jukebox - The Wire N° 142 - December 1995
In 1973 Robert Wyatt fell out of a window at a party and
suffered an injury which left him paralysed'from the waist
down. Although it effectively ended his spell as one of
the UK's most inventive drummers, his musical career continued
- he happened to be one of the UK's most inventive singers,
songwriters and arrangers, too. Beginning as a drummer and
singer in The Wilde Flowers in mid-60s Canterbury, Wyatt
went on to a famous five year stint with Soft Machine. In
1972 he formed the more spontaneous, and equally acclaimed,
Matching Mole. Post-accident, Wyatt found his true voice
and recorded his best work, starting with Rock Bottom
in 1974. The same year, his version of The Monkees' "I'm
A Believer" made the charts - a feat repeated eight
years later with the Elvis Costello song "Shipbuilding".
In between his own releases, his collaborations have been
many and various, from Brian Eno to Mike Mantler, Working
Week to Ultramarine. Wyatt joined the Communist party in
the mid-70s and his work became increasingly political throughout
the 80s. After a five year hiatus, he re-emerged in 1991
with Dondestan, his best work for 15 years. An instrumental
mini-album A Short Break followed. He is currently
negotiating a new record deal. The interview took place
in Wyatt's home in Louth, Lincolnshire.
"Haitian Fight Song" from The Clown (Atlantic)
I never saw this band. I do think he's underestimated
in importance as a bass player: it's good that you've
got one here where he starts on his own. I think he's
probably my favourite ever bass player. Apparently
he used more fingers than other bass players. He used
three fingers of his right hand, which is why you
get rather uneven walking lines, using the middle
finger and the first finger. What I like about his
solos is that they're the most like speech patterns
of any bass player, so that makes him the most remarkable.
This has got a strong melody and even though it's
just a quintet, it's like a whole group feeling -
not just soloists and a rhythm section, a real group
[Looks at CD] It's from The Clown! My God, that is
In your biography you mention a lot of bass players
as major musical influences.
It's what drummers work with - we're both in the engine
room so they're the ones you get to know and that
can be the crucial thing. Also when I'm making a record,
it's the one thing that I can't do myself, so I have
to get in a bass player.
One of the things that influenced me about Mingus
is the compositional thing. There's a tendency in
jazz, and it can be allright, for each composition
to be a vehicle for the soloists to do their stuff
- that's the only reason that tune is chosen. Whereas
with Mingus, each piece has got its own character
and it's very particular. And even with a small group,
an informal set-up like that, they're playing that
piece, not some other piece - that's what I like.
Because he came from the West Coast and not the East
Coast, he got involved in a lot of his early workshops
with a mixture of all sorts of strange people that
he might not mix with in some other context. But the
first groups he had were extremely academic sort of
intellectual exercises, the Mingus Workshops. He gradually
got bluesier, but his bluesiness had a terrific intellectual
authority because he'd done all this technical homework
beforehand. So he was in total mastery of time signatures
and harmonic complexities and so on.
"Fairytale In The Supermarket" from The Raincoats
It's English anyway. Could it be The Slits? Is it
Palm Olive? I really think she's good - let me get
in a plug for Palm Olive as a fellow drummer. I once
said [to The Slits], 'If you ever want me to drum
on your records I'd be happy to come', but they never
asked me. I was very hurt by that, but never mind,
I got to play with The Raincoats instead. It's not
The Slits? Blimey, I'm pleased I recognised the drumming.
It's Palm Olive and somebody Yeah Go! Go!
It's from The Raincoats' first album, with Palm
Olive on drums.
I did the last gig in my life [in 81] with The Raincoats.
We did "Born Again Cretin", which they did very well.
I really enjoyed it... I didn't know [this] was The
Raincoats because I didn't hear their first record.
To be fair, that definitely wasn't Ari Up singing.
What threw me was distinctive drumming style that
I associate with The Slits - that's my excuse. Very
nice. I liked that.
How did you come to play with The Raincoats?
I think they were an Rough Trade and we met around
Rough Trade. It was a fairly loose set-up where people
were listening to each other's stuff and clocking
what each other were doing.
You played with other post-punk groups and musicians
- Scritti Politti, and Epic Soundtracks from Swell
Maps. Few other musicians from your generation got
so directly involved in that area.
Well it surprised me, to be honest. If I was asked
and I could do it, on the whole I would. I liked the
attitude round then. There were a lot of people I
got on with better from that eruption than from that
early period in the 70s, that I might have been expected
to identify with. I liked the rough and ready approach.
