Dan Stuart: Koncerti su za mene religiozna misija… hodočašće

POP Depresija • Tokom poslednjih deset godina imali smo privilegiju da ovde, u Beogradu, vidimo nastupe Čaka Profeta, Krisa Kakavasa, Stiva Vina… Možeš li da podeliš s nama neka lepa sećanja koja te vezuju za rad sa njima i u kakvim ste odnosima danas? 
Dan Stuart • Pa dobro, Čak i Kris su moja braća iz Green On Red, otišli smo u rat zajedno i niko zapravo ne može da razume kako je ‘tamo’ dok to ne iskusi. Stiv je stari prijatelj kom mogu da poverim ono što nikome drugom ne bih mogao. Kada sam ‘poludeo’ on je bio jedan od prvih koji je saznao.

Tvoj novi album, ‘The Deliverance Of Marlowe Billings’, na neki način predstavlja sva lica Dena Stjuarta: ljutito, filozofsko, ljubavno, političko…a može da posluži i kao ‘uvod u Dena Stjuarta’. Čime si se rukovodio kad si počeo da pišeš pesme za ovaj album? 

Ja sam samo pokušavao da preživim… Bio sam usred ozbiljnog mentalnog sloma, ‘pukao sam s mozgom’ i ovaj album predstavlja neku vrstu rekonstrukcije moje psihe. Izvinite ako zvučim pretenciozno, ali tako je bilo…

Pesme “What Can I Say”, “Searching Through The Pieces” i “Can’t Be Found” ostavile su snažan utisak na mene zbog načina na koji opisuju intimnu borbu čoveka sa njegovim demonima. Kako su nastale ove pesme i ima li neka naročita priča u vezi s njima? 
Pa, ukratko – rečeno mi je da napustim kuću, moj dom, sina, ženu, sve što mi je srcu milo. Sve se to dogodilo na jedan dosta odvratan način dok sam bio užasno mentalno bolestan. Svestan sam koliko sada zvučim patetično, kao da sam prvi koji je prolazio kroz tako nešto. Ali ja sam, kao i mnogi takozvani umetnici, pre svega narcis. Ha!

Pojavilo se nekoliko pozitivnih recenzija tvog albuma i nastupa uživo tokom poseldnjih mesec dana. Šta misliš o njima i koliko su ti važne?
Zar nije Hemingvej rekao ‘ako veruješ dobrim recenzijama onda moraš i lošim’? Postoji izvesna pometnja u medijima u vezi s tim šta se dešavalo sa mnom prethodnih nekoliko godina, i to je dolazilo uglavnom od ljudi koji nemaju pojma ni u kojoj državi se nalazi grad u kom živim (Uahaka, Meksiko). Nikad mi nije bio problem da pokažem dupe u javnosti, to je tako američka i na neki način tako patetična osobina. Na kraju, mislim da ploča govori sama za sebe…

Reci nam nešto o saradnji sa grupom Sacri Cuori i vašoj očigledno odličnoj hemiji uživo na bini… 

Oni su idealan ‘omotač’ za mene, tačnije za Marloua Bilingsa, koji je moj pseudonim i alter ego. Oni umeju da stave moje ranije radove u aktuelan muzički kontekst tako da mogu da napredujem na nov način, a da ne zvučim arhaično ili konzervativno. Uspeli smo u tome i na albumu i na koncertima. Glavni čovek u bendu, Antonio Gramentijeri, kompozitor i gitarista, je baš opasna faca, ali nikad ne prelazi u onaj pametnjakovićki elitizam… To je i dalje rokenrol. Upravo im je izašao novi album ‘Rosario’.

Kakvi su utisci sa dosadašnjeg toka turneje?
Još se držim… Dosta je teško, ljudi žele i imaju potrebu da čuju muziku uživo, ali sa ekonomske strane sve je jedva isplativo, za obe strane – i za muzičare i za publiku. Sada je to gotovo religiozna misija…hodočašće.

Kada bi morao da izabereš jednu pesmu koja bi predstavljala suštinu tvoje umetnosti, koja bi to bila i zašto?
Uh, ne znam. Čak Profet i ja smo bili vrlo zadovoljni kada su Vivian Girls obradile ‘Sixteen Ways’. Način na koji su mlade pankerke videle našu pesmu je mnogo uzbudljiviji nego kada se tvoji vršnjaci dohvate istog zadatka.

