Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thomas Mann followed blues lore and had his fictional composer Adrian Leverkuhn sell his soul to the devil in exchange for musical prowess. A decade earlier, blues master Robert Johnson had been rumored to have done the same.

The purpose of art is enchantment, says poet Ange Mlinko, and I agree. A culture mistrustful of enchantment conjures diabolical sources for the artist’s power.

Nonsense, says Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, in “The Devil and Peter Tork.” When Mr. Zero -- the devil -- comes to collect Peter’s soul, which Peter had pledged in exchange for fame, fortune, and the ability to play the harp, Nesmith denounces the devil as a fraud.

I say that contract is null and void because in fact, Mr. Zero, you didn’t give Peter anything in return for his soul. Peter didn’t want fame and fortune, all Peter wanted was just his music. You didn’t give him the ability to play the harp. He loved the music that came from the harp. The power of that love was inside him from the first, and you didn’t have anything to do with it at all.

Don’t you understand what that means when you have that inside you, what comes out? If you love music, man, you can play music. People say, “Well, I can’t carry a tune, I can’t sing, I’m tone deaf.” But nobody’s tone deaf. All it takes is just love, because in the final analysis, love is power. That’s where the power’s at. And you want to tell me that you gave it to him, but I know different, ‘cause I’m a musician. And that’s really all there is to that.

Monkees vs. Mann. Nesmith
’s argument resounds with beauty and truth, but I’m still enjoying Doctor Faustus. And I do want to hear Leverkuhn’s 12-tone orchestrations for Robert Johnson’s tunes, in that mash-up made in Hell.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?