Tuesday, April 10, 2012
the last book I ever read (Everything is an Afterthought, excerpt four)
from Kevin Avery's Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson:
Michael Azerrad was editor-in-chief for eMusic, the music download service, when he visited Paul at Evergreen. "I felt an incredible, humbling sense of gratitude. Paul had helped set up a system in which I could make a pretty decent living doing exactly what I wanted to do. What I want to do.
"I now worked at a place where I could find people like Paul work, and I offered him some work writing about his last musical love, which was bluegrass. And he declined. He really needed the money--we were paying really well--and he just said no. I asked him why. I was very frustrated and let down. He said he simply couldn't do it justice."
Charles M. Young: "I know why he didn't want to write about bluegrass. It was the same reason I don't want to write about Mozart. I want something that's pure, that's not associated with any traumatic edit or any fucking thing else. I like the Eagles music, but I can't listen to it without thinking of Don Henley being mad at me for writing about his diarrhea. If I wrote an essay about Mozart for the Arts & Leisure section, for example, and they put me through The New York Times editing process, I wouldn't be able to listen to it again for the rest of my fucking life without thinking about the editing process at The New York Times, which is devastating. You don't have one editor there, you have seven of them. I'm sure Azerrad would have run Paul's article just like he wrote it, but Paul wanted to keep bluegrass pure for himself. He wanted to be able to listen to it without any of the fuckery of rock journalism messing up this music that he loved. It's always dangerous to write about the music that you love, because you're going to get fucked with. Your love will be fucked with. And that's what drove Paul out."