So you really think there's a bigger audience than there used to be?
Oh yeah‚ for sure. Man‚ young people are heads and tails more open-minded these days than when I was a kid. Oh‚ big time. Like‚ I'll tell you‚ just at these Stooges gigs‚ there's hardly anybody our age. And I'm the youngest guy in the band‚ and I'm fifty in a few months... It's young people‚ man. And in my day‚ when I was a teenager‚ you wouldn't see a band five years old. You know‚ it's really changed a lot. Young people are way more open-minded.
Me and Nels are on our paths. But we're also very aware that we've got a lot to learn. So‚ you put yourself in all sorts of situations that'll teach you. And sometimes it can come from not even a musician‚ but listeners‚ gig-goers. But also‚ what [another] musician thinks‚ too. Yeah‚ this is something me and him learned from Coltrane‚ like him with his practice every day‚ you know? There's this interview with Rasheed Ali and Ali was saying‚ about Coltrane‚ "Why'd the guy keep practicing? He was already so good!" But I probably think that 'Trane‚ sorta like Nels‚ might work on a motif or a scale and then get it‚ but that would lead to other possibilities. So you gotta shake them down‚ and that'd lead to more-it was never-ending‚ you know?
I'll tell you‚ next to D. Boon‚ I've never had a more solid music connection than with Nels Cline. That guy‚ I owe him so much‚ he's a sensei‚ in my world. Thank you much‚ much for letting folks know.
One other thing. He and I talked a lot about free music‚ and about American culture‚ and especially how the word "freedom" has been co-opted by people in the last several years. When people think about freedom these days‚ they think about the administration and all sorts of bullshit that's going on. And it's just really good to know that there are people out there doing this kind of work and that the fans are really into it.
I know what you mean. Most people‚ for political expediency‚ are fucking doing the semantic end run. Nels is putting that idea of freedom into practice. And it ain't just a fuckin' smokescreen for some other bullshit.
No‚ not at all. But it's also interesting that he really struggled for a long time doing his thing. He's done his work for a long‚ long time.
He will keep struggling‚ because that's the way he is‚ it's in his fiber. We like to say you're bit with the bug‚ you can't help it‚ you're driven. And he totally is. The struggle... Maybe not so much‚ with the money‚ the bones‚ like the old days‚ but he will always be wrestling with creativity‚ I think. He always wants to get beyond-er‚ you know?