Where do you think that your music fits on the classical-popular divide? Why? John Shiurba

John Shiurba
Photo courtesy John Shiurba

Ahh, the great divide, oh to be forever clumsily straddling the great divide. My music not only exists precisely on that divide, but seems to be more or less about being there. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard comments like your stuff is too rock for the weird music crowd, or too weird for the rock music crowd, too jazz for the…

There has never been much point for me in making a big distinction between types of music. My Stockhausen records are filed right where they belong between John Stevens and Sly & the Family Stone. I think if we have to classify music, we should refer to its cultural origin, it’s principal process (composed or improvised), and perhaps it’s time period, and characteristics (vocal, instrumental). And yet, even with sensible categories, most music of this time period, mine included, straddles the boundaries. When I write or improvise music, it all comes from the same basic musical impulses, and whether it is popular (i.e. people like it) or not, seems fairly inconsequential, and ultimately unrelated to the content of the music.

Listen to John Shiurba’s band Ebola Soup