|Interview Magazine,2/94||Inrockuptibles, 9/94||OOR, Hollland, 8/94|
|MTV's, 10/1/95||Arte 2/95||Slapper's, Spring 1995|
|Inside Edge||New Jersey Beat||SOMA|
Rebel, Philosopher, and Music Man...
Hanging out with Jeff Buckley would be any music journalist's wet dream,as he goes on and on about *everything*. The only thing that surpasses his worldliness and intellect is his music. It is a beautifully atmospheric mix that does justice to his influences, which range from Led Zeppelin and Joni Mitchell to Bad Brains and Judy Garland!
Just casually shooting it, Buckley was extremely gracious and charismatic. Even though the comparison will probably make him cringe, he reminded me of James Dean, as not only does he resemble Dean with longer hair, but he has that same lone-wolf, soft-spoken demeanor. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the wisdom of someone you'll be hearing about for a long time.
Inside Edge (IE): What was it like for you rowing up? Were you a misfit? Or were in the "in crowd?"
Jeff Buckley (JB): I hated high school! I don't know, really wear it (being a misfit) as a badge of honor. My family would always be moving so I was always the new guy in town. Any school I went to, I would always be introduced to the class, (angrily)...which by the way, teachers, is a stupid thing to do. By being in front of the class, I would be judged at hand immediately. I could see which person wanted to kick my ass, which weren't the ones who got their asses kicked, and which ones did the ass-kicking. So, each time I had to start the process over and over again, and I was always singled out. Kids are cold and disgusting because they learn it all from their parents. The last place I ended up going to school was Orange County High...f-cking Orange Curtain! Hangin' outwith the good ol' Nazi youth! By then, I was skipping school to play clubs.
IE: So you never went to college?
JB: No, I couldn't afford it...and I had no desire. I had the desire for higher learning, and that's why I eventually dropped out of school.
IE: It seems like music from the 60's/70's is making a huge comeback. Rock'n'roll in the 90's is going though a terrific renaissance. But with that, drug use is now more common within our generation. Do you think it's a coincidence, or is there some sort of connection?
JB: The establishment and the media have given such a dose of prevention and prohibition. It's the big slap on the hand. All of this results in a rallying cry to get messed up, have sex, and put out music. It's not that the 60's are happening again. Mommy Reagan said (in an old lady's voice), "Just say no! Don't do it!" Now we've got a young president...who has SEX! Seriously, he's trying to clean up the sh-t that Reagan and Bush left. The sh-t that our children's children will be paying for. But starting with Clinton, he's the cleaner-upper and he's having a hard time with it. (sarcastically) He just happens to have a d-ck!! I don't know...regarding music today, there really ain't no more rules any more. I don't know if we're recalling the 60's, but it seems like we're all getting up and playing music. So many things are considered "alternative," but I could put on "Funhouse" (The Stooges) right now and clear the f-cking room. That's alternative!! (laughs) It's really funny how bands want to be seen as having "street value." Street value is just another commodity that can be bought and sold. Be careful!
IE: The material on your E.P. ("Live at Sin-E") and "Grace" is very atmospheric. What inspired you to write "Mojo Pin" and "Eternal Life?"
JB: No matter how much you love somebody, sometimes there's always something that'll take them away, even if they love you. In "Eternal Life"...I don't know, I was just angry, I couldn't sleep. I was angry for weeks, and I didn't know exactly why. But, I kept thinking about how people sometimes just try to live their lives, to raise kids, to go to work, and to have good sex with their men, whatever. Somewhere down the line, there's somebody F-CKING with them. Either it's old company boys in Washington, or it's a deranged lunatic that'll raise the blade and send them away forever. There's so many things about tryingto be a human being that people don't even have a handle on...what they keep on emphasizing in their lives are really violent things that hurt other people, which are really just reflections of them. They refuse to look at themselves, so they take it out on you. Women do it to men all the time, people do it to people.
Y'know, it's just about that...and it goes into racial prejudice. I also see traits or "sins" and how they're passed down to our children by default. The issue itself is so insidious, I cannot tell you what it does to me to pass this down to a child. Passing down your own frustrations and anger is like poison. Then there's the KKK, who have their kids grow up to be murderous Nazi f-cks! You can't print that! It's insane! I'm not talking about raising your kids to be completely passive, just raise your kids to understand, because you have to raise yourself to understand. I don't know, at least that's what "Eternal Life" is about. You think...whoever you are...and even myself...if at one point you think that messing somebody up, for something that you can't comprehend is where it's at, then it's too late for you already.
IE: By the way, did you ever hear about Ted Nugent's take on the whole Kurt Cobain situation?
JB: No, what did he have to say?
IE: Well, he was very unsympathetic towards him, and he called him a pussy...
JB: (visibly enraged) Who's more of a pussy?!! Someone who ends their pain, or shoots a fuckin' deer with a 12 gauge?!!! Eat my dick Ted!! (calms down) Or someone who joins the Damn Yankees (laughs uncontrollably)?!! (turning serious) It's not within anybody's judgment to judge Kurt, alive or dead. That's why people put other people on pedestals, so they don't judge themselves. Hell, I can't even judge Ted Nugent.
IE: Do you sympathize with someone like Eddie Vedder? People are always labeling him as the "next Morrison."
JB: Anyone who says that someone is the next so-and-so is either deluded or a rock critic. Eddie is a completely different animal, he'd...he's hurtful, you know? he hurts. He's not that kind of writer. I don't know, who's the next anyone? F-ck that sh-t! I wouldn't want to be the next Morrison. Jim would probably say "What're you doing? Don't be me!" Everyone's looking for the next Jesus Christ, the next Elvis, the next Lennon. It's impossible, it'll never happen, and your expectations will be completely dashed everytime. Just let people be who they are.
IE: Are you prepared for success and all it's trappings? Right now you seem to be on top of the cusp of something very special.
JB: I don't know if there's place out there for me. I know that I'm happy with the music and the performance, and that's what counts. The only bad thing about coming into this business is that I now know how things can be marketed. It's like if this person looks like a star, let's make him into one. It's just like that Brady Bunch episode where Greg is Johnny Bravo. That's exactly the way it is, except the only thing is, there are actually talented people out there. Y'know, Bill (Corgan) can actually write a f-ckin' great song, he can actually do what he does...It's a weird thing...as long as it's real.
IE: Does the thought of being famous excite you? Or does it frighten you?
JB: You don't need to own the world when you're 27. You don't need it when you're Leonard Cohen's age, at the height of your powers. Look at Tom Waits, he's still f-cking jamming! (long pause) Y'know, I'm really honored that you like my music, but it's odd. I didn't write "Anarchy in the U.K.," "Won't Get Fooled Again," or "the End." I don't know... I guess I'm just whining, that's all.
IE: You have a very distinctive singing style, especially with the high falsetto. Who influenced your singing?
JB: People like Bessie Smith, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, Deep Purple, the soundtracks to the "Wizard of Oz", "Funny Girl", and "Led Zeppelin II."
IE: Just from watching your soundcheck, you'd have to be a fool not to notice the Plant influence, especially the young Plant.
JB: That's cool, 'cause that era was when he sounded most like a woman.
IE: What Joni Mitchell record affected you the most?
JB: "Clouds" and "Court and Spark." I'd listen to them over and over again as a kid. But getting back to the current music scene, it's great that we have Pearl Jam and Alice and Chains in such an influential position. It's cool because, just think what'll come afterwards.
IE: Do you have any final words, thoughts, or comments?
JB: I love you! And thank you! Actually, if I had to say anything it'd be have fun, use a condom, and PLEASE don't listen to me as your guide.