Fuck the Fear, circa London, 1977

They [The Clash] were afraid to play until they saw the Ramones. I mean, Paul [Simonon] and Mick [Jones] told the Ramones, “Now that we’ve seen you, we’re gonna be a band.” The Ramones said, “You gotta play, guys. You know, come out of the basement and play. That’s what we did.”

Basically the Ramones said to them, which they said to countless other bands, “You don't have to be better, just get out there, you’re as good as you are. Don't wait until you’re better, how are you gonna ever know? Just go out there and do it.”

That’s what the Ramones got from The New York Dolls, you know, “What are we waiting for?”

To me that’s the important part of it, what bands pass along to other bands by way of confidence.”

—Danny Fields, manager of the Ramones. Quoted in Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

Keeping Their Attention

From David Mamet's new book Theatre, but applies equally to just about anything that involves an audience.

The job of the dramatist is to get, and that of the actors and directors to keep, the asses in the seats. Period. That is what pays the rent. Whatever an individual may have to say, it will not be heard unless the audience is (a) there and (b) paying attention. And no one pays attention to anything that bores them. Why should they? You won't, I won't.

We would all do well to take heed.

The Collaborative Habit by Twyla Tharp

I just finished Twyla Tharp's The Collaborative Habit, the follow-up to her successful 2005 book, The Creative Habit. Here are some of my favorite passages:

"A great partnership is a lab where change happens every day."

"In any collaboration, no one likes to let colleagues down. Crisis focuses energy. When it really matters, people rise to the occasion."

"All artists have signatures. Most guard them closely. And again and again, I've found that really smart and talented people don't hoard the secrets of their success - they share them. It ain't as if you could use their methods and duplicate their results. Excellence is about so much more than craft."

"The more you ask, the more you get back. The more you challenge an audience, the moe challenging you can be to yourself."

And finally, my favorite:

"In the end, all collaborations are love stories."

Go buy the book.

On Collecting Art

The desire to collect art begins with attraction. There's an urge to be near a thing of beauty, and over time, when you're with something like that, with something beautiful, a relationship begins to form, and that relationship begins to have a meaning, and it's meant to. A work of art is meant to have an effect, and it does, and the original desire changes from simply wanting to be near the beauty to wanting to possess it, wanting to be so close to it that some of the beauty rubs off.

- John Haskell from the novel Out of My Skin