DAMO SUZUKI

Mojo (UK) - - Contents - In­ter­view by IAN HARRISON Por­trait by JOE DIL­WORTH

Can’s vo­cal vor­tex on life-asim­prov, rum con­tracts and Jür­gen Klopp. “When by ac­ci­dent some­thing hap­pens,” he in­sists, “it’s more in­ter­est­ing than if you plan it.”

MOJO’s April 10 trip tO COlOgne to meet Damo suzuki co­in­cides with a mas­sive pub­lic-sec­tor strike across ger­many. Yet de­spite hun­dreds of can­celled flights, plus fears of long de­lays on the tar­mac and a di­ver­sion to Frank­furt, we suc­ceed in ar­riv­ing on time at a café look­ing out over the tree-lined stadt­wald city park lake. A puck­ish, slight, long-haired 68-year-old in jeans, checked shirt and creamy brown knit­ted bon­net, Damo is clearly tick­led by this smooth ar­rival against a back­drop of un­cer­tainty and po­ten­tial chaos, vin­di­cat­ing as it does his own mis­trust of sys­tems, habit and reg­u­lar­ity. “When by ac­ci­dent some­thing hap­pens,” he says, “it’s much more in­ter­est­ing than if you plan it. i like to live the whole of my life quite free like this.” Fas­ci­nat­ing chance played a vi­tal role in the Ja­panese-born vo­cal­ist’s mem­ber­ship of Can, the tele­pathic su­per­power he fronted from 1970 to 1973. in that time he used his voice as am­bi­ent tex­ture, per­cus­sive in­stru­ment and ex­tra-lin­gual sense-re­layer on four es­sen­tial al­bums, 1971’s rit­ual mas­ter­work Tago Mago and the fol­low­ing year’s teem­ing rhyth­mic blowout Ege Bamyasi among them. Fol­low­ing 1973’s lev­i­tat­ing, am­bi­ent Fu­ture Days, he left the group and the mu­sic life, re­turn­ing in the ’80s to play freeform gigs. Af­ter form­ing Damo suzuki’s net­work in the late ’90s, he main­tains a nev­erend­ing global tour sched­ule abet­ted by his ‘sound Car­ri­ers’ – lo­cal mu­si­cians he meets on the day of per­for­mance, and with whom he im­pro­vises with­out re­hearsal. Can’s first vo­cal­ist Mal­colm Mooney told MOJO, “it takes a brave soul to work as he does.” 2017 alone saw suzuki play peru, Al­ba­nia and the in­dian Hi­malayas, while no­table col­lab­o­ra­tors in the pur­suit of high-wire in­stant cre­ation have in­cluded earth­less, pond and, play­ing as im­pe­rial Wax, the fi­nal line-up of the Fall. the soft hand­shake and play­ful man­ner, how­ever, be­lie a man of con­sid­er­able iron: hav­ing al­ready been treated for can­cer in the ’80s, he is to­day again deal­ing with the dis­ease. en­ergy: A Doc­u­men­tary Fea­tur­ing Damo suzuki & elke Mors­bach – Damo’s part­ner – a crowd-funded film di­rected by York­shire film­maker Michelle Heigh­way, will tell the story of this fight. Ad­di­tion­ally, i Am Damo suzuki, the singer’s mem­oir co-au­thored with paul Woods, will be pub­lished by Om­nibus in the au­tumn. such ret­ro­spec­tion is ar­guably sur­pris­ing, as Damo has of­ten de­clined to dis­cuss his first group – he did not con­trib­ute to rob Young’s re­cent Can bi­og­ra­phy All gates Open, for ex­am­ple – cit­ing his pref­er­ence to look only for­wards. not to­day though. As birds tweet and cof­fee is drunk, this qui­etly charis­matic se­nior head – whose Ja­panese-into-ger­man-in­to­english speech pat­terns some­times dis­play

a gnomic Yoda-ness, with fre­quent ref­er­ences to en­ergy in all its pos­i­tive man­i­fes­ta­tions – looks back on an un­com­pro­mis­ing cre­ative life in pur­suit of the eter­nal mo­ment. “For me, like ev­ery­body else, life is so short,” he says. “So face in front of you, not back­side.”

How’s your health?

I must think about my body con­di­tion. How it will be in the next three or four hours, I don’t know. I am tak­ing ev­ery day medicines, which is quite a strong prepa­ra­tion from mor­phine. Which is opium – so I’m to­tally stoned, ha ha! On the stage I feel free, I feel bet­ter than nor­mal. Ev­ery­where from my body and my soul, I can get free. That’s kind of a ther­apy for sick­ness as well. Mu­sic is a heal­ing thing be­cause there is har­mony.

