A Fireside Chat with The Vandermark 5
AAJ: Are you exhausting the creative well?
KV: The concern I've had in the last year or so has been the lack of ability to access and contemplate the work that I've done. I am concerned about not having a chance to look at what I've learned from what I've done. This year, I've chosen to take January and August off from performing to give myself a chance to just work with the instruments and think about what's happened and what I need to do to move the music forward. I'm fortunate enough to know people who are older than me, who have remained creative and vital throughout their careers, guys like Joe McPhee, Peter Brötzmann, or Fred Anderson. They make it clear that it is completely possible to remain creative throughout your lifetime. The issue is being self-critical and concerned about challenging yourself and not coasting.
The capacity for the human mind to remain creative is completely viable. The issue is more about the choices of the individual. Since I am lucky enough to enjoy what I do so much, I don't feel like it is drudgery. If it feels like a job or a burden, I will back away from it. I am driven to tour because I really love it. I really love what I do. I want to try for a couple of years to take January and August off and give myself a month twice a year to back away. The problem with that is when I do that, I'm not making any money. By the end of January, we were really financially strapped. That is a bit difficult because everybody has to pay their rent. For me, that means I've got to be playing concerts. It's a tricky situation to navigate, but at this point, it is very important to me to remain creative and to think about what I've done and digest it. I'm curious to see what ten years from now will bring and to see where the music's gone. I'm very, very thankful for the opportunities to do these things. I am doing what I dreamed of being able to do and I feel an obligation to really take that challenge as far as I can take it. I feel obligated to fulfill the promise of what could happen, not just for me, but for the music and the people that I work with.
Visit Ken Vandermark on the web at www.kenvandermark.com .