Monday, March 29, 2010


I've been babbling about Sun Ra and his Arkestra for some time now and figured that all of my "you have to be willing to enter that world" and "love and harmony and peace and whatever" nonsense might not do the man and his work justice in the way I had intended. After all, unlike most musicians, Sun Ra is one of those rare artists whose words are as interesting as his music. So I decided to let the man speak for himself - might be a tad bit more illuminating than my observations.

This is a pretty funny interview from the old VH1 show New Visions, which presented smooth jazz and new age artists. The host is Ben Sidran, a former colleague of Steve Miller (yes, "The Joker" himself). The interview starts simply enough with Sun Ra talking about Count Basie and Chicago, but moves into a different direction at about the two minute mark.

Sidran: "Now you seem to me to be a man with a mission. What's your mission today?"
Ra: "Well, I'm really not a man, you see, I'm an angel. If I was a man I couldn't do anything because man always fails, you know, they're so limited."

Sidran obviously isn't prepared for such a response and you can see that he's getting uncomfortable, as if he's not sure whether Sun Ra is insane or just fucking with him. The video gets downright hilarious when he compares Sun Ra to Michael Jackson and asks Sunny about his plans for "moving on up into the world of commercial success". Ra's response is priceless.


Shane said...

Awesome. This reminds me, did anyone ever see that show Night Music, or maybe Sunday Night hosted by Jools Holland in like 88-89? Awesome show. It helped to bend my suburban white trash brain when I was 16.
It was mostly live performances of arty stuff and I particularly remember being exposed to Mr. Ra there for the first time. Also Nick Cave. Sonic Youth played. Lots of others. Still unavailable on dvd.
Oh hey here's this:

Peter said...

Jack, you should write something up about Space is the Place one of these days...

Shelby Cobras said...

I am fully convinced that Sun Ra did, in fact, come from outer space.