Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Dec 3rd 2008 5:00PM by Benjy Eisen
As he unraveled the mystery, it turned out that in the early '70s I believe, this individual, Mingering Mike, had created this alternate universe where he was a huge music star. He created this whole universe that was his own in which he had 50 hit albums. He made all the albums -- all the album covers, all the song titles, all the information. There just wasn't any music.
So this book collects all the various records that he made and it did remind me of artists that work in "outsider art." I was always drawn to people like Henry Darger and Daniel Johnston -- these people who just created their own creative world where they didn't really need to be part of any infrastructure or anything; they're just completely out on their own. They can create anything they want for their own amusement, and there's something valid in that. There used to be more of that in American life.
4. 'Juliet of the Spirits,' a film by Federico Fellini: That's the first Fellini film I saw. I was actually taken to see that in the movie theater when I was about 12, and it was like nothing I had ever seen. I didn't quite understand it but I loved the imagery and the atmosphere of the film. I was extremely aware of it being of a different time and place and mentality of what I'd grown up in. It was a mixture of color and something somewhat celebratory, but also a bit of dread. That movie was a little spooky, too. And then later I got to see 'La Strada,' 'La Dolce Vita' and a lot of his other important films, but that movie has always stayed with me.
5. 'Shuffering and Shmiling' by Fela Kuti: I really could've picked any record from that period, from the early '70s to the mid-'70s. What is really interesting is that his records tended to be two songs. Each side of the record would be a 20- or 25-minute song. There's something powerful about that, where a song can go for that long. It gains a momentum and a life that you really don't get in a three-minute pop song. It really plays with your perspective of time.
It's interesting that lot of younger bands now are taking influence from the African musicians. When I was about 19, I got to go see Thomas Mapfumo perform. He performed outdoors at a festival for maybe three or four hours -- it seemed like that -- and the song just went on and on and on. There was something that was just so open and hypnotic about that music. I know as a performer it's hard to get an audience to "let go." When that happens, it kinda makes you realize why you do what you do. But that's what that music is intended to be. It's music that hopefully can unmoor you from your own life and perspective, and just kind of drag you in with its current. I wish I could've seen one of [Fela's] shows.