JUNE/JULY 2005
RICK MOODY

HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN ARTIST

FROM WITHIN A HOMEMADE TEXTILE TREE, THE DANIELSON FAMILE MAKES ROCK MUSIC WITH ALL THE AWKWARDNESS, DIFFICULTY, AND FERVOR OF CONTEMPORARY FAITH.

DISCUSSED: Franny and Zooey, Vince Guaraldi, Record Clubs, Caterwauling, Spiritual Frailty, Aretha Franklin, The Rev. Al Green, Improvised Testifying, Medical Garb, Kramer, Churchgoing Intellectuals, Psychedelia, I-IV Progression, Cock-Rock Posturing, Dante, Early B-52s, Overdubbed Exhalations, Doubt

I like music that makes other people uncomfortable. I like Pere Ubu a lot, for example, and my favorite Pere Ubu album is New Picnic Time, an album that has sent many listeners screaming from the room. Captain Beefheart is another favorite, in which case I like Lick My Decals Off, Baby, an album of great rhythmic complexity and impressionistic lyrics. Rhys Chatham’s out-of-tune guitar pieces. Tony Conrad’s violin pieces for just intonation, LaMonte Young’s minimalisms, free jazz from the mid-sixties, the Sun City Girls, the Slits, Daniel Johnston, the Shaggs, Wesley Willis, Syd Barrett’s most ominous solo work, the most experimental David Grubbs, etc. It’s not that I think this music is interesting simply because it’s unusual. This music brings me genuine pleasure. I like pop songs, too, of course, in reasonable doses. But often the work that makes an indelible impression on me comes from a place of singularity. This work doesn’t give up its secrets easily. It makes demands. In the process of reckoning with it, you feel as though you’ve helped make it what it is.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Rick Moody’s forthcoming novel is entitled The Diviners.

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