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Excerpts from a recent RICKIE LEE JONES Interview

Q: You grew up in the desert, and it seems to give you much more of a sense of wonder about life... Do you think coming from a rural area or place with few people makes a person much more aware of one's surroundings, as opposed to coming from the city and being surrounded by people every single minute?

RLJ: People who grow up in the city write as visually as farm kids. It
has to do with what is in your eyes, which way your eyes are turning,
inward or out. We all use what we have available, we are all lonely,
and all find our way out of our labyrinth of loneliness from time to
time. One person likes to hear about the sun on the water, and another
likes to hear about headlights on a motel sign. They all mean the same
thing. They are the way we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Q:Have you ever found - in any form - 'The Western Slopes'?

RLJ: Well now the western slopes was a phrase my friend from Denver
used to use to refer to whacked out people. "She's off on the western
slope,' he might say. So did I ever find the western slopes? I came
back with maps. I left a trail of bread. I made a poster for the tourist board.

Now, I am not sure if I became more happy or centered, but the thematic presentation of the work changed, and the very mass of its sun seemed to diminish.

Whatever it is, it's not life and death. It is, though, still the
difference between hope and disappearing. But living for twenty years
since, I know that life goes on, and that there are just so many of
those things you can do before you fall into the sea, like Klaus Kinski,
and when you rise again, you are gone.

I don't want to be gone, so I suppose that is an indication of a kind
of hope, which might lead to a kind of happiness, so I guess you can
say that I might be a bit happier, (in answer to your question) simply
because what I do is an indication of hope. To make a song is an act of
hope. If you did not believe there would be a tomorrow, or at least a
later on, you could not lift your hand to write. In contemplation, you
know, I am the fiction I create.


Q: Do you think it will ever be possible to have a female Jack Kerouac?

RLJ: Well, I don't think it is necessary for there to be a female Jack.
Jack existed in his time and place, and it was natural that a man blow
that horn. A girl would not have caught anyone's attention. [...]

On the other hand, the children of these men, girls and boys, are going
to grow like wild fire, full of poetry and fury, and really, it won't
matter any longer, the beautiful sorrowful male persona, it won't be
the necessary vessel for our lust and respect [...]

Jack, remember, was marketed. I think it has to do with accepting the
intelligence and power of women as the literary sexual being. We tend
to be less attracted to that idea in women. But that kind of man will
be attracted to that kind of woman, but it just requires telling the
true stories of amazing women, the stories in the physical, not only
emotional. An event either radiates out and effects life or it doesn't.

We live in a time where people allow marketing devises to take the
place of real events, of real spirits. We allow vacant pop stars to
harm the credibility of concepts, to reap the rewards of deeper, more
meaningful artists, simply because some publicist evoked images that we
identify with greatness. I saw this really flourish with Madonna, and
spread like Ebola through the jungle land. I am still stunned, I don't
understand why the pretender is just as meaningful to the consumer now-
and the citizen - as the real thing. Is it because the real thing is so
hard to come by, we want to feel like we're part of a real thing, too?
Finally Madonna's real meaning is the virtue of being the one who
forged the way for all pretenders. I am confused in these times. I am
glad I stand outside looking in. George Bush, Madonna, the whole show
of second best. I was never that interested in [Kerouac's] writing, anyway.
Perhaps because I was part of it.


Q: Are we beginning a Third World War now - or are people way too
brainwashed and paranoid?

RLJ: They just went, wow, keep spending money people. They are busy
setting up oil deals, hiding truths, selling agendas. They USE. That is
their nature, to use opportunities, even like the obliteration of
thousands of their own people, to political advantage. You'll remember,
George Bush Sr. referred to Syria as a 'burgeoning democracy.' George
Bush Jr. forgot to include the Islamic Jihad on his list of terrorist
organisations (hmm, must have slipped his mind.) The politicians, just
a month after the tragedy, are already shaping it to a political tool,
an oil opportunity, abandoning old friends, ruthless, shameless, conspiring.

What is amazing is that I imagine the designers going "Quick, open the
factory"... flag purses, flag doggy bowls, flag jeans and shirts. You
would not believe the ruthless commercialisation of this tragedy. Not
so long ago, the bombing of Pearl Harbour, our parents would have
rioted against stores that used the name of this horror to sell products. Its subtle, capitalism, how it corrupts, how as years go by, it just seems OK to sell anything. How could anyone dream of profiting in any way off of this?

These Americans, some of them just don't see what's wrong with that.

Don't believe that 90% approval rating. Approval of America, perhaps, but not of the idiot king.

In a way we are all like children here. We abide. This unimaginable
horror we normalise, and we go on. It's a funny gift of God. While I
watch this surging patriotism, or pac simili of, I wonder how they will
market the waning patriotism when it comes. Will they say, OK, we won,
and now lets move on to new products. They are showing united airlines
people smiling at the camera, telling how much they love to fly, I
guess, so that out of guilt, you'll go fly with them. Frankly, United
Airlines is the rudest, most horrible airline I have ever been on.
There is a case here of them throwing off a British transsexual, even
though they knew it was him, because - well really because they could -
he looked different on his passport, and his appearance might "unnerve"
other passengers. I objected to the attitude of the ticket agent and
she threatened to call security. I said call them, I have a right to
object to your attitude. Given how much trouble they were, I imagine
they have carte blanche to treat people now pretty badly.

The terrible thing is that the terrorist attack had nothing to do with
the police not having enough rights to interrogate people. But the
republicans have used this opportunity to bring about laws that will
undo the rights we have fought hard to have here in this country.
People will be able to be arrested on suspicion, held for days,
something like in France, I know, and other European countries. Well,
that will be just about anybody, and of course it will translate into
them harassing Americans they don't like. It's much more frightening
what is happening here behind the scenes, really. More frightening than
the towers falling? Well, no. But potentially much more grave. And I
have to mention, just for the record, that some of us believe Cheney,
the fragile vice president, is dead. Where is he? Now the fact that
they have hidden this really does seal the idea that they stole the
election, prevented votes from being counted, played horrible games and
moves in order to put their cronies in. To keep a thing like this from
the American people... my god, it's all 1984. And these white men
sitting around Starbucks driving around Santa Monica with dual flags on
their fifty thousand dollar off-road vehicles, they don't see the irony
in their fat cat attitudes. They think they are fighting for the right
to be rich, I'll bet. Anyway...well I was going to end on a different
topic! I hope the Yankees don't win the world series!

Interview by Terry McGaughey, Ugly Earth magazine
{edits @ the Pill Box

THREE x THREE x THREE more cheers for RICKIE, I say ...

posted by Ian 7/16/2003 09:26:00 AM

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