De­tails of your early life are not well known. Are you a mys­tery man?

I’m not mys­te­ri­ous! I just didn’t talk so much.

You were born Kenji Suzuki in Oiso, near Tokyo, in 1950. What did your par­ents do?

My fa­ther was an ar­chi­tect. My mother was a housewife, which was nor­mal at that time. My fa­ther died when I was five years old and my mother had real dif­fi­culty, with four small kids she could not sup­port in a fi­nan­cial way. But she did it. She was 36 or some­thing, still young. She is the most re­spected per­son in my life, be­cause I learned from her so many things. She was strong. When she was young, she was play­ing ten­nis, which was [seen as] quite ter­ri­ble at that time. I think she liked my life be­cause I’m the only kid en­joy­ing free­dom. She lived in the Sec­ond World War – re­ally hard times.

What was the young Damo like?

I was an in­di­vid­ual. Ha ha! Quite out­law. But never with vi­o­lence. I had quite enough time for my­self, and ideas, be­cause I was not re­ally good with school, I didn’t study that much. Ev­ery­one [in the fam­ily] fin­ished uni­ver­sity – ex­cept me! I tried to be empty here (taps tem­ple) be­cause it’s the best thing for cre­ative process. If you don’t have any in­for­ma­tion you can make many things, you can go in all 360 de­grees of di­rec­tion.

What ex­cited you mu­si­cally as a teenager?

Dif­fer­ent kinds of mu­sic – quite main­stream. Tamla Mo­town, At­lantic Records, Young Ras­cals and Aretha Franklin. I didn’t want to be a fan of The Rolling Stones and The Bea­tles – ev­ery­body was a fan of The Bea­tles! – so I liked The Kinks much more. In ‘64 they were mak­ing heavy metal kinds of stuff. This was the start of the real British rock in my opin­ion. The Bea­tles and The Rolling Stones were not re­ally orig­i­nal, I think. Never have I thought about be­ing a mu­si­cian, though. It wasn’t my dream. I was much more in­ter­ested in be­ing a comic painter, a car­toon­ist.

You left Ja­pan as soon as you were able to.

I left in 1968, when I had just be­come 18, one day af­ter my birth­day. For me the world was some­thing mys­te­ri­ous, it was quite scary. Ev­ery­thing was slow. It was let­ter-time, be­fore the in­ter­net. First I stayed in Swe­den, with friends, for some­thing like two win­ters, in ‘68 and ‘69, in some tiny vil­lage with 50 peo­ple, two shops and a church. It was a lone­some place! I went to Ire­land too. I didn’t plan that much. If any­thing is com­ing, I take it.

An at­ti­tude suited to 1968?

I am a ’68 per­son, yes – it was good to ex­per­i­ment at this time, when I was 18 years old. All so­cial things were mov­ing at that time, ev­ery­body was able to go to de­mon­stra­tions, against author­ity, es­pe­cially the USA. Opin­ions were not con­trolled by the me­dia, like to­day. I liked be­ing a part of it, but I don’t think that time was bet­ter; I like now much more. Hippy-time was kind of a trend, not maybe in a com­mer­cial way, but it was not like hav­ing a free spirit. They were, for me, ego­ists.

Where did the name ‘Damo’ come from? Ac­counts dif­fer – is it from the ac­ci­dent­prone manga char­ac­ter Marude Dameo, or did you get it in Ire­land?

I don’t know. Maybe in Swe­den? It just came, maybe I said, “I’m Damo.” But in my opin­ion, ev­ery­body has to change their own name. Maybe your un­cle or aunt is mak­ing your name when you are born, but af­ter a while it’s not fixed to­gether with you, so it’s good af­ter 18, 21 to change your name [to one that] fits with your per­son­al­ity. To pro­nounce, if I’m in Eng­land its ‘Day-mo’, if I’m in Ger­many or Ja­pan it’s ‘Dammo’.

You ended up liv­ing in West Ger­many in early 1970.

