Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: More Rocket Science
To your mind are you envisioning yourself in conversation with yourself or do you try to put your personal history aside when writing or performing new music?
I try to find something that I’m excited about because I know when I’m excited about something, if there’s something that intrigues me, I cannot put the banjo down. I cannot step away from writing the music, I lay awake thinking about it. I love those times when I’ve got a nice, a nice vein of something that I’m really excited about and I can see the potential. It usually ends up expanding and being a whole new kind of tune that I’ve come up with or new set of language on the banjo or that sort of thing. I’m looking for that buzz. If I’m not getting that buzz from it, I don’t think I should put it out. I don’t think I should complete it. I shouldn’t create pieces just to create pieces so I’ve created more pieces. That’s pointless.
I have to find things that really turn me on and that’s what the artist is supposed to do. You can’t satisfy the audience if you can’t satisfy yourself. Eventually you become kind of a taste maker and if people like the taste they’ll continue with you, and if they don’t like the direction you’ve gone they’ll listen your old stuff and go, “Oh, you know, I used to like their stuff I don’t like their new stuff anymore.” But if you can get them to follow you as your taste evolves, then you’ve really got something you know that will last. Some of my audience follows me and sticks with me and tries all the different things I do and some of them say, “Man, I wish you’d do bluegrass again. You’ve never done anything good since 1980, why did you stop doing that?” Or. “Why did you leave New Grass Revival?” And then there are the people who are like, “Why did you stop doing the Flecktones, what’s all this crap you’re doing now with the symphony?” So there are all these different phases, I can’t let that be what what fuels my decisions, I have to go by what is exciting to me. As long as I do that, there are a lot of people I run into who are like, “Man, I loved going to Africa with you in your film, I love the Flecktones, I love the New Grass, I’d love to see what you do next.” That’s kind of a nice place to be. Read More >