John Lurie, Downtown Icon, Is Living His 26th Life Like It’s His Last

I think it might have made me a better person?


Maybe there’s some truth in your joke.

There is some truth, but you’re supposed to laugh. Otherwise I can come off like a pretentious asshole.

But about the album, I feel like it’s got a purity to it. Especially with what’s going on in the world, I feel okay putting it out. It’s like how can you even put something so frivolous as music out into the world with what’s happening? I made sure that, at least for me, the world would be better with this recording in it.

I feel guilty for wanting to disassociate from the constant horror, but I do it.

I do that a lot. I do that with sports in particular, but then if you get Tony Romo, Doris Burke, or Reggie Miller, they ruin it. I hate that they ruin the games for me, and I need those games to just dissociate from everything. I feel like it’s a personal affront that Tony Romo is allowed to broadcast games.

I grew up a Knicks fan, so I have a deep, deep loathing for Reggie Miller.

But it’s not like that for me. I don’t even think of him as a ball player anymore. He’s like the kid that nobody wanted to hang out with. ‘Hey guys, what’s happening? Golly.’ He adds ‘now’ to the end of every sentence, too. I think he should get an electrical shock every time he says ‘now’ at the end of a sentence.

Do you have a team you root for?

I root for whoever’s behind.

I get great joy from reading your Twitter, by the way.

Thanks. I delete a lot of them.

Well, the ones that are up are quite funny.

I used to get death threats and stuff. I would put stuff up for an hour and then take it down, because the death threat people seem to read very slowly.

We keep changing the subject, we should talk more about the music, because I think the music is special. The new songs can operate as a soundtrack or on its own as well. Is that something that was top of mind when you were recording?

It had to be organic, and that’s where the sequencing comes in. How do you have music made 30 years ago alongside music that was made last year? Well, I mastered it like 10 times to get it right, also because the volumes were different and the sounds on different kinds of recordings were hard to match it all up. But I’m talking about the whole thing, listening all the way down, and I don’t think anybody does that anymore. Everybody just buys one song.

It’s hard to manage tone and theme across almost 60 songs, but you do a remarkable job of keeping things coherent, even in different modes.

Somehow I pulled it off. It took weeks to really get it together, and then you had to listen to the whole thing all the way through every time you mastered again. That was kind of daunting. I didn’t want to get to the point where I was hating my own music because I heard it too often.

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