I’d made busk­ing around Europe for one year. I didn’t have any pieces to play be­cause I couldn’t play re­ally good gui­tar. Be­sides mu­sic, I was paint­ing on the street with chalks – for me it was nec­es­sary be­cause I didn’t have money to travel, for meal. Then I was work­ing for three months for a mu­si­cal, Hair, in Mu­nich. At that time if you get a job maybe you get 500 Ger­man marks a month, some­thing like that. With Hair, I had dou­ble salary. One day I was out­side, and I made a hap­pen­ing, maybe it was quite loud, be­cause I’m un­sat­is­fied and I had frus­tra­tion be­cause I was work­ing on this mu­si­cal the­atre and (look of ab­so­lute bore­dom) ev­ery day same. By ac­ci­dent some­body found me on the street, and since then, OK, I make mu­sic.

You’re re­fer­ring to April 1970, when you met Hol­ger Czukay (bass) and Jaki Liebezeit (drums) of Can, who were look­ing for a singer af­ter their orig­i­nal vo­cal­ist Mal­colm Mooney’s de­par­ture.

Yes, that’s when Hol­ger saw me. Maybe he

didn’t see any Ja­panese be­fore but he was in­ter­ested to talk to me. When they asked me to sing, I never thought I’d stay with this band or be in­vited to make record­ings of LPs, I never had such a dream. With­out Hol­ger I am not a mu­si­cian, any­way. It was re­ally a turn­ing point.

What were your new band­mates like?

Ev­ery­body in the band is quite spe­cial. And they had dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests in mu­sic. Jaki was free jazz, Ir­min [Sch­midt, key­board player] was a con­duc­tor of an or­ches­tra, Hol­ger [worked with] Stock­hausen and Michael [Karoli] was a young rock gui­tarist. And I was a hippy! So five to­tally dif­fer­ent peo­ple with five dif­fer­ent direc­tions. With the chem­istry, nat­u­rally it came to­gether. That’s why it’s quite time­less mu­sic.

You quickly found your­self in the stu­dio.

[1970 LP] Sound­tracks was quite strange for me be­cause I’d never made a record­ing be­fore, and it be­came an LP. It’s spe­cial for the song Mother Sky. I used to go to one pub, ev­ery day al­most, and Hol­ger came one time with a cas­sette and said, “Damo, lis­ten, it’s a good British band.” I was say­ing, “Oh it’s re­ally good, the voice is sim­i­lar to me…” And he said, “It is you, it is Mother Sky!” He was jok­ing.

Hol­ger also helped out when you were nearly de­ported, early on.

It was ’70, I think. Polizei caught me on the street and I stayed one week in jail. They wanted to send me back to Ja­pan. Hol­ger, I think, spoke with Kar­lheinz Stock­hausen, and Stock­hausen made an ac­tion to save Damo Suzuki! [The com­poser wrote to the City of Cologne’s Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment]. Be­fore that, I was quite a lot of time in the jail be­cause I didn’t have a li­cence and made mu­sic on the street. For ex­am­ple, in Tam­pere in Fin­land, also in Paris in 1969. At that time they didn’t like any­body to have long hair in Paris. When they brought me out they said, “Don’t come back!” Ha ha!

Were Can’s record­ings al­ways spon­ta­neous?

The mu­sic was spon­ta­neous, yeah. We made re­ally long, long ses­sions, some­times three or four hours with­out stop­ping, and Hol­ger was al­ways record­ing. It was a lux­ury that we had our own stu­dio with a pri­vate at­mos­phere. It was kind of a cre­ative home. If we don’t in­ves­ti­gate in such things at that times many good mo­ments of our mu­sic is not go­ing to come out. This is the power-point of this band.

Tago Mago, recorded at the Schloss Nör­venich, is still a pow­er­ful piece of work.

Ooh. It took us quite a long time. It wasn’t the idea to make a dou­ble LP, it came from an idea from [Ir­min’s wife and de facto Can man­ager] Hilde­gard, or some­thing. Ev­ery piece was cre­ated dif­fer­ently. Mush­room was ac­tu­ally I and Jaki and our road man­ager Manni Löhe – he was the cra­zi­est per­son – play­ing to­gether. The ex­plo­sion at the be­gin­ning of Oh Yeah – Ir­min had the idea to put a small fire­work in the hall, which we recorded. Things like that hap­pened. It was kind of a patch­work for Hol­ger mainly, you know. He edited ev­ery­thing on Hal­leluh­wah.

Were the group friends?

Not re­ally. Just five dif­fer­ent peo­ple with an in­ter­est to make new things, who came to­gether. Maybe Ir­min and Jaki were friends. Maybe Michael Karoli was my friend – he was quite near my age – and also maybe Jaki, be­cause I per­formed a lot with him later. But Ir­min, Jaki, Hol­ger, they’re 10 to 12 years older than me.

