William S. Burroughs and Jimmy Page

In 1975, William S. Burroughs attended a Led Zeppelin concert and interviewed Jimmy Page. He wrote up the experience for Crawdaddy magazine. Arthur Magazine just reposted the text and it's a delight, spanning magick, cut-ups, Crowley, and infrasound. From Crawdaddy:
PagezeppppSince the word “magic” tends to cause confused thinking, I would like to say exactly what I mean by “magic” and the magical interpretation of so-called reality. The underlying assumption of magic is the assertion of ‘will’ as the primary moving force in this universe–the deep conviction that nothing happens unless somebody or some being wills it to happen. To me this has always seemed self-evident. A chair does not move unless someone moves it. Neither does your physical body, which is composed of much the same materials, move unless you will it to move. Walking across the rooom is a magical operation. From the viewpoint of magic, no death, no illness, no misfortune, accident, war or riot is accidental. There are no accidents in the world of magic. And will is another word for animate energy. Rock stars are juggling fissionable material that could blow up at any time… “The soccer scores are coming in from the Capital…one must pretend an interest,” drawled the dandified Commandante, safe in the pages of my book; and as another rock star said to me, “YOU sit on your ass writing–I could be torn to pieces by my fans, like Orpheus.”

I found Jimmy Page equally aware of the risks involved in handling the fissionable material of the mass unconcious. I took on a valence I learned years ago from two ‘Life-Time’ reporters–one keeps telling you these horrific stories: “Now old Burns was dragged out of the truck and skinned alive by the mob, and when we got there with the cameras the bloody thing was still squirming there like a worm…” while the other half of the team is snapping pictures CLICK CLICK CLICK to record your reactions–so over dinner at Mexican Gardens I told Jimmy the story of the big soccer riot in Lima, Peru in 1964.

"William Burroughs on…Led Zeppelin!" (Thanks, Sally!)

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      1. It’s been 40 years and people are still talking about it. We have to kill it. With fire.

        It’s not reality, just someone else’s sentimentality…
        It won’t work for you…

        Baby boomers selling you rumors of their history
        Forcing youth away from the truth of what’s real today

        The kids of today should defend themselves against the 70’s

        i love Mike Watt.

        1. In all seriousness, it seems that you feel about 70s music now, as I felt about 50s music in the late 70s.

          The past and the future had a war, and the past lost. It never had a chance, man.

  1. very interesting on the one hand, but on the other hand we can see a fundamental problem with letting a celebrity interview another celebrity – burroughs can’t stand being upstaged by page, that’s why he brings up that pointless crap about infra-sound (to impress page and the reader), and keeps bringing the conversation back to himself. witness the last line even: “I’d hate to give a three-hour reading…”

  2. Oh, one more point: if you’re as lucky as I have been, you’ll find that as you age, you will come to like a broader and broader range of musics, from across all genres, and indeed from across the centuries. Although even I still can’t stand light operetta sung in that Nelson-Eddy-Jeanette-MacDonald style of the 1930s, Canadian content be damned. See here, if you dare:

    Careful that your head doesn’t explode.

    It seems to me that young people are so tribal & dogmatic in their musical tastes: and, in truth, I was once such, too. Perhaps youth’s insecurity as to their own forming identities results in them being so very fierce in their musical likes and dislikes. That, and perhaps the fact that their likes and dislikes in music may be (the?) one area of their lives which young people can completely control.

    1. I still can’t stand light operetta sung in that Nelson-Eddy-Jeanette-MacDonald style of the 1930s

      One word: poppers.

    2. Oh man i think that there is a misunderstanding here. I was born in the 70’s too so i am not exactly a teen. I am way past my dogmatic and tribalistic period. I’ve been a punk, a goth, house lover, elitist hipster and everything in between but now i listen to anything worth listening from 40’s jazz to japanese surf.

      But i still hate the fkin 70’s.

      (Black Sabbath excluded of course)

      1. Well, it’s all cool, really.
        There is no accounting for taste.
        And no one needs to justify their particular tastes, either.
        people like what they like. My point was that as life goes on, tastes change.

        I noticed that this interview appeared in Crawdaddy magazine.
        How long hasn’t that been? Long time, maybe.

    3. It seems to me that young people are so tribal & dogmatic in their musical tastes: and, in truth, I was once such, too. Perhaps youth’s insecurity as to their own forming identities results in them being so very fierce in their musical likes and dislikes. That, and perhaps the fact that their likes and dislikes in music may be (the?) one area of their lives which young people can completely control.

      “When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them.”

      — Plato, Republic

  3. Burroughs sounds like a classic intellectual poseur. He makes numerous shallow observations as though they were in some way profound or insightful. His talents as a creative communicator saved him from the obscurity that was rightfully his by dint of his intellectual sloth.

  4. Whoa, that’s a full rainbow all the way. Double rainbow, oh my god. It’s a double rainbow, all the way. Whoa that’s so intense…..

    well, that’s what popped to mind when I saw the cover………

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