David Byrne, Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg on Arthur Russell's genre-blurring genius



“This was a guy who could sit down with a cello and play and sing in a way that no one else on this earth has ever done, or will ever do it again.”

In 1994, David Byrne, Philip Glass, and Allen Ginsberg sat down to discuss the genius of Arthur Russell for a video press kit promoting the posthumous release of his Another Thought album.

Read more: 11 artists on their favourite Arthur Russell records

Focusing on Russell’s ability to bring together genres and styles – ultimately presented as a subversive attempt to unite pop and avant-garde spheres – the trio reflect on his fascination with Italian pop music, ABBA, and his desire to create “Buddhist bubblegum music.”

As his long-time partner Tom Lee explains, “he was just driven to make this art-dance hit. He figured that there could be a cross reference between dance music and downtown Soho new music.”

“Unfortunately, his life was cut short really before he could put his music out, and I think that’s part of the devastation about so many people who were dying of AIDS: people just won’t hear about all these writers, musicians, dancers and composers.”

Watch the interviews in full above.