It's like somebody said about me: I'm like Jimmy Sommerville
an valium, and I haven't got his get-up-and go, I've
got a lot of get-down-and-stay. But apart from that
I really liked all the people I heard from that period.
I didn't think rock'n'roll was so precious that it
had to be played in tune. It never struck me as the
essential ingredient in the first place. In fact by
having that strange detuning that they all seemed
to do - that slightly untuned desafinato that they
had - it gave a bit of harmonic interest to a music
that normally doesn't have any at all. The music I'd
been involved in listening to before, the jazz, had
gone into a tailspin of rejection of organisation
anyway. So quite a lot of pop groups at that time
were a sort of electrified version of a free jazz
revival - which to those of us who were accustomed
to these things was quite nostalgic really.
"Smash The Social Contract" from Cornelius
Cardew Memorial Concert (Impetus)
Oh it's Communist Party, brackets, Marxist-Leninist,
close brackets. Could it be Laurie Baker, the composer?
I think I recognise that pianist. Oh, that's very
interesting that, because Cornelius Cardew used to
write a lot of pieces, but I don't think that is Cornelius
Cardew. Although he did take on the attempt to write
popular songs, that would have been in the era when
I don't think he specifically dealt with things like
the Social Contract. The things I remember by him
at the time were more Internationalist, but it may
It is composed by Cardew, a performance from his
memorial concert in 82.
Is it really? Oh, that's interesting. It could have
been Laurie Baker on drums [Looks at sleeve] Laurie
Baker, there you are.
One thing to say about Cornelius Cardew, before anybody
says 'what a loal of crap' or anything like that,
is he was the most stunningly knowledgeable musician.
One of the few in this country that had that really
encyclopaedic knowledge of music, that we associate
with non-English figures like Pierre Boulez and people
like that. And had he lived he would have been recognised
as one of the giants of music, just because of the
breadth and depth of his knowledge. What people object
to, of course, is the way that he channelled that
vast knowledge into certain disciplines, but I think
that's very heroic myself, and it was very interesting
to hear it.
Cardew was obviously keen to get his message across
to the greatest number of people by putting it in
an accessible 'popular song' form. But do you think
the rather knockabout knees-up style of thIs particular
song actually works?
Well the thing is, they set themselves more problems
than they tried to solve, because by seeing what you
could do without really using Transatlantic popular
culture at all, your departure point into the new
age comes from somewhere around Gilbert & Sullivan
in the end. So you end up becoming Marxist-Leninist-Gilbert
& Sullivan-ist! Nobody in England should object
to that - we're all very proud of Gilbert & Sullivan.
I would suspect anyone's political motives of disapproving
of Cornelius Cardew on those grounds. It's the great
thing, innit, Britpop, this year? You can't get more
Britpop than Gilbert & Sullivan. So he was right
in there, Cornelius, ahead of the pack as usual.
I'm not saying he got everything right, but I like
his attitude with all this knowledge, trying to focus
it instead of bathing in it in a sort of narcissistic
glory of talent. He never tried to do that and I think
it's very unusual.
"Fitter Stocke Has A Bath" from The Rotters Club
that's Richard [Sinclair]. What a lovely voice, it's
so true. On Rock Bottom he and Hugh Hopper
really held it together [on bass]. In the mid-60s
- he actually came from a musical background, his
dad was a musician - although he was younger than
us, he always used to sing in tune which I thought
was pretty avant garde at the time, and actually I
learnt to do the same. It took me a few years. A musician
that he liked even when he was a teenager was Nat
King Cole, who nobody listened to in the 60s. Nat
King Cole people don't realise why singers like him
so much. It's because he's so in tune, so accurate.
That's half the battle really - and Richard always
Hatfield And The North were one of the most fêted
groups from that whole Canterbury Scene of the 60s
and 70s. Was there any sense of a 'scene' at the time,
or has it just become labelled thus with hindsight?