With Ege Bamyasi – and its hit sin­gle Spoon – Can sud­denly found com­mer­cial suc­cess.

Yeah. Strange time. But a good thing about Spoon, I made it in only three or four min­utes, singing and writ­ing my words and melody. Maybe I did it two times. The band at that time was get­ting quite fa­mous, on the front pages of pop mu­sic mag­a­zines. I have to give au­to­graphs on the street. I don’t like this – if peo­ple are ac­cepted for the mu­sic it’s OK, not be­cause this is a ‘fa­mous per­son’.

Around this time, af­ter a 1972 con­cert at The Rain­bow in Fins­bury Park, you make the ac­quain­tance of Hawk­wind and Lemmy.

Yes. Hawk­wind were not re­ally like a British band, more like a Ger­man band. I liked them. When Lemmy played in Düs­sel­dorf [with Motör­head], he showed me his air­plane on the stage – the Bomber! He was proud about this. Later, I per­formed with [Hawk­wind’s sax player] Nik Turner and I met [Hawk­wind dancer] Sta­cia at a con­cert in Ja­pan – that was the first time I met her in about 40 years!

Was there an op­ti­mum pe­riod for you in Can?

When I left, I think! Or when I joined. Mid­dle is al­most get­ting like work. Not re­ally, but

“Hippy-time was kind of a trend. It was not like hav­ing a free spirit. They were, for me, ego­ists.”

sched­uled. Even when I was play­ing with the Can I was hitch­hik­ing to some places. I lived the same, like how hippy life was at that time. I think ev­ery­thing is OK. I think the best thing is Fu­ture Days. This is the point where I left the band. For me, two or three years is quite enough – it was only five per cent of my life.

You also found re­li­gion around this time.

Yes, I be­came a Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness dur­ing my time with Can. I am not any more – I was with them maybe six, seven years. I’m a Chris­tian too now, but I’m be­liev­ing much more in the Bi­ble. I re­ally don’t like to be­long any­where. That’s the rea­son I left from Can as well. Do I think I should have stayed? No. Partly it was like this. I was only 23 years old. I wanted to see an­other world.

What did you do af­ter­wards?

Af­ter I quit from Can I had jobs. I worked in Essen in ho­tels, as a street worker, in an of­fice for a Ja­panese com­pany… it was a good time to try some­thing else. I learned many things from this pe­riod. Like, if I am work­ing in ho­tels I must be al­ways pa­tient and friendly – there are many strange guests.

Did you keep up with Can’s ca­reer? No. I don’t lis­ten to any kind of mu­sic ac­tu­ally. In the 1980s you re­turned to mu­sic.

I came back to mu­sic in ‘84, or some­thing, af­ter my can­cer op­er­a­tion. Half a year af­ter my surgery, I went to a one-day fes­ti­val in Cologne and Jimmy Cliff and Talk­ing Heads played. I liked the at­mos­phere so I wanted to make mu­sic again, but in a dif­fer­ent way. I never de­vel­oped my own band be­fore the Damo Suzuki Band. We played 40-50 con­certs, and af­ter fin­ish­ing I re­leased a 7-CD box.

In 1985 the The Fall re­leased the song I Am Damo Suzuki, some UK lis­ten­ers’ first en­counter with you as a con­cept.

Yeah, yeah, Mark E Smith. I met him only two times, so I can­not say so much about him. A strange per­son – he was singing, “I am Damo Suzuki” – so he must be! But it’s quite usual nowa­days. On the in­ter­net many peo­ple are us­ing my name.

In 1989 Can re­leased their re­union al­bum Rite Time, but you did not take part.

From 1986, they asked me. The A-side is for Mal­colm [Mooney], the B-side is for me. They wanted to make a spe­cial con­tract. Mal­colm and I get money, the other peo­ple get some per­cent­age or some­thing. Con­di­tions for the singers and the other mem­bers were dif­fer­ent. That is one of the rea­sons I didn’t make it.

One rea­son?

An­other was I didn’t want to re­peat my time. To get to­gether for this – for me, it’s not nat­u­ral. To get to­gether you must be con­stant, as a friend, then I would make it, maybe. But we didn’t talk and we didn’t meet, we had such dis­tance. It was too late. Many bands are do­ing re­union stuff and I re­ally don’t like this.

