best bio

Some artists I admire most coincidentally supplied promoters with the best bios.
 
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Sam Larkin milked the cow morning and evening when he was six years old. And continued at that till he was over twelve. His little girlfriend at school told him, “You smell like a cow.” Sam was shattered and went home and wrote a song. He was seven at the time. And has never stopped writing them. He has been playing harp since the age of three, and guitar since the age of 9. Everything he has ever written in his life has been well-received. Often with great cheering.
 
Because he did not grow up with television, and has never owned a television, he missed many pieces of popular culture. This unintentional withdrawal from that world has had the effect of rendering his view of the world unique. He often has the experience of not realizing what he has said till well after he has written it.
 
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Sun Ra
I’m really not a man, I’m an angel. If I was a man I couldn’t do anything, because man always fails, he’s limited, he doesn’t have the right to do things to make a better world. Angels are not under the same code as a man. As an angel I can do a lot of things, I move into the world of Celestial communication. I don’t have French connections, I have Celestial connections. I prove to the world that this is an exit out of their problems, I supply the exit and I use it in my music and my music is a sound bridge more than psychic more than spiritual. I call it spirit sound.
 
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Joseph Beuys
Had it not been for the Tartars I would not be alive today. They were the nomads of the Crimea, in what was then no man’s land between the Russian and German fronts, and favoured neither side. I had already struck up a good relationship with them, and often wandered off to sit with them. ‘Du nix njemcky’ they would say, ‘du Tartar,’ and try to persuade me to join their clan. Their nomadic ways attracted me of course, although by that time their movements had been restricted. Yet, it was they who discovered me in the snow after the crash, when the German search parties had given up. I was still unconscious then and only came round completely after twelve days or so, and by then I was back in a German field hospital. So the memories I have of that time are images that penetrated my consciousness. The last thing I remember was that it was too late to jump, too late for the parachutes to open. That must have been a couple of seconds before hitting the ground. Luckily I was not strapped in – I always preferred free movement to safety belts… My friend was strapped in and he was atomized on impact – there was almost nothing to be found of him afterwards. But I must have shot through the windscreen as it flew back at the same speed as the plane hit the ground and that saved me, though I had bad skull and jaw injuries. Then the tail flipped over and I was completely buried in the snow. That’s how the Tartars found me days later. I remember voices saying ‘Voda’ (Water), then the felt of their tents, and the dense pungent smell of cheese, fat and milk. They covered my body in fat to help it regenerate warmth, and wrapped it in felt as an insulator to keep warmth in.

 

memories of stupid

I was reading Howard Kaylan’s book, (Flo and Eddy, Frank Zappa and the Turtles). When they were starting out they were approached by suits at a small label who wanted to record them. The suits suggested changing their name to the Turtles. Guys in the band said no way that’s stupid. The suits said the Beatles are big right now, they are also named after an animal and it ends in l-e-s . Nobody could argue with that logic, the Turtles were born.
 
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In the lounge of McLear recording studios where we recorded Blue Rodeo’s first record, someone from Warner Music came to discuss artwork. The album was going to be named after one of Greg’s songs Outskirts. “So there’s a girl and she’s wearing a skirt and the words “out” are on it. What d’ya think?” I don’t have many memories of Greg doing things I admire but that was one, he looked unsmilingly back and said no. Artwork guy without missing a beat acted like it was a joke all along, but it wasn’t. He just knew part of his job was to be submissive instantly, go whichever way the wind blows.
 
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Customs stops us at the Detroit border 1994. Selina on guitar, Liz on bass, Dave lee on drums on our way to tour America, even though we will lose money, both countries try to not let in foreign artists, because technically they are “working”. We pretend to be on our way to recording studio in Chicago. My booking agent Matt Suhar has sent a fax using references from the songs on my records. It is a fantastic work of fiction, “Doug Christie is excited to produce your album. The electric zither will be here Wednesday morning. Leonard Peltier has finished the horn arrangements”. The customs agent smells something fishy,
 
“Okay lemme ask you one thing, you got recording studios in Canada too, why not record there?”
 
“Because our equipment is inferior to what exists in America”
 
Tense facial expression disappears, “Right”, waves us through.

pianist arrives

Heard many times so and so was born with talent and figured that that was the way it worked. Whether it was amazing yo yo tricks or amazing guitar playing, people said they were born with talent, they said it about me too but I knew it wasn’t true. Always felt I could show anyone how to do what I do but as I tested that theory, I came up against some people who can’t get it no matter how hard I try to explain. Then it was easier to conclude that the first explanation was right, but it isn’t. Just a comment on whether people do the work, whether they have opportunity and whether the person explaining does so efficiently. Talent then is someone inclined to do the learning and anyone can do that. It is about incentives more than randomly allocated mystical forces.
Up until now whenever I showed my young daughter how to play piano she was interested momentarily but once she had to try distinguishing fingers and notes it was too much and she lost interest. That was fine, wasn’t trying to force it, was trying to find an incentive. Thought showing her how to play the melodies she loved would do it but it didn’t. Recently her best friend started to take piano lessons, they do a lot of things together and compare each others lunches, clothes, scooters…now daughter declares she wants piano lessons and she started improvising on her own, her attention is suddenly sustained. It’s pretty beautiful to watch and whether or not she stays with it it proves how these things work. Her talent, is that she has the opportunity to play this thing (there is a piano in her house) and she has an incentive to sustain working at it (she wants to keep things in common with her pal).