The first time I heard of the Canterbury Scene was
in an article. It was invented by that bloke who does
family trees [Pete Frame] and in order to do family
trees, you have to have families. If I hadn't been
told I was in a thing called the Canterbury Scene
it wouldn't have occurred to me. It surprised me that
such a thing came to pass and it was interesting how
these history books eventually get written. It makes
you wonder about them [Laughs]
I had a very, very unhappy and unsuccessful time at
school in Canterbury, during which time I actually
lived nearer Dover. I think in the long run, despite
some very nice and to me now seemingly essential associations
like Hugh Hopper, I was unhappy in Canterbury. I know
Dave Sinclair [Ex-Caravan and Matching Mole] is very
affectionate about it. I never had that kind of ruralist
affection. I was taken to the country at about the
age of ten, simply because my Dad had a terminal illness
and retired early, somewhere where he could take it
easy for a few years. As far as I was concerned, my
life was shut up in my room doing little paintings
and listening to records - so what I really remember
is the records I listened to and the paintings I tried
to do. Highlights were saving up enough money to go
to London to concerts, or buy an Ornette Coleman record.
I wasn't primarily interested in music for a start,
and secondly, I certainly couldn't play. People have
put out demos and tapes from that period from the
60s which I'm on, and I just find them so ridiculous
I can't believe anybody wants to listen to them.
"Cat Food" from In The Wake Of Poseidon
trying to work out where that bassline comes from.
Oh, what is that? People do that, use a classic bassline
and it throws you. You spend the whole time trying
to remember what it is. Oh, John Lennon. It's from
a Beatles... that one they did on the roof. It's very
interesting indeed. They can all really play [Wyatt
later identifies the bassline as coming from The Beatles'
It's King Crimson from 1970 with Keith Tippett
I was going to say, the pianist was particularly good.
[Laughs] Michael Giles on drums? He's a terrific drummer,
I should have guessed it from that. To be honest a
lot of bands came up around 68, and in 68 we [Soft
Machine] were in America. What I heard of the other
bands at that time were Big Brother & The Holding
Company, Sly & The Family Stone and The Buddy Miles
Express, and Larry Coryell playing in the smaller
clubs. American groups, basically, and of course we
were with Hendrix. I didn't really know much at all
about English bands who would have been considered
our contemporaries. I don't remember ever actually
going to a rock concert that I didn't have to play
One of the reasons that we played this track is
that it's an example of the meeting ground of Progressive
rock with experimental jazz of the era. Both King
Crimson and Soft Machine used Keith Tippett's horn
section [Marc Charig and Nick Evans]. King Crimson
also collaborated with South African exiles like bass
player Harry Miller, while you collaborated with brass
players Mongezi Feza and Gary Windo.
The connection is very simple - Keith Tippett's personality.
A West Country bloke with a great big heart and completely
unlike the Old Boy Network jazz mafia that was the
London scene at the time. He had all barriers down,
listened to everybody, open-minded, never put anybody
down, and one of his things was to get all these different
musicians from different genres together - particularly
the South African exiles. He would get together these
bands and get us into them and then we'd meet each
other. So really you could put a lot of that down
to one man.
I think Mongs [Feza] and the South Africans we knew
anyway, because we used to go down to Ronnie's old
place and see The Blue Notes when they came to London.
Although I didn't know them personally then, it would
certainly have helped getting acquainted with Keith
Tippett and Gary Windo and all those people. Alfie
[Wyatt's wife] knew Johnny Dyani and Chris McGregor,
and when we got together in 70- 71, I also got to
know her friends as well, so that would be another
connection. It was Alfie, Evan Parker pointed out,
who introduced him to John Stevens, for example Chris
McGregor was another one with a big heart.
"I Put A Spell On You" from I Put A Spell On You
[Immediately] Ah yes, this is nice to hear [Sings
along]. There's a fantastic saxophone solo on this
but I don't know who it is. It's so great [Sings along
to solo] Yeah! Then she picks it up and he keeps on
going, he keeps pushing it. Now he's finished.
Cor, that's the stuff. The saxophone solo is like
some of the players who played with James Brown: Maceo
Now, there's a thing that pissed me off a few months
ago. Everybody's favourite parliamentary candidate,
Screaming Lord Sutch, was on [the radio] and boasting,
quite rightly, that he's the one who eventually got
rid of David Owen by beating him in an election -
which is a great contribution to British politics.
But then he was on about how he did everything before
everybody, long hair and all that, and then he talked
about all his coffin stuff and he was way ahead there;
but he got all that coffin stuff and that whole act
from the bloke who wrote this song, Screaming Jay
Hawkins. For him [Hawkins] the "spell on you"
was the big thing. He was into all that necromancy
and I don't know what else.
Didn't you used to sing this with The Wilde Flowers
in the mid-60s?
