Overheard with Evan Smith

S3 E4 | FULL EPISODE

Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is an experimental musician, composer, performance artist and artist whose embrace of technology has been a defining aspect of her extraordinary career.

AIRED: October 24, 2012 | 0:26:46
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>> FUNDING FOR OVERHEARD

WITH EVAN SMITH IS PROVIDED

IN PART BY THE MATTSON

MCHALE FOUNDATION IN

SUPPORT OF PUBLIC

TELEVISION.

ALSO BY MFI FOUNDATION,

IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF

LIFE WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND FROM THE TEXAS BOARD OF

LEGAL SPECIALIZATION, BOARD

CERTIFIED ATTORNEYS IN YOUR

COMMUNITY.

EXPERIENCED, RESPECTED, AND

TESTED.

ALSO, BY HILLCO PARTNERS,

TEXAS GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

CONSERVANCY AND HILLCO

HEALTH, ITS GLOBAL HEALTH

CARE CONSULTING BUSINESS UNIT.

AND BY AND THE ALICE KLEBERG

REYNOLDS FOUNDATION AND

VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

THANK YOU.

>> I'M EVAN SMITH, SHE'S AN

EXPERIMENTAL MUSICIAN,

COMPOSER, PERFORMANCE ARTIST

AND ARTIST WHOSE EMBRACE OF

TECHNOLOGY HAS BEEN A

DEFINING ASPECT OF HER

EXTRAORDINARY CAREER.

SHE'S LAURIE ANDERSON.

THIS IS OVERHEARD.

LAURIE ANDERSON, WELCOME.

>> THANK YOU.

>> VERY NICE TO MEET YOU,

VERY NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE,

APPRECIATE IT.

DOES THAT WORD EXPERIMENTAL

BOTHER YOU?

YOU'VE BEEN DESCRIBED THAT

WAY FOR SO LONG, PROBABLY NO

LONGER MAKES NOTICE, YOU

PROBABLY NEVER THINK ABOUT

IT.

I WONDER IF IT PEGS YOU IN

SOME WAY THAT YOU DON'T WANT

TO BE PEGGED.

>> I DON'T MIND BEING

PEGGED.

REMINDS ME OF BEAKERS.

>> SCIENCE.

>> WHOOPS, YEAH, THAT'S

FINE.

>> WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT IT

MEANS IN A VERY LITERAL

SENSE FOR YOUR WORK?

IF IT'S AN APPROPRIATE WAY

TO DESCRIBE YOU, WHAT DO YOU

THINK IT MEANS?

>> YOU WON'T HEAR IT ON THE

RADIO.

>> YEP.

>> YOU ARE SORT OF AN

ITINERANT PERSON, WHICH I

CAN REALLY RELATE TO.

I REALLY LIKE GOING TO

PLACES THAT -- THAT ARE A

LITTLE BIT OFF THE MAIN

PATH.

SO THAT -- THAT SUITS ME

REALLY WELL.

>> CREATIVELY YOU'RE WILLING

TO TAKE CHANCES, DO THINGS

THAT INTEREST YOU, WITHOUT

REGARD TO SELLING RECORDS OR

BEING COMMERCIAL, IT'S JUST

ABOUT THE ART.

>> WELL, I'M KIND OF

PRACTICAL, I DON'T MIND

SELLING TICKETS OR RECORDS,

I REALLY DON'T.

I'M NOT LIKE WHOA.

>> NOT SELLOUT, I DON'T WANT

TO DO THAT.

>> MY DAD WAS A SALESMAN, SO

I'M FINE WITH THAT.

>> YEAH.

HOW DO YOU SELF DEFINE?

I TICKED ON OFF A LOT OF

THINGS, I SAID PERFORMANCE

ARTIST, COMPOSER, MUSICIAN,

I WAS REMINDED OR LEARNED, I

DON'T KNOW WHICH THAT YOU

HAVE AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE

IN ART HISTORY, YOU HAVE A

MASTER'S DEGREE IN

SCULPTURE, YOU ACTUALLY WERE

AN ARTIST.

HOW DO YOU SELF DEFINE WHEN

YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?

>> WELL, MY PASSPORT JUST

SAYS ARTIST.

>> IT'S ALL ENCOMPASSING.

>> YEAH, I THINK THAT IT'S

[INDISCERNIBLE]

>> RIGHT.

>> AND THE ARTIST HISTORY

STUFF I HAD EVEN FORGOTTEN

ABOUT.

[LAUGHTER].

>> YEAH.

SOUNDED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT

THE TIME, DIDN'T IT?

>> NO, I WAS A TERRIBLE,

TERRIBLE ART HISTORIAN.

I TAUGHT EGYPTIAN

ARCHITECTURE AND SYRIAN

SCULPTURE, BUT I WASN'T, YOU

KNOW, KEEPING UP WITH THE

JOURNALS.

SO I WOULD -- THERE WOULD BE

SLIDES, I WOULD LOOK AT THEM

AND GO I CAN'T REMEMBER A

SINGLE THING ABOUT THIS.

[LAUGHTER].

SO I WOULD JUST MAKE THINGS

UP.

[LAUGHTER].

AND STUDENTS WOULD WRITE IT

DOWN AND I WOULD TEST THEM

ON IT.

>> ASSERTION IS TRUTH,

THAT'S HOW IT GOES, RIGHT?

MUCH BETTER THAT WAY, MORE

INTERESTING, I THINK.

