It was my great pleasure to spend a big chunk of my birthday evening in deep conversation with one of my musical heroes, the brilliant musical and lyrical multi-hyphenate talent, Van Dyke Parks.
“Well, to me, the tensile strength and the very definition of an artist is something that I would place at the top of a vertical hierarchy. To be an artist is to suffer and to lead a life without shelter. It takes a great amount of daring-do, self reinvention, imagination, familial loyalty, sacrifice, economic uncertainty, and the right to be wrong, the right to fail in order to achieve something of noticeable value. ”
– Van Dyke Parks
If you’d like to know more about the amazing Mr. Parks, here are three good introductory links:
You can also read a great new autobiographical piece he has written for the Los Angeles Times Review of Books at http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?type=&id=933&fulltext=1&media=
If you have any interest in the late 1950s/early 1950s music scene in Los Angeles, I think you’ll love it.
Here’s a favorite quote from the piece, as it applies directly to me and my work:
“Eclecticism wasn’t viewed as an illness in those days. It was applauded, and audiences were taken places in the ‘real’ sixties.”