Willy Mason: The Real Deal
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se/We can be stronger than bombs/we can be richer than industry as long as we know there are things that we don't really need/ we can speak louder than ignorance 'cause we speak in silence" and my favorite, "do you remember the forgotten American/ justice, freedom, equality to every race, we just have to get past the lies and hypocrisy." Now, these sound like social and political criticisms of our nation and we are obviously at a very unique time as a nation. So talk a little bit about where you stand in terms of music that incorporates the social and the political.
Willy: Growing up, I liked listening to a lot of politically motivated --it got me fired up. It had a strong purpose to it.
Bill: For example...
Willy: Like Rage Against the Machine. You know, like back-in-the-day. And I think that music is such a powerful force and such a powerful language to connect to people with so many different ideas that maybe feeling the same thing. It tends to say things really bluntly so it's a good way for people to come together. But at the same time, I try to be--I have to be very delicate with lyrics that may become political--I mean, every song I have ever written--even Oxygen--was not written for the sake of being political or to try to tell anything politically. For me, when I'm writing music, for it to be honest, the purpose of it is to get things off my chest and express how I am feeling emotionally. So when I am concerned with what's going on in the world and I am watching too much TV for my own good, this is the shit that is emotionally having an effect on me. This is the shit that is keeping me up at night. This is the shit that's making me feel that I have to do something. But I try not to write songs with any specific political agenda because then, I think, that's beyond music.
Bill: So for you, the political comes out through the personal.
Willy: Yea, and anything above that comes out in your actions.
Tim: For me, my favorite part about your stuff is that you're writing in this folk and this little bit of blues and your lyrics have that indistinguishable vernacular of American Folk music. How much of that is just you listening to and appreciating a lot of that stuff?
Willy: I didn't listen to a shitload of folk music. What got me sparked were John Lee Hooker's solo stuff and Johnny cash and Hank Williams and that got me fired up--that I could really relate to these people. We grew up in totally different times and totally different atmospheres but I could feel what they were saying. And my writing came from how the people talk where I am from--because it's pretty rural. And then traveling out around and almost developing my own sort of vernacular that sorta blended everything that I felt--because I was just talking to so many different people. I felt the connection with the music and it just came through naturally.
Bill: So going back a little--you are from Massachusetts, home of Senator John Kerry. What exactly was your reaction to Election 2004?
Willy: After watching the debates, I was definitely leaning toward Kerry. Internationally, he would have been a lot more delicate
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