Ovo će biti tvoj prvi koncert u Srbiji. Kako se osećaš kad prvi put dolaziš u neku sredinu? Znaš li nešto o nama? Imaš li neka očekivanja?
Puno sam čitao o Srbiji, već godinama… Prva asocijacija mi je knjiga Roberta Kaplana ‘Duhovi Balkana’. Veoma sam znatiželjan i nadam se da ću saznati dosta toga. Naročito me zanima kako se ova tekuća svetska ekonomska kriza odražava na život u Srbiji i na koji način možda potpaljuje neke političke sukobe. Sada me najmanje u životu zanimaju Sjedinjene države…

Koliko si ‘duboko’ u virtuelnom svetu interneta? Kako se snalaziš sa novim tehnologijama u svrhu promocije svoje muzike? 
Ja sam protivnik svih tih inovacija, totalni sam Ludista… a njih su vešali, samo da se zna. Nove generacije veruju da je sadržaj besplatan, sve to drže u svojim ajpodima a usput ne znaju da razlikuju Madija Votersa i Henka Vilijamsa. Više ne postoji kontekst, a to najbolje odslikava pravni slučaj slike ‘Molotov’ Džoj Granet.

Ko bolje peva u mraku Tauns Van Zant ili Gaj Klark? 
Uh, ne znam…nisu oni krivi za tolike imitatore na sceni, one koje je Dag Sam (Doug Sahm) zvao ‘ne umeju-da-pevaju-da-ne umeju’ muzičari. Dođavola, možda sam ja jedan od njih…

Šta najviše voliš u mestu gde sada živiš – Uahaka, Meksiko?
Ljude – koji su dobri, dostojanstveni, strpljivi, ponosni. Volim i to što se tamo svakog dana dogodi nešto čudesno bez ikakvog plana…jednostavno se desi kad najmanje očekujete.

Kakve su šanse da ‘Deni i Dasti’ ponovo rade nešto zajedno? Kakva te sećanja vezuju za prvi i drugi album?
Voleo bih da Stiv i ja snimimo album kao ‘Deni i Dasti’ na Filipinima. Oduvek sam mislio da smo nas dvojica kao (Bob) Houp i (Bing) Krozbi. Prvi album nije bio tako sjajan kako se pričalo, a drugi je bio mnogo bolji od konvencionalnog i očekivanog. A da li će biti sledećeg, niko se ne usuđuje da predvidi…

Većina tvojih tekstova (‘Killer In Me’ je dobar primer), kao i atmosfera u pesmama zvuče kao odlomci iz nekog velikog, još neobjavljenog noar romana. Da li si razmišljao da se upustiš u tu vrstu pisanja i da li si uopšte ljubitelj noar krimića?

Nekada sam bio baš veliki fan noara ali mislim da je njegovo zlatno doba odavno prošlo. Sada je na njegovom mestu ‘sajber triler’, čini mi se. Moji lažni memoari, takođe nazvani ‘The Deliverance Of Marlowe Billings’ biće objavljeni početkom sledeće godine. Sada pišem konvencionalniji roman u trećem licu o Marlouovim pustolovinama u Meksiku. U stvari, ja sam lenj za pisca i do sad je trebalo da imam tri ili četiri objavljena romana. Ali kao što je jednom rekao Kurt Vonegat – veći deo života samo prdimo unaokolo.

Šta nam preporučuješ za slušanje, čitanje, gledanje?
Upravo sam pročitao dve odlične knjige o Los Anđelesu, koje sam pronašao u biblioteci u Uahaki, a to je davno trebalo da učinim…Jedna je ‘Grad od kvarca’ Majka Dejvisa, a druga je ‘Istorija zaboravljanja’ Normana Klajna. Oba pisca vole LA, ali su i njegovi žestoki kritičari. Antonio nam je u kombiju puštao novi Lambchop koji je zvučao prijatno, a Italijani su me potpuno zarazili muzikom Paola Kontija kog obožavam.

Šta misliš o novom Dilanovom albumu? 
Čuo sam samo nekoliko pesama… Ja nisam od onih zagriženih Dilanovih fanova… Volim da mislim da on uživa uz grupu Raspberries kao i svi drugi, šta više siguran sam u to. Zanimljivo je to da smo obojica otprilike u isto vreme čitali ‘Ispovesti jakuze’, ali ne pripisujem neki značaj toj činjenici. Ha!

POP Depression • In the past decade, we were privileged here in Belgrade to see live performances by Chuck Prophet, Chris Cacavas, Steve Wynn… Would you share with us some of the best memories while working with them and what is your relationship with them these days? 
Dan Stuart • Well obviously Chris and Chuck are my brothers from Green on Red, we went to war together and no one can really understand what that’s like unless you’ve been there. Steve is an old friend who I can share aspects of my life with that I wouldn’t tell anybody else. When my brain broke he was one of the first to know…

“The Deliverance of Marllowe Billings” is in some way “all faces of Dan Stuart”: anger, philosophy, love, politics… it can also be “an introduction to Dan Stuart”. What was your general idea when you started writing songs for the album?

