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Interviews

A Fireside Chat with Thurston Moore

By Published: November 29, 2003

TM: I have been. I don't really sort of get involved with it anymore because I have covered a lot of the territory that I want to cover. I have a few things that I would really love to have, but I am not so veracious as I once was for a couple of reasons. I sort of tapped out on it and the records that I would go for now are just beyond me price wise and availability wise. I have to sell records. I have to figure out how to do that right now. I have always collected records. That was sort of my thing. I have always been that way. I like them. I like music. I am in the record business. I make them. I collect them. I sell them. I buy them and I trade them. The whole free improvised music thing was such a great thing to get into for me because I really like sort of collecting serious, eccentric records and the free improvised music scene as far as it existing on record was just fantastic. There were various obscure records that were on different artist's labels and they were almost finite in their existence. The BYG thing was a case and point. There were a certain number of BYG records and they were hard to get and so it took years to get that complete file. There was one that never came out and only existed as a test pressing, so you had to go to the more subterranean collecting kind of realms. The labels that existed for free improvised music in the early Seventies are really great to collect. I collect literature too, so there is a lot of activity there. There are certain realms of literature that I archive and collect and am active with.

FJ: And you are realistic about the fiscal advances of the music.

TM: Oh, yeah, nobody ever got rich off of free improvised music (laughing). I remember Steve Malkmus said something. He is in this band called Pavement, who are really a popular underground rock band and there is this other group in England called The Fall, but they were an underground UK group and the singer of The Fall was complaining about how Steve Malkmus' group Pavement was ripping them off sound wise. I remember Steve saying, "Ripping them off? What does that mean, that I am getting rich sounding like them?" (Laughing) Nobody gets rich doing this. You don't do it for the money. Although if I am going to get asked to play an improvised music festival in Europe, to me, I am not going to fly over there just to do something for free. It takes too much time and I have a family life. For me or improvisers like Ikue Mori, I think if you are going to fly to Europe and play the gig and come back, you have to play for the flight and hotel and at least give us a thousand dollars for the show. That is sort of the going rate for something like that, but that is only because I can ask for something like that. I think most improvise musicians working solely in improvised music who don't have much of a profile are only too happy to go play anywhere, anytime for gas money.

FJ: I can reasonable testify to your commitment to the music because not only have you played with the Peter Brötzmanns and Cecil Taylors, but also regional folk heroes like Nels Cline and Wally Shoup.



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