I think I used to sing it but I have a hard time remembering
more than about 20 years ago to be honest. But certainly
Nina Simone was very important. In fact most of the
singers that I was influenced by were women, funnily
enough. I seem to have more affinity with women's
voices than with men's. That's because my voice never
I think she's a great singer, not just a good one
I'd put her up with Ray Charles. The thing is, she
doesn't quite belong anywhere. Really she belongs
in the continental tradition of chanson singers, Jacques
Brel and all that sort of thing, Edith Piaf - that
dramatic presentation of songs. It partly came out
of a folk tradition of music hall but not the jokey
side of it. Oscar Brown Junior was that as well. It's
not pop and it's not jazz, it's not any of the categories
that now exist. It's more intimate, more nightclubby.
Amazing presence. When she's in Ronnie [Scott]'s she
makes the place look really small. It's like having
a real queen in a room, the real nature's aristocracy.
By the time I saw her, she was no longer hitting the
notes. She just sort of intimated them, sketched them
in the air. And it was all you needed if you knew
"Party For Your Right To Fight" from It
Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (Def
like they're sampling Sly Stone NWA or something like
It's someone equally well known.
Not by me, evidently. It's not Public Enemy? I'm trying
to work out what they're sampling. Oh well, I know
this one. I think that's one of the great lines "It
takes a nation of millions to hold us back".
It completely inverts the whole notion of dissidence.
It's very close on from The Last Poets, the first
people who did this kind of thing, without a rhythm
section, just a cappella.
What I like about [rap's] kind of talking - in posh
music it's called Sprechgesange - is that for
some reason it liberated words. There's been a problem,
I think, in black pop music since Motown. Even in
some of the stuff I really love, the lyrics are a
bit like rhyming soap operas. What's nice about all
this black Sprechgesange is that it actually
liberated the language that you could use on a pop
record. It was a shame because in all this time, the
black Americans were reinventing the English language
every five years and made a massive contribution throughout
the century, probably even before, to revitalising
the language, then you get the Motown pop songs that
sound great but they all just go "Ooh Baby".
It was a waste of all that fantastic vocabulary that's
been cooking in the streets - so it was very nice
that it broke through [with rap].
Although Public Enemy get their message over without
any compromise, there's some witty interplay going
on between Chuck D and Flavor Flav.
I used to listen a lot to Peter Tong's rap sessions
on Radio 1 and there is some very funny, very witty
stuff going on. And as for the stuff that people think
is terminally defensive in attitude, I don't think
that anyone who hasn't been to America and been around
on the streets... I don't feel you can talk about
it unless you've been there. It's a long time since
I've been, 25 years, but I found white American racism
made me feel ill and I wasn't even particularly interested
in the subject at the time. But if I lived there,
I think I wouldn't really be answerable for what it
would do to my brain - and that's just me. So what
it must be for someone who's in the firing line, I
& THE FAMILY STONE
"Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" from Stand!
Oh, that is Sly Stone [Drums on table] Yeah, there's
one thing about Sly Stone that I really like. First
of all it's like Mingus, there are lots of dimensions
in it - a foreground, a middle ground and a background,
and there's something happening in all of them. It's
very beautifully spaced. Also that Mingus thing of
each piece is a whole world of its own. [During wah-wah
harmonica break] Another thing is, I was very influenced
by him in this business of the wordless'vocal guitar
solos' [Wyatt's trademark scat style].
Funnily enough, I was listening to this track this
morning and it suddenly became apparent that it's
like your own vocal style.
That's it. Almost like harmonica solos with your mouth
right up to the mic [cups hand over mouth to give
wah-wah effect] and you take a breath. Wonderful.
And I thought, 'Yeah, I can play solos now!'
I went to see Sly Stone when I was in the States,
but the record that most knocked us out when we [Soft
Machine] were in the States was Stand!. That
was as good as rock music got at the time - absolutely
amazing. And the singers he gets in - that woman's
a fantastic singer. He got ever such good players.
I read somewhere that you're a big fan of [Sly's
bassist] Larry Graham.
Yeah, absolutely. One of the great bass players of
all time and a great singer, deep voice, when he had
his own band after he left Sly Stone. Very weird,
strange person - they all were, but fantastic musicians.
There's so much going on, you can't quite tell...
Nowadays you can get effects with vocoders and stuff,
you can sing through synthesizers and get instrumental
effects and so on, but this is before them and better
than all that really. It could be a vocoder thing
[Sly] had been a disc jockey and knew a lot about
studio technology. It's very good, led onto Bootsy
and all that sort of stuff.
