Thursday, December 31, 2009

An Announcement...sort of.

Happy New Year to all of you who enjoy this blog as much as I do and who come up with the best discussions and topics ever in the comments :)

And another one about the new film

Playing Fugitive Taliban Member in New Jerzy Skolimowski Film

Posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2009 by Brendon Connelly

Read more: Vincent Gallo Playing Fugitive Taliban Member in New Jerzy Skolimowski Film

Jerzy Skolimowski’s best known films are likely those he was a writer on and of these none is better known than Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water, a great thriller that was like Dead Calm but 27 years earlier and not actually rubbish. Amongst his work as director are two films from the 70s that I found quite lastingly disturbing since my youth, the supernatural horror film The Shout and obsession thriller Deep End. More recently, you likely saw him acting in Eastern Promises, where he played Stepan, or Mars Attacks or Before Night Falls where he had smaller roles.

I’m glad to report that Jerzy Skolimowski is back on location in director mode and shooting his next film right now. The Essence of Killing “follows the story of a Taliban member who lives in Afghanistan, kills three American soldiers and then is taken captive by the Americans. He is transferred to Europe for interrogation but manages to escape from his captors and becomes an escaped convict on a continent he does not know”.

And who has Skolimowski cast as this Taliban member? Why, none other than Vincent Vito Gallo, perhaps the most head-scratch/shake inducing character in modern cinema. Just like a great one-liner, every little move Gallo makes is structured as a intriguing set-up followed by confounding pay off. When Gallo signs on to appear in a film, my ears prick up.

Reporting on the film’s production in their native Israel, Haaretz tell us that Gallo is appearing in the film alongside “two Israeli actors, Zach Cohen and Yiftach Ofir… and a third Israeli actor is currently being sought… After shooting in the Dead Sea area, the rest of the movie will be filmed in Norway and Poland”.

Further details on the film are pretty thin on the ground. Indeed, Quiet Earth have only a cut-and-paste portion of the Haaretz story and nothing else, and there’s barely another word about the picture out there. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception a film about a Taliban murderer of American soldiers receives, doubly interesting to see how Gallo reacts to any controversy.

Read more: Vincent Gallo Playing Fugitive Taliban Member in New Jerzy Skolimowski Film


Monday, December 28, 2009

To Quote someone in the replies: "Whoa Israel!"

A new film, a new film a new film! What better christmas present (belated) could there be?

Dead Sea region doubling as Taliban home for new movie starring Vincent Gallo
By Nirit Anderman

American actor, director and screenwriter Vincent Gallo will portray a Taliban member in a film being shot around the Dead Sea by Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, who once wrote the script for "Knife in the Water" with Roman Polanski.

Gallo arrived in Israel last week for the shooting of the film, called "The Essence of Killing." The plot follows the story of a Taliban member (Gallo) who lives in Afghanistan, kills three American soldiers and then is taken captive by the Americans. He is transferred to Europe for interrogation but manages to escape from his captors and becomes an escaped convict on a continent he does not know.

Gallo has appeared in Martin Scorsese's film "GoodFellas", Emir Kusturica's "Arizona Dream" and Francis Ford Coppola's, "Tetro," but he is mainly identified with indie American cinema, thanks to two films that he wrote, produced and starred in - "Buffalo 66" which participated in the official competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998, and "the Brown Bunny" which participated in the official competition at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

The film was received at the festival with loud cries of "boo" and created a stir because of its pornographic motifs.

Gallo is expected to remain in Israel until the end of shooting, at the beginning of January. After shooting in the Dead Sea area, the rest of the movie will be filmed in Norway and Poland. According to Mark Rosenbaum of Transfax Film Productions, who is providing the production services for the Israeli part of the film, two Israeli actors, Zach Cohen and Yiftach Ofir, will participate in "The Essence of Killing" and a third Israeli actor is currently being sought.

Skolimowski is best known for two scripts he wrote at the start of his career - one for Polish director Andrzej Wajda's classic film "Innocent Sorcerers" (1960) and "Knife in the Water" (1962) which was a candidate for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.

Last year, his film "Four Nights with Anna" was released after 17 years of gathering dust.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Forgetabout Amps!

Thanks to Quaids - an oldie but Goldie. And as it's so quiet today, I thought it deserves a post of its own and shouldn't get lost in the comments :-)

Forgetabout Amps!
Article By Vincent Gallo
From Sound Practices Issue 3, Early 1993

I just finished reading a copy of the famous new magazine Sound Practices Number 2. I got my copy yesterday, the same day my agent informed me that I brown nosed myself another job acting in a Hollywood movie. She told me I was cast along with Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Glen Close, and Wynona Rider — so I figured I deserved MILLIONS. I had to spend the whole day on the phone with my agent and their lawyer. I told them The Gallo doesn't work for less than a million a film. They offered 10,000. I took 15 K-that's $2,985,000 less than each of the other actors was getting. With all this Hollywood-style schmoozing to do, I couldn't just relax and sit around reading my new SP #2.

The thing is that as soon as I got the job I started to worry. I've worked as an actor for 12 years but I still get it in my mind that I don't know what the hell I'm doing, and I probably don't. I always imagine all the other actors are going to think that I stink and that they will hate me. So I begin hating myself, a little more than usual. I start to feel like I deserved the ten thousand beatings I got from my father and that my mother was right when she said that I wasn't at all handsome enough to be an actor and that I should learn a trade instead, maybe plumbing.

I looked into the mirror. Ohmyg-d, she was right. I hate my greasy guinea skin, I hate my hair, my big ugly nose. I started feeling like the talentless greasy, slimy little piece of shit that I am. However, in the past I worked with some big stars like Faye Dunaway, Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Johnny Depp and other jerks like that. None of them were intimidating to work with and usually within minutes of starting a new film, I can slip back into my judgmental arrogant cocky self. THANK G-D!

Unfortunately, shooting wouldn't begin for 28 days so I had 28 days of rampant self disgust and giant fears ahead of me. Audio was the last thing on my mind. Sad because my usual neurotic obsession with Hi-Fi helps me kill some of my spare time. Maybe I should get a friend? Anyway, why wasn't I out with some chick celebrating? Why can't I enjoy the whole thing instead of worrying over and over about how much Meryl Streep will hate me?

Anyway, that night I couldn't close my eyes. I flipped on the light and began reading Number 2 to take my mind off Meryl Streep. Suddenly, a miracle! I fell into a deep, deep sleep — deeper than I have ever known. You see, Sound Practices #2 was so boring and dull that it put me out like a light. Thank G-d for Number 2 and thanks to all you unemployed clowns for those rehashed schematics. Otherwise, I wouldn't have slept for 28 days without the help of a cheap hooker or some big pills.

Yeah, Number 2 was a real snoozer. Number 1 with MY classic article on Mono was much better. Could you believe that Joe Roberts wrote an article on that $60,000 Ongaku amp? For all of you who don't know this, Joe Roberts is the cheapest, penny pinchin', food stampin', pricetag switchin', welfare check cashin', pull out your teeth and nickel and dime you to death Hi-Fi nut in America. If Joe can't trade even for something he found in a dumpster, or buy it outright for a penny, then it just don't go home with Joe. I mean the guy is too cheap to do a glossy cover for the magazine, but he will use up column space to write about a $60,000 amp he never listened to.

Joe, you bottom trawler, you cheap Bacalao, you cheap chiseler, how dare you alienate the working man!!! You have one claim to fame-you are the king of great Hi-Fi sound for under a buck. If you're too cheap to buy it, Joe, don't write about it. Leave the Ongaku column for The Absolute Sound so all those jerks can go trade in their Cello and Krell junk for it.

Joyce is my favorite writer so I read the magazine starting from the back, Japanese style. Herb Reichert's article was next and not bad either. Herb is sentimental with techno wiz thrown in. His article shed some new light on my childhood memory of the first time I hooked up my Marantz Model 2s in triode. Yes, yes, they did sound a little better — but not by that much. The second I tasted one sip of real triodes (WE 43 with 211 tubes) I shipped those beautiful brown Model 2s off to some brownholed neurotic Marantz collector who had me on the phone for hours discussing the condition of the power cord. I had to guesstimate the number of times it was plugged in and pulled out. The Bastard.

I had to deal with him though because the Japanese would only buy the big overpriced shitty sounding Model 9s. So much for the Japanese paying the most for the best sound. I can still hear echoes of Japanese accents asking for Model 9s. Model 9s stink, period.

Anyway, by the time I read through to the thorazine laced column "Art at the Edge of Science," I was sick of amps and amp talk. It's the same old Audiophile bull crapola-amps, amps, amps, this amp design, that amp, design, bigger, fatter, more this, more that, and more and more expensive. Too much amp talk. You're giving me adjida. What about horns, drivers, crossovers, preamps, phono sections, cartridges, records, speaker box design? How about classic turntables and arms, huh? How about some tape machine talk? Listen, you brown stained techno macho audio drag queen fairies, enough is enough!!! Ya hear me?

Amps are not that interesting to talk about; they don't make or break your system by themselves, and choosing an amp is a relatively easy thing to do. So stop aggravating yourself 'cause I'm gonna make the choice simple for you, but I'm gonna tell you just one time, and after this I don't want to hear the word "amp" again, Capisci?

PENTODE - Thank G-d for pentode amps otherwise you big cornholes wouldn't have all that big POWER pentodes were designed to give you, so all you retards could drive your inefficient speakers. Now, I have actually liked a few inefficient speakers in my life. I said liked not loved-DQ-10s weren't bad. My classic AR-1 with Janszen tweeter setup was good for a few records, but they are all very forgettable. All the GREAT speakers I've heard we're ultra efficient so to compromise amp sound quality for high power design fundamentally makes no sense.

