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The Gary Wilson / John Cage / David Tudor Axis

I’ve long known that Gary Wilson was a freak (of the most beautiful variety). And I’ve long known about his influence on contemporary musicians like Beck, Ariel Pink, The Residents. But until this morning, I didn’t know about his connection with John Cage and David Tudor. From a 2008 interview with Wilson:

I spent a few days in John Cage’s house, as far as that goes. We went over my scores. He corrected what I had done or tried to tell me certain things, like that string players might not interpret this as what you think it is. He’s my hero since I was a kid. David Tudor, too. He used to be the most avant-garde piano player—the most extreme piano music. He would play with Cage a lot. Matter of fact, one of my favorite albums was this thing called Cartridge Music he did with Cage. As a teenager, I remember picturing these two grown men making the most horrendous noise—using contact mics on piano strings, and putting it through the cartridge of a turntable somehow so everything was so distorted. It was very thrilling. The other album that really opened my mind to John Cage was a selection called Concert for a Piano and Orchestra with David Tudor on the piano. You might want to check that one out.

Check it out we shall (although he got the title slightly wrong): [Update: Gary Wilson emailed me to tell me that there is in fact a Concert for a Piano and Orchestra. My mistake!]


And here’s more Wilson, old and new:

  • A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.

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