I think that pop, and to some extent rock, are like sport and fashion industry in that they're about the exuberance of youth. That's the sort of subliminal ideology.— Robert Wyatt
The most authentic Robert Wyatt quotes that will activate your inner potential
I've always liked pop music. There was a bit of a misunderstanding with the avant-garde rock scene, because I think I was sort of swimming the wrong way, really.
When I lost the use of my hi-hat and bass drum legs, I became basically a singer. I was a drummer who did a bit of singing, and then I became a singer who did a bit of percussion.
I find it hard to take rock groups very seriously or treat them with respect.
There is something absurd about these gloomy young men getting together and banging away.
I prefer the mystic clouds of nostalgia to the real thing, to be honest.
There's no field of music which doesn't have good ideas.
My heroes are people like Picasso and Miro and people who at last really reach something in their old age, which they absolutely couldn't ever have done in their youth.
What keeps me going is a constant sense of disappointment with what I've already done.
Being big and famous doesn't get you more freedom, it gets you less.
I know people who grow old and bitter.
I want to keep making a fresh start. I don't want them to defeat me. That would be suicidal.
I'm not full of malice, but I do dislike Neil Diamond a lot, and I'm sorry that I've done a Neil Diamond song.
People are quite shocked when you remind them that Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra never wrote a song that they recorded in their lives, as far as I know.
In theory, I'd like to work in a group.
But the group I'd like to work in, all the musicians in them are long since dead.
Because of my politics, people think I'm anti-American.
But I was quite the reverse. What I don't like about the United States is when the government acts like an old, imperial 18th- or 19th-century European power.
Those nations of artists, finding their own individualism, and kind of standing against the world: to me that's the ultimate nightmare. I want to get lost and diffused in the world.
This constant pressure from record companies to come up with a hit single or something like that, I find completely tiresome.
There are singers that I have enjoyed, from Nina Simone and Ray Charles onward.
But the music that made music the number one thing for me as a youth was jazz.
I really liked them, not just Syd, but all of them.
Roger was very important, I thought, his contribution. And so was Rick's organ playing. It was a good band. It became something else completely, obviously.
Love is blind. My politics has been, too. I think you can fall in love with ideas, and you can fall in love with people. It's a very subjective experience. And I'm loyal to that experience.
The things that I draw on, and the world that I feel part of, aren't particularly youth culture.
I'm just a very primitive, infantile folk singer.
People say, oh it's a shame, you're not nostalgic about the '60s.
Well actually, it's quite good, when you think of it. Wouldn't it be sad if I was sitting here wishing it back?
I don't find the business easy. The moment you start talking about the business, you start sounding like someone in Spinal Tap.
I don't do live things.
It was physically difficult, adjusting to wheelchair life, but I remember a great relief and happiness that I was finally getting somewhere, finding musicians to work with that were sympathetic.
We've all got to earn a living. And writing songs is what I do. But when I've done a record, it's not that I think it's better or worse than anyone else's, but if I think that nobody else would have done it if I hadn't, well then that's ok.
People have habits about what they think songs should be like.
There's the folky thing of: "Poor me, I'm a sensitive person in a cruel world." Or the pop thing of: "Hey, look at me, I'm sexy."
I can't imagine my life without the extraordinary bebop jazz revolution in New York in late '40s and '50s.
I find writing songs hard, because it does not come naturally to me.
I never set out to be a songwriter or a singer.
I think the people who did well, or are happy, in a youth industry, they define themselves out of the business after a decade or so.
The most effective instruments do have a vocal quality.
I'm not a soldier for anything, either.
I'm only a singer and I don't think it makes a difference what we sing.
The United States is a country where everybody can start again.
I don't know how many thoughts we have a second, but it's quite an amazing number, and just to pin down the appropriate sequence of those, all you really need is a pencil and a piece of paper.
It just doesn't mean anything to me, the high-profile, big money side of things.
I just want enough to live on, and to be able to get on with what I do, and hang around my friends.
On the whole, I tend not to listen to my peers.
The cultural mix that's happened in the United States is wonderful! Funny enough, one of the most wonderful things about it is that there is no American race.
I have never felt in tune with the whole rock industry.
I play music a lot but on my own mostly, so it was nice to be around other people. There was a certain sense a relief in the physical act of just playing and being with other musicians.
Even if you're specific about the character of the song, it's more exciting to place them, juxtapose them in such a way as to make an adventure out of the sequence of the songs.
Drinking was a big help with me making music, because drinking gives you courage. But it also makes you reckless, and that's the trouble.
I get slightly irritated by people who say they're natural rebels because it just means that they're going to be against whatever anybody does, which is almost like saying you might as well leave it as it is.
The missing links in my life's work, no less!
What hurts people a lot is taking humiliation.
Because I'm associated with an avant-garde sensibility, people think I'm looking down on popular culture, but I don't want to be part of a new elitism.
I do think there are deep structural things that are wrong in the world.
What I like about popular culture is its accessibility, and I've covered popular songs because they are amazing things.
I looked at what adults were doing and how they wanted to earn money, and I really didn't want to do that. I wanted to go away.
There are people I would like to work with.
It's a bit harder, because I live out in the sticks anyway, and plus being in a wheelchair means that I can't really circulate. So I tend to stick to my own thing.
The gap between rich and poor is, in fact, widening enormously.
This idea of building up the powers of people who are already powerful and keeping everyone else back is a recipe for endless misery and conflict.