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Laurie Anderson discusses her album "Big Science"

DURATION: 00:34:54


Laurie Anderson discusses her album "Big Science" and talks about he creative process. Talks briefly about her transition from plastic arts to performance artist and her perspective of the world after World War II and her collection of short stories and songs called "United States"


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Studs Terkel You know so much is happening in the field of contemporary music, when the field of contemporary life but music is reflecting it that's. It's very difficult to keep track. But now and then someone comes along we're talking about technology, electronics, music, but someone comes along who's an original and Laurie Anderson is definitely an original. She believes that it's the language rather than the music which is most interesting yet it's both. And Laurie Anderson, you'll hear her rather than talk about her, her music will do some talking mostly it'll be, it'll be evoking questions in your mind. And she's here to talk and also to listen to f- some of the songs her works from the album. The, this album though, I think it's your second or third isn't it?

Laurie Anderson It's the first one that I've done.

Studs Terkel Oh this is the one, oh it's the first

Laurie Anderson Of the, yeah, yeah.

Studs Terkel "Big Science." And by the way the name of that song "Big Science", might give you an idea, how, which way Laurie Anderson thinks. In an-, in any event, she is definitely herself, an original. And she may have borrowed from people this we'll find out, but out of it has come in - fascinating performer, an artist. She's at the Park West, that's tonight and tomorrow night under the auspices of the Museum of Contemporary Art. It's interesting the Contemporary Art is sponsoring. I won't use the word rock artist cause there's no way of categorizing it. And at the Park West that's at 322 West Armitage. Tonight there are 2 performances I understand, first is sold out but try in any event and Thursday night as well. And so in a moment Laurie Anderson and her songs and her reflections after this message. Now how do we begin? How did this, this is called "Sweaters" and we can come to lyrics in a moment but the, the instrumentation?

Laurie Anderson Well that starts with being out of breath and.

Studs Terkel Being out of breath

Laurie Anderson Yeah, well, the it starts with the kind of long "yoll" which a lot of these songs kind of start with, wolf howls. And in thi- this case the a lot of the rhythm is is really just sort of heavy breathing and that's why I chose bagpipes for it because that's a, that's one of those breath instruments. At the end of that song it just sounds like he's falling into some kind of well but it's like a vacuum cleaner, I think. Bagpipe sort of dies in a beautiful way jus- [yawning]. And that was a song that's in another version for for Jew's harp and the Jew's harp kind of got edited out because it was to, a little too close to the bagpipes.

Studs Terkel And you were violen here. This the electrified violin.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel So if we can, before we cu- and with song itself, this is not my favorite, [unintelligible] that. It's yours. It's not my fav- because.

Laurie Anderson And

Studs Terkel The lyrics to me, you have stronger lyrics, yeah. This is one that "I no longer love your eyes, but I no longer love the color of your sweaters." But then "I no longer love the way you hold your pens and pencils." I like that, you know. But why is this your favorite?

Laurie Anderson I guess because it came out so differently than anything I thought. You know it seemed to, to change itself as, as I worked on it. Because I threw away a lot of tape working on it and it, it wasn't a kind of song that I would sit down and try to write because mostly because I work in the studio. And just the way things happen in the studio. Lots of mistakes and lots of sort of well I use a lot of electronics and so they, they suggest totally different directions for the songs. And this one went off into.

Studs Terkel You, you talking about the, the, the technical aspects, the instrumentation ma- ask you about that too but influences on ya. Some of the contemporary composers like Glass influence you. But what about the lyrics? I mean they the, is it that secondary to you?

Laurie Anderson No, no it's, it's first

Studs Terkel It

Laurie Anderson it's really first.

Laurie Anderson I, most of the music I do has some kind of, that's why this song is, is an odd exception. Has some kind of very methodic digital sort of ground to it. And then over that the language is makes its own sort of stop, start sort of conversational rhythms. There there's really kind of talking songs more than anything else. They're not songs in which there's a verse and then a chorus and generally they don't wrap themselves up in rhyme and.

Studs Terkel Are you g-, some good examples of that coming up that is. It's conversation and conversation itself is repetitive at times repetitive in nature too isn't it?

Laurie Anderson Hello how are you? What's going on, bu-, bu-, bu-. Yeah. And it's very singsong in a way that I that I like. Think that's that's even more so true in, in. Well, let's say France or Germany when there's an actual little doorway ritual that people go through, you know, vita zein, vita zein, danke schoen, danke schoen. It's, it's something about leaving you know that there's, there these little leaving songs that every customer and clerk goes through and I think well Americans do too. I mean the whole hi how are you going with ba- songs.

