(I corrected a transcription error misattributing a Zappa comment to Groening.)
MG: what do you think about the traditional composers? Do you care for the old guys?
Well, name me an old guy.
I have an appreciation for the skill of putting it together, but the sound of it is not something that I enjoy, so....
DM: Brahms? Bach?
Bach is more interesting.
I just like the way it sounds. The same reason I like Varese. I like the way it sounds. But I wouldn't go out of my way to attend a Bach concert or buy an album of that kind of music. To me, of that period, that is the most tolerable of the material to listen to. I don't start getting interested in so-called classical music until the early 20th Century.
No.1 actually like Wagner. I think Wagner was interesting. It's too long, but it's interesting. I have very few Wagner albums, but the things that I've heard, if you look at the time at which it was written, and what he's doing with the material, it's challenging. That's the thing that depresses me about most of the music of that period. It's just not challenging, because it was written to spec. There was a king or a duke or a church or somebody who said, "Hey. You need to write something. We have a festival coming up, and it must be something I will like." So everything was written to suit the taste buds of some joker with a towel on his head.
DM: So the theory that the church or the nobility helped make the Renaissance happen, or the classical period, is not true in your mind?
I think it probably held back some of the greatest composers, because you had no choice. If you wanted to write, you had to write at the behest of somebody who had more money than you. It's like dealit~ with radio-station programmers and the guy who puts your video on MTV It has to be exactly this, or it goes nowhere. So, here's a guy with 11 kids to feed, what's he going to do? Give the Prince what he wants: sings " Hallelujah Chorus":] "Hallelujah. Hallelujah." [Imitates a prince:] "Oh, yeah, I like that. I can understand that."
DM: So you're not a fan of Handel either?