The older I get, the better I was.

— Van Dyke Parks

The most passioned Van Dyke Parks quotes to discover and learn by heart

I think that smoking is a very good thing to do - it's got the association with the Indians; it's a peaceable thing. But like much else that the Indians gave us, we abused the privilege. And so, in my case I must simply stop. I'm too old to smoke. But I do believe that nicotine provides a great creative thrust.

5

You know, any sane magician would never reveal his method of deception.

And I don't think that a sensible musician would either.

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Eclectic is a word that appears almost as much as the word smarmy in rock journalism and I've come to the fact, just as a personal side, this reminds of Oscar Wilde's insight that criticism is the highest form of autobiography. I think that's exactly what rock journalism has attempted to do, to celebrate its autobiography at my expense.

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I don't want to give too much lugubrious thought to the gravitas of a coherent album. I don't want to develop a life of slavery to a large topic. I want to throw out some singles and that's what I'm doing, and they're not to be done in any other way.

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To make a collaboration succeed there can be no visible contusions or abrasions.

For the collaboration to succeed, the relationship must be nourished and survive. That is absolutely essential for a collaboration to succeed.

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I notice that so many of my peers, aging ingénues, rock stars, are moving along in life into their wrinkles with an adoring audience that's aging as well, and the plain truth is that I wasn't condemned by that because I've never had to be somebody to do something. I don't have a five year-plan. I just hope the phone will ring and it will bring an opportunity to dominate my life.

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Well, to me, the tensile strength and the very definition of an artist is something that I would place at the top of a vertical hierarchy. To be an artist is to suffer and to lead a life without shelter. It takes a great amount of daring-do, self reinvention, imagination, familial loyalty, sacrifice, economic uncertainty, and the right to be wrong, the right to fail in order to achieve something of noticeable value.

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By doing what I do, by just staying, pardon me, true to myself and maintaining my maverick position, unbranded, unbought in a corporate sense, I've managed to migrate to and participate in the work of people far younger than my own children. This astounds me. It makes me feel all at once, beyond retirement age, as a player in the present tense. I'm a lucky guy.

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