who`s been a steady fixture on bootleg lists for over seven years.
Now we come to the humanistic and philosophical reasons why I oppose the furtive taping of live music. I am seeking the quality of attention, of being in the moment without expectation and without history, the moment between the human “being” and the human animal behavioral psychology so terrifyingly describes. As Blake put it, "He who bends himself a joy/Does the winged life destroy." Experiencing a piece of music repeatedly in an active state has its own qualities and merits. On tape, music is music: good, bad, lively, lethargic, spirited or whatever. In live performance, the music is still music there is another element: the music mediates a relationship between the player and the listener. This relationship is fragile and easily spoilt. To try to pin it down disrupts it, much like writing down one`s thoughts during a meditation significantly disrupts the very process of meditation. For some players, this presents no difficulties, as with cameras, but it does for me. After all the years and miles I`ve covered with music, I`ve fully realized the significance of of the relationship between player and listener; what in music could be more primary, more valuable? To experience a piece of music once and only once is to experience that relationship in its most crystalline form. It cannot be repeated: how many times can one lose one`s virginity?
"This will prove a brave kingdom to me,
Where I shall have my music for nothing."
Shakespeare, “The Tempest”