Studs Terkel And you capture that in, in music. You, you [unintelligible].

Laurie Anderson I like it. I try to,

Studs Terkel Capture

Laurie Anderson I try to work with. Yeah.

Studs Terkel So we want to play, we had, we want to play "Walking and Falling" you see. Now the "Walking and Falling" lyric which I, I like I I. This is about, "I was looking for you all day but I couldn't find you, I couldn't find you," as though someone does repeating it. "You were walking. You don't always realize it but you're always falling. With each step you fall slightly forward slightly and then catch yourself from falling over and over you're falling and then catch yourself from falling and this is how you can be walking and falling at the same time." Has a kind of hypnotic rhythm to it to isn't there?

Laurie Anderson Yeah, and a little bit of, of stuttering as well. I mean because it, it is kind of a stumbling sort of, of situation or or a a kind of duet that, that you get into, your 2 feet get into as they try to do something, as you try to coordinate

Studs Terkel You before we, you before we go into not "Big Science", "Oh, Superman", the next one, before we go into that which is a longer one and the other instruments that you yourself play and use. Who are you? Who's Laurie Anderson? Start from the beginning.

Laurie Anderson Well, lets see that's a, that's a, I'll try to narrow that down a little bit.

Studs Terkel Your from around, you're from Glen Ellyn originally.

Laurie Anderson Yeah yeah this is. And I, you know I feel I've lived in New York for well since 1967. But I think in a lot of ways I feel, this feels the most familiar to me, this part of the country in a lot of ways. And in a lot of the things I try to do in my work are really relate to I think less to the art world, New York art world then to things that I remember about being here which is. And I think one of the reasons why the work seems a little less specialized than other New York work.

Studs Terkel You, you studied art history cause you worked in the graphic arts the plastic arts too. And you worked as a sculptor for a while.

Laurie Anderson Yeah, yeah I worked as a sculptor. And for a while with resin and then I got kind of sick working with that stuff breathing those that air that plastic air. And so I decided to switch to paper and I made a lot of things by mashing up the newspaper and making what are. Well, in Indian there, Indian Indian, East Indian, they're called Mudra and they're a series

Studs Terkel Mudra?

Laurie Anderson Mudra, yeah. Hand positions really. Just the way somebody, well it's a very elaborate way of gesturing. It's a way of using your hands to signify the, your state of mind as you have the conversation rather than sort of an Italian way of wav- hand waving although that's very highly codified too. So these were, all of these works came first of all from words. And so that's one of the reasons I used newspaper. So anyway, mushed up the day's paper turned into a paper mache and then, basically made one sort of gesture and held the that sort of pulpy mass and then it hardened into, into that. So it was a very little hand-held objects and then.

Studs Terkel Like hand sculptor.

Laurie Anderson Yeah, yeah and things that really had to be well the I call them I think negative Mudra because when you held them you had to be in that hand

Studs Terkel Then you didn't use your hands.

Laurie Anderson Right yeah yeah. I actually I was thinking.

Studs Terkel But ho- what led you from that, from the sculptor the paper sculpture, the hand sculpture to music?

Laurie Anderson I think the same thing which was words and and right after that I was working with a lot of big photographs and writing underneath them sort of in this narrative art tradition is what it was called at the time. And it occurred to me that it was a funny thing to be using words in that way written down through that kind of filter just the way if you, you get a letter from somebody. You can get a phone call with the same kind of information but you get so much more information on the phone because you hear their tone of voice and you can understand a lot more about those words if it's spoken. And so I thought if I want to work with words in that way I should add that dimension to it and so it I that was the first kind of performances I started do. I just said well I'll just talk

Studs Terkel As we go along and Laurie Anderson my guest. As we go along I am gonna find out more and more about you, and you and the violin and early beginnings and backings and also your 33 which means your post 34 which your your a post World War 2 baby you're part of that boom. And that's I'm sure that's got something a do with this music. Any- so, pose-. "Oh, Superman is one of your celebrated songs. A word about that perhaps as we hear, before we here it.

