Van Dyke Parks

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

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.”

Happy Reading!

2 Responses to “Van Dyke Parks”

  1. Thanks for posting that link to the LA Times Review of Books. That was an amazing read, and I expect no less from the Maestro.

  2. Matt Mulford says:

    Incredible, sounds like quite an inspirational birthday. How did that meeting come about? Love both of his quotes. Birthday with Brian Wilson next year?

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