Leo Kottke Weighs in On Life, Literature and Guitar (Part Five)

Leo Kottke Weighs in On Life, Literature and Guitar (Part Five)

That’s definitely one of the ways it turns out to be really human. We’re really a goofy bunch. Wonderful things happen, terrible shit happens and when you try to organize it and try to make us go towards a goal – we don’t do that. It’s like letting a bunch of ants loose, so it’s very hard to organize us.

I was never in a battle situation. I was certainly nearly killed a couple of times – it was just peace time stuff. It’s really weird, I have a couple of friends that are still in the military, who have had a life time in it. I really don’t know how they do that.

Your music isn’t really all that political, but in the twenty minutes time we’ve been talking the conversation’s already examined why the music business is falling behind where it should be and then the multi-pronged war. So, why don’t all of these ideas come across in your music? I read that you’ve written lyrics that you find to be too personal, too revealing to play in public. What we’re discussing isn’t emotionally revealing, but it easily goes beyond standard interview questions for a guitarist.

Are you familiar with Samuel Beckett? For me, he’s better than Shakespeare. He just kills me. He wrote Waiting for Godot. What I like are his novels. The reason that I bring him up is that as an artist, he was aware of what life was like for the people around him. He was a big humanitarian all on his own. He gave away most of his money, but he preferred to be by himself - fought in the resistance during World War II. He was Irish, but preferred being in France. Ireland had peace, but he lived in war. And he didn’t like the war, but he wrote. None of that comes in, because there’s something more. That’s why I went on and on about human beings, because there’s something more than us. And I think that sometimes we can get a glimpse of it through the living stuff that people make. So that can be anything we ordinarily call art or music…

I’ve got the greatest job on earth and in order to do it the way I think works best, I have to shut up. I may refer to things in an interview, but I don’t do it in the music.