On some of the singles - specifically "Dance
To The Music" - the bass is massively loud.
They had very eccentric mixes. They'd make aesthetic
decisions on each track; where to put things, who
to have doing what, things coming in and out of each
tune. They're great art, Sly Stone's records. And
having been a jazz fan, it's nice hearing rhythm sections
as good as the first one you played. If you're brought
up on rhythm sections like Mingus and Dannie Richmond
then rock can seem a bit pedestrian by comparison.
A rhythm section like that has got the dimensions
of the ins and outs that make it more interesting,
"Apples And Oranges" from Masters Of
it Barrett? Is it Jerry Shirley on drums?
It's Pink Floyd, one of the last things Barrett
did with them.
I thought it was the second [Barrett] solo LP. That
bassline's just a major scale going downwards. It
is one of the great tunes, the major scale! [At line
"thought you might like to know"]
See, that's another Beatles infuence, it's exactly
Sergeant Pepper - or it's just as likely to
be other way round. Paul McCartney used to listen
to them [Pink Floyd].
That's lovely, it's really good. As you can gather,
sometimes with English musicians, I know the people
without necessarily knowing the music. I didn't collect
records or go to the concerts. I was never a consumer.
I really like them and there again liked them individually
as people. I'm biased because they were very kind
to us and to me. In the early days, they got us out
of some horrendous tight spots when our equipment
blew up, and they would lend us some - and groups
don't do things like that. And then to me, they were
very generous when I had my accident [Pink Floyd organised
and headlined a benefit concert for Wyatt in the same
Musically, it's very refreshing to hear that. I'm
ashamed to say I didn't know it, but I'm ashamed to
say I didn't know
The Raincoats, but there you are. But I don't actually
have rock records to listen to particularly. I see
rock music as a boy-next-door activity. Rock doesn't
have any romantic associations for me. It's what people
like us used to do [laughs], the kind of things we
got up to. That's all I feel about it, but having
said that, I thought it was very inventive. I enjoyed
it very much.
The Canterbury Scene we mentioned before has acquired
a sort of mythic status over time, but not as much
as the 67 UFO Club scene. Was it really as exciting
as it's been made out to be?
Well, you have to forgive people involved if they're
subjective. The subjective facts are I couldn't play
in the 60s. It took me a long time. So I associate
the entire decade - if there is such a thing as a
decade - with excruciating embarrassment on my own
part. And it's bound to colour what you think about
a place or a time.
Objectively, I'd say it was good, yeah. It was good
in the sense that the groups weren't the only thing,
just part of what was going on.
It was almost like having a big indoor market, really.
We [Soft Machine] used to go down there and play,
and sometimes they'd have Monteverdi playing, and
the atmosphere would already be perfect. All you'd
need was Monteverdi playing and people wandering about,
or lying on the floor and things like that, and Mark
Boyle's and various other people's film projections
all over the walls, and already that was it, the atmosphere.
And then there would be the groups. It didn't rely
on the groups, it was a place to be anyway. As a stage,
the audience were all in the play. And except for
a few stars in the old style like Arthur Brown, who
was wonderful, most people were fairly anonymous.
They would just be there as part of making the scene.
I think at that time, I was still too much of a jazz
and blues fan to quite be able to tune into what they
[Pink Floyd] were doing. The bands I knew in London
before them were Zoot Money and Georgie Fame. I was
more used to the Ornette Colemans and the Sun Ras,
and compared with what was going on [in jazz] by the
mid-60s, even the most non-poppy pop groups seemed
fairly tame to me, and fairly commercial.
That's not a criticism, it's just a fact.
WILLIAMS WITH MILES DAVIS
"Agitation" from ESP (Columbia)
Williams's long drum solo introduction] Sounds like
Elvin Jones. It's not? Good Lord! He was very influenced
by Elvin Jones - School of Elvin Jones. [Trumpet comes
in] Well. Oh, in that case it's Jack DeJohnette.
It's not actually.
Hang on. OK. It's Tony Williams. Stupid, I am! Oh
God, shoot that man. What a funny mistake to make.
But that's a really interesting mistake, because I'd
never thought of Tony Williams as being anything like
Elvin Jones. But that early section and the business
of stumbling over where you expect the bar-line to
be, is such an Elvin Jones-y thing. And it's a much
deeper sound than I associate with Tony Williams:
he usually has a much lighter, crisper sound.