>> HISTORY IS STORIES.

YOU KNOW?

AND SO I REALLY ENJOY

THINKING OF DIFFERENT WAYS

THINGS COULD HAVE GONE OR

PERHAPS ARE GOING AT THE

MOMENT.

>> YEAH.

>> BUT THAT'S WHAT'S SO

INTERESTING TO ME ABOUT THE

ELECTIONS NOW IS THAT YOU

PRETTY MUCH THE CANDIDATES

ARE DOING WHAT I'M DOING.

DOING STORIES.

BECAUSE THAT'S THE THREAD

THAT CONNECTS ALL OF THIS

STUFF.

AND THEY TELL STORIES ABOUT

HOW THEY SEE THE PAST, WHAT

THEY THINK THE FUTURE IS.

AND YOU VOTE FOR THE PERSON

WHOSE STORY YOU LIKE THE

BEST.

>> RIGHT.

>> AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS.

AND SO TELLING A GOOD STORY,

ONE THAT TRIES TO -- YOU

KNOW, REFLECT THINGS KIND OF

AS THEY ARE, NOT AS THE WAY

YOU THINK THEY SHOULD BE OR

COULD BE, BUT REALLY TRY TO

MAKE AN EFFORT IN A

JOURNALISTIC WAY TO DO THAT

I THINK IS A GREAT ART WORK.

>> OF COURSE, WHEN YOU LOOK

AT THE YOU TELL STORIES OR I

DO LISTEN TO THEM, I MIGHT

HAVE MORE FAITH OF WHAT I'M

HEARING IS TRUE.

IS THAT A MISTAKE, ACTUALLY?

MAYBE I SHOULD SAY IT THE

OTHER WAY.

I HAVE LESS FAITH GOING INTO

IT THAT THEIR STORIES ARE

ACTUALLY TRUE.

I WONDER HOW YOU GOT TO BE

THIS PERSON.

WHAT WAS IT ABOUT YOUR

UPBRINGING THAT MADE YOU

THINK IF YOU DID THINK I

WOULD LIKE TO DO ART?

>> I WAS ONE OF EIGHT KIDS.

SO I WAS NUMBER TWO OF

EIGHT.

SO MY JOB WAS KIND OF TO

TAKE CARE OF A LOT OF

PEOPLE.

AND TO ENTERTAIN THEM.

SO THAT'S WHERE THE STORIES

CAME IN.

AND --

>> REALLY?

>> YEAH.

AND I HAD LOTS OF DIFFERENT

SETS OF STORIES FOR

DIFFERENT KIDS.

SO IT WAS REALLY FUN.

>> HAD ANYBODY IN YOUR

FAMILY DONE PERFORMANCE IN

ANY WAY?

>> UM ... I THINK THAT --

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT --

ABOUT THAT FAMILY WAS THAT

IT DIDN'T REALLY KIND OF

MATTER WHAT YOU DID.

I MEAN, FOR EXAMPLE, MY

FATHER WOULD JUST SAY "OH,

IT'S "-- "I DON'T CARE WHAT

YOU DO AT ALL IN YOUR LIFE.

AND YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO

EVER DECIDE.

BUT I KNOW THAT WHATEVER YOU

DO, LET'S SAY YOU'RE GOING

TO BE A CASHIER, I BET

YOU'RE GOING TO BE THE BEST

CASHIER EVER."

HE WAS A LOVELY, LOVELY GUY.

>> YEAH.

>> AND ALTHOUGH NOT THE

AUTHORITARIAN IN THE PAIR.

WHICH IS HOW I GOT MY IDEA

ABOUT WHO MEN WERE.

>> EXPLAIN.

>> WELL, IT WAS ALWAYS THE

WOMEN, TEACHERS AND MOMS WHO

WERE LIKE READ THIS BOOK,

EAT THE DINNER.

YOU KNOW, LIKE SORT OF TYPE

A STUFF.

MY FATHER ON THE OTHER HAND

WAS REALLY -- HE WAS VERY

LIGHTHEARTED, LOVELY PERSON.

WHO WOULD DO LITTLE DANCES

AND TELL STORIES AND GO

"LET'S GO OUT FOR ICE

CREAM."

SO I THOUGHT MEN ARE THE

MOST CHARMING, CAREFREE

PEOPLE.

[LAUGHTER].

SO NICE AND -- AND THE WOMEN

ARE LIKE -- YOU KNOW, THE --

SO THIS WAS -- I NEVER

REALLY GOT OVER THAT.

>> YEAH.

>> YOU KNOW?

I ALWAYS --

>> PERCEPTION, EVEN WHEN YOU

MET ACTUAL MEN WHO WERE NOT

NICE, RIGHT?

>> THERE'S SOMETHING NICE

ABOUT ALMOST EVERYBODY IN

THE WORLD I WOULD SAY,

WOULDN'T YOU?

>> THAT'S A DIFFERENT SHOW I

THINK.

[LAUGHTER].

THAT'S A LONGER

CONVERSATION.

REFERENCE THE FACT THAT YOU

HAD STUDIED ART IN COLLEGE

AND GRADUATE SCHOOL.

BUT AT SOME POINT YOU WENT

FROM MAKING ART OF THAT SORT

TO DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING

NOW.

WHAT WOULD THE EARLIEST

THINGS THAT YOU CAN RECALL

ABOUT YOUR MOVE INTO

PERFORMANCE?

>> WELL, LIKE A LOT OF YOUNG

ARTISTS, I DIDN'T REALLY

KNOW.

