Sunday, December 11, 2011

musician interviews make great found poems

I'm excited to go see Chris Cornell play a solo acoustic show in a few days. His music may have been the soundtrack to my life, especially during all of those deleted scenes that no one will ever see.

Speaking of whom, I was playing around with some "found poems" for a recent reading and this first one was originally posted over at Mark Young's Fishbones Poetry Review, but I thought I would also post it here to include some background context.

No Different Than Putting Lyrics Over A Soft Song

So loud. Like a little kid
spreading aggression with a really big toy.
So loud all over. Stage lights
coming from God. Is noise the wrong word?
So constantly loud.

I’ve tried. I wish I could. But musically,
I don’t think I learned anything
from anyone else. Except
there is one similarity
between a little kid from Seattle
spreading aggression with a really big toy
and Mr. Jimi Hendrix: his parents
live in Seattle and so
do mine. But it’s so loud.

The audience is wet. The weather is awful.
Thunder and lightning. Just try
to make sounds people might not
hear the rest of the day.
The lightning was kind of cool.
But does it have to be so loud? Noise
is the perfect word.

This was "found" and manipulated from one of my all-time favorite television interviews with Chris Cornell, as Soundgarden left the stage at the 1992 PinkPop Festival in the Netherlands. Try to watch this exchange and not think of Spinal Tap.

Cornell is no stranger to found texts, by the way. Back when Soundgarden was recording it's major label debut, their bass player Hiro Yamamoto wrote lyrics for a song he wanted Cornell to sing, but when Cornell turned the page over, he found a note that Hiro's girlfriend had left him and decided that it would be much more interesting to sing that over the song. If you look at the liner notes for that Louder Than Love album, the girlfriend even got a songwriting credit out of it. Here's the song:

The other found poem that I read that night was from a J Mascis interview and I will also post that one, sooner or later.

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