However, if you must have or are stuck with inefficient speakers (or speaker if you’re hip enough to be in mono), there art a few good ones to choose from. If you like brown (and I do love brown), the Marantz Model 2 is neat. The Western Electric 142A is good. But the best pentode amp I’ve heard is the WE 124C — the early silver ones (not the gray) with the engraved (not ink stamped) number 171 C transformers. They are pretty good and I really loved mine but I yelled out "YES” in two seconds when my idol Walt Bender asked to buy them from me. I think he still uses them. He has some of the best ears on the planet (and his checks always clear). So the silver 124s can't be all that bad.

OTL - I listened to every Futterman piece, the Atmospheres, a home brew 6336 amp and an 80s German thing called a Diffenbacher. They all give me an image of what it would be like to drive a car with a 64 cylinder engine. Most are below average. The best OTLs are not bad but they are usually expensive and need frequent adjustment. And for what? You only get “not bad.’ Big deal, I say OTL, schmo-TL.

SOLID STATE - I don’t want to be heavy handed and declare that all solid state amps suck. But I have no choice because they do all suck. They are over priced over designed, unreliable, hard to fix, age horribly, and never not in a billion trillion years will they sound as good as the best tube stuff Although if you’re into the whole grunge look 70’s thing I get yourself a polyester shirt and go out and hunt down a big bad SAE, or Son of Ampzilla, or a really not too bad Bedini 10/10.

HYBRID - Ha, HA, HA 1/2 tube, 1/2 solid state. This here nor there sensibility doesn’t appeal to me. Its mediocre thinking. Its a half-assed compromise. Just say NO!

TRIODES - Ahhh, Triodes. Che bella triodes. Wonderful wonderful triodes. Beautiful triodes. Okay you get the point they’re simple and they sound great. Choosing a triode amp will let you forget about the amp part of your system. All you basically need to know is that the tube type and the output transformer are mostly responsible for the sound. But here are some tips anyway since I know you all really need to obsess on amps.

First, you have to choose between push pull and single ended. Both types can sound great. Suite the SE types only use one tube they are simpler but usually air very low output. They only work well with real efficient speakers — 100dB/W/m and up. They absolutely GLOW when hooked up to horns. It’s shocking how good they can sound.

My absolute favorite factory builts are the WE 91As (see SP #1). They are super good looking but they usually need some work to get set up and running quietly. All I can say technically is that I had better luck using single ended types without feedback. I took the feedback out of my 91s. Unfortunately 91s are expensive, hard to find, and hard to match up. So maybe this is the “mono mo-ment”...

Push pull triode amps sound great too. They will give you a little more power without sacrificing sound like the pentode. This extra crumb of power can broaden your speaker choices. I love my WE 86C amps. To my ears, these amps make more speakers sound good than any other amp. They can bring an average speaker to life.

Another way to go is to buy a pair of Magnequest transformers and build a pair of amps or get someone to do it for you. I’ve heard Mike’s latest transformers and they are untouchable. Maybe as good as the WE 171A from the 91. Can’t believe you did it, Mike. Good work. Anyway, here’s a chance for good sound a heck of a lot cheaper than the 91s. If you really want to save money use 6A3 tubes. In my 91s they sound as good as 300Bs. So all you cut throat, price bumping scumbags trying to hawk me your trashpicked 300Bs for top dollar, think again. Even in Japan, you can buy late 300Bs for $275. Actually, WE tubes don’t necessarily sound better than other companies’ versions of the same tube type, especially the rectifiers. They are only cool to have if you own the original WE amps and you are anal about things — like me and the Japanese. The tubes used in the popular WE amps go for big bucks. Don’t build around them. If you’re really into Western tubes, try the odd numbers like the 275. Use whatever is cheap and available. By the way, the Chinese 300B copies are not bad at all.

So the word from the Cafe is just get a triode amp, any triode amp. Shoot for WE 91s or 86s if you’re into classics, Or buy some transformers and get some amps built. Or talk to Don Garber or JC Morrison at Fi in NYC. They understand. There are a million tubes to try like 10s, 50s, and all the 2A3 family. Just do it and forget about it. Worry about the rest of the system. Move on to the fun stuff.

Alright, to get a discussion on speakers underway, I figured I’d throw you cheap lazy Hi-Fi nuts a home. I, Vinny GaIlo, that’s right, The Gallo. Me — Vinny C, Vincent Gallo spent $96,329 dollars, drove over 16,238 miles and yapped on the phone for hours to chisel away gear from some of the biggest bunch of money grubbing, Hi-Fi pimpin’, mis-representing, slick conniving, back stabbing, solid state listening Hi-Fi dealing jerks in the USA just so I could generate some interest and discussion on ANYTHING BUT AMPS.

I managed to collect Western Electric 12A, 13A, 15A, 16A, 22A/B, 24A/B, 25A/B, and 26 horns. I’ll be listening to these with 555, 555W, 594, and 713C drivers and 596 and 597 tweeters. Plan to set these up in a huge loft in Soho, NYC. Me and my super pal Mark Lyons will sit there like two big assholes for hours listening and A/B'ing while all you Hi-Fi pimps are sitting around watching prime-time TV and rating chips while waiting for the phone to ring so you could make another quick buck selling off some antique gear you finagled off some blind widows. That’s right Rick, Larry, Vernon, Scott, Sumner, Hitochi and Joel. Stay tuned For #4.

Chew the fat shoot the breeze mull it over, think about it, and please, please forgetahout amps. Love, Vincent.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anyone in Los Angeles... get the chance to view "Tetro" tomorrow (if you havent's already seen it):

Heads up TETRO is playing LA tonight and tomorrow at the new beverly cinema.

Thanks to the Anonymous poster for the hint :-) I am still waiting for the chance to see it, especially now that I couldn't make it to the Viennale this year.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pics from the 5th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute

That took place on October 3rd.

The Gall of Gallo

From: Includes information on the plot of his new movie :-)

The gall of Gallo: 'Talking to the press is sort of beneath me now'

His last movie was booed at the Cannes Film Festival and pilloried by the critics. Little wonder that Vincent Gallo is wary of interviewers

By Geoffrey Macnab

Thursday, 15 October 2009

To sceptics, there's a mismatch between the attention Vincent Gallo has attracted over the years and his actual achievements. He has directed a couple of films, worked as a character actor in a number of independent movies and released a handful of albums without becoming a major star in any of the fields in which he has been active. However, critics who try to dismiss or cariciature Gallo are frequently wrong-footed by his humour and his flair for philosophical one-liners. He can even occasionally be mildly self-deprecating.

"I came to New York to be a legend, and within five minutes of realising I was an interesting kid and other people thought so, I had given myself a nervous breakdown. I was 26-years-old before I knew what it was like to have an ordinary day," he once remarked of the journey that took him from his home town of Buffalo to New York City where he became a male model, dancer, hustler and eventually a respected musician and painter.

He gives interviews very rarely, but has agreed to talk to promote the new dystopian sci-fi cartoon feature Metropia, directed by little-known Swede Tarik Saleh, in which he voices the lead character, Roger – a Josef K-like everyman adrift in a grim futuristic world. The film screens this month/week in the London Film Festival where it has been shortlisted for The Sutherland Trophy, the festival's award for "most original and imaginative first feature".

If you are a British journalist, Gallo is likely to eye you with particular suspicion. He remembers vividly just how "mean" the British press have been to him over the years. This reached a nadir with the release of Gallo's 2003 road movie, The Brown Bunny, which was booed during its press preview in Cannes and earned instant notoriety for a graphic scene of Chloe Sevigny's ghost performing fellatio on Gallo.

He re-edited the film after Cannes and received respectful notices from critics who had hated it in its first incarnation. Even so, the filmmaker is still smarting at the British journalists who (he says) twisted and wilfully misinterpreted his words after interviewing him in Cannes – and he makes it clear from the outset that he doesn't have high hopes of how I will treat him in print. "He'll say he will [be friendly] but then he'll turn it around even deeper against me, in the British tradition," Gallo whispers to the publicist as the interview begins. "I don't mean to sound arrogant but [talking to the press] is sort of beneath me now. I am operating in a different frequency now. I am trying to grow in a different way," he declares.

With his lean features, beard and shock of hair, Gallo looks a little like a hunger striker or a martyr from some old Renaissance painting. (It's no surprise, either, that he was once in the running to play Charles Manson.) His old persecution complex hasn't gone away altogether but he is mellower than his reputation suggests.

"A lot of people think I am a lot darker than I really am. I am not a depressive person. I am a little nervous and a little easy to throw into unbalance but I am basically a happy person."

Born in 1961 in Buffalo, New York, Gallo came to prominence in the 1980s. His work philosophy is straightforward – prospective patrons or employers should give him complete creative control or pay him lots of money.

"If you want me to work 20 hours a day, seven days a week for free for you, all you have to do is give me 100 per cent control ... but if you fucking tell me [to do] one thing, you had better fucking pay me up the wazoo, because otherwise there's nothing in it for me! If you pay me up the wazoo, I'll do anything."

One of Gallo's most recent roles is as the star of Francis Ford Coppola's new feature Tetro, a drama about the fraught relationship between two brothers. He doesn't reveal whether or not he was paid up the wazoo for his services but clearly relished working with Coppola.

"If I could wave a wand and have gotten to work with Francis Ford Coppola at any period in his career – it would have been at any period in his career!" Gallo reflects. "I just wanted him to know me. I wanted him to be around me and give me some attention. If I could say I could have been in any Coppola film, I would have probably wanted to star in The Rain People. If I could say the period when I would really have liked to see what he was like, it would have loved to have seen him in his biggest, most powerful Cotton Club, Dracula period."