>> YEAH.

>> WHAT I WANTED TO DO.

SO I TRIED OUT A LOT OF

DIFFERENT THINGS.

SO I WAS DOING LITTLE

PERFORMANCES.

>> YEP.

>> WITH -- FILM AND

ELECTRONICS AND STUFF THAT I

WAS MAKING UP.

AND I WOULD SHOW THEM IN

FILM FESTIVALS IN NEW YORK.

BY FILM FESTIVALS, I MEAN

LIKE EIGHT PEOPLE IN A LOT

OF.

>> YEAH.

>> WE ARE ALL LOOKING AT

EACH OTHER'S MOVIES.

I THOUGHT WHAT IF I COULD DO

SOMETHING FOR MORE THAN

EIGHT PEOPLE OR LIKE MAYBE

BIGGER, WHAT WOULD THAT BE.

>> YEAH.

>> SO I THOUGHT OKAY, I

WROTE TO ABOUT 500 ART

CENTERS IN EUROPE AND I SAID

I'M PLANNING A FALL TOUR AND

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE PART OF

THIS?

I MEAN --

>> JUST SAID I'M DOING THIS.

>> I HAD NO FALL TOUR.

I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO DO A

FALL TOUR OR A SPRING TOUR.

ANY TOUR, I DIDN'T HAVE ANY

IDEA.

BUT I GOT ABOUT FIVE ANSWERS

OUT OF THOSE HUNDREDS AND

WENT OFF ON A TOUR.

>> YEP.

>> AND DID THINGS IN OTHER

LANGUAGES AND KIND OF

INVENTED A STYLE OF WHAT --

WHAT WOULD BE CALLED LET'S

SAY MULTI-MEDIA.

>> BACK THEN IT WAS PROBABLY

SIGNIFICANT THAT YOU WERE

WORKING IN DIFFERENT MEDIA

AND THE FACT IS BACK THEN IT

WAS SIGNIFICANT THAT YOU

WERE WORKING WITH

TECHNOLOGY, WITH --

>> YEAH.

MEDIA MEANT ELECTRONICS.

>> THE THING THAT I THINK IS

SO INTERESTING IS THAT YOU

WERE A TECHNOPHILE BEFORE IT

WAS COOL TO BE A

TECHNOPHILE.

BACK IN THOSE DAYS WHEN YOU

BEGAN TO INCORPORATE

TECHNOLOGY AND OTHER THINGS

INTO YOUR PERFORMANCE, IT

WAS NOT SOMETHING THAT

EVERYBODY DID.

>> NO, BUT IT WAS CONSIDERED

VERY COOL BY A VERY SMALL

GROUP OF PEOPLE.

>>> VERY SMALL GROUP OF

PEOPLE.

[LAUGHTER].

>> MAY I SAY YOU DID IT

BEFORE IT WAS MASS.

>> OKAY.

>> WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED

IN ELECTRONICS AND

TECHNOLOGY, WHAT MADE YOU

THINK THAT WAS A GOOD ROUTE

TO GO.

>> I THINK THE SPEED OF IT

THAT I REALLY LIKED THAT YOU

COULD MAKE THINGS WORK

REALLY FAST, SO IT WAS KIND

OF LIKE THINKING, YOU COULD

JUMP VERY QUICKLY FROM HERE

TO THERE WITHOUT GOING

THROUGH A LOT OF THINGS.

SO THE CIRCUITRY WAS

APPEALING.

ALSO I LIVED ON AN

ELECTRONIC JUNK STREET,

CANAL STREET IN NEW YORK.

SO A LOT OF OLD STUFF, YOU

WOULD TRY TO FIX IT AND MAKE

IT DO SOMETHING THAT IT

WASN'T MADE TO DO.

>> IN FACT OVER TIME YOU

INVENTED A LOT OF THINGS

THAT BECAME PART OF YOUR

PERFORMANCES.

YOU KNOW --

>> YEAH.

>> FAMOUS TAPE-BOW VIOLIN

AND TALKING STICK.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT,

DEVELOPING THESE THINGS AND

INCORPORATING THEM INTO YOUR

WORK.

I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE

ASSOCIATE THAT WITH YOU.

>> WELL, THE TALKING STICK I

DID A -- SOMETHING CALLED

SONGS AND STORIES FROM MOBY

DICK.

AND IT WAS -- I GUESS I FELL

IN LOVE WITH MELVILLE.

THE TALKING STICK WAS A WAY

TO GIVE MUSICIANS SOMETHING

VERY PHYSICAL TO DO.

BECAUSE I LOVE THE PHYSICAL

INSTRUMENTS, YOU KNOW. THE

ONES, KEYBOARDS AND LAPTOP

THINGS, IT'S PRETTY DREADFUL

TO WATCH, SIT THERE WATCHING

PEOPLE PLAY THAT STUFF, YOU

KNOW. YOU ARE WATCHING

SOMEBODY PLAY KEYBOARDS,

IT'S KIND OF LIKE WATCHING

SOMEBODY IRON, YOU KNOW.

[LAUGHTER].

IT'S LIKE THAT -- YOU KNOW,

SO WHEN YOU THROW YOUR WHOLE

BODY INTO SOMETHING, THE

SAXOPHONE OR THE VIOLIN, YOU

KNOW, IT BECOMES A REALLY

PHYSICAL EXPRESSION OF THE

PERSON AND I THINK THAT'S

WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR IN

THIS CASE.

