Here’s some more fragments, also from Beautiful Abominations. What these are is excerpts from an interview with Weston, from back when he was a famous musician. I was going to have them scattered around between chapters to like, y’know, resonate with certain themes and stuff.
RS: You’re a particularly prolific artist. The Lightning Guild has issued twelve albums in the last ten years, and you wrote every note aside from the improvised solos. Where do you get the motivation to produce so much work of such a consistent quality? What drives you to do it?
RWB: In this life, we can create, we can destroy, and we can repair. Or we can do nothing, which at best is not fixing what ain’t broke, but at worst is negligence, the evil opposite of repair.
Everybody does these things. Some people are better at one than at others. Most people, though, it’s not in large digits. They don’t have the resources to create or destroy on a large scale. Thus, to a certain extent, their behaviors are excusable. At least, I don’t hold it against someone when his thrown can misses the wastebasket in the park. I will pick it up when he’s not looking, but I don’t hold it against him.
But people like me, we’ve got a broader scope. Okay, I saw that smile. You think I’m full of myself, to which I ask, what else should I be full of? I am me. I’m made of me. But, seriously, I’m not the only one. There’s the novelists Rod Seward, for instance, and, uh, Valerie Maddow. And musicians Carlo Bindt and John Steamer before me, God rest their souls. And physicist Lawrence Bear. And, like, y’know, Bach.
But my point is, some people get an extra portion of power. They can create more, or destroy more, than other people. Their negligence has greater consequences. Me, I believe in creation and repair. I think that destruction and negligence are sins, the only sins. Therefore I consider it my moral obligation to create and repair as much as I possibly can. I’m not that good at repair, so I try to make up for it with creation.
But here’s where it gets interesting: every decision you make destroys possible futures. It also creates possible futures. The only way you can deal with that is to make sure your decisions create more futures than they destroy.
RS: There’s a number of rumors circling about the circumstances of your birth—
RWB: Yeah? Like what?
RS: Oh, you know, like that you were born in the desert, or that you were constructed in a mad scientist’s laboratory. Can you shed some light on the subject?
RWB: I was born in the desert. I was born in the desert in a thunderstorm. An ambulance, on the Texas/Oklahoma border. The road was flooding even as we hauled ass to the nearest hospital.
At first I wasn’t breathing. The EMT slapped my ass, and I didn’t scream. Then lightning struck, so close that the thunder was like a bomb going off, and I took my first breath. Sometimes I can still smell the ozone.
The next day, all along that stretch of desert road, there were flowers everywhere. All kinds of flowers, indian paintbrushes in particular, which is why they’ve always been my favorite. It turns out this sort of thing happens all the time in Chile, I read about it in National Geographic I think. There’s these mountains that somehow prevent rain clouds from reaching the desert. Every so many years, a rainstorm manages to make it over. Within a day, the desert is in full bloom from seeds that had blown over the mountains and laid there for years, waiting for a little bit of rain.
RS: Okay, now you’re just playing with me.
RWB: Hey, it happened. I was there.
RS: You’ve already mentioned Carlo Bindt, the man behind the madness of the Sorcerors and Other Assorted Wonders. You thank him in all your liner notes. Could you tell us about your relationship to his work?
RWB: It’s hard to put into words, my admiration for Carlo. That’s why I put it in music. See, he was the one who showed me how to get magic into the music. Well, Jack Wrote showed me it could be done, but his has always been a human magic, no matter how surreal. Carlo showed me how to get the big, abstract stuff in there, the stuff that transcends the human frame of reference. Jack’s a bard, but Carlo was a wizard. He wasn’t the only one, or even the first, to get to wizardry through music, but he was the one I found at just the right time in my life for it to really mean something. It was his music that was there when I needed it.
Sometimes I have dreams about Carlo. We hang out somewhere and smoke cigarettes, or he’s in a hurry to get somewhere and we don’t get to talk much. Sometimes he’s as healthy as he ever was, and sometimes his Huntington’s is in full swing, his arms waving rhythmically like tree branches in the wind, casting shadows that look like crows.
Sometimes I play my records for him, and he’s excited, slapping me on the back in congratulations, raving on about it. Sometimes he suggests improvements. Sometimes he doesn’t get it, even as I’m trying to call attention to the critical pieces. Once he flew into a rage and overturned the stereo system. Sometimes he cries.