What I've Learned: Chuck Berry
May he rest in peace.
I'll be doing just fine if you turn off that tape recorder. This isn't a performance. If you want to hear me perform, buy one of my records.
I would sing the blues if I had the blues.
I've always liked words. I even like some words that aren't in the dictionary.
One word: variety.
Of the five most important things in life, health is first, education or knowledge is second, and wealth is third. I forget the other two.
You don't just go to the studio and say, "I'm going to write a hit." It becomes a hit when people like your compositions.
I didn't connect with the kids. I was in the studio. I never saw the kids.
I hoped they liked it, of course. And then I'd go write some more. And then I'd go buy me a home. Very American.
It amazes me when I hear people say, "I want to go out and find out who I am." I always knew who I was. I was going to be famous if it killed me.
I wouldn't buy one of my records to save my life.
Global warming does not affect my life at all. I'm going to walk right along and drink plenty of cool water.
Science and religion are both the same thing. They're there; they're life. If it's not science, it's not a fact.
I haven't been to church in thirteen years, but I'm better prepared for heaven than most of those that haven't missed a day.
Music is about one tenth of my day. Computers are about a quarter. Sleep—another quarter. The other quarter is of no consequence.
I like computers. It's like being a mathematician that finally comes upon an adding machine.
Respect isn't enough. You've got to have a proprietary interest.
If the people in the audience are talking, you're being ignored. If the people are gazing at you, you've got something they want to hear.
I don't get nervous before I play. Oh, I did the first time—wondering whether I was going to be good or not. But after about four or five songs it went away and never came back.
Play the songs they want to hear. That makes them feel they're getting what they came for.
Like I say, I'm Mr. Variety.
When you're writing a song, nouns and verbs will carry you right through.
I love poetry. I love rhyming. Do you know there are poets who don't rhyme? Shakespeare did not rhyme most of the time, and that's why I do not like him. Imagine: a man with that much...I'm looking for a word that begins with the letter f. Do you know it? I forget it. Well, Shakespeare had a lot of it, anyway. He had a lot of f. He had too much f not to rhyme.
You can say what you want, but for all these years, I've been robbing people. I've been having fun and they've been paying and it just don't seem right.
Finesse: That's the word I was looking for. Shakespeare had a lot of finesse.
If I wasn't a musician, I'd take up the law. They are the rottenest, wealthiest people in America.
Prejudice doesn't make me mad. It just—I guess "pisses me off" is the word.
What do I like about women? Their gender.
First time I heard that word was from an English interviewer. He asked me something about gender. I had to ask him what he meant. Now I use the word all the time.
I stopped writing songs for seventeen years. Every so often I just stopped. Sometimes for hours. Sometimes for seventeen years.
I've written songs on everything. Menus. Napkins. Little pieces of paper. I started writing one song in 1952. I added some words last Monday. So I've been writing that song straight through for forty-eight years.
I eat meat daily. I'm not Jewish. I'm not Arabic. What's the kind of person that doesn't eat meat? That's right -- I'm not a vegetarian. I'm not a McCarthyite. What's that fella's name? Paul McCartney? That's right. I'm not him.
Women want what you've got. They want what they don't have.
Music is science. Everything is science. Because science is truth.
What do I think about today's music? I don't think about it. I listen to it. It's there whether I think about it or not.
From: Esquire US