Buckley : "...talking in tongues..."
Tim Buckley were alive today, I'd probably get in touch with
him to apologize. "You probably don't remember me," I'd say, "but
I interviewed you in a Hollywood rehearsal studio in September 1972 when you were
just getting ready to go on the road supporting Frank Zappa. The fact is I never
did write a story based on that encounter, and so your then-new album, Greetings
From LA, didn't get the plug you may have wanted."
was my first trip to America, I'd been put on to you after asking Warner Brothers
whether they had anyone I could interview for England, and I'd been given no press
kit. I'm sure you noticed that I never asked a question about any of your songs.
honest, I didn't know much about you at the time. I'd seen that photo of you which
went out on the Goodbye & Hello album cover, and I'd heard some album
tracks which John Peel would play on his Sunday afternoon radio show here in England
-- Once I Was, No Man Can Find The War and, of course, Morning Glory.
back the tape I can sense your frustration with this young Englishman who seemed
determined to classify you as a rock star and who looked a bit blank when you
mentioned the likes of Eric Dolphy and Krzysztof Penderecki. Yet you said your
piece. What shines through clearly 23 years later is your tenacious commitment
to your art and determination to cross musical boundaries.
I'm sorry for not understanding back in 1972. I hope we'd get on a lot better
did you begin playing music?
had the mumps and my mother bought me a banjo and I started playing. I must have
been about 11. I just started learning music and stuff -- learning to read and
learning how to play certain songs. Then I took up guitar and began playing with
country and western bands when I was 15 years old.
you work the folk club circuit in the early days?
those days -- 1962 and 1963 -- they were just starting to have folk clubs and
they were a big thing. Then I discovered I could sing and I started learning how
to do that, because I hadn't done it before.
you've been a professional musician ever since you left college?
school. I didn't go to college. I did my first album in 1966 and then I was discovered
you selling more albums with each release?
They've each sold about the same number. The last one [Greetings From LA]
has sold more because it's very commercial. It's getting a lot of AM and FM radio
play and it's selling a lot more than some of the more creative albums I've done.
I don't really know about record sales. I guess 80,000 - 100,000. Around there
all the time. But there were a couple of things that were to my mind creative
which didn't sell that well.
you happy to remain the secret of a few?
haven't deliberately avoided fame. It's just that I'm too odd for the white middle-class..."
don't care if you said to me, "You're never going to record in this town
again". I'd still record and I'd still create. I don't need the rock world
to be a person or a singer or a musician or to play for people. All I have to
do is walk up on a stage and play.
if people stopped turning out to see you?
call up Miles Davis and say, "Hey Miles, Hollywood's against me. Can I come
and sit in with you?" He'd say "Sure," and I'd go on and sing with
his people and with him. I don't really think about record sales. It's nice that
the businessmen are happy because that does allow me a certain amount of freedom
but I really don't think about it.
only thing worth doing in moderation is fame because it's such a bullshit trap.
If you're famous you have to play a lot of places all year. You live in a lot
of hotels. You have no family. You have a lot of empty relationships with women
which you can't fulfill because you're only one day in each place. Fame is really
a trap unless it's done in moderation. With drinking or sex you can forget about
moderation, but anyone who is creative is chained to fame. It's terrible.
haven't deliberately avoided fame. It's just that I'm too odd for the white middle-class.
But I'm happy. I get to create. There's nobody like me so they've got to keep
me around. It's like the predicament of Roland Kirk. Nobody's going to cut Roland
but 300,000 people aren't going to go to his concerts like they might go to a
Stones concert. Roland's expressing too much for people to accept.