Laurie Anderson Well, that was written for a friend of mine Charles Holland and he is 71 years old. Amazing guy who used to si- sing with Fletcher Henderson and he couldn't get work here. And he, he was interested in doing opera and he's also black man and he didn't have that many, there aren't that many roles. So he said I'm leaving. He went to Amsterdam and his first concert in 40 years was in Berkeley which I heard, and he'd come home after that many years and this guy was nervous. You know this concert here, here he'd been away so long. He kept dropping his glasses, dropping the music

Studs Terkel His first concert in 40 years?

Laurie Anderson In the United States. I mean he done a lot of singing in Europe.

Studs Terkel So how old, how old was he, offer this concert?

Laurie Anderson 70.

Studs Terkel 70.

Laurie Anderson Yeah and he couldn't sing. You know, so nervous he couldn't sing. And then in the middle of the concert he was singing. He started this one song called Ô Souverain, by Massenet. Beautiful song which is a kind of prayer really. Souverain, ô juge, ô père," O Sovereign, O Judge, O Dad, and it was one of those unique situations in which you're actually singing about how you're feeling because he needed help at that moment and this is a real appeal for some kind of of help. And he began to sing really beautifully and it was one of the most amazing concerts I ever have heard or seen.

Studs Terkel So this is the Charles Holl- "Oh, Superman" and in parenthetically for Massenet. cause that song came to your mind. Did he sing it during that

Laurie Anderson Yeah, he did, yeah.

Studs Terkel Suppose we hear it. Now, the instrument. No, let's hear it first

Laurie Anderson Okay.

Studs Terkel Cause, first first, I'd word comes to mind is hypnotic. I mean, it obviously catches you. The song, for instance, you don't know what it means and then of you hear certain words and phrases.

Laurie Anderson That you've heard before somewhere.

Studs Terkel Yeah. And so you're talking about a million things there. You're talking about "Mother Love" quote unquote. You're talking about the military, talking about transportation. You're talking about money.

Laurie Anderson Yeah in a way. Well this is from the political section of this long performance series that I've been working on and the whole series is called United States. That's a series of stories and songs and it's in these 4 parts: transportation.

Studs Terkel You call it United States I to IV.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel Go ahead, what are the 4 parts.

Laurie Anderson Well, the first is transportation. Second is politics and the third is money and the last is love. And this particular song is from the political section and it really was made for a kind of one armed organ player or vocoder player which is the instrument that's used in this.

Studs Terkel The vocoder, that voice we heard or several voices. But, this is this is an instrument that what that duplicates the voice?

Laurie Anderson Yeah. In a, in a chordal way so that it's, what it is is a voice activated synthesizer so you have microphone that that goes through the circuitry of the keyboards and divides the voice up into chords or any signal that you send through it. A door slamming.

Studs Terkel And, and then there's some old time keyboards.

Laurie Anderson Yeah. [Far feezes?]

Studs Terkel But I can ask you question are see-. I think that the people of my generation will have a difficult time. It's there wanna grasp it sto-, where is your generation I could ask you this ques-, they grab it quicker. Is it because the hearing, the language, the references that you were born, I asked when you were born. I know you were born since Hiroshima. You were born in the time of high technology, one of a electronic music you know.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel Is this, you follow me?

Laurie Anderson Yeah I think so. Well, I mean the first thing about electronic music as far as I'm concerned, I don't really like it that much. I mean it's music when it's straight from the can you know just right out of the machine. I like to make a kind of combination between something that's made by human beings in some way and electronics because I think mostly what electronics can do is bring things into your hearing range that you, you only kind of hear you know you just cause human hearing is so limited really. And if you hear a sax player you hear maybe maybe a little bit of the harmonics going on up there. But electronics particularly some of the things that I use, work like a kind of window that, that scans the waves and brings the harmonics into your hearing range. So it they're familiar sounds but they're scaled differently. You know they're really in a, they're within your range.

Studs Terkel You like Philip Glass?

Laurie Anderson Yeah I do. That was music to me in that was what all music seemed to be when I was first started writing it because it was it was what you could hear in downtown New York and that.

Studs Terkel Mean could hear in downtown or you mean the sounds of the streets and the city, that what you mean?

Laurie Anderson Well, no I guess I mean

Studs Terkel Mean

Laurie Anderson Inside with with lots of plugs.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Laurie Anderson And, the in fact of course it was quite different from the the real feeling of New York which is completely crazy.

Studs Terkel And the reason I said streets outside I am thinking of something funny. Stockhausen was playing at Chicago once and twice but once you had this strange wild electronic music was strange to me I was trying to dig it and a young couple holding hands and I imagine them saying, "He's playing our song."

