Why I’m not a musician

Tuesday 30 September 2008

Having mentioned Paris Transatlantic the other day, I started looking through some older editions and found an interview with Phill Niblock. Niblock was the inspiration for my piece now showing at the Redrawing exhibition in Hobart (plug!).
Something Niblock said reminded me why I’ve never sought music-related employment as a day job to fund my musical activities: I worry about what might happen to me if I’m placed in regular contact with musicians. Here’s Niblock discussing the role of the performer in playing his music (remember that his music sounds kind of something like this):

There were two especially bad performances in my memory. One was in The Hague, actually. We were doing a concert and one guitar player had come to the rehearsal; and the other guy couldn’t come for a rehearsal at all – he’d never heard the piece nor had the CD or anything. So he came and got up on the stage and immediately started improvising over the drone. And the other guy was playing perfectly. I almost got up and said to him: please lay out. But I didn’t. And a similar thing happened very recently in the States. I had even sent the CDs to this woman who I knew, and who knew the music, and the same thing happened; I came very late, there was no chance to make a rehearsal or a soundcheck, and she just used it as an opportunity to make a really long improvisation for herself with a drone background. I was sort of shocked. I didn’t say anything to her because we were actually staying with her, so that made it difficult.