Beck: “People sometimes think that everything you write about is true”

Beck answers your questions on sex laws, The Stone Roses, Scientology and more

Trending Now

Whatever happened to the supposed garage rock album you were working on?
David Stern, Cresskill, New Jersey

I’m experimenting a lot. And around that time I ended up doing Sea Change [2002] instead because it seemed the stronger thing. It won’t ever see the light of day because I’ve lost the tapes. It’s annoying… I’ve also got a whole album’s worth of stuff I did on the Mellow Gold [1994] tour where the tapes got lost in transit.

Do you have a favourite slow jam?
Beastie Boys

Oh man, there’s so many good ones! [Pauses] I guess for me, R Kelly is the king of the slow jam and I would have to give it to “Bump N’Grind”. I don’t know if he’ll be the last great soul singer but he’s definitely one of the peaks on the mountain. I’ve been into him for about 12 years now.

What draws you to Scientology?
Max Devere, London

Well, I kind of grew up around it. My dad’s been doing it since the mid-’60s or something. So it’s kind of always been around and it’s been helpful. My grandfather was a Presbyterian minister. And my mother was very devout, into Judaism. I had Japanese friends who were Buddhists. I grew up in an area where Central Americans, Catholics and Vietnamese people all mixed. So it’s just tolerance that is the key.


Are you still defying all sex laws? Can you please give examples?
Mason Lawrence, Shepherd’s Bush

Absolutely. Although I don’t technically know what the laws are, so I’m really a complete sham. That was a phrase from an Ol’ Dirty Bastard song. He just screams “I wanna defy the logic of all sex laws!” I had no idea what he was talking about but I knew what he meant. I was like: “Goddamn! I know how that feels!”

Your grandfather, Fluxus artist Al Hansen, made paintings out of cigarette butts and Hershey-bar wrappings. You also mix genres to create new meanings. How big an influence was he on you?
Peter Michael Willer

I don’t take bits of everything, I think that’s a common misconception about me. There are moments where I incorporate different elements but I’m really just putting together different chords and putting melodies on top. Songwriting is the same for me on acoustic guitar as if it’s just me and a drum machine. So I see myself more as a traditional songwriter.

Is there a story behind the puppet show that forms part of your live show?
Michael Davis, Newington Green

We were trying to think of what to do with the show this year. Last year we had a video DJ who was using DVD players instead of turntables. So we had all these experimental films we’d made and 12 movie screens and nine projectors and this whole amazing video installation onstage. But he retired to work on his dad’s farm in Japan so we were forced to think of something different.


You’ve said in the past that you’d be interested in directing your own film. Would you still like to do that?
Somegirl, via email

I would, yeah. I think I was playing with the idea about 10 years ago. I did a video for “New Pollution” [1997], and that whole thing was kind of my baby. It was a good experience. Francis Ford Coppola called me up about five or six years ago! He was giving filmmakers small budgets to make films and he offered me something. I just thought it was probably too much pressure. I’d just be so lost at sea and I don’t like the thought of people hating what I did. Because the film I would want to make would probably not translate to the Multiplex! I love a lot of European filmmakers, movies with no music and lots of people talking. Either that, or just a ton of explosions.


Latest Issue