In the ’80s and ’90s you also play with Dunkelz­if­fer and Damo Suzuki’s Net­work. Was your ap­proach still im­pro­visatory in na­ture?

“Can was get­ting quite fa­mous, on the front pages of pop mu­sic mag­a­zines. I re­ally don’t like this.”

It was im­pro­vised, sure. I make things which I can do. I re­ally don’t like to do any­thing which I can­not.

Af­ter the Net­work, you in­sti­gate the Sound Car­ri­ers, with a freer, tran­si­tory at­ti­tude to line-ups.

It was quite a po­lit­i­cal rea­son. On March 19, 2003, Amer­ica bombed Iraq. This day I was on an early flight to New York. Two, three days be­fore that, mil­lions of peo­ple all over the world were protest­ing against the bomb­ing. So I thought maybe I should make some things with the mu­sic. I’m not the kind of per­son to make lead­er­ship, in front of peo­ple, mak­ing big speeches. Mu­sic is a com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and there is vi­o­lence be­cause there is no com­mu­ni­ca­tion. I wanted to make some­thing [to pro­mote] un­der­stand­ing.

Since then, you’ve trav­elled the world on a never-end­ing tour play­ing with lo­cal mu­si­cians, with­out re­hears­ing.

The min­i­mum I have made con­cert with is two peo­ple. I’ve per­formed with 50, 35, a string quar­tet, a so­prano singer. The youngest one was a 15-year-old gui­tarist from Glas­gow, the old­est was more than 80 years old, an Ir­ish harp player. I have per­formed to­gether with only fe­males – a to­tally dif­fer­ent en­ergy and a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge. It’s not about tech­nique, know-how or mu­sic in­ter­est, or be­ing male or fe­male or young or old. Dur­ing the con­cert we are de­vel­op­ing and get­ting to­gether. The re­spon­si­bil­ity is not only mine, it is the whole Sound Car­ri­ers to­gether. To­gether we go fur­ther. That is why I started this project.

Can you pre­pare the mu­si­cians, at all?

Maybe be­fore the show some mu­si­cians are get­ting nervous. I make some kind of lot­tery. Ev­ery­one must pick a num­ber to see who is go­ing first, sec­ond. If the sup­port­ing band are play­ing re­ally loud mu­sic, then I must have con­trast. Let’s play some­thing am­bi­ent, with syn­the­siz­ers, some­thing like that. Or it might be, OK, let’s make a noise be­gin­ning, and I will jump up on the stage and ev­ery­body makes a noise. But I only tell them one minute be­fore. It’s much more in­ter­est­ing like this.

When you are us­ing your voice as an in­stru­ment – “the lan­guage of the stone age” as you once called it – are you con­sciously com­mu­ni­cat­ing some­thing?

It has no mean­ing. I don’t like to have any text, singing the same thing hun­dreds of times, cov­er­ing my­self. Maybe it’s com­fort­able and not risky to have a lyric, but I take much more of an emo­tional thing from that spon­ta­neous feel­ing, the feel­ing you can­not pro­gramme. Maybe I’m com­mu­ni­cat­ing the end­less wide pos­si­bil­ity of joy to come.

Does it ever go wrong?

Ev­ery con­cert is dif­fer­ent. Sound Car­ri­ers dif­fer­ent, place dif­fer­ent, au­di­ence is dif­fer­ent and my con­di­tion is also dif­fer­ent, so why should I com­pare?

How do you stay match-fit?

Ev­ery day is train­ing, al­most like a mir­ror for the mu­sic. Am I free? Maybe. It’s kind of a life process, and a study for me, to try new things, and new cities and places. It’s kind of a chal­lenge and an ad­ven­ture too. It’s like a foot­ball game. Ev­ery game starts from zero-zero, yeah. Be­cause I can­not play foot­ball, that’s why I’m us­ing my mu­sic as a foot­ball.

You’re a big fan of Liver­pool FC.

Foot­ball I re­ally like. It’s like a drug. Ev­ery­one is so crazy – es­pe­cially the Liver­pool fans, the Scousers! I never sup­ported them be­fore. I’m still a fan of Dort­mund – but [ex Borus­sia Dort­mund man­ager] Jür­gen Klopp is at Liver­pool now, that’s why I’m sup­port­ing. It’s the kind of foot­ball I like – heavy metal foot­ball. Ag­gres­sive!

Is foot­ball like mu­sic?

You can­not com­pare it. With the mu­sic there is no win­ner and no loser. But it is a sport – a mind-sport, with the re­sult of mak­ing ev­ery­body happy.

