the month of October Damo Suzuki and band made a short tour of the US in
support of the excellent new album ODYSSEY. They played
several dates along the West Coast. During their show in Portland on 10/07/00,
Damo and I met up and arranged the following interview. It offers a glimpse
into the past and current musical ideas of one of the original movers and
shakers (literally) of “Krautrock”. To see him live after all these years was a
gas, and the fact that he has lost none of his energy or spontaneous creative
juice was refreshing to say the least.
In the last few years we’ve seen a rebirth of your
musical activity. For some time before nothing was heard – what did you do in
the first years after Can?
D: I split from CAN in the autumn
of 1973, and then I joined the Jehovah Witness religion. I got a normal job, at
first working as a receptionist in a small business hotel.
Have you been making music
all this time?
D: No, not at all. From this time
onward for about 11 years I never made music and had nothing to do with music
Your recent releases are all live recordings. Do you
ever plan to do a studio album?
D: I'm not much interested in
Studio works. I love to play live, meet people and also interact with
audiences. At the moment I'm not thinking of recording in the studio. I like
the concept of INSTANT COMPOSING; so recording live is the best way I think.
Living things are positive and have energy, I like to live in the moment and
enjoy this moment. In front of an audience I can be natural and I feel energy
coming from the people. Also DAMO'S NETWORK is not only about making music, we
create a space you can enjoy AT THAT MOMENT, because it’s a living creation.
How does the overall vibe of the music scene today
compare with the old days – in particular the concert atmosphere, business
D: I can talk about this in terms
of my own experiences at my shows because; I don't go to anyone else’s
concerts. I think the business situation has changed for the worse. But, I
don't worry about this so much as there's always a place to play. How much
money I get is not important. The important thing is that there are people who
still like to hear and see me, even if sometimes the audience is not so large.
I'm really happy to meet the people coming, everywhere in the world. And if
possible, I speak with them before, or after the show. That's why I began with
the NETWORK group idea...I don’t mean NETWORK in the computer sense. My meaning
of NETWORK is a back to the roots thing. If you see the T-shirts with my logo,
it says, "The Beginning was smoke - Established since the Stone Age." The first
communication between people began with smoke giving someone a signal, to
people on another hill who answered with smoke. That was also the beginning of
music (communication with others). It all happened in the Stone Age (I think
I'm getting away from your question, sorry!)!
What kind of audience do you get now – mostly old
fans, or younger experimentalists?
D: Oh, it is different from city
to city, country to country. Last weekend we played in a very beautiful city
called Schwerin, in the former GDR. There came older people, who were not able
to see me in my time with CAN for political reasons. No, I cannot say they are
only old...mostly I'm the oldest in this situation. In 1998 I played a show in
London, I saw only younger people between ages 18 & 24. I was like their
You’ve played in many countries in the last years –
which has had the biggest audiences and best reaction?
D: I like every concert. When
everyone is in the same space and time it can be very harmonious. For me it is
a really great moment, sometimes-even teardrops start falling because of my
happiness. I feel very lucky to be in this moment with such an audience.
To me it seemed to be sort of a “golden age” back
in the beginnings of experimental and progressive rock. Does the scene seem
different to you today – less drugs, less political, less creative?
D: Fewer drugs would be not so
bad. Less politics would also be OK, who can trust in politicians? On the other
hand we're now living in a global family. Art should not mix with politics. I
think today's generation is creative. They create in their own way. Also, it is
impossible if you are living at the end of a year (now), to try and change for
the better, things that have already happened earlier in the year (in the
Do you have any special projects planned for the
D: Yes, I have. But, I won't tell
you now. I'm just working it out, and then you will see. I don't want to talk
about things before they happen. You know what I mean?
Would you like to play again with the former members
of Can and perhaps do a reunion concert or album?
really, maybe with Karoli? Reunion things are not for me. I'm not interested to
see passed landscape again. I feel like I’m in a train traveling down the
track... I’m anxious to get to the next station, and if this stop is not on
map, it will be much more fun. I can paint with my music when I get there, as I
like, a nice picture for the audience.
Photos by Pedro Sena)