>> YEAH.

>> SO I MADE THIS THING

CALLED THE TALKING STICK, A

REALLY LONG HARPOON TYPE OF

THING, SO YOU COULD REALLY

PLAY IT LIKE IT HAD SOME

SLIDERS ON IT, SOME BUTTONS,

ACCESS TO A LOT OF DIFFERENT

KINDS OF VOICES SOMETIMES,

SOUNDS OF THE OCEAN,

DIFFERENT SORTS OF THINGS.

AND ACTUALLY THE MUSEUM OF

SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY IN

CHICAGO A FEW YEARS AGO

ASKED ME TO GIVE THEM THE

INSTRUMENT.

SO I SAID GREAT, HERE THEY

ARE.

AND THEN I SENT THEM AND IT

HAPPENED TO BE ON THE DAY

WHEN GEORGE BUSH WAS GIVING

A TALK AT THE MUSEUM.

>> YEAH.

>> AND ALL OF THE FED-EX

PACKAGES WERE -- WERE

IMPOUNDED.

AND ESPECIALLY THINGS THAT

LOOKED -- MY STUFF WAS, YOU

KNOW, HOMEMADE SWITCHES AND

WIRES AND --

[LAUGHTER].

>> BATTERIES.

>> I'M SURE IT'S NOTHING.

[LAUGHTER].

>> YEAH.

AND I'VE NEVER SEEN THAT

STICK SINCE.

>> IS THAT RIGHT?!!

A CASUALTY OF THE WAR ON

TERROR.

>> THEY TOOK MY STICK.

I WAS ALWAYS HOPING IN

BUSH'S FAREWELL SPEECH HE

WOULD WHIP OUT THAT STICK

AND SAY -- IT'S GOING TO BE

A GREAT MUSIC FESTIVAL

SOMEWHERE BY THE F.B.I. --

>> I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU NEVER

GOT IT BACK.

>> NO.

I NEVER GOT THAT BACK.

THEY SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO

TAKE YOUR STICK.

[LAUGHTER].

>> THAT -- THAT APPLIES IN A

LOT OF WAYS, ACTUALLY.

YOU CAN APPLY THAT TO SO

MANY THINGS.

DID YOU MAKE ANOTHER, DO YOU

HAVE ANOTHER?

THERE WERE OTHERS, THEY ARE

UPDATED BUT THAT WAS MY

FAVORITE ONE.

>> YOUR FAVORITE STICK,

GONE, A CASUALTY OF HISTORY.

>> YEAH.

>> WHAT ABOUT THE TAPE-BOW

VIOLIN, TALK ABOUT THE

VIOLIN; THAT INTERESTS ME A

LOT.

>> WELL, THE VIOLIN THAT WAS

AN INSTRUMENT THAT I CAME

OUT OF JUST PLAYING SO THAT

I WAS -- SO THAT I WAS

PLAYING AND THEN HITTING THE

TAPE RECORDER AND THEN

QUEUING UP TO THE NEXT -- TO

THE LAST PLACE SO I COULD

PUNCH INTO THE LAST THING,

THE OLD DAYS OF TAPE

RECORDINGS.

SO ROCKING THE WHEELS,

PLAYING THE BOW, ROCKING,

PLAYING, I THOUGHT THAT WAS

A LOT LIKE BOWING.

MAYBE I SHOULD CONSOLIDATE

THAT.

SO I PUT THE -- TOOK OFF THE

TAPE HEAD.

>> YEAH.

>> ON THE PLAYER AND PUT IT

ON THE BRIDGE OF THE

INSTRUMENT AND THEN THERE

WAS A STRIP OF RECORDED

AUDIO TAPE ON THE BOWS THAT

YOU CAN PLAY PALINDROMES OR

EVENTUALLY I HAD WHOLE

ORCHESTRAS DOING THINGS WITH

RAIN AND VOICES AND SOUNDS.

>> YEAH.

>> NOW WHEN YOU MEET PEOPLE

WHO HAVE TRAINED THEIR WHOLE

LIFE TO PLAY STRINGED

INSTRUMENTS, THEY ARE REALLY

NOT SO HOT TO TRY A THING

LIKE THAT.

THEY ARE LIKE GAWWW, YOU

HAVE TO SAY LIKE LISTEN WE

REALLY WANT TO PLAY YOUR

GIMMICKY THING.

I SAID -- THE THING ABOUT

STRING PLAYERS, ALL OF THE

CHOPS, EXPRESSIVE IN THE

RIGHT HAND, THE PRECISION IN

THE LEFT HAND, BUT THE REAL

FEELING AND THE -- HOW THE

NOTES GET SHAPED IS IN THE

RIGHT HAND.

SO I SAID YOU KNOW YOU HAVE

SUPER -- YOU HAVE BEAUTIFUL

RIGHT HANDS THAT ARE REALLY

WELL TRAINED.

IT'S REALLY HARD TO DRAW

TAPE IN THE RIGHT WAY OVER A

HEAD AND BACK AND PLAY

MUSIC, GET MUSIC TO COME OUT

OF IT.

JUST TRY IT.

AND SO AS SOON AS THEY SAW

IT WAS REALLY HARD, THEY

LIKED -- YOU LIKE TO USE

WHAT YOU'VE GOT, YOU KNOW,

AND NOT JUST BE PART OF

SOMEBODY'S SILLY EXPERIMENT.

