Melody Maker, November 4th 1989
by Simon Reynolds
photo portrait by Pat Blashill
SUN RA - DROPPING SCIENCE
In the summer, of 1989 I interviewed Sun Ra, through the auspices of a friend at A&M, for whom Sun Ra recorded a couple of so-so LPs around the cusp of the Nineties. It took place in a hotel in mid-Manhattan. He wore the robes and there was this sort of hovering presence of acolytes in attendance throughout. Very much an aura of... if not quite majesty, then certainly being ushered into the presence of a potentate, a very special personage.
"Interviewed" - more like, granted an audience. 90 minutes or thereabouts ensued of nodding my head while the great man dropped science in his soft, serene voice. It very quickly became very clear to me that any attempts on my part to steer the conversation or ask an actual, y'know, question would be both presumptuous and surplus to requirements. He just kept going.
"A cab driver in London said to me 'I'm a musician. maybe I can be in the band'. I say 'where's your instrument?. 'Left it at home'. 'That's a five hundred dollar fine'. A bit later, 'I didn't do too well as a musician, maybe I can just be the janitor, sweep up afterwards'. 'Where's your broom?'. 'I don't have one'. 'That's another five hundred dollar fine'. So he's says 'I've only just joined the band and I've lost 1000 dollars'