PM: Are you disposed or willing to say anything about the current state of the music biz, or any thoughts on where the ship may be going?
CP: Well, I don't really feel like I'm in the music business--
CP: --so I'm not really one to shake my fist at it. I think that, historically, I've gotten into business with people that were good, and I've gotten into business with people that were bad. But I can't say I really feel like a spokesman for where things are going, neither do I have any kind of dissertation on the long tail theory that I could share.
CP: But I suppose artists really are competing with themselves and just trying do the best work possible. I mean, I'm interested in the process of writing songs and playing music live and making records, but once it becomes a product, I become less and less interested in it. So I'm not really an expert on distribution. I mean, I don't know--ultimately, if music is distributed by a cassette or a wire or through a CD or an mp3, I mean, that's just really the means that it gets into the people's ears, into their complicated and fragile psyches. I'm not any kind of expert on any of that stuff. I was on a conference and a woman from Wired magazine said, "We are no longer living in an era where musicians can just live up on a mountain somewhere in a castle and live the mad genius lifestyle. We're living in an era where people get in touch with their fans daily, and myspace pages."
CP: "And if people want to survive, they're going to have to get with the program." And my attitude was, well, I have noticed that there has been a big major increase in well-adjusted people making music--
PM: [cracking up]
CP: --and I think music has suffered as a result of it, greatly.
PM: That's really funny.
CP: I mean, I don't think I would want David Bowie to write me a handwritten letter.
PM: [laughs] Yeah, I don't want him to.
CP: After that painting of him where he looks like a German shepherd on the cover of Diamond Dogs--
CP: You know? That's the way I want to remember David Bowie. I don't want, "Gee thanks for the support, Chuck, it means a lot."
CP: "Check out my myspace page."
PM: [cracking up]
CP: "Thanks for adding me as your friend."
PM: [cracking up more]
CP: You know, that would break my heart.
PM: You're killing me.
CP: You know what I mean?
PM: That's too funny.
So tell us something about Belle Sound and Sonny Smith?
CP: Belle Sound is just a label that I invented so that I could put out some Green On Red stuff and stuff like that. And Sonny, I heard his record, and I passed it around to people that I knew, to help on a release with another label. And I just overestimated a lot of people. And that's what I told Sonny, "Well, I'll just have to put it out myself," because I believed in it.
PM: It's good, huh?
PM: Yeah, I emailed him and asked him to get an album to me. He didn't ask me to go to his myspace page or anything, but he said, "Yeah, okay, I'll send you one."
PM: Are you much of a reader these days? Read anything lately that turned you on?
CP: No. I mean, I got excited when the Best American Crime Writing 2007 came out recently. That's a collection I like to get every year. I can't tell you anything I'm excited about right now.
PM: Oh, I'm about that. I'll get that. I'm not really even turned onto that series. I'm going to go get that.
CP: Oh, yeah, it's outstanding. Well, the one in 2005 was really good. It was edited by James Ellroy. 2006 was pretty good, too. Just something I look forward to.
PM: I'm going down to get that. What about, dare I say, your spiritual side, as some might call it, is that something that--
CP: Well, I mean, I've been in sobriety for ten years.
PM: Yeah, that's about my vintage, too.
CP: I probably wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if it wasn't for the fellowship, so I don't know how easy it is for me to talk about any kind of spiritual side. You don't really need to hear about that from me. You definitely don't.
PM: You might be surprised, but I can appreciate that. I can appreciate that. Well, you're kind to give me some of your time here. You're really one of our favorite artists. And we review you every time you come out, so it's certainly time that we got on and got a soundbyte from the man himself.
CP: Oh, thanks. Well, whatever, I hope I gave you something you can use.
PM: Oh, yeah, absolutely, nothing but pearls.
CP: [laughs] Okay.
CP: Okay, Frank. I do have a 2:30 appointment, though, come to think of it, so...
PM: All right. Well, you have a good day, Chuck, and thanks for your time.
CP: All right. Be good, now.