Wednesday, July 08, 2009

soundtracks to jump rope

I couldn't have conjured this better. Beck launches a new interview series, Irrelevant Topics. First up: Tom Waits!

BH: I was thinking about influences and people who jump on a train or a trend, follow something. I was reading about the Greek playwright, Euripides, and a few others. He had written 105 plays and two of the plays survived from antiquity. I was thinking, "Can you imagine writing 105 plays, and you had to write 105 for one or two of them to survive?" I was thinking maybe in a way that the people who were influenced by the lost plays are the ones who are going to help them survive in some way. It's not really about what you're doing originally, it's about the transmitting of the thing to the next person. It mutates along the way and turns into other things.

TW: You leave a little map for somebody. Maybe the others were lesser works. Or maybe the two that survived were lesser works.

BH: Maybe they were the throwaways? You never know. Maybe there's things in there that were lost that would've changed everything?

TW: That's very possible.

BH: The throwaway ones that he wrote to make the deadline are the ones we have.

TW: It's like they found one of those van Gogh's at a garage sale. This woman bought it and she was using it to block out the sun in her kitchen. She was using it as a window shade, so it was getting all faded from the sun. And she cut it because it didn't fit the window. When they finally discovered she had a van Gogh as a window shade, they brought in all these experts from the museum and they were all filling in her living room and they said, "How can you cut off the top off this painting?" And she said, "It was just a little piece of the sky." Sometimes it's the value you attach to things. It's subjective. And we record on stuff that's going to disintegrate. Just like films are made on celluloid that's going to vanish, it's going to be gone. It's like drawing on wax paper or something.

BH: Yeah, I think I read that only twenty percent of the films made before 1930 have survived.

TW: It's the way of all flesh. Even in the world we're down to the last of 20 percent of all animals that were originally here on earth are left. There were millions of other species that vanished. You really have to fight. Only the strong survive. Whose song was that? "Only the Strong Survive"? Your songs have to wind up being used as soundtracks to jump rope. Tapes will go, but people will still be jumping rope. They'll need tunes for jump rope.

On a related note: Hip hop Tom Waits.