He suggests that he is even more "stubborn" as a filmmaker than Coppola. He won't make a movie unless he gets his own way. Three features (one as yet unreleased) in 10 years doesn't seem like much of a haul for a director who has been acclaimed as one of the most distinctive independent filmmakers in the US. Yet he seems unbothered by his low productivity.

When he is not discussing his work, Gallo talks in sometimes baffling fashion about transcendence, consciousness and good vibrations. He attributes his new-found openness to his experiences in analysis. "I went for many years to a very classical psychiatrist. Together in that relationship, I had some growth ... not a lot because it's a very slow process, 20th century psychoanalysis. After 12 years, there was some insight, some consciousness, some reflection and some growth."

The psychiatrist died around the time of the premiere of Buffalo '66 (1998), At this point, Gallo's behaviour changed. "I felt I was disconnected again. I didn't have one day a week when I was checking in and reflecting on myself – so I developed a lot of unconsciousness. A lot of that was reflected in my behaviour in the press, socially and with girls."

Unpick the gobbledegook and what Gallo seems to be saying is that this was when he was at his most erratic. He calmed down after beginning to visit another psychiatrist. "He was not so caught up in psychoanalysis. He was connecting in another way. I told him the story of my past. He seemed to have a real compassion."

Six years after The Brown Bunny, Gallo is now close to completing a new film, Promises Written in Water. The work is self-financed. "It's only a few hundred thousand dollars. It's not a lot of money ... it's a lot but it's not unbearable," he says.

The film is about a beautiful young girl who is terminally ill. She decides not to go to the hospital or have treatment but to wait until the pain becomes unbearable – and then to end her life. Her one fear is what is going to happen to her body when she is dead. She wants to be cremated. She reaches out to a photographer she meets, asking him to make sure that her wish is fulfilled. He takes a job in a funeral home so that he has the experience to perform the cremation. It sounds morbid in the extreme. "What I have tried to do in this movie is to make choices as if this was the first movie ever made and not to buy into the story of what cinema should be," explains Gallo. This means making the film on the hoof, without much in the way of preparation.

"I shoot a bunch of stuff – improvs, things when people don't know they're being filmed. I look at the footage and separate it into filters. The first category is anything that is beautiful, photographically ... beautiful could be out of focus, it could be a mistake. Beautiful can be intentional. It can be just luck, it can be because the film is processed a little funnily ... Now, I take the film and start to look at the people in the film and I want them to be beautiful. Again, beauty is relative. Beauty can be beautiful ugly. It can be the back of their heads ... "

Continuity editing is deliberately askance. Characters don't wear the same costumes from scene to scene. The director wanted the film to be "honest". He didn't want his cast to "perform" but instead demanded that they behaved naturally on camera. They are mainly unknowns, although Sylvester Stallone's son, Sage, appears.

"He was awful!" Gallo gasps. "I was off camera, screaming at him at the top of my lungs. Then afterward, I just cut out my voice and what was left was him answering these screaming questions – pick the phone up, put it down! – and what is left is this performance that is number one in cinema history. It opens the movie. It's four minutes long – it's just a miracle I have this scene."

Whether we'll ever get the chance to see Promises Written in Water is a moot point. Gallo made it for himself, not for the world at large. "I have no intention of expecting anyone to see it. I am so tuned into it that I can't imagine if it will have the same impact for someone else who doesn't know all the things I know."

As long as Gallo is satisfied with the film himself, he says that will be enough. "Don't take this the wrong way if you're going to write about it. I am giving zero attention to what the audience thinks. It's not that I resent them or don't care about them. I feel that if I am going to make my best work, I have to take that attitude ... I don't care if it ever gets released, I don't care if anyone ever likes it."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two small tidbits

Thanks to the Anonymous poster, a lovely interview clip about Fashion Shows :-)

And, the "Phone-Number-Scandal" of 2009 ;o)

Can be found here: and in various other sources all over the net.

Downtown filmmaker Vincent Gallo would like the man who has his old phone number to stop impersonating him.

"I had a New York number for years, before 'Buffalo 66' even came out," the often colorful actor/director tells Page Six. "I eventually transferred to a California area code, and the phone company gave someone my old number. When the guy would get calls that were for me, instead of telling them they had the wrong number, he'd play along and pretend to be me."

Gallo says the impostor even set up a Gmail account with his name to further confuse people. "He screwed up a number of business deals for me and also misled girls in certain ways," he says. "He was trying to create intimacy and would say strange things. I figured it would eventually stop, but it hasn't."

Vincent GalloThe last straw came, he says, when a female editor at Vice magazine called his old number to invite Gallo to a screening of "Where the Wild Things Are" at the Tribeca Grand on Thursday night, and the impostor creepily requested her photo.

"She e-mailed me very confused," Gallo relates. "I just want him to stop." E-mails and calls we made to the impostor were, predictably, not returned.

Gallo, who famously had a graphic sex scene with Chloe Sevigny in "The Brown Bunny," is no stranger to controversy. After critic Roger Ebert panned the 2003 film, Gallo called him a "fat pig" and put a hex on Ebert, wishing him colon cancer.

Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Ebert replied, "Although I am fat, one day I will be thin, but Mr. Gallo will still have been the director of 'The Brown Bunny' . . . The video of my colonoscopy is more entertaining than your movie." The two eventually reconciled.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

F***ing Long Interview from Galore

...which is a German online magazine to be found at

And because I am nice and with LOADS of help, this has been translated to English :) Please don't make a big deal if there are any little spelling mistakes in there or something - I think it works quite well and I also know we might have overlooked something, but you surely get a good idea of what he said in Venice.

09/04/2009, Venice, Villa Foscari. „ Be carful. Vincent Gallo will ask what you want to know from him,“ warns the PR- Lady prior to the Interview. But this is dispensable - the 48- year-old actor, musician, director, photographer and painter with the liabiltiy to the extremes doesnt show any defense, but open minded friendliness. His appearence- deep in the holes set eyes ,mazy hair, airtight beard- reminds of an Old Testament Preacher, and indeed Gallo spins wildly enlaced thought-threads; admittedly without orthodox furor but healthy distance. In between he builds an abstract sculpture out of a napkin. In the heat of the converstation he bursts trough any timelimit. Even as the implied PR-Lady enters the room to pick him up for lunch, he cotinues to sprinkle briskly. Even the topic „food“ encourages surprising considerations, that becomes clear right at the begining of the meeting on account of a plate full of berries on the table.

Mr. Gallo, You look at the berries so scepticly. Don´t you want any?

Vincent Gallo: No, better Not. Since i know what real berries taste like.
I conicidentally know the head of the Dole Food Company. He has the biggest private greenhouse on earth, where the earliest genetic variants of all fruits are cultivated- from seeds that are 10.000 – 100.000 years old. When you eat a berry there- it is truly unbelievable, not to compare to anything else. Even at an organic farmer´s market you can get only modified versions, nothing pristine. But there it is proverbial like in the Garden of Eden- i never had such an intense experience before.

How much time to you spend in this Garden of Eden?

Unfortunatly not as much as i would like. The problem is, that i can only hardly bear the owner.
He is not a bad person, but an extremly agressive businessman like this: „I! I created this!“
When i want to visit him, i have to build a protective barrier around my heart.
Usually i can accomplish that once a year.

What’s it like when it comes to movies? Do you only work with directors you can bear or do you also accept difficult candidates? What was it like when you were shooting “Tetro” with Francis Ford Coppola?

I’ll go the long way round to answer that question. I grew up in a family with a very low income in Buffalo, New York. A very unharmonious home. I went to New York City, out of reasons that i still dont understand, and there i started doing peculiar performance-shows: i pretended crying jags in front of restaurants, i let myself colide with cars, i ran trough the streets screaming.

Why did you do that?

I had told friends to be there at a certain point of time to watch me. I did that for quite a while and one day, a film student asked me to act in his debut as a director. And I said: “How much do you pay?” And he started to explain that the whole things was a very personal art project and that he couldn´t pay anything and i said: „Man, i´ve got my own problems. I’m in it for money though.“
He said: „Fuck you. you´re no artist.“ and off he went. A few months later he came back and paid me $ 500. And since then the first thing I ask when I decide whether to make a movie or not is:
“How much do you pay?” And that also counts for a Francis Ford Coppola.

But there are no typical commercially succesful projects in your filmography. That seems a bit contradictory.

Maybe that’s because, in Hollywood, you’re not alloed to ask for money that open. But I can’t change it. I don’t insist that this is a good attribute of me. I’m not a hero.
This behaviour, this fixation on money, only reflects the narrow minded way of thinking I grew up with. And it's not that I would get a lot of offers. That's why I can't afford to ponder whether I like a certain director or not. I have to take what I get as long as they pay me for it. When I did the synchronization of the Swedish film "Metropia", it was just the same. But as soon as I had accepted the job, I tried hard to deliver the best work possible. I put myself under so much pressure that I'm difficult to work with for my colleagues. And that leads to conflicts.

But your are looking for conflicts with the audience. Your second work as a director, „The Brown Bunny“ got booed by the full audience in cannes.

But it was also funny somehow. Who can make 3.500 people boo? I never had so much attention before. And people didn't do it at the end, they started right away with the opening credits. They hated the film right from the start. As soon as they read "Directed, Written and Produced by Vincent Gallo" they started booing. Because everyone knew: this is the movie, where i get blown.

But you had to know that the explicit blow job would lead to extreme reactions:

I don't like explicit sexuality. In my newest film, there is nothing of that - not even a kissing scene. In "Metroia" I felt slightly uneasy because my character was naked. And when you look at "Buffalo 66" and my photography, everything is really discreet. When it comes to "Brown Bunny", I was confronted with a certain dilemma. I wanted to present a situation I knew way too well from my experience: the breakdown of an intimate relationship and the intense mix of sadness, anger, regret and resentment that you feel when it happens. In this context, the physical contact with your partner becomes really uncomfortable. And that's why I thought: Usually, we do see explicit images in the context of sexual fantasies. But what if I took an icon of erotic and show it in connection with anger and sadness?

