John Zorn

Born: September 2, 1953

Occupation: Composer

Quotes of John Zorn

John Zorn

It's a matter of keeping people on a spontaneous edge.

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John Zorn

Well, in Japan, I have got a group of musicians that I have worked with a lot, that concentrate just on the hardcore stuff, say, that Naked City has been working on. We have like a repertoire of sixty...

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John Zorn

When I'm writing, sometimes it gets to that place where I feel like the piece is writing itself and I'm trying not to get in the way

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John Zorn

The idealists will always be in society, and we will survive

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John Zorn

You can't be idealistic in this world and not be crazy

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John Zorn

I have wit in my work and a sense of humor, but I do not use irony in any way

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John Zorn

Great musicians accept everything that they hear and find something good. They take what they like and they throw away what they don't like

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John Zorn

That is a lot of the reason I do what I do, to really spread the word and spread information and turn people onto different things they may not be, y'know, aware of. That is what Naked City is certainly...

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John Zorn

If you can make art with sound, can't you make music with objects?

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John Zorn

I’m constantly in doubt about what I’m doing, I’m constantly tortured, and that’s why I say happiness is irrelevant. Happiness is for children and yuppies. I’m not striving for happiness, I’m...

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John Zorn

I see myself and many artists like me as the torchbearers through these dark ages.

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John Zorn

As soon as you get a certain amount of attention, then everybody kinda wants to start taking pot shots at you. All your old friends that supported you don't support you any more.

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John Zorn

I don't play favorites with people. My basic philosophy is that the only way to make the world a better place is by bringing something beautiful to every single person you run into at every moment of the...

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John Zorn

And I try to be as diplomatic as I can, but it always ends up being a psychodrama up there on stage.

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John Zorn

I have not practiced saxophone since 1980. I mean, not one note. I do not pick it up in my house, and that's the end of it.

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John Zorn

I'm constantly tortured, and that's why I say happiness is irrelevant. Happiness is for children and yuppies.

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John Zorn

One thing that I do ask myself when I'm in the creative process is, 'Does the world need this?'

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John Zorn

People sometimes have a very hard time accepting change.

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John Zorn

Classical stuff takes a lot of rehearsal time and preparation, but with stuff that involves improvisation, you can over-rehearse it and it gets stale. You don't want it to be too comfortable. In fact,...

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John Zorn

I don't ascribe to the idea of the ivory tower composer who sits alone in a room composing his masterpieces and then comes down from Mount Sinai with the tablets. It doesn't work like that. The job of...

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John Zorn

I put together the influences of my life in as clear a way as I possibly can, in the same way that Beethoven or Schoenberg or Bach put their influences together.

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John Zorn

I run around, I listen to a lot of music, go to a lot of concerts. And when I see someone that gases me, I try to go out of my way to involve them somehow in what I'm doing or get involved in what they're...

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John Zorn

I used to look at composing music as problem solving. But as I get older, it's not about problem solving anymore. There are no solutions, because there are no problems. You just turn the tap and it flows...

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John Zorn

It's a blast to watch. It's a lot more interesting live than it is on record. I mean, it really is a theatrical event. It's a sporting event! Cause you never know what's gonna happen.

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John Zorn

My solo music - I get up onstage, I improvise and it's my improvisation. When I get up onstage with Fred Frith and Mike Patton, then we're improvising together. Then it's not my music; it's our music.

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John Zorn

One of the reasons I started Tzadik, which is my own label, is to keep things in print. I got tired of labels dropping things out of print when they don't sell.

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John Zorn

That was my challenge as a composer. Like with anything, to keep yourself interested in doing what you do, you set yourself challenges. So I said, Okay, I'll try to write a hundred tunes in a year.

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John Zorn

The magic that you find in surf music, I think, is really timeless. You know, when I was very young, I was in a surf band. Surf music is an instrumental music that still means a lot to me, not in an nostalgic...

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss