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Primary sources

March 9, 2010

I’ve talked plenty about where my research is coming from for this book: interviews with people affiliated with the Elephant 6, interviews with people not affiliated with the Elephant 6 but who still have some kind of ethos, and articles and stories written about the Elephant 6.

But there’s another font of information that, until this week, I hadn’t thought to tap. As artists, these guys do a lot of creating, but I have no interest in reviewing or analyzing the music in critical terms. With that in mind, there’s a lot of other stuff worth discussing as well.

There’s stuff like the selling out op-ed Kevin Barnes composed a few years ago, which I’ve mentioned before, and Robert Schneider’s Non-Pythagorean Music Scale.

More helpfully, though, are the documents I won’t be able to find online. These include things like the original Elephant 6 manifesto, which was printed in the original catalogs and outlines the collective’s philosophy, and Andrew Rieger’s log of every single concert he has attended or played since 1983, which includes every Elf Power show ever (many of which feature other E6 bands on the bill) and all the other E6 shows he’s seen.

While there is nothing better than a face-to-face interview, documents like these are invaluable if only to crosscheck the sometimes faulty memories of the people I’ll be interviewing and to spark memories that had disappeared entirely.

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