SO IT WAS REALLY -- IT WAS

VERY BEAUTIFUL HEARING THESE

GIANT THUNDERSTORMS.

THE ONLY -- I -- THAT JUST

REMINDED ME OF ANOTHER THING

BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF

DOGS IN THAT.

AND I JUST DID A CONCERT FOR

DOGS.

>> YOU DID A CONCERT FOR

DOGS?

>> I DID.

>> DOGS IN THE AUDIENCE?

>> YES.

>> YES.

>> AND IT HAPPENED BECAUSE I

WAS BACK STAGE, I WAS

SUPPOSED TO GIVE A -- A

COMMENCEMENT SPEECH FOR

ARTISTS, AND I WAS FEELING

KIND OF GUILTY BECAUSE IT'S

HARD TO SAY TO ARTISTS, YOU

KNOW, THAT STUDENT LOAN YOU

HAVE, IT WILL BE SO EASY TO

JUST GET RID OF IT, DON'T

WORRY ABOUT IT.

YOU KNOW, PLENTY OF JOBS FOR

ARTISTS IN THE UNITED

STATES.

[LAUGHTER].

>> YOU KNOW, FEELING LIKE

HOW AM I GOING TO SAY, WHAT

AM I GOING TO SAY TO THE

YOUNG ARTISTS.

>> YEAH.

>> YO-YO MA IS ALSO THERE,

HE'S GETTING AN HONORARY

DEGREE, ALSO MAKING A

SPEECH.

I SAID, YOU KNOW, I HAVE

THIS FANTASY, I'M DOING A

CONCERT, I LOOK OUT AND THE

WHOLE AUDIENCE IS DOGS.

HE SAID THAT'S MY FANTASY,

TOO.

>> YO-YO MA SAID THAT.

>> SO I SAID WHOEVER GETS

THE CHANCE TO DO THAT FIRST

INVITES THE OTHER.

SO I GOT THE CHANCE TO BE

THE DIRECTOR OF A BIG

FESTIVAL IN SYDNEY,

AUSTRALIA.

SO I GOT TO INVITE ALL OF MY

FAVORITE PEOPLE AND ALSO

SOME THEATER THINGS AND THEN

I ALSO SAID TO THE

PRODUCERS, "AND WE'LL ALSO

DO A CONCERT FOR DOGS."

AND THEY DIDN'T SAY "CONCERT

FOR DOGS?"

THEY SAID, "CONCERT FOR

DOGS," WROTE IT DOWN.

[LAUGHTER].

>> JUST PUT IT DOWN.

ANYTHING IN THAT LIST,

THAT'S FINE, HOW GREAT.

>> SO IT WAS THE MOST

WONDERFUL SHOW EVER.

BECAUSE WE THOUGHT ONLY A

COUPLE HUNDRED DOGS WOULD

SHOW UP.

THOUSANDS.

[LAUGHTER].

>> NOW, I ASSUME IT WAS A

FREE SHOW, YOU DIDN'T MAKE

THE DOGS BUY TICKETS.

>> NOPE.

BUT THEY DID HAVE TO HAVE

THEIR PERSON BRING THEM.

WE HAD THREE ENORMOUS AREAS

SET UP FOR LITTLE MEDIUM,

AND BIG, BUT THERE WERE WAY

TOO MANY, SO THEY WERE ALL

OUTSIDE ON THE STEPS OF THE

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, LIKE

MILLIONS OF THEM, THE

CONCERT STARTED WITH -- IT

WAS A SHORT CONCERT, 20

MINUTES.

>> WELL, DOGS DO HAVE AN

ATTENTION SPAN PROBLEM.

>> YEAH, THEY DO.

AND IT STARTED WITH A KIND

OF INVOCATION FOR WHALES

BECAUSE WE WERE RIGHT ON THE

HARBOR AND ALL OF THESE

WHALES ARE LIKE -- AND THEN

BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, I WANTED

ANIMALS TO SING, TO FIND

EACH OF THE WHALES IN THE

OCEAN OR DOGS, LIKE THEIR

G.P.S. SYSTEM, I'M HERE, I'M

OVER THERE, YOU ARE THERE,

YOU KNOW, TO MAKE KIND OF

MAP OUT THE TERRITORY.

SO WE BEGAN WITH THAT AND

THEN -- THEN THERE WAS SO

MANY ROCKER DOGS THERE.

IT WAS AMAZING.

THERE WERE DOGS WHO WANTED

TO ROCK!

[LAUGHTER].

AND MY FAVORITES WERE THE

DROOLERS IN THE FRONT ROW,

THEY WERE JUST LIKE --

[LAUGHTER].

>> IT'S JUST LIKE A REGULAR

SHOW, RIGHT?

THERE ARE HUMAN DROOLERS

PROBABLY IN THE FRONT ROW,

TOO, RIGHT?

>> BUT IT WAS THE MOST

EXQUISITELY PREPARED

AUDIENCE BECAUSE THE LAST

WEEK THE OWNERS HAVE BEEN

SAYING, "WE'RE GOING TO A

SHOW JUST FOR YOU AND YOU'RE

GOING TO LOVE IT!"

BUT THE TIME THEY GOT THERE,

THEIR TAILS ARE LIKE YES,

YES, I'M SO EXCITED!

SO IT WAS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL

SOUND BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL

REALLY WELL BEHAVED NO

FIGHTS.

SO AT THE END I SAID LET'S

HAVE ALL OF THE SMALL DOGS

START BARKING.