But that doesn't mean you are forced to take such extreme measures.

Trust me - it wasn't fun for me. I am very concerned with my private life. I don't even show myself at the pool in bathing clothes, I never even owned any. There are no pictures of me topless. When I had to lie next to my colleague Maribel Verdu in a love scene in "Tetro" I was so tense that Francis Ford Coppola said: "You did 'Brown Bunny' so just kiss her!". But in "Brown Bunny" it was important that I put my dick in ChloƩ Sevigny's mouth. I didn't even think about what that would look like, I only thought about the bigger context of it all. Only when I started cutting the movie, when I saw the images out of context, I thought "Oh God!". But on the other hand it's not erotic at all. The whole thing was no performance stunt, no gag, no act of narcism. I put three years of my life in this movie to achieve the greatest aesthetical perfection possible.

How did you deal with the negativity that hit you afterwards.

I found a simple solution for things like that: Ieliminated my desire for love and accpetance. I don´t need any of that- that way i can deal with rejection and misjudgement towards myself. I am not particularly proud of that, but that is how i am. Probably because of my childhood.

Tell me about it...

Once, my mother did something really evil: I had let my hair grown in a certain way and I was the coolest boy at school. But my mother was a hairdresser and she cut my hair. I told her: "If you destroy this hairstyle, I'll never ever talk to you again." But she didn't listen and cut my hair short. As a consequence I didn't talk to her for three and a half years. Whenever I am confronted with something negative, I stop caring. I don't need anyone.

What is your emotional situation now? Are you still rejecting love and friendship?

I don't find love, but I am happy as ever in my life. Even though I have always been happy - even when I have been fighting with other people on the street. But I am never depressive, I don't ponder negative things. I wake up in the morning, I see something and I think: "What a color! Isn't that great?" I always think in a constructive way. What can I build, organize, create? I love my life, I never want to die. The only thing that irritates me is when things don't work the way I want them to work.

Don't you have any fears?

I used more though. When I was younger, a lot of my actions were driven by fear. Because I was scared to be poor I worked harder. Because I thought women could reject me, I looked for partner I had complete control over. But now I don't think about my fears anymore, I grew as a person.

You want to be immortal - don't you fear death?

The one thing has nothing to do with the other. I said I want to live forever because I reject all kind of prefabricated opinions. When I grew up, people said: "Oh, your uncle, he's 50, he's old now." They believed everything was written down statistically. "This is the average age. When a man is older than 40, he has to have his prostate checked." But nothing is written down! We can choose a totally different point of view. If I die, it doesn't matter. Only the fact that I wanted to live forever is wonderful. I feel free and I am not limited by any kind of prejudices.

Are you religious?

I had an interest in Buddhism, I have been to temples, where 5000 monks were singing - that's an overwhelming experience. But I don't believe in religious enlightenment. The way is a process that never ends. That's why I am not religious. I am rather fascinated by the cosmos.

What exactly?

Once you realize how far away the closest star is, you lose your ego. Alone the fact that we use the word "world" for our earth, which is a tiny planet, seems naiv to me. We have to see our life in a different relation. The death of Julius Ceasar happened 2.000 years ago but what does that mean in relation to the age of humanity? Our history started six million years ago and we have millions ahead of us, hopefully. Everything we consider to be absolute size seems relative.
We'd like to have that a bit more detailed.
For example, was does "poor" mean? Years ago it meant something different than it does now and a hundred years from now it will mean something totally different again. In the early 20th century people worked under conditions we would call slavery now. That was accepted back then. We always see things in the wrong context. But only when you put things in the right relation, you stop taking your position and point of view seriously. And that way you lose your ego.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vincent Gallo and Buffalo 66 - by Jerry Tallmer

An old but to me new interview I just found (here: I really like - it's sort of different...

Vincent Gallo and Buffalo 66
By Jerry Tallmer

Jerry Tallmer
New York City journalist and critic
One of founders of “ The Village Voice”
Created the Obie Awards (Off-Broadway Theatre) in 1956

It was 12 noon, the appointed hour, on a recent sunny Sunday, but the buzzer didn't answer and didn't answer and didn't answer, so the next most logical thing was to look around for a street phone, and spot one on the next corner, the intersection of Elizabeth and Spring, and go to it and put a quarter in and dial the guy's number -- or just be in the middle of dialing when there he was, Vincent Gallo, in his undershirt, crossing from the other side of the street toward his own doorway, his hand raised in a hi-ya salute.

"I was up there, working on some tape," Gallo said, indicating an upper floor of the building across the way. "I was looking out the window and saw you, so I came running down."

He points to the top of his own building, the Little Italy tenement, in which he's had a tiny pad subsequently expanded into a tiny duplex, since he was 17, a runaway kid from Buffalo, N.Y.

"Scorsese's parents were married on that roof," he says. "Joe DiMaggio's father or uncle or something owned the building next door. Eric Bogosian's place is somewhere around here too."

Etched here and there at our feet into what was once the wet cement is the name GALLO in big block capitals. A few feet away: VINCENT GALLO.

"There are around a hundred of those scattered all around town," the actor murmurs. Then,
straight-faced: "Seventy percent of them I did myself. Then girls started doing them too, adding their names and telephone numbers."

Yes? Well?

"Well, I'm listed in the phone book. I'm very open to girls calling."

That's in that breath. In another he talks of his lone-wolf loneliness -- his near-celibacy -- for along time now.

And so, in its own sweet sharp full-of-contradictions way, does the kookie, original, quite lovely movie he's turned out, "Buffalo '66," written by Vincent Gallo, directed by Vincent Gallo, starring Vincent Gallo.

One of the hits of the Museum of Modern Art/Lincoln Center's 1998 New Directors/New Films series,"Buffalo '66" brings a difficult guy named Billy Brown out of prison and back to the scene of hisscrewed-up boyhood under ludicrously self-involved, dysfunctional parents (Ben Gazzara, Anjelica Huston), who couldn't care less whether Billy lives or breathes.

Accompanying him willy-nilly in this visit is the gorgeous teenage dance student (Christina Ricci) whom Billy has kidnapped and is dragging home to prove to those same wacko folks that, yes, he has a wife.

To this totally unfrightened girl (whose gearshift car he can't drive, so she does) he blusters, like a 10-year-old: "If you make me look bad, I'll kill you right in front of my mom and dad - and I won't ever talk to you again in my whole life." Beautiful.

Perhaps the knife-edge face of Vincent Gallo, blue eyes blazing with sensitivity, is already familiar to you from Abel Ferrara's "The Funeral" (in which Gallo plays a slain 1930s working-class radical), Alan Taylor's "Palookaville" (about a gang that couldn't rob straight), or Emil Kusturica's "Arizona Dream" (wherein Gallo did a knockout parody of Cary Grant versus the crop-duster in Hitchcock's "North by Northwest").

Perhaps you've seen him in any of a half-dozen pictures he's made abroad, three of them directed by´Claire Denis in France.

Most probably you've seen him, even if you didn't know it, as that lean and hungry hunk in the Calvin Klein CK cologne ads shot by Richard Avedon. You'll soon also have the chance to see him in Roland Joffe's "Goodbye, Lover" (as, says Gallo, "a very methodical assassin"); as "a very sweet pothead" in Aki Kaurismaki's "Los Angeles Without a Map"; and as "a man on the run from the law and the mob" in Kiefer Sutherland's "Truth or Consequences, N.M."

Busy fellow, Vincent Gallo. But never so busy as in these past weeks, getting "Buffalo '66" ready for release.

"Come upstairs," he said on that recent sunny Sunday. "I worked all night, to 8 a.m., on the
poster and the soundtrack cover and the sequence mix of the music for the film. Like I did the trailer too -- one of the best things I did.

"I tell you something," Gallo said, plucking at his miniature Mephistopheles beard. "If you're a perfectionist, it can be overwhelming. When I made the movie, in my mind I was making a classic musical.

"So when Ben Gazzara sings (or, to be exact, lip-synchs to a scratchy 24-year-old recording of "Fools Rush In" by Gallo's own father), or when Christina Ricci does her tap dance, or in the bedroom scene where we kiss (she leading the way for a frozen, terrified Billy), it's choreography. Those are musical numbers like in those old Hollywood musicals.

"To make a movie with '50s realism, that's what John Cassavetes does. People should understand I'm not interested in that."

What Vincent Gallo the actor, the director, the musician, the composer, the artist, the model, the free-thinker, the free-speaker is in fact interested in is . . . everything; not least each and every one of the 5,500 movies in his video collection.

The Billy of "Buffalo '66" was born in that city in that year, on a day on which the Buffalo Bills ignominiously blew a championship football game. Billy's mother had to miss the game on TV because she was giving birth to Billy. She wishes she'd skipped the childbirth instead.

Vincent Gallo was born in Buffalo on April 11, 1962, four years before his fictional alter ego, and if the bit about his mother is only, shall we say, poetic license, any of the extreme behavior in "Buffalo '66" ascribed to his father (terrific performance by Ben Gazzara) is, that father's son will tell you, understated.

"My father is also a Vincent Gallo - Vincenzo Vido Gallo, no senior, no junior. He's just the other Vincent Gallo - the one with less money now. My mother is Jacamina Fantuzzo Gallo, called Jan, or Janet (as in the film). They like to say they're Sicilian."

It was to avoid a beating from his father that 13-year-old Vincent, an electronics whiz-kid and budding thief, had, back there in Buffalo, taped his old man singing "Fools Rush In" to an old Nelson Riddle background arrangement.

