“…existentialism’s first move is to make every man aware of what he is and to make the full responsibility of his existence rest on him. And when we say that a man is responsible for himself, we do not only mean that he is responsible for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men.”—
Jean Paul Sartre
Sartre’s view of existentialism places an incredible amount of responsibility on every person. It rejects the helplessness and complacency people feel when confronting the ways things are. No power enslaves us so successfully as our own attitude and lack of effort. We are always in a position to resist evil, and we must, if humanity is to represent anything meaningful at all.
A: Me and my wife on Rte. 66 with a pot of coffee, a cheap guitar, pawnshop tape recorder in a Motel 6, and a car that runs good parked right by the door.
Q: What’s wrong with the world?
A: We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. Leona Helmsley’s dog made 12 million last year… and Dean McLaine, a farmer in Ohio made $30,000. It’s just a gigantic version of the madness that grows in every one of our brains. We are monkeys with money and guns.
Q: Can you tell me an odd thing that happened in an odd place? Any thoughts?
A: A Japanese freighter had been torpedoed during WWII and it’s at the bottom of Tokyo Harbor with a large hole in her hull. A team of engineers was called together to solve the problem of raising the wounded vessel to the surface. One of the engineers tackling this puzzle said he remembered seeing a Donald Duck cartoon when he was a boy where there was a boat at the bottom of the ocean with a hole in its hull, and they injected it with ping-pong balls and it floated up. The skeptical group laughed but one of the experts was willing to give it a try. Of course, where in the world would you find twenty million ping-pong balls but in Tokyo? It turned out to be the perfect solution. The balls were injected into the hull and it floated to the surface, the engineer was elated. Moral solutions to problems are always found at an entirely different level; also, believe in yourself in the face of impossible odds.
Q: Do you have words to live by?
A: Jim Jarmusch once told me “Fast, Cheap, and Good… pick two. If it’s fast and cheap it wont be good. If it’s cheap and good it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good it wont be cheap.” Fast, cheap and good… pick (2) words to live by.
Q: Tom, you love words and their origins. For $2,000…what is the origin of the word bedlam?
A: It’s a contraction of the word Bethlehem. It comes from the hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem outside London. The hospital began admitting mental patients in the late fourteenth century. In the sixteenth century it became a lunatic asylum. The word bedlam came to be used for any madhouse- and by extension, for any scene of noisy confusion.
Cat! who hast pass’d thy grand cliacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroy’d? - How many tit bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
Those velvet ears - but pr’ythee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me - and upraise
Thy gentle mew - and tell me all thy frays
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick.
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists -
For all the wheezy asthma, - and for all
Thy tail’s tip is nick’d off - and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a mail,
Still is that fur as soft as when the lists
In youth thou enter’dst on glass bottled wall.
Taken from: A Fireside Chat with Bill Frisell - Published on AllAboutJazz.com: February 21, 2004 By Fred Jung
All About Jazz:Like many key figures in this music, you tend to polarize critics. Some praise you as the next principal voice on the guitar and others can't find enough about it that's wrong. Does that dichotomy weigh on you?
Bill Frisell:I mean, I try not to, but I can't help but pay attention to the stuff actually, but I know that I'm really the only one that really knows how close I'm coming to getting at what I'm trying to get at. It can go both ways. You can have a really good, positive review, but they completely miss the point. I try not to pay too much attention to that stuff because I'm really the only one that knows if I'm getting there or not. It's nice to have people say nice things about you and it doesn't feel that great if they don't like it (laughing).