SO [BARKING]--

ALL OF THE MEDIUM [BARKING],

BIG ONES [BARKING].

THE SOUNDS OF THOUSANDS OF

DOGS DOING THIS JUST FOR THE

HELL OF IT WAS THE GREATEST

SOUND.

IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL, IT WAS

PURE JOY.

>> I CAN'T HELP BUT THINK

THAT YOU ARE PRANKING ME

HERE.

[LAUGHTER].

I'LL HAVE TO --

>> GOOGLE IT.

>> I WILL GOOGLE IT.

AND YO-YO MA ALSO PLAYED FOR

THE DOGS.

>> NO, HE COULDN'T MAKE IT.

>> HE COULDN'T MAKE IT.

>> HE OWES YOU.

YOU ARE TOURING RIGHT NOW

WITH A PERFORMANCE.

WOULD YOU TALK ABOUT IT, I

WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND IF

THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO

COME SEE YOU, WHAT YOU ARE

DOING AND WHY.

>> IT'S CALLED DIRT DAY

EXCLAMATION POINT, I'M NEVER

USED AN EXCLAMATION POINT IN

A TITLE.

YOU USE THEM ALL OF THE TIME

IN EMAIL LIKE HI!

EVERYTHING IS LIKE REALLY

IMPORTANT!

ANYWAY, DIRT DAY IS -- BEGAN

JUST GOING TO BE WALL TO

WALL MUSIC AND THEN LITTLE

LYRICS STARTED CREEPING IN,

WORDS AND THEN STORIES, NOW

IT'S A LONG STORY, COVERING

A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS.

IDEAS ABOUT EVOLUTION.

POLITICS.

ECONOMICS.

DOGS.

DREAMS.

DIFFERENT KINDS OF THEORIES.

AND IT JUST IS SHIFTING

AROUND.

ALMOST THE WAY, YOU KNOW,

YOUR MIND JUMP CUTS FROM

HERE TO THERE.

AND AGAIN BACK TO MELVILLE

FOR A SECOND, BECAUSE I WAS

JUST THINKING OF HOW I

STARTED WITH THAT KIND OF

STORY TELLING WAS HE'S THE

MASTER OF THE JUMP CUT.

THE BOOK ITSELF IS AS -- THE

STRUCTURE OF IT IS SO

BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE HERE YOU

HAVE THIS GUY, YOU KNOW, THE

STORY STARTS -- THIS GUY WHO

WOULD LIKE TO GO TO SEA AND

SO WELL WHAT WOULD I DO IF I

WANTED -- IF I WENT TO SEA,

I GUESS THAT I COULD BE A

CAPTAIN, BUT I REALLY DON'T

LIKE BOSSING PEOPLE AROUND.

MAYBE FIRST MATE, BUT I

DON'T LIKE REALLY THE

SWABBING.

I KNOW.

I COULD BE THE COOK.

BECAUSE WHO DOESN'T LIKE A

ROAST CHICKEN?

THE EGYPTIANS LIKED ROAST

CHICKEN, TOO, YOU CAN TELL

BY THEIR -- THE MUMMIES OF

THEIR ROASTED CHICKENS AND

ROASTED RIVER

[INDISCERNIBLE] AND IBIS

THAT THEY KEEP IN THEIR

GIANT BAKE HOUSE, THE

PYRAMIDS.

WE ARE ON PAGE 3, YOU KNOW.

[LAUGHTER].

SO I THOUGHT LIKE HOW DID HE

GET THERE FROM NEW BEDFORD

TO ANCIENT CAIRO?

SO THIS IS A WONDERFUL KIND

OF STORY TELLING.

>> IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE

WORK YOU ARE DOING RIGHT

NOW, THE STUFF TOURING WITH

DIRT DAYS AND STUFF THAT YOU

DO GENERALLY COMBINES THE

ABSTRACT AND VERY MUCH HERE

AND NOW.

A LOT OF ELEMENTS OF WHAT'S

GOING ON IN THE WORLD RIGHT

NOW.

YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY A

VORACIOUS READER, YOU

MENTIONED TO ME THE TOURING

THAT YOU DO, I ASKED YOU HOW

YOU MANAGED TO SURVIVE ALL

OF THOSE TRAVEL DAYS AND ALL

OF THOSE MILES AND YOU SAID

I READ.

>> YEAH.

>> YOU PRETTY MUCH SPEND ALL

OF YOUR TIME READING.

>> ON THE PLANE, YEAH.

>> YEAH.

>> SO THIS TOUR, IT'S A

LITTLE SHORT TWO-WEEK THING.

IT STARTED OUT IN VILNIUS,

LITHUANIA, THEN -- SO THERE

I WAS READING AN INCREDIBLE

BOOK, REALLY LIKE TO

RECOMMEND MY STRUGGLE BY

KARL KNAUSGAARD, REALLY OUR

PROUST, A REALLY

UNBELIEVABLE BOOK.

HE LIVES IN SWEDEN, ALSO,

THAT WAS MY NEXT GIG.

I HAD FINISHED THAT BY THEN.

THEN I HAD THE LEG OF

STOCKHOLM TO PORTLAND AND

THEN TO BERKELEY, SO I READ

TELEGRAPH AVENUE, WHICH IS

ALSO A LOVELY NEW BOOK BY

MICHAEL CHABON.

>> UH-HUH.

>> AND --

>> SO IT'S A REAL RANGE OF

STUFF.