"So 10 years ago," says 36-year-old Vincent, "I'm driving across the country in a car with one hundred of my cassettes, and at the end of the B side of some punk-rock thing there's this old, dirty, sun-baked tape, and I hear that 'Fools Rush In' and I'm stunned at my father's talent and my 13-year-old engineering skills.

"And that's the inspiration for the whole movie -- that and my feeling about Christina Ricci the moment I first saw her in 'Mermaids' (when she was 9 years old).

I knew at that point, driving in that car, that one day I would make a movie, and that there would be a scene in it of the father character singing that song."

This being the same father who - you've said - yanked you out of the back seat and smashed your face into the rearview mirror when, on a Christmas trip home to Buffalo, you told him that Stella Adler ("and she taught Marlon Brando") had accepted you into her acting class?

"Yes. It didn't mean shit to me about Marlon Brando, but I said it to impress my parents. It incensed my father to hear me speak out about myself in any favorable way, so he - readjusted - my way of thinking. How untalented and unattractive and unspecial I was. It made me look at myself very closely. I guess there was some part of me thought he was right.

"Incidentally, I never did raise the tuition for the Stella Adler classes, which was all for the best."

And in the movie, when the girl asks if she can see photos of you as a kid, and the mother bellows: "Honey, where's the Billy picture?" - i.e., the one and only Billy picture.

"Very true to my childhood." (Pause.) "Whereas they have a shrine to my brother. I was
the best athlete, the best student in the family, and had the best girlfriends, but he dated one pretty cheerleader or something." (Pause.) "If I had three kids (Vincent also has a sister]) and I was one of them, I'd be my favorite by a lot."

Billy Brown couldn't have put it better.

"So at 16," says the real Billy Brown, "I quit Sweethome Senior High School and hitchhiked to New York.

"I had $22, and had known one girl here, whom I'd picked up at a rock club on a three-day trip to New York a few months earlier. I had her phone number and address, but when I buzzed her buzzer, lugging this huge suitcase I'd brought with me, there was nobody there.

"I spent two and a half days on the street, sleeping on stoops, and then I took the subway to Brighton Beach and hung out there. I wasn't a vagabond either; I was a smart kid. It was lonely, isolating, and overwhelming.

"Then I met a young guy, a hustler, a hip kid, and he let me crash at his place in that great big building at 200 Central Park West. He lived with some life-insurance guy. Ever seen the movie 'The Servant'? It was a relationship like that.

"Went back to Buffalo for three months to get my high-school degree, sold all my possessions, came back to New York with a few hundred dollars, and checked into the Bond Hotel, on Chambers Street, $22 week. Finally I found this apartment, and that hustler kid introduced me to (artist and musician) Jean-Michael Basquiat, and everything flew from there.

"It wasn't like George Clooney or any other bullshit actor wants to tell you about their starving,struggling days. That's all bullshit. To me, it was fun, hanging out with some of the coolest people in all the cool clubs. It was wonderful, intense, really intense. It was just that nobody had any money. Nobody got big. Except maybe Madonna.

"Being big," said Vincent Gallo, sitting there in his Stanley Kowalski undershirt in the
six-foot-square kitchen of his little white-on-white, Quaker-style apartment, "just means
you have impact. And if you can do something with it, it's exciting.

"I'd always thought money was the big thing in my life, and then I suddenly realized that I might be dying any day and that you can win the money thing and lose the impact.

"Marcel Duchamp had impact, very sophisticated impact, the best kind. He's my favorite artist."

Yes, Vincent, and he quit as an artist at the height of it all.

"Yeah. I think if Rauschenberg and Jasper John had quit like that, it would have been better for both of them."

Gallo isn't quitting, not yet. He's trying to raise the money for a movie to be called "The Brown Bunny" - if he can have the ironclad guarantee of "one-million percent" creative control.

"I still want money, but not at the risk of losing impact. That's why I can't make a bad second film," he says, fist hitting kitchen table. "Because then 'Buffalo '66' is wiped out."

All he'll say about "The Brown Bunny" is that it's about two brothers who drive across the country to see a girl. "It's a really dark, tragic story."

Did it really happen?

"No. But again, like 'Buffalo '66,' it's related to my own emotional tragedy. Again, catharsis."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Interview with Vincent :-)

Someone apparently managed to fullfil all his criteria ;)

Metropia and interview with Vincent Gallo

We saw today here at the Biennale the wonderful swedish animation movie Metropia: in 2024 the whole Europe will be connected with a high-speed metro system, an enormous subway between cities. The scenery is just great (lovely Berlin's Hauptbahnhof in decay!). Here a video.

Vincent Gallo give his voice to the main character, and today I interviewed him:

Vincent Vito Gallo (Buffalo 11.4.1961) is an American actor, director, painter, musician and model of Sicilian origin. Here at the 66th Biennale in Venice he dubs the protagonist of Metropia, animation movie by Tarik Saleh: come half an hour late, Gallo, T-schirt, tight black trousers and leather boots, was very friendly in answering our questions.

In Metropia we face themes like environment's destruction, no hope for the future and apocalyptic human relationships: what is your own opinion about?

I would say that the film has its own view, which does not correspond to mine: if you just think that the sun is 8 and a half minutes away at the speed of light, you realize that all this things are just minor concerns, details. In the world there are lots of things that we do not even are able to imagine, so I direct my energies to a bigger goal.

How does this point of view influence your cinema?

Ma story is very simple: I come from a poor family, a tough experience for me; I started very pragmatically, elementary, without any artistic pretension or philosophy. My work was a way to earn some money, like when I used to wash dishes in restaurants, I was the best of New-York! Gradually I started to do a kind of performances, staring at the people eating in the restaurant, crying, and make them feel bad. To me it was an idea of “survival”: I started working in the cinema only when I was sure that I was going to be paid. Also in Buffalo 66 I was supposed to be only an actor, but when the producer offered me a better payment if I was also the director, I accepted. So I became director! That movie helped me to have a better relationship with girls too...

Do you like Italian cinema?

Years ago I used to watch many Italian, mainly in TV: after I became interested in B-movies, I like the camera movements, the photography. The problem with Italian cinema were financial aids: these work against the idea of “survival” as I said before; you have to really get involved in your movie. I took part in some Italian productions, but they lacked the genius...

Do you make music in the same way in which you make movies?

No: in the cinema everything is stressful, you have to work with a lot of professionals, lots of people; in music you can be relaxed: for instance I paint while I listen to music (Gallo was a friend of J.-M. Basquiat).

In Metropia love is a revolutionary power...

Actually I loved more things than people: for 10 years I didn't have a girlfriend, I always felt embarrassed: even now when I sleep with a girl I have the feeling that the bed does not belong entirely to me anymore, as if I couldn't reach every corner of the bed. Maybe because I had to sleep till 11 with my grandpa, who had eventually a wooden leg! So uncomfortable...

Differences in dubbing and acting?

It was easy to just give my voice to the movie: today one gives too much importance to the image, to the personal appearance; if I don't see me I cannot think “How ugly I am!”. For instance now I don't want you to take pictures because I don't like my hairstyle. (He is preparing for his next film). Anyhow I accepted Metropia because of the money they offered: even tough I never did a blockbuster, it's just because nobody offered it to me seriously.

Do you consider yourself an outsider?

We are all insiders: I would be so happy if everybody loved me: I don't know ho said that I am a difficult and hard guy...

Monday, September 14, 2009

I love nasty men...

According to Times Online, Vincent has showen the "worst behaviour by an actor" at the Venice Film Festival.

Why, you all might ask?

Worst behaviour by an actor Vincent Gallo, promoting the Swedish animation Metropia, apparently gave a warning that he would terminate interviews in which the words “but”, “however” or “only” were used. He also requested prior approval of journalists so that he could veto those he didn’t like the look of.

You have to love him - and I don't even mean that in an ironic sort of way. I actually expected that he had done way worse than this when I read that his behaviour had been bad.

And did he show himself there yet? Well kinda sorta...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

METROPIA - Longer Clip

Remember Metropia? The animated film Vincent did together with Juliette Lewis? Dark, gloomy? There was a teaser trailer a while ago and as it will be shown at the Venice Film Festival, a longer Clip has surfaced.

Me Likes. But then again, I am into these dark animated films - I also fell for Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride and so on (even though I know these are nothing like Metropia).

Monday, August 17, 2009

And the last one (at the moment)

Vincent Gallo: The King of Conceptual Confidence*
posted by philip sumner on August 17th, 2009
*another perspective on two shows with Vincent Gallo and Sean Lennon

I’ve been a fan of Vincent Gallo’s since a screening of The Brown Bunny at the Nuart Theatre. This was soon after the Cannes debacle and the curse, the notorious billboard, etc.

At the Nuart I found his film to be a carefully crafted, beautiful piece of work. The elements; the van, the motorcycle, the wardrobe; seemed thoughtfully and lovingly considered, and the care put into these things glowed from the screen. To those within the audience who were receptive, it was an aesthetic philosophy. I certainly will never think of Gordon Lightfoot the same way… or Jackson C. Frank. Come on. I was floored by this film.

What is seldom, if ever, mentioned when The Brown Bunny is discussed is the tension that spreads through the audience as the climactic scene nears. I had never felt anything like it in a movie-going experience. The air seemed thick. And this, the finale to something that moments ago felt on its own so entirely different and new.

After the film, the Q&A began. Gallo’s answers were thoughtful and delivered in a fierce, intelligent manner. I witnessed something very special. Something modern, well planned and real. Something that pushed the language of film and aesthetics into the future– and right here in my lifetime. I didn’t have to look back for Godard or Dylan. (I’d term Gallo the “anti-Dylan,” as Dylan relies on mystery and avoidance in interviews.) I didn’t have to wonder what any of those revolutionary times were like– those moments you read about. This was mine, it was right here and, thankfully, far more subtle.

