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A Fireside Chat with Nels Cline

By Published: October 29, 2003

NC: People want to know why am I still in Los Angeles and what is going on in Los Angeles. I have to say that I wanted to move to New York City my entire adult life, because I just really felt a great love for that city and also a great deal of inspiration and curiosity of their musical world. There are numerous reasons why that never happened and a lot of it goes back to what we were discussing earlier about self-esteem, but also, life's events would never really accommodate this. I have gotten over it in the sense that I like my life more these days.

That being said, there are always people to play with here that I held in high regard my whole life. I feel that if I didn't have like minded individuals to do music with that were challenging me and think seriously about my playing, I would not have been happy here. We have discussed Vinny and mentioned Wayne Peet and Jeff Gauthier and my brother. There are a number of us doing things or quite a while, but now in Los Angeles, there are really a lot. There are a lot more than ever before because a lot of these younger musicians coming out of the academic world of CalArts or USC, who seem to be interested in improvised music.

If you had told me years ago that this would be the case, I may not have believed you. It has to be good for the scene. This has been going on the whole time. The perception is that there is nothing happening here and what I have been trying to prove to the world is that there has been stuff going on here all along going back to Horace Tapscott and John [Carter] and Bobby [Bradford]. A lot of people left and there are reasons for that.

Certainly, it is impossible to make a living playing music here, but that is true in every city in America.

FJ: And the future?

NC: There is a lot of finished masters. I completed another duo record with Devin Sarno called Buried on Bunker Hill. There is a trio recording that is finished with Andrea Parkins on accordion, laptop, and piano and Tom Rainey on drums. I just finished a duo record with Vinny, finally, after talking about it forever. We did it and it's all done. I am recording a new Singers CD in August. There is supposed to be the emergence on a live CD with Carlos Giffoni, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and me playing live in Brooklyn a couple of summers ago. That is called Four Guitars Live at Luxx. There is also some work coming up with Jeff Parker with the Singers. We also have two masters emerging this year by the Acoustic Guitar Trio, that is Rod Poole and Jim McAuley. I played on the new Rickie Lee Jones record. I play on the new Blue Man Group CD.

FJ: Odd.

NC: The guys in the band heard me at the Alligator Lounge. It was weird. I ended up going to do a guitar solo, but they ended up having me play on seven tunes. They kind of turned me loose on their music. They were really fun to work with. They are a successful, mega organization that started out from nothing. They were a lot of fun.

Visit Nels Cline on the web at .

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