>> BUT I'M JUST TRYING TO

KIND OF THINK OF WHERE I AM

VERSUS THE MYTHS OF THE

PLACE.

>> UH-HUH.

>> SO IT'S -- WHAT'S --

WHAT'S THE BEST MYTHICAL

BOOK ABOUT AUSTIN, WOULD YOU

SAY?

>> WELL --

>> OR COULD BE TEXAS IN

GENERAL, WOULD YOU SAY.

>> THE GAY PLACE BY BILLY

LEE BRAMMER WOULD BE ONE

THAT I WOULD SAY, BUT I

THINK OTHER PEOPLE WOULD

HAVE DIFFERENT ANSWERS, BUT

THE FACT IS THAT PEOPLE

ENGAGE THAT QUESTION

INTELLECTUALLY.

YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY ENGAGING

MANY QUESTIONS

INTELLECTUALLY.

THE STUFF YOU ARE READ BEING

SUGGESTS A REAL CURIOUS

COMMUNITY, YOU HAVEN'T GIVEN

UP ON LITERATURE, CURRENTS

EVENTS -- THEY INFORM YOUR

WORK.

>> I LOVE BOOKS, I'M GOING

TO A BOOK STORE AS SOON AS

WE'RE DONE, GET THE A PLACE.

>> CAN I ASK YOU A PERSONAL

QUESTION HOW IS YOUR

HUSBAND.

>> HE'S DOING WELL.

>> FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T

KNOW, YOU ARE MARRIED TO LOU

REED THE GREAT MUSICIAN.

HOW DOES THAT WORK, THE TWO

OF YOU ARE SUCH

EXTRAORDINARY PERSONALTIES

AND PERFORMERS, TO THE

DEGREE THAT YOU ARE WILLING

TO LET US IN.

>> WHAT DEGREE DO YOU THINK

THAT WOULD BE?

>> THAT MUCH.

[LAUGHTER].

>> HOW ABOUT THAT MUCH.

WHAT'S THAT LIKE?

>> WELL, IT'S KIND OF LIKE I

ALWAYS SAY TWO LAWYERS BEING

MARRIED.

YOU KNOW, YOU -- BECAUSE

YOU -- YOU KNOW WHAT THE

OTHER PERSON HAS TO DO AND

BE AND SAY AND, YOU KNOW,

IT'S NOT OUTRAGEOUS WHEN

SOMEBODY SAYS, YOU KNOW, I'M

GOING TO BE AT THE STUDIO

UNTIL 4 THIS MORNING.

>> YEAH.

>> AND THE OTHER PERSON

DOESN'T GO WHAT?!!

>> YEAH.

>> THEY GO --

>> YOU ARE ACCEPTING OF THAT

LIFESTYLE AND THOSE CHOICES.

>> AND THAT'S A BIG THING,

THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET

THROUGH THAT.

THAT'S A REALLY BIG THING.

>> YOU COLLABORATED FOR A

WHILE, DIDN'T YOU?

>> I CAN'T HE.

>> YOU HAVE WORKED TOGETHER?

>> YEAH, WE'RE GOING TO DO A

SHOW NEXT MONTH IN MADRID

TOGETHER.

>> I WAS GOING TO ASK ABOUT

THAT, WHAT'S THAT LIKE, HOW

DOES THAT GO.

>> WELL, WE WERE VERY

INSPIRED BY JOHN ZORN,

REALLY A KIND OF IMPROV,

WONDERFUL HORN PLAYER AND

WONDERFUL COMPOSER, I COULD

NEVER IMAGINE GOING OUT ON

THE STAGE AND HAVING NO IDEA

WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO, I

MEAN NONE, NONE.

AND HE WAS LIKE YEAH, WE'LL

JUST GO OUT THERE AND WE'LL

START PLAYING.

I WAS LIKE WE DO?

OH.

AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN ONCE

I SORT OF BEGAN TO DO THAT.

BECAUSE I HAD A -- HE'S A

JAZZ MUSICIAN.

I'M AN EXPERIMENTAL

MUSICIAN, [INDISCERNIBLE]

ROCK MUSICIAN, THESE ARE ALL

JUST KIND OF SILLY

CATEGORIES.

UNTIL I REALIZED THAT WHEN I

WAS IN I GUESS BERLIN OR A

LONG TIME AGO, I WAS BOOKED

FOR SOME REASON INTO A JAZZ

FESTIVAL.

AND IT WAS LOOSELY, YOU

KNOW -- SO I WAS DOING MY

STORY, SONG, LITTLE ODD

RHYTHMIC THINGS WITH STORIES

OVER THEM AND WEIRD MELODIES

COMING IN AND IMPOSSIBLE TO

COUNT KIND OF THING.

>> RIGHT.

>> IN THE MIDDLE OF A LITTLE

PAUSE, I HEAR A VOICE IN THE

BACK, I HEAR PLAY JAZZ!

I WAS LIKE -- HE'S GOT A

POINT.

THIS IS A JAZZ FESTIVAL.

>> A LITERALIST, YEAH,

RIGHT.

>> MY SECOND THOUGHT WAS I

DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT

JAZZ.

>> YEP.

>> JUST SO -- JUST SO -- BUT

THAT THOUGHT HAS ALWAYS

STAYED WITH ME.

I ALWAYS FEEL A LITTLE BIT

FRAUDULENT ON A STAGE,

THOUGH, I HAVE TO SAY.

>> YOU DO?

