Perfect Sound Forever

Ed Ward tribute

Mr. Stone with a smile

Carl Stone (composer)
interviewed by Jason Gross
(June 2021)

PSF: How did you first meet Ed?

CS: My first memory of Ed was 1979, when he was on a journalist panel at New Music New York, a festival organized by The Kitchen. There were great concerts every night, but the daytime panels were mostly bitching sessions as performers and composers bemoaned the sorry lack of performance opportunities and critical attention for experimental music in the US. All of us shared this group-think as gospel - until Ed showed up. He basically called us all a bunch of wankers and told us to stop whining and get out there and make our own scene. The outrage was palpable, but the truth was he was right and while everyone left the room thinking "what an asshole," we did go on to do what he suggested. The festival expanded to be New Music USA and lived on for ten years, and gave a big boost to our music.

It was Tom Welsh, then on staff at the New Albion label, who in 1996, knowing that I was about to go to Berlin for a gig, suggested I look Ed up. I still was operating from my first impressions so I think I may have responded "Jeez, THAT guy?" But I decided what the hell, gave Ed a call, went over to his apartment where I also found Robert Altman, the great rock photographer from the heyday of Rolling Stone, hanging out. Ed took us both to a restaurant located inside the Bertolt Brecht house and a good time was had by all. We decided to keep in touch and the rest is history.

PSF: How would you describe him on a personal level?

CS: Funny. Always good for a story or a food tip. Cantankerous, with a very high opinion of his own opinion. Socially inept.

PSF: Along with yourself Ed had a lot of great stories about musicians he knew interviewed and met- can you share any of those?

CS: My favorite Ed story is when he tangled with journalist/critic Stanley Crouch over something, I don't know what - disagreement over a review? And Crouch left a message on his answering machine: "Hello Ed Ward? This is Stanley Crouch, and you're a dead motherfucker!"

PSF: What went through your head when you heard that he passed away?

CS: Sadness of course. Dismay but not surprise, as I knew about his health issues from years before.

PSF: What do you think his legacy is?

CS: Painstaking research for the subjects he was passionate about. I think he will be remembered for helping pioneer music journalism for rock and blues.

Also see Carl Stone's website

See the rest of our tribute to Ed Ward

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