Bill couldn't get a whole helluva lotta momentum in the American McWorld
(though he had a frequent spot on the Letterman
show and did an HBO special sponsored by Rodney Dangerfield)... One of the things that pained Hicks the most was watching his former idol
, Jay Leno, shilling Doritos to bovine America ('Crunch all ya want. we'll make more!') and becoming a corporate fuck-bag
Imagine if Homer
stopped the Odyssey
because people complained that they didn't like the iambic fomat, and preferred lines of two trochees, because it was SHORTER.
Homer told them to jump in the lake and wrote a masterpiece, and he made it as long as he wanted it to. Now, of course, rumor is that Homer was a bunch of guys, and the only stab I have at Homer is the one that goes 'D'oh!
', but you see my point. Art is not about the audience. Art is about the integrity and choices of the artist, and if said artist can live with the ramifications of what he does.
Let's recap: Bowie
plays to one of the largest venues in New York, goes onstage with someone far more popular than he at that specific moment in time, and plays to the other guy's
audience. Then he plays only demanding music that his own audience does not know
. Bowie played great and tanked. He knew he would. How could he not? And he just didn't care. He did what he wanted to do, able to withstand a stadium's worth of undeserved antipathy and indifference... More than at any other time in his career, Bowie was my hero that night. Putting himself into the mix in the exact way he wanted, hoping to be appreciated, but not depending upon it. Not having his sense of self shaken.
When I rewatch his work, these little things are the ones I'm most impressed by: he doesn't need to do them and they eat into his budget; but he stlll does them because he wants to. And it's that going above and beyond that I respect and admire.
We realised that struggling artists are meant to struggle, that's the whole point.
Actually, I was given an ultimatum — basically like a slap on the wrist, like, 'You shouldn’t have made ‘Harmonium’; you should have done everything we said.
' Meanwhile, it wasn’t supported by them, so of course I was doomed to begin with on that project. They pulled the plug on my record... So what’s the point of having an aesthetic and being an artist if you’re just some kind of puppet for a team of people that don’t necessarily know their own aesthetic? There was no other choice for me but to leave.
I think that attitude has changed since that statement, because any kind of mainstream acceptance that's going to happen is going to happen without our doing anything, and it has been that case periodically throughout our career... we find the way that Sparks
' music gets a bigger audience is when we are at our most eccentric and not concerning ourselves wondering 'Does this fit in?' or 'Is this commercial?' or 'Is this going to work on a radio platform?' kind of considerations. When it's at its most extreme is when it's at its most interesting.
Fortunately, even at 22, I thought that what mattered most was not the world’s view of me but my view of the world, and so I survived. Others did not — like [John Horne] Burns, the best of us 'war novelists.' After the press attacked his Lucifer With a Book
, Burns fled to Europe and deliberately drank himself to death
at 36. One must be very tough to endure as a writer in America. Since I’ve endured for almost a quarter century, I must be tough.
My goal was just to work regularly. I didn't ever expect to be rich or famous. I wanted to be a working character actor.
Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries.
Gordon Parks again, in his book A Choice of Weapons
—to paraphrase, he says 'One of the most important weapons that you have is your mind.' And also love, of course. So, in the sixties, when the civil rights movement
, the war
, all these things that are going on, I chose to use the things that I had been given: my mind, my voice, my heart, you see? And so theatre became a tool for me, as it still is, a tool to talk about the world. That's exactly what it is. Worth more to me than even money.
As much as you tell yourself, 'We made the film and here it is and that is enough,' you would like to come away with something.
I don't want to make responsible shows about lawyers. I want to invade people's dreams.
is my life, and I have put everything I know into this work. This is my entire life. My life itself.
Part of me said, ‘So what? You’ve got a baby. You are making a lot of money. Shut up, enjoy it; go home early; go in late; relax. You’ve had a long ten years; take a break.’ But I couldn’t. It just ate at me. It was an integrity issue. I took a lot of pride in the work. The work matters to me. I took a lot of pride in what I did on TNG
and the movies. I just couldn’t work that way.
We didn't make them for kids. We made them for ourselves.
I have several problems with licensing. First of all, I believe licensing usually cheapens the original creation. When cartoon characters appear on countless products, the public inevitably grows bored and irritated with them, and the appeal and value of the original work are diminished. Nothing dulls the edge
of a new and clever cartoon like saturating the market with it... as a practical matter, licensing requires a staff of assistants to do the work. The cartoonist must become a factory foreman, delegating responsibilities and overseeing the production of things he does not create. Some cartoonists don’t mind this, but I went into cartooning to draw cartoons, not to run a corporate empire.
The 'fine artist'—the pure
artist—says to the world: 'I didn't do this for money! I didn't do this to match the color of your couches! I didn't do this to get laid! I didn't do this for fame or power or greed or anything else! I did this for ART!' In other words: 'My art has no practical value whatsoever!
'But it's important!
Who are the great performers in the world? I tend to believe—I wanna
believe—that it's guys that have beaten their bodies up all those times, and everything else. Or, is it guys like Raven
and Hulk Hogan
and Dusty Rhodes
, guys that have managed to make a living by, really, just by doing the least
amount they can? So I think they are a whole lot better than we are.
(chuckles) I think we're the dumbasses, and they're extremely smart.
This isn't a job for me, and I'll never modify my approach to protect a bottom line. If it was just a job, I guarantee I wouldn't spend every waking hour doing it. It's kind of a strange personal mission I'm on, which I happen to make money from, and that's cool. People are welcome to come along for the ride.
It's the difference between saying 'how can I make the best work with $X' versus 'how can I make the most profitable work with $X'. Sometimes they overlap. Sometimes they don't.
I believe there's a misconception that if you put a girl or a woman on the cover, the game will sell less. I know I’ve been in discussions where we've been asked to push Ellie to the back and everyone at Naughty Dog just flat-out refused.
This is the material, by the way, that has kept me virtually anonymous in America for the past 15 years... 'Why doesn't he just hit fruit with a hammer?
' Folks, I could have done that, walked around being a millionaire and franchising myself but no, I had to have this weird thing about trying to illuminate the collective unconscious and help humanity. Fucking moron.
I still do some free stuff from time to time. I'll do some PSAs [...] and I'll put just as much if not more of myself into those than I do for the highest-paying gigs. And even anime in these days; it doesn't pay the bills, you can't survive off of it; but I love working in that environment, I love the people that I'm working with in that environment, I love the passion that people have for anime and I love the fans.