I KNOW this is pretty obnoxious on account of how I just posted about two seconds ago. But. Vonnegut was such a fantastic human being whose words needs to be shared at every available interstice, I swear. Here's the full quote, because I am evidently in a sort of typing-up-other-people's-words mood tonight:No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.
If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
Now, during our catastrophically idiotic war in Vietnam, the music kept getting better and better and better. We lost that war, by the way. Order couldn't be restored in Indochina until the people kicked us out.
That war only made billionaires out of millionaires. Today's war is making trillionaires out of billionaires. Now I call that progress.
And how come the people in countries we invade can't fight like ladies and gentlemen, in uniform and with tanks and helicopter gunships?
Back to music. It makes practically everybody fonder of life than he or she would be without it. Even military bands, although I am a pacifist, always cheer me up. And I really like Strauss and Mozart and all that, but the priceless gift that African Americans gave the whole world when they were still in slavery was a gift so great that it is now almost the only reason many foreigners still like us at least a little bit. That specific remedy for the worldwide epidemic of depression is a gift called the blues. All pop music today--jazz, swing, be-bop, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Stones, rock-and-roll, hip-hop, and on and on--is derived from the blues.
A gift to the world? One of the best rhythm-and-blues combos I ever heard was three guys and a girl from Finland playing in a club in Krakow, Poland.
The wonderful writer Albert Murray, who is a jazz historian and a friend of mine among other things, told me that during the era of slavery in this country--an atrocity from which we can never fully recover--the suicide rate per capita among slave owners was much higher than the suicide rate among slaves.
Murray says he thinks this was because slaves had a way of dealing with depression, which their white owners did not: They could shoo away Old Man Suicide by playing and singing the Blues. He says something else which also sounds right to me. He says the blues can't drive depression clear out of a house, but can drive it in the corners of any room where it's being played. So please remember that.
is "Blues from Down Here," and, as is my wont, ( lookee there are the lyrics: )
In my quiet moments, I totally think Vonnegut woulda been a TV on the Radio fangirl. He would've liked that they freely admit they have no idea what they're doing and that "A lot of bands have something to say...[they] have something to ask." That seemed like a pretty bitchin'-ly Vonnegutian sentiment to me anyway. Here, let me continue this post's theme, and leave you all with another profoundly inspiring quote from the mouth of Mr. David Andrew Sitek:
"Most of the music that I like was made on dope. There is no way I could play a song back to myself 3,000 times unless I was stoned. I don't ever want to repeat myself, so I try to be not too conscious of the process...Sitting in my underwear doing bong hits is how I get a mix to gel."