P- I know but she wanted you, she’s a really massive fan of yours. He used to sit for days down in his basement dungeon thing doing what you’re describing. People want to know, how the fuck you can with two kids, and a wife, and being a producer, and running this thing and having three bands? “Oh, I forgot that hand clap…” You know, all that shit. You remind me of Frank Zappa, he was my mentor, because you do so much and you do it in the old fashioned way. I played through that and sang at those coffee shops, all those songs. Like people tell me, ‘oh I’m so nervous,’ and I tried to empathize, like, ‘oh, there, there.’ But I don’t really know what you mean. I’ve always been able to walk out onstage and it’s just like, yeah there’s a lot of people standing in front of me, so what? JW- These are always the questions where I feel like I should lie. [laughs] JW- I should lie and say, yeah I get nervous, or yeah, it excites me. That’s where it took place in the book so that was crazy. But it was a lot of Christian group battleground growing up. Like I see all of us as a piece of God and we all, everything makes up God. My main focus on God is that he’s creating from nothing and we’re creating from the pre-existing materials, especially as artists. I sort of stumbled into the building and I thought, wow, this is pretty much just big enough to do all these things if we space it out. Those are the sort of books I like to read, factual, things that really happened. I played the entire first Bob Dylan record from start to finish, all the time. JW- You know those silver toned amp and case models where your amp is in the guitar case? There’s a difference between nervousness and excitement. The school I went to was this huge complex and the writer of the book lived in my neighborhood in Southwest Detroit. I’m a very spiritual person, I was born again and all that as a child. JW- My dad was born again and my mom was a hard-nose Catholic, but by the time I had grown up things had changed for my family religiously, but not the family make-up at all. As the whole world, do you see all of us as a piece of God? JW- Yeah, I’m trying to make a one-stop place where everything can happen. P- Yeah, he does, but Victor hasn’t even talked to him in a while. He had an art show, his last art show, and he was in a wheelchair then. P- Oh God, and he didn’t know what he was doing, you know. There’s no desire in me to take from other people or to hurt them, but there is a desire in me to correct someone trying to knock me down. It’s probably there for all of us, we just don’t realize it, but the fact that you realize it’s always there? Because I write books and I have to sit my butt in a chair, but I do everything in this world to avoid that. P- There’s a chapter on my musical inspirations from Elvis to Dylan to Leonard Cohen to the band, Sparks… Same thing happened with Zappa, was the opening drum fill to ‘Peaches en Regalia’. JW- Ohhh my God, I still play that over and over again. With both those guys, the drummer got me into them. Why did that ‘Moonlight on Vermont’ drum fill lead me more into Beefheart? JW- But it’s the structure of it, the conducting of it. I do understand the need for sexuality, the desire for sexuality, but there’s no desire for me to rob a bank. P- And you’re the final person in there because you are so special… P- God, but you’re doing just exactly what you should be doing. You’re just totally aligned with what you’re here to do. Victor said he knew you were by listening to your music. So is Alison, the singer in my new band, in the Dead Weather, that’s our combined interest.
And people were like, yeah, okay, whatever, that’s 30 years ago. Like everybody, it’s such a great gateway to all that other music. He’s probably right where he could never even have imagined he’d be. Excitement’s sort of like when something’s completed. he holds the things that are precious to him and he doesn’t let anybody come and take them away. P- And you were so darn cute they wanted you, right? There were a 100 altar boys, I don’t know why they wanted me. He was creating and I was an innocent bystander holding a candle nearby. So I didn’t really know what to think of any of it. JW- Yeah, because I think it was a remnant of a past thing. We can only take the wood that he put here and make something out of it. That’s what divides him from everything, not only from people, because we are all a part of him, like you said. And then it’s great for me, because when I was younger I wanted to be sort of a filmmaker or an architect.
JW- I was in a band called the Go in Detroit, and the other guitar player came over and had the BBC documentary John Peel made about Beefheart. P- ‘Safe as Milk’ is one of the greatest underrated albums of all time. JW- The hard part for me, and I almost sort of need to go to therapy about it or something, is that I don’t really know how to enjoy it while it’s happening. [laughs] P- Perhaps you’re just so present to it, that you’re just living it at that moment. As a matter of fact, in between takes they yelled cut, and I actually went over and picked that cross up and held it, and came back and the director said, ‘no, no, you can’t do that, we already have this other guy doing it.’ And I said, ‘oh, I thought maybe we could take turns or something and whoever did the best take would be in the film.’ Showbiz, already showbiz. I’m just glad I got God out of all of that because I would hate to have waited until I was in my 30s to have discovered God, in whatever aspect. P- That’s exactly how I am, because I’ve experienced and experimented with every kind of spiritual way, ans I always come back to Jesus too, because of the same thing. P- Yeah, it’s so vast it’s impossible to comprehend JW- So that’s what compels me to him all the time. P- Do you think that you need to be a good person because of aligning with the God spirit? That’s a blessing too, just to have the opportunity to do some of that stuff. Before Son House, before Robert Johnson, he’s their dad.
Or living even beyond your dreams since you’re working with Dylan and the Stones and stuff like that? And sometimes when I let myself enjoy it, it almost makes it go away, it almost makes people turned off. When I get a smile on my face, it almost seems like everyone’s like, ‘okay, we’re going to stop because you’re enjoying it, this has got to end.’ P- I’m sure you’re imagining that. P- I’ve got to tell you, your bit with the Stones in ‘Shine A Light’, you look so joyous that it makes everybody happy! P- Do you get completely nervous before events like that one, or are you centered when those kinds of things happen? When if you keep progressing and moving forward, all right, that was great, that song happened, but I’m already on to this other song. Like I’m laying down in bed at night thinking, wow, at this afternoon that thing that happened was great. But at when I was there, I’m not like high-fiving anybody. He was to fall asleep and drop the cross on the priest and I wanted to be that kid really bad. But I’ve taken a lot of things from it, most importantly God. So I don’t believe this one’s better than the rest, but I default to Jesus because that’s the one I know. I mean the greatest thing we could ever create be it the Empire State Building or a Pyramid or something, it’s laughable to a planet or a solar system. I’ve been using that design desire to do album covers, but to actually incorporate — because you could never actually afford the materials and things like that or have a place to do it or any of that. (pointing to a giant photograph on his office wall) JW- That’s Charley Patton, the blues singer.
So I dabble in biographies, I read concise histories of people… I totally want to see that.” But at the same time, “Oh it breaks my heart, it’s gonna break my heart. It was on the kitchen table and I’m flipping through Vanity Fair and I’m like, “Is that a new picture of Robert Johnson?
I don’t want to know what everything does on a mixing board because it’s a whole path that you could fall into and you just become this mechanic. I mean I love it and I’ll get too close and I can’t [it’s like] “All right I don’t want to know the next paragraph…” P- You go into it? ” You would say, “Yes, of course, that’s so beautiful. P- And not as much known so you can fill in the blanks. P- How about Robert Johnson, isn’t there only one photo of him too? It was in Vanity Fair a couple months ago, it was crazy.
When you work all day long, an 8-hour, 9-hour day, that’s when you start thinking about all of the things you could be doing or writing or recording or painting or sculpting or whatever, when you have to do all this other stuff. like in upholstery, I could create, make something tangible, it’s physical labor, and all that fantasizing about what you could be doing besides this.