>> YEAH, I DO.

LIKE WHY AM I HERE?

THAT WAS NOT MY PLAN TO BE

ON A STAGE EVER.

>> BUT YOU CAN RESPECT

PEOPLE WHO DO JAZZ, PLAY

JAZZ, OBVIOUSLY WHAT YOUR

HUSBAND DOES IS ROCK AND

ROLL AND MORE --

>> I LIKE ALL MUSIC EXCEPT

FOR ONE TYPE.

>> OKAY, WHAT'S THAT?

>> [WHISPERS] BROADWAY

MUSICALS.

>> YOU DON'T -- MAY I SAY

THAT LOUDER, BROADWAY

MUSICALS?

YOU DON'T LIKE BROADWAY

MUSICALS?

>> NO BECAUSE THEY ARE SO

[WHISPER] HAPPY.

>> WOULDN'T WANT TO BE

HAPPY, I AGREE.

>> NO, I DO WANT TO BE

HAPPY.

>> BUT THEIR HAPPINESS IS

NOT THE KIND OF HAPPINESS --

>> WELL, I DON'T KNOW.

I CAN'T LISTEN LONG ENOUGH

TO FIND OUT WHAT THEIR KIND

OF HAPPINESS IS.

>> SO IRRITATED THAT'S THE

END OF IT.

>> I DID GO TO ONE FOR A

TECHNICAL REASON BECAUSE I

WAS WORKING WITH A

PRODUCTION MANAGER WHO I WAS

TRYING TO DO A MAGIC TRICK

WITH STRINGS.

HE SAID COME TO CATS, THE

MUSICAL.

[LAUGHTER].

>> CATS HAS RUINED MANY A

FAN OF BROADWAY, THAT'S

OKAY.

I'M SYMPATHETIC.

>> I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF

ROW K, BUT THREE BARS INTO

CATS, DAH-DAH-DAH CATS, I

WAS LIKE EXCUSE ME I HAVE TO

GO, DOWN THE ROW OF LIKE 17

PEOPLE.

>> LET ME OUT NOW.

>> WHAT, WHAT, GETTING OUT

WAS --

>> I WAS HYSTERICAL TO GET

OUT.

>> YOU UNDERSTAND THE

HEADLINE OF THIS WILL BE

LAURIE ANDERSON HATES CATS.

[LAUGHTER].

>> BUT LOVES DOGS.

>> BUT LOVES DOGS.

[LAUGHTER].

>> GOOD!

[ APPLAUSE ].

>> MINE WAS GOOD, YOURS WAS

BETTER.

I LIKE THAT, THAT WAS

ACTUALLY GREAT.

WELL, WE'RE OUT OF TIME,

MUCH MORE THAT WE COULD TALK

ABOUT, THIS HAS BEEN SO

CHARMING.

I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR

BEING HERE AND

CONGRATULATIONS ON ALL OF

YOUR SUCCESS.

>> THANKS SO MUCH.

>> AND GOOD LUCK AND COME

BACK.

>> THANK YOU.

>> LAURIE ANDERSON.

>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[ APPLAUSE ]

>> WONDERFUL.

>> WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU

JOIN US IN THE STUDIO.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT

KLRU.ORG/OVERHEARD TO FIND

INVITATIONS TO INTERVIEWS, Q

AND A'S WITH OUR AUDIENCE

AND GUESTS AND AN ARCHIVE OF

PAST EPISODES.

>> I FIND THIS IDEA THAT ART

SHOULD MAKE THE WORLD A

BETTER PLACE VERY 19TH

CENTURY, SLIGHTLY BRITISH,

YOU KNOW.

BECAUSE WHEN YOU SAY THAT --

THAT BETTER PLACE, BETTER

FOR WHO?

FOR YOU?

AND YOUR FRIENDS?

PEOPLE YOU KNOW?

BETTER FOR WHO?

>> FUNDING FOR OVERHEARD

WITH EVAN SMITH IS PROVIDED BY THE MATTSSON MCHALE FOUNDATION IN SUPPORT OF PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND ALSO BY MFI FOUNDATION, IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND FROM THE TEXAS BOARD OF

LEGAL SPECIALIZATION, BOARD

CERTIFIED ATTORNEYS IN YOUR

COMMUNITY, EXPERIENCED,

RESPECTED AND TESTED.

ALSO, BY HILLCO PARTNERS,

TEXAS GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

CONSULTANCY AND ITS GLOBAL

HEALTH CARE CONSULTING

BUSINESS UNIT, HILLCO

HEALTH.

AND BY THE ALICE

KLEBERG REYNOLDS FOUNDATION AND VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

THANK YOU.

>> NEXT TIME ON OVERHEARD.

>> YOU KNOW I HAVE A FANTASY

THAT I'M DOING A CONCERT AND

I LOOK OUT AND THE WHOLE

AUDIENCE IS DOGS.

AND HE SAID THAT'S MY

FANTASY, TOO.

>> YO-YO MA SAID THAT, IS

THAT RIGHT?

>> I SAID OKAY, WHOEVER GETS

THE CHANCE TO DO THIS FIRST

INVITES THE OTHER.

IT'S HARD TO SAY TO ARTISTS,

IT WOULD BE SO EASY, JUST

GET RID OF IT, DON'T WORRY

ABOUT IT, PLENTY OF JOBS FOR

ARTISTS IN THE UNITED

STATES.

>> RIGHT.


FEATURED PROGRAMS