Vincent Gallo and Sean Lennon at the Red Devil Lounge, San Francisco
So here now, five years later I find myself catching a flight up to San Francisco– literally hours before the show– to see Gallo perform at the Red Devil Lounge with Sean Lennon. I had read about RRIICCEE and felt I had a good idea of what I was in for: it was to be an example of spontaneous composition. This concept though turned out to be much more complex and its reception certainly differed from my expectations.

Sean Lennon played first with his band, or rather, with his girlfriend, Charlotte. Together, they compose The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger (The GOASTT). Their set was fairly traditional. I found Lennon’s voice and presence soothing and was impressed by his kindness, self deprecating humor and skilled guitar work. Charlotte’s vocals were wonderful as well. It seemed clear her personality was well balanced by Lennon’s, and they were very pretty together. They finished their set, Lennon’s guitar blaring and cutting through the room louder than all the other sounds of the night.

Then came Gallo, and here is what literally happened: He, Lennon and Rudy (whose name was mentioned once by Lennon) walked on. Gallo sat in the corner, his back to the audience, and played alternately guitar, bass and a melodica. Rudy played a synth and sometimes guitar, Lennon played drums and guitar.

They played melody lines and simple progressions that melded into each others’. At times Gallo created different levels and tones of feedback. There seemed to be a moment fairly early on in which the three came together and the very unstructured sound, sonically nearly crescendoed. It did not. At another point Gallo played a touching line on the melodica. Again, as the trio moved toward unison, the momentum dissipated and the moment ended. Gallo sang a short, delicate, improvised song, and they walked off stage. Throughout the show, the din of the crowd had grown, and with their departure, the crowd’s confusion continued.

Later, Lennon played a set with Bob Weir, and the crowd hooted and hollered to traditional tunes like “Oh, Boy!” and “Pretty Peggy-O.” Gallo stood off to the side as a line of girls 15-to-20 deep waited to meet him.

Vincent Gallo and Sean Lennon at Anthology, San Diego
Anthology was quite a different venue, an upscale dinner and Jazz club. This time Gallo took the stage first. He was joined by Rudy and two other performers. His only comment to the audience was to the effect of “We’ll play first, The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger will play next.” They started with two players on drum sets at opposing ends of the stage, Gallo on guitar, and the other performer (a young girl in a red dress with a flower in her hair) sat on the floor with a keyboard. Gallo played facing away from the crowd on the far corner of the stage.

The band was projected onto a large screen above; the image looked as though there was no band playing. At times Gallo glanced upward at the image and seemed to remove himself farther toward the outskirts of the frame. Again, there was a buildup somewhat reminiscent of the pre-show tuning of an orchestra, and the group played into what nearly became a song. This time, due to the superior sound of the club and the extra players, the sound was large, and full and spread out– built of the intertwining melodies, loops and beats. In all, this, the first movement of the night was subjectively the most impressive, although it seemed the audience had not yet realized the show had begun. As soon as it seemed the song was found, one that could satisfactorily be improvised and embellished upon, it dissipated.

The show went on similarly. Gallo played melodica and bass. He sang more than at the Red Devil, and the quality of his voice was apparent here on the better system, his notes floating among the other instruments. One vocalization was similar lyrically, though not structurally, to another he sang at Red Devil. The final vocal was lyrically compelling, though I won’t document the lyrics here. They left the stage with a quiet “thank you” to the audience, who had chattered throughout the performance.

Lennon and Charlotte played their set next, and again it was traditional singer-songwriter, and very well done. Again Lennon’s guitar work and, more notably, his progressions were very interesting. I look forward to reading through The GOASTT’s lyrics, as they were hard to catch at times.

Much conjecture ensued through the nights following each show, in the cold parking lot of the Travelodge in San Francisco, and, ironically, over a cup of Ghirardelli’s chocolate in San Diego. Why was there so little contact with the audience? Why was his back turned? Why was the audience allowed to disengage itself? My friend Leona thought perhaps we were over-thinking things. I did not.

Gallo is, after all, the man responsible for arguably the most controversial and best film of the 90’s, and easily the most controversial and most progressive of the new century. This is the man who just finished working with Coppola, who lived briefly with Burroughs, played with Basquiat and who collects hi-fi gear 99.99 percent of the population can not even dream exists. EMT turntables?? The man whose 300-square-foot apartment was worthy of a magazine spread. Yes, the same man who gained the friendship and respect of Mr. Discipline, Johnny Ramone. Whether or not Gallo had the charisma to charm a crowd was not in question. In fact, a few words of explanation would have done the trick. Whether or not his actions were calculated was not in question.

After the first show, late into the night, I declared Gallo’s performance “perfect” to Leona. I did not fully understand why yet, but I knew that in its own way, it was. We had both yearned for the audience to be controlled and impressed– or at least for them to have been more receptive. That had not happened. I was beginning to understand that that was not an objective, though. And I was beginning to understand the magnitude of Gallo’s conceptual confidence, his willingness to commit to his conceptual vision.

Gallo has said: “I’ve been booed before, my parents booed me. No booing is going to hurt me.” And over the years he has made it known that he is not afraid to attack public figures with whom he disagrees or who have meant to harm him in any way– Kusturica, Harmony Korine, Tarantino, Christina Ricci, Roger Ebert and Steve Albini, to name a few.

This drums up publicity, but as well, lends an element of protection and personal preservation. You would be hard-pressed to find more vicious public attacks than those expressed by Gallo. In turn, you would be hard-pressed to find someone else who so determinedly injects their own personal, singular vision into the public spectrum. Vincent Gallo, the man with “the vengeance of a thousand men,” whose explanation of the public’s expressed opinion toward himself is most closely mirrored by that of Charles Manson.

I thought about my last moments in the Red Devil Lounge. Leaving, I’d passed Gallo and the line-up of girls and glimpsed his interactions. In them there was a sense of delicate joy and love. But it was more than that. It was as if a girded wall had been built and above it flew something gentle and light, understanding itself to be free in its recognition of its own safety. (Even that is not quite right, and I’ve been trying to express this feeling for four days.)

After the second show, falling asleep in my bed after a long drive home, I tried to figure out the riddle of these performances. I envisioned myself walking onto the stage, not knowing what I’d play or sing. I realized that the thought of addressing the audience did not sit well in this imagining. What would I say? Would I explain my intentions? Would I say: “We are going to approach these instruments innocently and play them as if none of us has any experience? We are going to try and find new voicings and if it seems like we slip into something redundant we’ll stop and laugh with you? We’ll chat about it?”

I envisioned facing the audience, but it didn’t make any sense. How would I make the presentation when it does not yet exist? I imagined quieting or controlling the audience, and it seemed wildly narcissistic. I thought of how our waitress had all but apologized for his act and how the bathroom attendant had put him down. I thought of the drunk lady outside the club shouting, “The one night I come out and this is what I get?” And then I fell asleep soundly, but before I did, I remembered Gallo saying to Howard Stern (of all people), “One would have to be slightly unpopular to have a profound vision”

And one more...

Vincent Gallo and Sean Lennon: Two Shows*
posted by Leona Laurie on August 15th, 2009

*note: this one is all text, baby. gallo & lennon say “no” to video/audio.

vincent gallo & sean lennon. photo by user marquis_de_sad

This week I went to two shows by Vincent Gallo and Sean Lennon, each of which also featured Lennon’s band with Charlotte Kemp Muhl, The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger (The GOASTT). The first involved a whirlwind trip to San Francisco to catch the acts at the Red Devil Lounge. The second was a 180-mile round-trip drive to San Diego to see them at Anthology. Both shows were sold out.

I didn’t know what to expect at all from the first show. My companions for the evening were Phil, an ardent admirer of Gallo’s, and Marcia, always game for an adventure. We stood in line outside the venue, wondering what the common denominator(s) in the accumulating crowd were and whom they’d come to see. Was it Sean Lennon’s crowd? Was it Vincent Gallo’s? We couldn’t tell. They skewed a great deal older than we’d expected, although there were enough youthful people in vintage clothing to convince us we were in the right place.

It had been years since I’d been to the Red Devil, and I’d forgotten how bad the sight lines are. I’ve enjoyed every show I’ve seen there so much that my lingering impression is positive, but we settled on the balcony for what turned out to be an evening of straining to see the musicians through chandeliers. Phil went down on the floor at one point to see if it was better, but it was so crowded and hot down there that he returned to the relative comfort of leaning against a cast-iron balustrade and craning to see past lighting fixtures.

The GOASTT went on first, and I never caught a clear look at Charlotte’s face through their entire set. Sean Lennon apologized for their unprofessionalism and explained that this was only their third show together. They implied that they were a couple (Wikipedia says boyfriend/girlfriend, although it looked like Charlotte’s ring finger was sparkling last night), and since I couldn’t see Charlotte, I watched Lennon for visual cues.

Perhaps it’s gauche of me to say, but we were all struck by how much Lennon looks and sounds like his father. I guess it makes sense, and that it’s something we could have expected, but it was still remarkable. Charlotte’s voice sounded a little limited in range, but well-suited to the kind of music they were playing, and she seemed solid on both piano and electric bass. Their music didn’t break any new ground in the world of mellow boy/girl duets, but Lennon is a talented guitar player, and their song India really gave him a place to show off.