Wouldn’t a Can re­union have made many peo­ple happy?

In the be­gin­ning of this cen­tury, 2002-3 – Michael was al­ready died – there was an Aus­tralian rich man who asked me, “Do you have in­ter­est to play with Can with orig­i­nal mem­bers?” He said he liked to ar­range tour of Amer­ica, ev­ery­where. He wanted to pay ev­ery­one enough money to live the rest of their life! I said no. The guy from Aus­tralia was quite up­set. For him it was quite mean­ing­ful. I played with Jaki and Michael again, but I ac­cepted them as good mu­si­cians, not as Can.

What’s wrong with re­unions?

The au­di­ence – all the times older peo­ple! This kind of nos­tal­gia and sen­ti­men­tal­ity, get­ting old times again, is to­tally against cre­ativ­ity for me. Ter­ri­ble sad. So many big-name bands, the au­di­ence come like a tourist, like tak­ing pho­tos in front of Tower Bridge. I like to have the au­di­ence ask­ing, “What is Damo Suzuki do­ing with our lo­cal mu­si­cians?” They’re com­ing for a spe­cial event, not Hal­leluh­wah or Fu­ture Days.

Do you fear your ill­ness could get in the way of mu­sic?

I must take medicines and it’s up to me if I make an­other surgery. I can live like this, be­cause there is many things I like to do, to stay cre­ative. And I have 25 con­certs this year, and there could be a lot more. I get on the stage and I feel re­ally free. This is the best mo­ment to see au­di­ence smil­ing. All space is get­ting to­gether and we are in a kind of trance mo­ment.

Your busi­ness card says ‘Me­ta­phys­i­cal Trans­porter’.

It’s my job, ha ha! A me­ta­phys­i­cal trans­porter, what I am do­ing, with­out any­thing, I can trans­plant my idea and my phi­los­o­phy to an­other peo­ple. At the same time, we are cre­ative to­gether.

You are also work­ing on a book.

If some­body comes with a project, I say, “OK, let’s make it.” Paul [Woods] had the idea for a book, three or four years be­fore. I feel a lit­tle bit ar­ro­gant if I made a book by my­self. But if some­body asks me to do it his way… OK, why not? It’s a bi­og­ra­phy but I think it will be a dif­fer­ent bi­og­ra­phy than any­one else’s. It’s not only my per­spec­tive on my life. Like the film Rashomon – dif­fer­ent peo­ple have dif­fer­ent truths, and also lies.

Your life will get a film ver­sion too.

It’s a doc­u­men­ta­tion film. Michelle showed up two, three years ago, maybe it was first time I was in the hospi­tal. She wanted to make some­thing about en­ergy. It’s a story about be­fore and af­ter my surgery. I have an­other film project, with Cameron Lee, a young film stu­dent. They’ve re­served lo­ca­tions in Jura in Scot­land. I’ve never been an ac­tor be­fore. It’s called The Fu­ture Stone. Maybe one day I’m go­ing to make a film by my­self, as a di­rec­tor. It’s my dream but I don’t want to speak about it – three years later, peo­ple ask­ing, “What is Damo do­ing? He doesn’t make any­thing!”

Are you a cus­to­dian of the Can spirit?

Ir­min and Hilde­gard are think­ing I am. I don’t play the mu­sic of Can but what I am do­ing, they wanted to make mu­sic this way. Af­ter 50 years al­most, young peo­ple are still buy­ing Can LPs. Ev­ery 10 years an­other gen­er­a­tion – hiphop peo­ple, new wave peo­ple – is lis­ten­ing to this mu­sic and get­ting into it. It’s re­ally funny!

How do you re­gard the last 50-odd years?

It just hap­pened. Maybe some peo­ple will be sur­prised, but I don’t think so much about this. Af­ter the ill­ness I had for three long years, you’re sim­ply happy to be here breath­ing air. I feel I’m very thank­ful to all peo­ple in front of me from the stage. You think, “Can I get a bet­ter thing than this?” Life is so, just good. You can go like a lo­co­mo­tive train, keep on go­ing and reach the next sta­tion, and then an­other sta­tion… this is never-end­ing. This is all peo­ple’s dreams, to be never-end­ing.

Help crowd­fund En­ergy: A Doc­u­men­tary About Damo Suzuki at www.en­er­gythe­film.co.uk. I Am Damo Suzuki is pub­lished by Om­nibus in Septem­ber.

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