Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Joni Mitchell: for the poses

I love Joni Mitchell ~ for her music, her integrity, her candour.

This entire transcribed chat - Joni interviewed by Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone in 1979 - is a wonderful read. (Just watch for the occasional typo.) It's a candid reflection of the artist and person and a meditation on art and life.

Insightful, funny, sad, wise, there's lots to appreciate. Right now, after listening to the radio and catching some Canadian act doing a Dylan pastiche, well, this passage fits:

"There's only a certain amount of fine work in any idiom. The rest of it is just copyists. Regurgitation. Obvious rip-offs. Mingus has a song, 'If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There's Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats.' Sometimes I find myself sharing this point of view. He figured you don't settle for anything else but uniqueness. The name of the game to him - and to me - is to become a full individual. I remember a time when I was very flattered if somebody told me that I was a good as Peter, Paul and Mary. Or that I sounded like Judy Collins. Then one day I discovered I didn't want to be a second-rate anything. I have to remember to be compassionate. Otherwise it really pisses me off to hear somebody getting a whole lot of public roar and, 'Oh this is the newest and greatest,' when it's really just the greatest and newest copy. There are bands coming now that are really good. They're interesting; they've got some vitality and some fire, but - say they're Englishmen who sound like Bob Dylan. I listen to it and it's pleasant on the radio, but as an artist I say to myself, 'If you're that good, how come you can't be yourself?' "

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