They finished their set, and after a short break, Vincent Gallo took the stage with Lennon and someone named Rudy. I learned Rudy’s name from Lennon, who said a few things to the audience during the set. If he hadn’t, no-one would have. They did not introduce themselves. They did not banter with the audience. Gallo spent most of the set sitting in a corner of the stage with his back to the audience, hiding in his hair and focusing on what he was doing. The music was experimental/noise. They only played for between 20-30 minutes, and when they left the stage without comment or explanation, the audience murmured in confusion and discontent. They didn’t sound polished. I got the distinct feeling that they weren’t playing for us– we were just there.

I watched the sound tech in his crow’s nest across the way, and he made no move to bring up the lights or dismiss the audience. He was exchanging hand signals and messages with someone backstage, and eventually he picked up a mic and asked us all to hang in for a special treat. During the lull, though, about 1/3-1/2 of the crowd filtered out of the club.

After a long pause, Sean Lennon returned to the stage with Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead and RatDog. They played a long jam session, throughout which Weir was made suggestions to Lennon– and the fact of their friendship and appearance of a mentor/student relationship was fascinating. The crowd responded so well to Weir’s appearance that I suspected they’d known either that he was in the building or that he might be joining. Aside from a long piece that sounded eerily like the Cialis commercials, the set was fun to watch. Gallo emerged from backstage to stand in a corner and watch, and I watched him intermittently, wondering about the structure of the show and the thought behind it– because there did seem to be thought behind it.

Both venues had been instructed by the artists to forbid cell phones, cameras, and audio or video recordings. The audiences in both venues were cautioned several times that using a forbidden device would result in ejection from the show. There was an opportunity to demand silence from the crowds, but neither crowd was quiet. In fact, the seemingly deliberate disengagement of the band from the audience during the experimental set seemed to encourage the crowd to get gradually noisier and less respectful. I kept waiting for the reprimand or at least a request from the stage for silence, but nothing came. It must have been on purpose.

After the San Francisco show, Phil and I talked about what we’d seen for a couple of hours. I felt like my pleasure in the evening was based on having entered the venue without expectations, and he eventually declared the show “perfect.”

The next day, my plans for Friday night fell through, so I grabbed tickets to the San Diego show at Anthology. We hit the road at 3pm, arrived in San Diego at about 6:30, and settled into counter seats in the raised bar-area above the main dining floor.

The menu was so tempting that we went a little crazy, ordering four appetizers to share and then an entree and a fifth appetizer. Anthology feels like an upscale jazz supper club. There’s a loosely enforced dress code, mood lighting, cloth napkins… and to our surprise, a second show that means the audience is asked to leave at the end of the first show. We were out the door at about 9pm. In any case, the venue seemed like a mis-match for what we expected the show to be, and the crowd was as varied and curious as the San Francisco crowd.

When the announcer took the stage to introduce The GOASTT, Vincent Gallo emerged and explained into the mic that The GOASTT would actually be going on second, and they’d be going on now. With him was Rudy and a woman and a man he didn’t introduce. (Lennon later identified the man, who played the drums through Gallo’s set, as “Stephen.”) A man in the seats below us responded to Gallo’s announcement with, “Who are you?”

This set sounded richer and tighter than Wednesday night’s. It also lasted quite a bit longer, and included three pieces during which Gallo sang. He’d sung once in San Francisco, but I wasn’t really able to hear the quality of his performance over the din of the instruments and the crowd. In San Diego, though, I discovered that he has a beautiful voice. When they left the stage this time, he said a brief “thank you” to the audience (excluding the group below us who had walked out 1/2 way through), and Lennon and Charlotte emerged to help switch the equipment for their set.

The GOASTT’s set was tighter than Wednedsday’s, too, and this time I had both a clear view of the stage and the assistance of a large screen behind the artists that enlarged their images, so I was able to get a clear look at Charlotte. I guessed that she must have been a model, and the Internet has confirmed that. She had a self-conscious and “on” energy about her that I hadn’t picked up in San Francisco. I wasn’t sure what I thought of her overall until she picked up her bass. When she was playing that, her energy mellowed, and her focus seemed complete and joyful. She won me over. Lennon’s guitar playing on India was again the highlight of their set for me, and we were hoping for a little post-lineup treat again, but were disappointed when the venue politely asked all of us to leave.

During Gallo’s set, our waitress approached us at one point to ask if we needed anything else. Phil was so focused on the stage that he didn’t acknowledge her, and she responded to that by assuring us that if we ordered food right then, we wouldn’t miss anything, because this was not the main event. I corrected her, but she pushed a button for me with her assumption that we were not enjoying the show. An assumption I guessed was based on the conversations I’d witnessed her having with other patrons on her way to us.

After the show, Phil and I adjourned to the restrooms, where we had almost identical experiences of hearing other people’s negative reviews of the show we’d both been happily and sincerely engaged in. The washroom attendant in the ladies’ room couldn’t stress strongly enough how terrible it had been– the worst thing she’d ever seen there. Her comments, combined with our waitress’ comments and the general grumbling of both crowds left me wondering: What were you expecting, people?

When I go to a show by a mega-band on a major label during an arena tour to promote a new album, I have a reasonable expectation of what the show’s going to be, and if it seriously diverges from what I thought I was in for, I’m disappointed. When I attend something like this, though, a barely-announced show by two personalities with no promises of what it will be and no agenda in terms of promotion or merch sales, I feel like I’m walking into the unknown, and it’s my responsibility to show up ready for anything. Since that’s how I approached these shows, I thoroughly enjoyed them. They were an experience. They were interesting. There was something special about them. I felt buoyed by being there. I don’t know what the grumblers were expecting, but I wanted to shake them for interfering with my experience and making their discontent audible enough that the artists must be able to hear it.

In closing, I think I’d recommend that you check this dog-and-pony show out if it comes to your town– but only if you’re in the mood for surrender. Oh– and in answer to the question I posed the other day, I do think Vincent Gallo is kind of sexy.


More Reviews of the Show

Thanks to Leona Laurie and an Anonymoous poster more reviews of the show :-) First one here, second one in the next post:

Last Night: Vincent Gallo, Sean Lennon, Bob Weir at Red Devil Lounge
By Jennifer Maerz in Last NightThursday, Aug. 13 2009 @ 12:06PM
​Vincent Gallo, Sean Lennon, Bob Weir, & The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger
Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009
Red Devil Lounge

Better than: Getting what you expected, every time.

Going to a Vincent Gallo show is a bit like dropping money into one of those claw arcade games. You pay the fee and hope to grab a valuable jackpot, something worth the price of putting your trust into such a fickle, teasing instrument. You do this in part because when the claw grabs a tangible prize (a giant teddy bear! a performance where Gallo engages his fans and plays fleshed out songs!) it makes all the touch and go worth it. But the odds are too often on the hollow--or nonexistent--spoils.

Last night the actor/cultural provocateur/musician/sperm salesman sold out the Red Devil Lounge, bringing together a room full of people hoping to grab the Gallo prize. And what'd we get for paying into his prima donna playbook? A night of truly bizarre, unscripted, and yeah, frustrating entertainment. It was either a total bust or exactly the theater of the absurd fans appreciate from this slippery musician who, at the very least, keeps them in pursuit.

For my part, I enjoyed the show, in part because the whole event was so offbeat. But the tease wasn't for everyone-- one woman gave the entire bathroom line an earful about how she didn't pay $16 to "hear Vincent Gallo play one long song and leave." She obviously saw the claw as half empty.

The night opened on a normal enough note. Sean Lennon and his (latest beautiful waif-model-girlfriend) musical partner Charlotte Kemp performed together as The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger. They were the warmest and most enthusiastic act on stage, Lennon playing guitar as Kemp played piano from somewhere behind a curtain. From there Kemp joined Lennon on stage and in harmony, their voices spinning tender ballads like cotton candy, all light and pink and sweet and melting away in the heat of the room. The pair don't have the dynamic punch of a She & Him, in part because The Ghost's music is so AM radio soft and the couple's falsettos blend into one another so completely (even their whistles became one). But under the red lighting of the lounge, there was something intimate and inviting about their set, even if it was more memorable as a whole then from any of its individual song parts. And Lennon's constant self-effacing banter broke down any diva impressions you could've had about John Lennon's kid.

That diva wall was erected for the second act, which comprised Gallo, Lennon, and a third musician trading off of drums, guitars, and synths for a half hour of half-baked, improvisational jams. Gallo sat on the floor for the most part, his back to the audience--or he'd hit the synths to rev up the prog vibe. He skipped his gorgeous, ghostly folk repertoire to instead expose us to an art-damaged band practice, the fragmented melodies like fever-dreams that only snapped awake with a final bout of feedback at the very end. I liked it in theory, although the concept was better executed when Gallo did his post-rock instrumentals with greater focus and different musicians at the Swedish American Hall a couple years back.

Whether you dug it or hated it, the Gallo portion of the evening was shorter than the line for the bathroom, and with a quick wave the headliner was off the stage after like a half hour. The crowd looked confused as to whether this was the end of the show, but an announcer told folks to stick around, as there was a "very special surprise" on next. This was the same announcer who'd also warned us, multiple times, that there was absolutely no cell phone use during the show, per Gallo's request: no texting, no chatting, and no taking photos.

So what was the grand finale? No Gallo.

Instead the show took another 180 and Lennon introduced a "local we wanted to bring on stage tonight," at which time Bob Weir appeared out of nowhere. From there, it became the Grateful Dead hour. The two men enthusiastically strummed their way through "Peggy-O" and "Big Boss Man," which both cleared out the room and made those remaining pack tight against the stage. It also made a couple Grateful Dead fans in the balcony hug each other and gush, "This is so fucking awesome! I'm so glad we came!" Lennon and Weir played well together, their presence and pairing working in part because it was so out of left field.

Whether the guest appearance was as improvised as Gallo's set, or as caculated as the actor's briefest of stints on stage, only the headliner knows for sure. In the end, I feel like I came away with the prize--playing an amusing game that's more of a challenge than your standard show, with a few real grabs at strange and haunting music along the way.

