I talk to many young painters, because I teach art in schools. I ask them:
Why do you think that what you do ends at the edges of this canvas?
Think of the frame. What frame are you working in? Not just that bit of wood around the edge, but the room you're in, the light you're in, the time and place you're in. How can you redesign it?
I would say that to musicians, too. I see them spending a lot of time working on the internal details of what they're doing and far less time working on the ways of positioning it in the world.
By "positioning it" I don't only mean thinking of ways to get it to a record company, but thinking of where it could go, and where it fits in the cultural picture. What else does it relate to?Brian Eno
Being completely free to choose what to do is actually quite difficult: it can lead you to very depressive crises.
If your time is structured you don't have this problem of "what am I going to do today?"Brian Eno
You can tell whether a person plays or not by the way he carries the instrument, whether it means something to him or not.
Then the way they talk and act. If they act too hip, you know they can't play shit.Miles Davis
Money had never been the main thing for me. It's the legacy that was important.Berry Gordy
You have to have a measure of arrogance in dealing with anybody in the business. You have to feel that you're right, because ultimately you're not able to trust anyone else's judgment of your work.
If your judgment isn't clear, then their judgment will make no sense to you either.Brian Eno
An oral contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.Sam Goldwyn
You can't compute or calculate the chemistry that arises when you put together a band.
No one knows until you start working together.Jimmy Page
The way children learn is by pretending, imagining what it would be like to be in another situation, which is the essence of culture.
There's this crazy supposition that at the age of 16 or 18 you should suddenly switch all that off because you now know what you're doing, but the people I find interesting are the ones who carry on playing that game.Brian Eno
The most popular form of transportation in the music business is the bandwagon.David Hooper
Anybody that forms a group, writes songs and releases records and says they don't care if people like them are complete liars.James Dean Bradfield
The general attitude is, "I want it, and I want it now!"
But it really takes years if you're going to do it right, and a lot of kids just don't want to take the time to work on it and see where it's all going, and what it means, and where it comes from, and how they should apply it and use it in playing their songs.
It doesn't make any difference how technically good you are or fast you are or how many notes you know. You just can't do it in two years.Johnny Winter
A strong opinion is very useful to other people.Brian Eno
You can build a wall to stop people, but eventually, the music, it'll cross that wall.
That's the beautiful thing about music - there's no defense against it.
I mean look at Joshua and fuckin' Jericho - made mincemeat of that joint. A few trumpets, you know?Keith Richards
There's only one way to find out if something works: get off your ass and do it!Amod Dange
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.Hannah Moore
Musicians and other artists interact constantly with at least two types of systems: systems of aesthetics (what will sound good? what type of music to work with?) and economic systems that reward, or fail to reward, their efforts.
If you're confronting a set of results that you don't want, rather than trying to force the existing system to yield up a different kind of results, you might better spend your energy creating an alternative system!
This could mean anything from establishing your own concert outlet for non-commercial music to designing your own microtonal scale.Brian Eno
Without Elvis, none of us could have made it.Buddy Holly
I don't care who likes it or buys it.
Because if you use that criterion, Mozart would have never written Don Giovanni, Charlie Parker never would have played anything but swing music.
There comes a point at which you have to stand up and say, this is what I have to do.Branford Marsalis
Only someone who truly loved what they were doing would endeavor to play an instrument that callused the most sensitive parts of their fingertips.
Only someone who truly loved what they are doing would endeavor to enter into a business that callused the most sensitive parts of their art.Danielle Egnew
WRITER TO FRANK ZAPPA: Have there been parts of your life that you've neglected because you've been absorbed in your music?
FRANK ZAPPA: Well what am I missing? Do I regret not going horseback riding, or learning how to water ski? Well, no. I don't want to climb mountains, I don't want to do bungie-jumping. I haven't missed any of those things. If you're absorbed by something, what's to miss?Frank Zappa
If it wasn't for pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, gangsters, and gamblers, there wouldn't be no jazz! They supported the club owners who bought the music. It wasn't the middle-class people who said, "Let's go hear Charlie Parker tonight."Betty Carter
One of my mottoes is that if you want to get unusual results, work fast and work cheap, because there's more of a chance that you'll get somewhere that nobody else did.
Nearly always, the effect of spending a lot of money is to make things more normal.Brian Eno
"Hollywoodization": This is the process where things are evened out, rationalized, nicely lit from all sides, carefully balanced, studiously tested against all known formulae, referred to several committees, and finally made triumphantly unnoticeable.Brian Eno
When you chase music for money, God walks out of the room.Quincy Jones
Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read.Frank Zappa
If you're not being sued by someone, then you must be doing something wrong.Michael Ovitz
There's a real bogey among rock musicians about talking about music - they seem to think that if you discuss it, the magic dies or something. I disagree.
I think that if you can argue yourself out of doing something, you should.
Anything that's strong enough will stand up to any amount of analysis.Brian Eno
It's not how heavy you are are in the business, but how long you're heavy.Bruce Wendell
I am glad so many women singers are being heard in music today. It is healthy for music because it means a lot of men are listening!Judy Collins
I received a special delivery letter from Colonel Parker (Elvis' manager) with a note saying, "Dear Jerry, we expect you here by the weekend. Enclosed you'll find your contract for the new movie score and the recording sessions that are to follow."
However, behind the cover letter was this blank page with just the space outlined for Parker and I to sign and date. There as no contract!
So, I spoke with him on the phone and when I pointed out to him that there had been a mistake he said, "What mistake?" I said, "Well there's a page for the signatures but I don't see any contract." He said, "That's the contract!" I said, "Tom, there's nothing written on the page."
