(from Melody Maker, 11 October 1986)
Jaz Coleman's Heroes
"If we're going to have heroes I'd rather go one step further and have gods."
A gifted, brilliant writer who made his words come alive by living them with sweat and blood. I have a deep love for the man because he lived by his own ideals. He looked around at the youth of his time and called them weak and lily-livered - that strikes a chord with me. The level of commitment in artists today is intolerably weak and that is something that disgusts me. They're in it for the wrong reasons, it's just a preference to a nine-to-five job. I've never read a book and been moved to tears before I read "Spring Snow". I couldn't talk when I finished it. I relate to Mishima. I like the idea of dying with dignity not in the pathetic Christian manner. A remarkable man.
Ludwig Van Beethoven
Beethoven and me go back a long way. Remember, I started playing violin at the age of six and I was intimately associated with the nine symphonies by the time I was 10. I didn't really appreciate the man until I got into my twenties. Once I started arranging for orchestra myself I began to realise that this man was divinely inspired. He used to walk down the street and he'd be hearing this music in his head and he'd be singing out loud. People thought he was mad but he was compelled to express these sounds that he perceived.
The man was a musical god. The third, the fifth, the seventh and the ninth - these symphonies for me are absolute masterpieces. The first two movements of the ninth are just outstanding. He captures the universe alive. The ninth is particularly fantastic because, by the time he wrote it, he had reached the ultimate in the flesh. Beethoven did with music what nobody else could do. Apparently, on his deathbed, a storm was raging outside, he sat bolt upright in bed and brandished his fist at the elements then dropped down stone dead.
Herbert Von Karajan
Von Karajan is the greatest living conductor. If anyone should get the chance to go and see this man in action they must take it. I saw him conducting the Berlin Philharmonic four years ago and it is the only time I have seen music make people stand up and physically cry. Karajan is one of the greatest interpreters of romantic music. You think about his career, I mean, he was conducting in front of the Fuhrer during the war. I once read a review of his performance which said "there were moments when, through the music, I took a glimpse of the face of God." Music has this power, this potential to alter lives. I really want to speak with him before he pegs it - apparently he's on his last legs. He's living proof that the relationship between orchestra and conductor can be utterly psychic. He's an enlightened person.
I'm very serious when I say I admire this man. He is a great leader. He's loved by his people but misunderstood by others. It's very difficult for Westerners to understand the Bedouin Arabs. They have different ethics to us in the West. Gadaffi is a courageous man. I can't help admiring the way he stood up to America. The man believes in the Palestinian cause - I too believe in certain aspects of it. I don't think he's anything like the man the CIA try to portray him as. He's not a loony. He's passionate. I can understand why he sees England and America as decadent - I see England and America as decadent. The Europe that I love has been totally desecrated by the American consciousness and I can see why he doesn't want his own country desecrated in the same way.
I admire him simply because he really is an outstanding musician. To be quite frank, he's had many offers in the last seven years where he could have made lots of money and he's turned them all down. The music that he is searching for, the chord structures, are very unorthodox. He always raises my eyebrows when he comes up with a musical sequence that I've just never heard before. Again people don't understand his ability. You have to listen to the music within the intensity - it's truly remarkable. Geordie is a musical idealist - he's not a prostitute, he writes for love and no other reason. Should Geordie live past the age of 35, we could see a true master. The reason I mention him is to remind him that, whatever happens, I expect him to maintain the course set for him.
I had to mention Wagner because he is an artist who expanded the concept of music into reality. Wagner had a vision of how life should be - his heart was set in the Nordic mythology. He believed in trying to portray man at his best. For me he was more of a magician than just a plain composer. He had a dream, he set it to music and it almost came alive.
It is a fact that Hitler was inspired by Wagner's vision of the Pan German world. Regardless of his racial ideology, which I am totally against, what I do admire about him is the purity of his concept and the fact that it almost came alive. I hate his operas, I can't abide fat women warbling away, but I love his music. Every time I fly to Berlin I have to have the music to "Siegfried's Funeral March" on my Walkman. I need that sound to ready myself.
D. H. Lawrence
A writer I'm new to - I discovered one of his books on special offer in W. H. Smiths. It was called "Apocalypse" - of course! His thoughts at the end of his life resemble a lot of my own. He believed that, before the birth of intellect, man was utterly at one with the universe. The pre-literate world where all beasts, all responses, all thoughts, communication - every star even, all functioned as one single entity. He was a great European.
Again you have to spend a lot of years studying Van Gogh to appreciate his insanity, to understand his vision of beauty. It's difficult to understand a man cutting his ear off. It's easy to be cynical about it, you have to understand the events that led up to that situation - how he just gave himself to his emotions and how they in turn affected his colour, his interpretation of the world. He made his interpretation of his world magical. I love Van Gogh. I love him because, like Mishima and Beethoven, his life was his painting. He was the painting. He lived the paintings. He suffered and his paintings show that suffering. You must read about the life of this man to understand that his life was not so very different from some of our own.
What I like about Speer is the grandeur in his architecture. It's so proud. It's the epitome of the European civilisation at its best. Of course he was slightly influenced here and there but there are no architects like him any more. Speer had a concept of a modern city that still echoed the dawn of civilisation. He imported marble from Scandinavia to build his great designs with. He was inspired - I like imagination in architecture and that is something that no longer exists.
A man who'll probably be unknown to most people. Two years ago, he finished a book called "Genesis". He spent many years studying the markings and mythologies associated with an area in France called Rennes Le Chateau. From this he has created a story of human evolution. He's linked the stories of Revelations to the Egyptian concepts of Isis and the old Egyptian gods and created, through a systematic breakdown of his study, a different picture of the past to the Darwinian concept of evolution - which, to be blunt, I reject purely on a magical basis cos I don't think it's healthy.
It's the only book he will ever write and it's the most important work of the decade as far as new literature goes. Three of the band are completely obsessed by it.