I was just trying to survive… I was in the midst of a severe mental breakdown. Like I said my brain broke and this album is some sort of reconstruction of my psyche. Sorry to sound so pretentious but there it is…

I am overwhelmed with the songs “What Can I Say”, “Searching Through The Pieces” and “Can’t Be Found”, which in a way paint the intimate battle of a human with his demons. How were these songs born, is there any special story related to them?
Well I was told to leave my house and home, my son, my wife, all that I hold dear. And all this happened in a very nasty way and while I was very ill mentally. I’m aware of how pathetic I sound right now, like I’m the first to have gone through something like this. But like most so-called artists I’m a narcissist above all else. Ha!

A number of positive reviews of your album and shows have appeared in the past month. How do you feel when you read them? Is it important to you at all? 
Didn’t Hemingway say if you believe the good reviews you have to believe the bad ones too? There’s been a bit of a dust up about what has happened to me these last few years, mostly coming from people who couldn’t point to Oaxaca on a map. I’ve never been shy about showing my ass in public, a very american trait and somewhat pathetic. I do think the record speaks for itself…

Could you describe your experience working with Sacri Cuori and the obvious chemistry on stage
They are the perfect foil for me, well actually for Marlowe Billings, my nom de guerre and alter ego. They have the ability to put my former work in context musically so that I could move forward in a new way without a reactionary sound. That happened on the record as well as live. Antonio Gramentieri who is their leader, composer and guitarist is a very serious cat but he never crosses over into high brow elitism… it’s still rock n roll. They have a new record out next month called “Rosario”…

What do you think about the tour so far?
I’m still standing… it’s very tough out there, people want and need live music but the economics are next to impossible for everyone involved. It’s almost a religious duty now… a pilgrimage.

If you must choose one song you have written that can be described as a nucleus of your art, which one will it be and why?
Oh hell, I don’t know. Chuck and I were very happy when Vivian Girls covered Sixteen Ways, something about young punky chicks doing one of your songs is very gratifying, way more than one’s peers covering a tune.

It will be your first live show in Serbia. How do you feel when you coming for the first time in the new country? Do you know anything about Serbia? Do you expect anything form the audience – to know the new songs, about GoR…
Oh I’ve read a lot about Serbia over the years… Kaplan’s “Balkan Ghosts” comes to mind. I’m very curious and hope to learn a lot. Obviously there is a world wide economic depression going on and I’m interested in how that is affecting life in Serbia and perhaps fueling certain political flames. Really the least interesting country for me in the world is the United States…

How “deep” are you in the virtual world of the internet? Do you feel comfortable with new technologies as a tool for presenting your music? 
I’m a total Luddite… Who they used to hang by the way. We have a new generation who believes content is free and have everything on their Ipods but can’t tell the difference between Muddy Waters and Hank Williams. There is no context anymore, the legal case involvingthe image “Molotov Man” is a case in point…

Who sings better in the dark – Towns Van Zandt or is it Guy Clark?
Shit I don’t know… both guys should not be blamed for all the imitators out there, as Doug Sahm used to say “can’t sing-can’t writers”. Hell, I might be one of them…

What’s the best thing about living in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico?
Dan Stuart • 
The people… kind, noble, stoic, proud. Also that magic happens everyday but you can’t plan for it… it just happens when you least expect it.

Is there a chance for Danny and Dusty to work together again soon and to get us into their world of characters living out of the box the mainstream life is presenting us? Could you share some memories about “the lost weekend” with us? Was your “lost weekend” somehow similar to its movie namesake? 
I’d like to make a Danny & Dusty record in the Philippines, I always thought we were like Hope & Crosby. The first record wasn’t as great as people say and the second was much better than conventional wisdom dictates. Whether there will ever be another is anybody’s guess…

Not to mention only “The Killer Inside Me”, most of your song lyrics, as well as the atmosphere of the songs, are like snippets from a not-yet-written great noir novel. Have you thought of getting into writing and are you a crime noir fan? 

I use to be a huge noir fan but I think the classic age for it is long gone replaced by the “cyber thriller” I guess. My false memoir, also titled “The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings” will be released early next year and I’m currently writing about Marlowe’s adventures in Mexico, a more conventional novel in the third person. Really, I’m just a lazy writer and should have three or four out by now but as Vonnegut said most of life is just farting around.

What are you listening, reading these days, can you recommend something for us?
I’ve just read two great books about Los Angeles that I should have read years ago, I found them on the “free” table at the Oaxacan lending library. One is Mike Davis’ “City of Quartz” and the other is Norman Klein’s “The History of Forgetting”. Both guys love LA but are harsh critics. In the van, Antonio was playing the new Lambchop which sounded fine and the Italians have turned me on to Paolo Conte who I adore.

What do you think about the new Bob Dylan album, “Tempest”?
I’ve just heard a few tracks, I’m not a huge Dylan freak like some. I’d like to think that Dylan enjoys The Raspberries like everyone else, as I’m sure he does. It is odd that we both read “Confessions of a Yakuza” around the same time but I ascribe no particular significance to this. Ha!

 

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