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Les McCann: Never Say No Again

Chris M. Slawecki By

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AAJ: Your music is so rhythmic that it leads one to believe that in your day you must have been one hell of a dancer.

LM: No, not at all. Back then, that was the one thing I said no to. Somebody would invite me to come dance and I'd say no. I felt that I could dance myself because I felt the rhythm, but what I saw people doing on the dancefloor, to me, was not dancing. It was just people getting out there doing physical exercise, that's what it was. But I always said no. Even after I got married. I finally relented and got out there on the floor to do it. I had a girlfriend who loved to dance and I would go because I knew she wanted me to, but I wasn't really into it. I was into Baryshnikov. The Nicholas Brothers from old black vaudeville. Rhythm was my thing. You say you know about the hambone, that's all you need to know.

AAJ: How have you managed to so successfully pull so much of your life and personality through so much of your music?

LM: That's what it takes to be a great artist: The body, the mind and the heart. They all push hard. What seems like pain may be what it takes to make the music and the artist what he is. You don't feel the pain, it's just something in our heads. When we get afraid, we feel pain. When we deny God, we feel pain. When we deny ourselves, we feel pain. We are naturally born to be and do great things.

Each one of us is extremely creative. But we think that it's only "special people," it's only "those people" who have genius. We all have greatness within us. But we refuse—or we take many, many lifetimes—to discover ourselves. Period.

AAJ: The best line in your entire book is: "That phrase, Invitation to Openness, symbolizes what I am." Could you expand on that for readers who may not intuitively grasp it?

LM: Well, what do you want me to say?

AAJ: Do you mean that your life is an open book or that your life is always open to new experiences, or something else?

LM: All of that and ten million things more. What I'm saying is that we're all here to experience greatness. You have an invitation to live your life the way you see it. It has nothing to do with anyone else. Nothing to do with churches, nothing to do with religion. Nothing to do with all the bullshit we've been fed by our parents. It's your life. Live it and love it. And love the trip. Period.

AAJ: You would describe yourself more as a spiritual person than a religious person?

LM: Well, we're all spiritual people. We're all angels having a human experience on earth. This is just a mere dream, a little short side trip. It has nothing to do with what we are completely. And the sooner we accept that, and begin to work hand in hand with what we are spiritually and what we are humanly, things become clearer. Things become what we call easy.

These are my lessons that I've learned. To me, life, earth, the human experience is a school. We're here to learn the power of love. Period.

AAJ: Is there anything that we didn't talk about that you'd like to discuss?

LM: I love when people ask real questions and not, "Where were you born?" Kiss my ass, I don't want to talk about that shit. It's been said a million times.

Music can change your life. That's what music can do. And that's what angels can do for each other. That's why we're here: Learning to love.

One last thing, and this is just for you, okay? I look at life now as only two things, love or fear. Make that choice in everything you do. I've learned that. That has opened the door to another level of knowing my godhood, knowing my connection to the all in all, and not just this chaotic situation that we call earth life. It's far beyond our understanding, but all extremely beautiful. Period. You've got to look, though, to find it. The secret of life is within us, and that's the last place that most of us ever look. We do everything, we want everybody to teach us what to do, we go through all that shit and then after sixty-five years you wake up and realize, "Oh, I knew this all along. What the hell?"

Open up your heart to love at all times. Never say no again. If you've got a child, trust that they already know what's going on. Don't try to teach them shit they don't want to know. They already know—leave them alone. Just love them, and learn.
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