Saturday, July 29, 2006

Why The Artist Creates

On Wednesday night I rented the Chris Isaak video collection, but viewed it only with his audio commentary, which, as others noted, was hilarious.

I have been on a Gram Parsons 'study' since before our first show with Dave Gleason last October. That's not to say I was unaware, since my earliest country music was Emmy Lou Harris' Luxury Liner, purchased in 1993. That albums features Parsons' penned title track and She, which I used for my tagline this morning. I should write about Gram and Chris Ethridge (Burrito's bass player) in some future blog. I can't believe I missed The Gilded Palace of Sin until early this year.

Anyway, I have a large collection of VHS-archived music shows. Living in Mountain View with three PBS stations and two VCRs, I bulked up quite a collection. Recently I was going through the collection to find the Gram Parsons tribute that was on the wonderful and far too shortly lived Sessions at West 54th. Oh, so why am I talking about this now? I inadvertantly taped part of an informercial type show called Emotional Intelligence. The next time it aired, I set the timer and captured the whole thing. It was good, but immediately following there is a documentary film called Why The Artist Creates. I have watched this film previously three or four times.

Well, tonight, a little insomniatic, I put it together that this documentary is about Rowland Salley, who is the long-time bass player for Chris Isaak! The film is memorable and good on it's own merits. In fact, there is no mention of Chris Isaak in it at all. As I watch it now, he said that Apache turned him on to music. I have been spinning my Dad's Ventures album with that song since I was about seven. Dad played it, too. Neato.

You will never see this movie, unless you borrow it from me. I don't think it's available elsewhere. This article mentions some of the details. The depth of character from what would seem like a pop bass player is put to rest early on. He speaks a lot of quality and at one moment describes a perfomance being less about him, but the sum of all the elements present. He, the band, the audience, make up the night. Strangely, the film is left rather amiguous and no clear answer is provided as to why the artist creates. Except that he is compelled to because the creation of art is it's own reward.

These kind of connections seem important to me, and seem to only happen with music and film.

Sound as ever, Andrew

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