Critic's Notebook

Critical Bias: I wish Gallo and Lennon would've played last night like they did at Bimbo's a couple years back. At that show the two paired up on acoustic guitar for some quirky anti-folk ballads. Gallo seemed more at ease that night than at any gig I've seen him play since. (Perhaps it was all the ladies in the front taking photos.)

And Tetro, Francis Ford Coppola's movie starring Gallo, is one of my favorite films of '09.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Article on the Show

Keli - who I think is also the writer of the article - posted this link in reply to the announcement of the show. As I like it pretty much and don't want it to get lost somewhere in the replies, here it is again:

Vincent Gallo and Sean Lennon with The Ghost Of A Saber Toothed Tiger

Ambient art pop from John and Yoko's son and the notorious actor.


No pictures. No promotion. Make sure to put Vincent Gallo's name before Sean Lennon's.

That was the official word from the PR guy at Anthology, where the eccentric pair are playing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14.

And just what are the indie Republican (seriously Wikipedia?) and the son of a Beatle playing? A despairing kind of ambient art pop. It sits on a soft, dark cloud next to the late Elliott Smith, poring over photos of ex-girlfriends.

On Vincent Gallo, solipsism and hookup tunes

I bought Gallo's sedated lounge album "When" (Warp Records) back in 2001. I'd say listening to it alone in my studio was better than playing it during makeout sessions. But just barely.

Anyway, I emailed Gallo, asking for a photo. I added something about when I liked to play "When," and he asked for a picture of ME instead.

Gallo's an eccentric nearing 50, and all that living means his path's crossed with many New York nuts and luminaries. He once played in a band with Brooklyn artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Yet his music is not stuffed and overripe with experience (or something offensive, Gallo is L'enfant terrible in interviews, and upset the world over his oral sex scene with ex-girlfriend Chloe Sevigny in "The Brown Bunny").

Instead Gallo goes for musical minimalism ... a vintage keyboard, his voice just above a lover's whisper ... like Joao Gilberto, whose delicate "Besame Mucho" cover is also a good hookup backdrop.

On Sean Lennon, Xanax and celebrity hounds

Sean Lennon's melodies are well-suited to those quirky, sometimes intense intellectuals who dress in ironic kitten T-shirts, who are looking for an escape hatch back into their adolescence, who pass out Xanax pills at their house parties.

I actually like Lennon's piano progressions: They walk sleepily over slowed down rhythms. But his vocals are delivered a little timidly for my tastes. He tries to be heard, but comes off like a sensitive kid at an all boys' school being bullied into selling chocolate.

I wonder how many anti-anxiety drug users will be at this show? How many who just want a sneaky-poo because of Lennon's parentage (and Gallo's movies)? And can people with panic disorders be celebrity hounds, too?

Sean Lennon's last album "Friendly Fire" came out in 2006. "Into the Sun" got a better reception back in 1998.

On The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger

The opening act, The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger, stars Sean Lennon and a hottie he's kissing in the band's MySpace pics, Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Her voice is wistful, sparkling, something I could hear over a Paul Williams score, singing a duet with Kermit the Frog.

She adds something to the Lennon melodies. That something would be stronger vocals.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vincent on Howard Stern (old)

As you all might or might not know, Vincent was on Howard Stern quite a while ago. Someone uploaded the audio version on youtube, so for those who haven't heard it, listen to it as long as it's there :-)

Part 1:

Monday, August 10, 2009

And how much did I miss Gawker?

As usual, they hate Vincent once again. Actually, to be honest, I am always looking forward to the shit they come up about him again.

Vincent Gallo, High on Life
By Hamilton Nolan, 3:09 PM on Mon Aug 10 2009, 139 views
Hot-tempered, wild-eyed, self-pimp Vincent Gallo will have you know that he does not do cocaine.

In a column, Gawker friend Max Silvestri relays a bit of a story involving Gallo:

My drinking partner knew an employee [at a bar called The Rabbithole], whom we'll call Diego, and after serving us some french fries (which are great, owing in large part to the fact that they were french fries), Diego somehow quickly segued into a story about how one time he was allegedly hanging out with a coked-up Johnny Knoxville and a coked-up Vincent Gallo (this story was clearly already taking the bullet train straight to Integritytown). Gallo tried to hit on Diego's girlfriend (model, obviously), so Diego shoved him.

Silvestri, you see, was using a sophisticated "sarcasm" technique to deride this "Diego's" story as untrustworthy, as is abundantly clear if you read the column. Now, the column has this note appended:

(Editor's note: After this column first ran, Vincent Gallo called The A.V. Club to make it known that he does not do cocaine and thus would not, in fact, have been "coked up.")

Fine, fine. Just stop acting so cokey.

Concert in San Diego with Sean Lennon

Anyone else thinking that he won't be coming to Europe for the RRIICCEE gigs he didn't do in May and said would happen in September?

SNEAK PEEK: Vincent Gallo and Sean Lennon
Anya Moberly, Tempo Editor

Published: Monday, August 10, 2009

Is it true? Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon, and respected independent filmmaker and artist Vincent Gallo making a stop to perform in San Diego?
True, indeed. Friday at Anthology will be an epic night of Gallo and Lennon with special opening act The Ghost Of A Saber Toothed Tiger. This intimate venue is usually host to revered jazz musicians and blues acts, but this night will have all those who clapped when they saw Gallo’s “Buffalo ‘66” and scratched their head when they saw the “Brown Bunny” in awe of Gallo and Lennon’s musical chemistry.
Tickets are a mere $16 so be sure to get them quick and mark this down as the night you see Lennon the artistic intellect and Gallo the filmmaker make their musical mark in San Diego.

Visit for more event details.

Taken from

Saturday, July 18, 2009

San Francisco Show with Sean Lennon

And, to anyone in the San Francisco area:

I'd go if I could...


As also posted in reply to the Q&A, I thought to make sure you all find it I'll give it an extra post :-) Wish it was longer though!

EDIT: Youtube won't work anymore? Check the comments ;-)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Vincent Gallo taught me to love Yes


The pop-culture polymath has used his spectacular tastes to introduce people to much-maligned musical genres. But if only he could get around to releasing his own recordings.

Vincent Gallo is one of the few modern renaissance men. He boasts a long list of achievements and I can add another: Gallo is the only person who could persuade me to get into the prog-rock band Yes.

Every time I play Tales from Topographic Oceans, I have to laugh at myself and ask: "Am I really listening to Yes?" The band were a joke back in 1977, associated with creepy basement dwellers who read fantasy novels while watching VHS tapes of Rick Emerson stabbing his keyboard with Nazi daggers. I'd always sided with punk rock's reaction against 17-minute songs, so it took the musical wisdom of Gallo to show me the error of my ways. He's proved you can be both a Yes fan and a Ramones fan (kudos to Gallo for getting Johnny Ramone a film role in Stranded and for being godfather to Chris Squire's child).

Gallo's musical opinions are always spot on. For a start, he's gone on record to say he prefers Journey's Don't Stop Believing to Radiohead's OK Computer. Need more evidence? Just look at the tracklisting for the Brown Bunny soundtrack ... it's genius! The critically misunderstood film shows Gallo as a man of spectacular musical tastes. Brown Bunny is the answer film to Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop and stars Gallo as anti-hero Bud Clay as he goes on an existential search through America to the sounds of Gordon Lightfoot, Jackson C Frank and John Frusciante. Amazing. On the soundtrack to his masterpiece Buffalo 66, Gallo repays his debt of influence to prog rock and includes great and original covers of King Crimson and Yes. I still remember being shocked at how much I enjoyed the soundtrack. Gallo vanquished my own musical prejudices towards the era of musical excess. I was curious enough to get Tales from Topographic Oceans, and had to admit he was right - it's a classic album.

The facts show that if something was happening in New York in the late 70s and early 80s, Gallo was at the epicentre of it. At 16 he moved there and started a no wave band with Jean-Michel Basquiat. Gallo was heavily into the downtown art scene, playing with the Bush Tetras and Lydia Lunch, and was a regular at Manhattan's Mudd Club. Hip-hop? Gallo was there, starting his own rap act Trouble Deuce, and as Prince Vince he appeared on the shortlived, iconic and utterly street Graffiti Rock. Twenty years later and he's making appearances with Rick Rubin in Jay-Z's 99 Problems and rapping with RZA. The man is a pop-culture zeitgeist.

Despite all this, Gallo's own recorded musical output has been curiously limited. Sure, there are treats out there for people willing to spend outrageous amounts of money, but he has only had two wide releases on Warp: When, a cool number inflected with the spirit of Moondog, and Music for Films and Recordings, a compilation of Gallo's previous scores and cinematic offerings, twisted and bent into shape for general release. This is somewhat frustrating. Gallo is sitting on a mountain of unrecorded material; even in the mid 90s, when I heard talk of him signing to Sony and recording with Bunny member Lucas Haas, prog-rock producer Eddie Offord (producer of Tales from Topographic Oceans), Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz and DNA member Tim Wright, I was excited - but nothing happened. And again he recorded in 2005 with Sean Lennon and Jim O'Rourke, but has this project been released? No.
Gallo sparked my musical curiosity when he announced his new improvisational project RRIICCEE, featuring a rotating lineup (Eric Erlandsen of Hole was a founder member). The band's musical manifesto is to create tours only featuring improvisation, to dispense with the recording-industry model and be true to the music. Yet again, no records appear to be forthcoming. Is he refusing to release his recordings out of spite (as he did with his artwork)? Or is he too preoccupied with other projects? I don't know. But I'd like to hear more from the man who helped me understand the complicated and majestic beauty of Yes.