Some excerpts from Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince" Billy
"What is normally called religion is what I would tend to call music — participating in music, listening to music, making records and singing. I think records and music are more appropriate and more respectful of the human soul than the churches are. And more respectful of the needs of humans to communicate with the aspects of themselves that are neglected by language. I don’t think people think about God so much as they think about themselves and how they’re going to get through life."
On Buying Records
"It’s amazing, I feel like every time I buy a record I’m communicating to the artist or artists, to the record company and to the world at large, something. Tiny little thing, big thing…something is being communicated. Even if it’s a used record, even if it’s a record from the library, it’s communicating to someone, because the person at the counter might say, ‘A guy came in and bought this Helen Reddy record. I’ve always seen it there, and I just assumed no one was going to buy it.’ And they might forget it forever or they might mention it to somebody, but every little decision you make in relation to listening to music has the potential to put something back into the world of making music and listening to it."
On the Name "Bonnie 'Prince' Billy"
"'Bonnie Prince Billy' is such a ridiculous name. It had no preconceptions to it; nobody could say what the music was going to be like on hearing the name. But it turned the music into an individual, which seemed to be what everyone — the audience, or at least the people that I was forced to talk to about the music — was seeking. They were seeking some sort of individual responsible for things, and I was just like, 'O.K. We’ll make one up. One who doesn’t really exist, and therefore I can continue to feel confident that there is no individual responsible for things, but you can think that there is one!'
“It’s very polite, I believe, for someone to tell you of a dream experience they had with you, because it’s going to affect their communication with you. So I feel like whenever possible, if you remember a dream that someone was in and if it’s someone that you communicate with and care about, that it’s important to share that experience with them, so that they know where you’re coming from next time they see you.”
On Having Something
"So yeah, singing as a way of expressing or escaping or expelling unbearable events: if you have a thinking brain, which some of us are cursed with, you have to have something, and it could be singing and it could be alcohol, but it’s progressive rather than regressive—you don’t get better by drinking."
On Waking Up
“The early part of the day is kind of the best part of the day. To wake up at four or five in the morning on a regular basis is far more satisfying and rewarding than it is to go to bed at four or five in the morning. It’s something that I forget all the time.”
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