It was a very important time for Miles Davis. He never
really recovered from the loss of Coltrane and he
nearly went under then, I get the impression. But
it was finding Tony Williams and doing a whole new
thing that put him back on track. I don't know this
one, I have to say. This is terrific, I really like
It's from ESP from 1965.
I should have this, let alone know it. Miles Davis
started recording when I was born and he's been there
all my life. And if someone asked me what was my very
favourite voice sound ever, I'd have to say Miles
Davis. There's a jazz writer, lives in Paris, called
Mike Zwerin, who I've been in touch with again recently.
He reminded me that one of [Miles's] bon mots - he
lives in France so he can say things like that - was
'play half'. And that's exactly right. It's got a
Zen appeal to it. The first time you hear it you think,
'Oh, that's easy, I've only got to play half', and
then you think, 'Which half?' [Laughs] Miles Davis
is one of the great jazz philosophers. It pisses me
off when people list great philosophers and only list
great philosophical writers, because to me some of
the great philosophers weren't writers, they were
people who did other things. Thelonious Monk or Miles
"My Squelchy Life" from Nerve Net
was going to play you another piece [ie Eno's "My
Squelchy Life"] but it seems I've recorded over
the tape by mistake.
You'll have to hum it! [After about 20 seconds of
me humming] Ah, hang on, that could be Johnny Rotten.
Don't tell me, because I know who that is. That's
stupid - I just remember him saying something about
sex once that that reminds me of. Of course it's Brian.
I think Brian would be very amused, first of all that
you sang "My Squelchy Life" and I said 'Johnny
Rotten'. And secondly, I would think this is only
acceptable if you point out that we've broken new
ground here, in that you've not actually played the
record and I commented on it. I think it's appropriate,
Brian would really appreciate that.
I have no objective opinion of Brian at all. I just
consider him a great friend and an utterly good bloke.
What else can I say? Brian and I used to spend a lot
of time together in the 70s just talking and hanging
about. Which, despite this thing about various scenes
I may have been on, I don't remember doing with musicians
on the whole. We used to have such fun. That's why
it's so appropriate you didn't play the record, because
we used to have fun imagining things that there could
be. One of the things was in the 70s there wasn't
the word World Music. We thought wouldn't it be great
to get all these records that we were listening to
from all around the world, totally nothing to do with
pop or rock 'n' roll or jazz or American music, anything
like that, anything to do with Europe at all, and
you could find tracks that would appeal to people
and just package it like pop music. It's difficult
to explain now that kind of idea has become commonplace,
in fact hackneyed, how exciting it was at that time
to draw up these sort of thoughts. He was a very enjoyable
person to think with. I find that thinking out loud
with Brian is incredibly good exercise for the brain.
You performed on Music For Airports in the late
70s, which is now regarded as a landmark in Ambient
music. The idea that it was equally valid to listen
to or ignore the music seemed very radical at the
That's perhaps why we got on well, because I do like
that thing that he does and we both do, which is,
'What if you turn the situation upside down, whatever
the assumption or premise might be?' You're banging
your head on the wall to try and do something to grab
people's attention - what if you do the opposite?
[Laughs] Ideas circulate and I'm very loath to attribute
ideas solely to one person or anything. This question
of authorship wouldn't really be a battleground [for
Eno]. Although he is a fountain of ideas, he wouldn't
promote himself necessarily as such, because he's
interested in the circulation of them, and they go
through various processes.
I remember a thing that I'd mentioned that I'd came
across from Miles Davis. He [Miles] was talking about
how to arrange things in a piece of music. And Miles
Davis basically wouldn't tell anybody what to do -
his arrangement was the choice of musicians you had
in the first place. And Brian thought that was terrific
and went on to do some things like that, where you
wouldn't tell anybody what to do - the arrangement
was choosing the musicians. And so that idea you can't
attribute either to him, or to me, I think you'd have
to attribute it to Miles Davis, but the point is,
the idea was very illuminating.
Eno always used to describe himself as a 'non-musician'.
I don't know what it means in rock 'n' roll, frankly.
[Laughs] As opposed to who? Dave Clarke? What are
we talking about here? But that's good. It's the great
saving thing about pop music. There's a lot of pop
music you only have to be able to hear in your head
to be able to do it. But that only makes it like conversation.
There's nothing wrong with that - doesn't mean it's