Thursday, March 29, 2012

& Other Delights

I've never seen 30 Rock, but I really like Alec Baldwin, if only because he drops "'twas ever thus" like it isn't a totally nerdy thing to say. He does this podcast called Here's the Thing, and it's just him talking with people. He's a pretty fantastic host, sharing just enough about himself to make the interviewee forget he's being interviewed and instead respond openly. Usually he's talking with actors, but my favorite episode so far features trumpet player Herb Alpert.

My hubz made me listen to the Tijuana Brass one time, and for a year in college, Whipped Cream and Other Delights, Rufus Wainwright's Poses, and Cloud Cult's Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus were the only albums I listened to while drawing or painting. (Some of that old stuff is on my DeviantArt. Hadn't looked at that in a long time, wow.) I was pleased to learn that Alpert's also a painter and sculptor -- but I also had no idea that he was a big deal producer: The Carpenters, Cat Stevens, The Police.

Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Alpert's conversation feels like a synchronicity of a sort, fitting perfectly into this discussion I've been having lately about creativity and writing and music (tagged Developing a Creative Process). Here are some lines that really resonated with me:
Alec Baldwin: Do you feel that all this technology and all of the power that comes with that has made people lazy, like people can’t get in a room and they just can’t play a song all the way through anymore?
Herb Alpert: No. I don’t think it makes them lazy. I think it gives them too many options. Now, with the digital setup, you have umpteen tracks and you can just keep going and keep going, and then you can tune them up and you can shift it around, take something that was happening at the end of the song and move it up to the front. Too many options. I think it takes some of the heart away.
Herb Alpert: I’ve been painting for 42 years. I started painting in 1970. I’m not a Sunday painter. I’m not a Sunday artist. I do it every day. Traveling in the ‘60s with the Tijuana Brass around the world, I used to go to museums, and I’d go to the modern art section for whatever reason. That just appealed to me. I see these paintings, like a black painting with a purple dot or something, hanging on the wall, and I think, “Let me try something like that.” I wasn’t doing it to think something would come of it.
I’ll tell you what’s great, and I know, Alec, you know about this. There’s something about being an artist – being a musician, being a painter, being a sculptor – when you’re doing it, you’re in the exact moment of your life, and that’s rare. When you’re not in that mode, you’re thinking about yesterday or tomorrow or some other chazerai that really doesn’t make any sense. But when you’re doing it, man, it just feels so right on the moment.
Alec Baldwin: You had no training?
Herb Alpert: No training. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I think there’s an advantage to that. I think when you’re an amateur and you’re just fooling around, you have infinite possibilities. If you go to a professional, they’ll tell you what not to do, what to do, and how to do it, and blah-blah-blah, and I didn’t know about that. I just did whatever. I’m always going for a feel. I do that in music, in sculpting, in painting. It’s like I’m not looking for something that’s going to excite my eyes. I want something that excites my soul, something that really resonates.

I drew this. 

No comments:

Post a Comment