In The Weeds Of Dialectics

They do not teach you in school, that with a name like mine (and the independence of mind to match the name) that I could have ever become, let's say a John Adams (and I am not talking about style) or if I was living in Germany a Wolfgang Rhim. No Cultural attache was looking out for such a name.

I paid my dues, but I refused to melt, that was the first thing to happen to me. My life became a series of refusals. For years I lived on 11 or 13 thousand dollars a year. I did not really plan it that way. I could not even join the eccentric tradition of Partch or Nancarrow because I was like Varese in reverse and by that I mean rootless in my unmeltability. Actually for ten years I was like a little Albert Schweitzer in reverse (studying the white culture in the heartland's prisons).

The Germans flattered me: "America you are a better place", but I just saw that as more jostling hegemony between the big grid imposing predators of Western Civilization. Acutally there was no category for me that was officially recognized in the American experience at the time. To be sure I was not alone; I either was indexed under the Italian-American tradition and ignored or I fell into the great wash of the marginals, in the shadow of the silent majorities at the interstices of American life.

Later this would become a great lesson for me. Living in the states with few opportunities for advanced music, I was unable to become what I wanted to be. Instead I was forced to become what I am. It was yet another reversal to which I owed this Nietzschean lesson, " become who you are". Only after I died and lost music, after I traveled across disciplines on the path of the creative life, did I arrive at the crossroads of rediscovery. A musician without notes, undergoing a series of spiritual crisises, I survived myself, and the music came back.

The model was Bataille, a librarian whose work was unclassifiable. I became a social worker who rediscovered music, if not what some have called a social composer. That is when I realized that 'style' is determined by what you cannot play , or even refuse to play, in a complex web of reversals and refusals. Style would grow like life does, as weeds in between dialectics.

Rocco Di Pietro