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My favorite Beck quote

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by Rob Mancini, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    This is a post I could only make at 5 am when my insomnia has been acting up and I'm exhausted but I can't sleep and I'm impatient for the Stern show to start:

    What is Beck like offstage? He kind of comes across as a little reserved when I see him being interviewed on TV, but he's got a really wild sense of humor in his songs that I can appreciate. I wasn't a huge fan of his when he started because I'm not really into rap or hip hop, and I mistakenly thought of him as a rapper because of "Loser" and "Where It's At." But when I read an interview and he discussed his love for plywood acoustics (I own a 70's Epiphone pawn shop special that records as well as any acoustic I've ever played so I can relate), I became a fan.

    In that same interview, he had the funniest line I've ever heard a musician say since Lennon was around. The writer asked him how he writes songs, and he said, "I set my hand on fire and start writing, and when my hand burns down, I'm finished." That sounds like a flip answer on the surface, but when you think about it, it's really deep. It's like he's saying not to waste time hemming and hawing over a 3 minute song, just let your stream of consciousness flow and get it out as fast as you can. He just said it in a much funnier way than anyone else. It's something I try to emulate now when writing all the songs that nobody will hear but me and my friends ;)

    Anyway, sorry for contributing a post that some might consider off-topic, but I like you and Beck a lot and just thought I'd relate why while I wait for the Tylenol PM to kick in.
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    That quote is really funny, I like that. It's true: within even a seemingly "flip" answer (or a lyric, for that matter), there tends to be a deeper meaning with him. It's interesting. He's great offstage, just a regular dude, likes to have a laugh just like any of us. He doesn't necessarily love interviews, so it can come off reserved. He writes fairly quickly, yes. Sometimes these lyrics jump off the page at a startling pace, and even more so with the actual music.

  3. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Trying to explain my musical impetus in an interview would be a downside to that high profile life, to me at least. I read these interviews where the writer assumes that the artist in question is some kind of enlightened, quasi-mythical object who is blessed by the Gods with their ability, and they expect this mind-blowing advice to issue out of their mouths. Chances are that most of these artists started out like most of us in that they just wanted to make noise with friends, and that their motivation for writing/creating is the same as the guy who rocks out in his bedroom with headphones: a simple love for music. Not as interesting to read as say, channelling the dead spirit of Richard Wagner while in an East Asian opium den and then 'recieveing' your music through a deep dreamstate, but all the more important to take in account. I get a sense from Beck, in the interviews he's done, that he realizes the difference and simply gets a kick out of messing with the writer/interviewers head. IMO of course.
  4. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Good advice! :)
  5. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    My fav Beck quote - "No, I don't practice at all - it takes away time from building me hotrods."

    Oh wait, wrong Beck!

    Welcome to TB, Justin! Am enjoying your posts about "Creative Freedom" immensely!

    I like your Beck, too! ;)
  6. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    That is very spot on and sublimely funny.

  7. That's me!
  8. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK

    I knew there was one out there!!!
  9. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK

    Welcome aboard by the way. I've always been a huge fan of your playing, a nice balance between 'meat and potatoes' and sonic madness. Especially love the tones you got on Beck's Sea Change.

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