Perfect Sound Forever

Lee Ranaldo on Jack Kerouac

Guitarist Lee Ranaldo was the project co-ordinator of Rykodisc's Kick, Joy, Darness CD, having been a long-time follower/lover of Kerouac's work. Lee took a few moments out of his busy schedule to talk about Kerouac and the project. Other than his well-known work as a member of Sonic Youth and numberous collaborations and solo projects, Lee has published a number of books of poetry.

PSF: What was the first Kerouac you ever read? What kind of impression did it make on you?

I read ON THE ROAD my first semester at University, and right after my own first cross-country road trip, so it has great resonance.

PSF: What qualities about his work do you admire the most?

The free wheeling word play and vision of America back at that time, and the open emotionality and honesty present.

PSF: In what ways do you think that his work might have effected your own?

It's hard to put a finger on, but I do love the tone with which he takes the reader into his orbit, without much distance, the same way you'd have a conversation or story-telling/soul-searching session with a friend.

PSF: What kind of impression did you hope to give people about Kerouac and his work with Kicks, Joy, Darkness?

I was only auxillary to Jim Sampas, who really put the project together. It was fun to do a 'tribute' project with a focus other than cover songs, and to maybe think some people who don't know about Jack might find out about him.

PSF: Other than your project, what kind of legacy do you think he's left behind him in the arts?

He's a part of the pantheon of great American writers, who exhibits to the world aspects of what we're all about.

Also see: An interview with Jim Sampas and detailed review of Kicks, Joy, Darkness
(or see the main intro to the articles).