He said, "Well, boy, you just sign it. We'll fill it in later!"Jerry Leiber
Calling the product music is like selling a shopping cart and calling it groceries.David Byrne
Not everyone is going to like what I do, and that's something I can accept.
If everyone liked what I did, I probably wouldn't be playing anything of depth.Joshua Redman
When you place a piece of work in the world, you place it in terms of a set of expectations.
(Eno reaches into his pocket and draws out the latest album by rap group De La Soul.)
When this group released this album, they put it in a package that tells you exactly what kind of focus to bring to hearing it. You're not going to listen to this the way you listen to Mahler or to Stan Kenton.Brian Eno
Half the battle is selling music, not singing it. It's the image, not what you sing.Rod Stewart
I've probably put together more deals backstage at concerts than by telephone.Michael Lippman
When you listen to Miles Davis, how much of what you hear is music, and how much is context?
Context is everything that isn't physically contained in the grooves of the record. It includes your knowledge that everyone else says he's great: that must modify the way you hear him. That he was a handsome and imposing man, a member of a romantic minority, that he played with Charlie Parker, that he spans generations, that he underwent various addictions, that he married Cicely Tyson, that he dressed well, that Jean-Luc Godard liked him, that he wore shades and was very cool, that he himself said little about his work, and so on.
Surely all that affects how you hear him: I mean, could it possibly have felt the same if he'd been an overweight heating engineer from Oslo?
When you listen to music, aren't you also 'listening' to all the stuff around it, too?Brian Eno
I think one of the reasons I'm popular again is because I'm wearing a tie. You have to be different.Tony Bennett
A&R people are clueless. If they knew what was going down they would all be multimillionaires, wouldn't they?Mickie Most
I was with Decca from 1953 to 1960, and I learned more about the business during that time than any other.
You see, the great thing about being the head of A&R in those days is that you were the guy who really made all of the decisions with respect to songs, with respect to the sound and the arrangements, with respect to what records came out and when they came out. You controlled everything.
Today everything is done by committee. I mean, nine guys have to get together before they can even put out a record.Bob Thiele
If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that. I believe in what I do, and I'll say it.John Lennon
Give the people what they want, and they will give you what you want.William Ballester
To me, the ideal audience-to-artist relationship is one-to-zero relationship.
I'm not happy with words like "artist" and "public" and the hierarchical implications.
The artist should be permitted anonymity, unaware of the presumed demand of the marketplace. They'll make contact on a much more meaningful level.Glenn Gould
Independent labels take nothing and make something out of it. Major labels buy that something, and try to make more out of it.Tom Silverman
This land is your land & this land is my land - sure. But the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.Bob Dylan
After he'd done a show in Nashville, James Brown asked me to engineer a session for him there. Well, there were no flights available, so I jumped in the car and drove all the way.
It took me five hours to get there, and as soon as I arrived at the studio James and the musicians were ready to record, so we cut four tracks and then, before I left, James told his manager, "Give Ron ten percent of that last song."
The song was "Sex Machine" so we wrote up the songwriter's contract and I've been collecting on it ever since!Ron Lenhoff
Don't be ashamed of your own ideas. Most musicians get applauded for sounding like someone else.
People try something out that they think is exciting, and everyone looks a little unsure. Then they play an old James Brown riff and everyone's saying: 'Wow! That's what we want!'
Most of the time musicians are being encouraged to sound recognizable. What I'm doing [as a producer] is encouraging them at the points when they're not.Brian Eno
Videos destroyed the vitality of rock 'n' roll. Before that, music said, "Listen to me." Now it says, "Look at me."Billy Joel
Admirers can be a tremendous force for conservatism.Brian Eno
The artist has one career. The manager has as many careers as they have artists. The record company has as many careers as it has artists.Robert Fripp
Somebody said to me, "But the Beatles were anti-materialistic." That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, "Now, let's write a swimming pool."Paul McCartney
Do not let what you can't do interfere with what you can do.John Wooden
I go through a thousand songs to find ten for a new record.Conway Twitty
If a man gets up in the morning, goes to bed at night, and does what he pleases inbetween, he's a success.Bob Dylan
I saw Bob Dylan getting criticized in Australia by this guy who was saying, "Your new songs aren't as relevant as your old songs."
And Dylan just said, "Well, I'm out here writing songs - what are you doing?"Bob Dylan
Differences of opinion are part of collaborating with another human being.
But music is not a competitive thing. I don't want to deal with someone who's in competition with me. I want to work together to make music.Eddie Van Halen
We live in an age of music for people who don't like music. The record industry discovered some time ago that there aren't that many people who actually like music. For a lot of people, music's annoying, or at the very least they don't need it. They discovered if they could sell music to a lot of those people, they could sell a lot more records.T Bone Burnett
Your responsibility is to tell the truth, not the facts, necessarily. It could be the facts, but it's basically the truth. That means being a truthful person.
You can't tell the truth in your work if you don't tell the truth in your life. So I encourage you to be scrupulous in your truth ethic.
Even when no one's looking - especially when no one's looking. Just for yourself.Rosanne Cash
You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.Jerry Garcia
You're a local band until you get a record contract, then all of a sudden Bruce Springsteen is your competition.Sammy Llana
Often in life you are confronted by many possibilities. The best thing you can do is just go for one with a quick decision, then make that choice work for you. It takes you to interesting places with surprising results.Brian Eno
I always liked the cusp where something feels if it's familiar but strange at the same time.
It doesn't immediately assault you as being completely weird. You feel seduced by it. But at the same time you can't put your finger on what it is that you recognize. It's a very good feeling.Brian Eno