Laurie Anderson Right.

Studs Terkel That's why I'm coming back to that question.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel You were born at a certain time that post World War II boom baby generation.

Laurie Anderson Right.

Studs Terkel That as a wholly a different experience in hearing in in sound in a, from the generation that preceded you or the two.

Laurie Anderson Yeah, I think that's true in certain ways. I mean certainly in in volume I mean people are, in my generation who are used to listening to things louder and I don't know what I

Laurie Anderson You know a lot of it also don't, those in your generation catch the words quicker than mine. Why is it?

Laurie Anderson Organized in a very different way. I don't know. I don't know. I think one of the things about this particular song, was I wanted to make something that would let, as I said before, the words make their own sense I mean that they wouldn't be in verses, you

Studs Terkel know. So I want to find out how your mind works I mean your your sense of creativity. You obviously are very and the word obviously the word used about you many adventurous but it's your associations from this old black man going onstage after 40 years here and doing a Massenet piece. Something else happened to you. You were thinking into this crazy phenomenon.

Laurie Anderson Well, what I what I most want to do with words is make them, make the songs really, that the only word I can think of is airy enough

Studs Terkel Airy?

Laurie Anderson so that people can so they're not didactic I mean they don't have a real clear message even though in the song it says and I've got a message to give to you.

Laurie Anderson It's it's very open what that message could be and it's up to the listener to, I mean there are a lot of blank spots in there you know and you can bring whatever, you want to it. I mean that's kind of a lot of points really.

Studs Terkel So you suggest. You're suggesting rather than diagramming it?

Laurie Anderson Yeah yeah I hope so.

Studs Terkel Suppose we hear, this is, this is. Now the whole sequence is called United States I to IV. Four aspects. The name of the album is "Big Science", one of the songs from it. And incidentally "Oh, Superman" tremendously popular in Germany is it not?

Laurie Anderson It it it did very well in Europe that

Studs Terkel I mean that you are popular in Germany.

Laurie Anderson Yeah I've done

Studs Terkel Wanna come to that. You and European young and perhaps any. What is "From the Air"? Suppose we hear "From the Air" which is from the your album.

Laurie Anderson Great.

Studs Terkel You want to set the, do we need to set the scene for that perhaps to give us an idea?

Laurie Anderson You're on a plane.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Laurie Anderson And something's gonna to go on.

Studs Terkel And it's what?

Laurie Anderson And something's happening over the P.A. system and it's one of those good P.A. systems not one of the crackly ones.

Studs Terkel And then what happened? Did they make it or not? And the-, this, by the way was very frightening [laughing]. I mean it ver- cause you mean it to be disturbing I suppose or do you? Is it a matter of course the captain is saying we may have a crash landing and he's very casual. Right?

Laurie Anderson Yeah he's he's I think the the shoe salesman. The guy who saying, "This shoe really fits," and it's crunching your, the bones and your feet to pieces. Now its some kind of crazy voice of authority that has all the right, cool tones, but it just doesn't have any relationship to what's going on, you know?

Studs Terkel Of course now you're really hitting everything aren't you? Michael VerMeulen who's sitting here, you're saying we that is your generat- so accustomed to being betrayed that when you hear a phrase you know it's a fake phrase. Now you just said something. The voice of authority is cool. We need not name names are fairly obvious who the voice of authority are these days. They're cool, wholly unrelated to the situation itself but it's done. The smile is there, the geniality. And yet it may result in our mut- the destruction of all of us.

Laurie Anderson And and not only on that level but on so many. The smiling couple on TV that are agreeing with each other and they're trying to sell you some kind of horrible life insurance. You know I mean it's everywhere. That kind and I don't mean to be. Yeah.

Studs Terkel But that smiling couple that's selling you life ins- that commercial just followed something horrendous. It may be a news item of a disaster or a grieving mother of a dead child and you get the smiling couple coming right on

Laurie Anderson Yeah yeah. The editing is sometimes a little bit strange.

Studs Terkel So this then. So this is the, this is the atmosphere the world in which you you write what you write.

Laurie Anderson Well one of the things I I really though try to do is is to not be didactic because I don't have any solutions to any of these. These are these are a series of of images and I think the main difference between these kinds of things and politics which my work is very involved with in certain ways is is that these songs and these stories and pictures are come to you through your eyes and your ears. And I think that's the big difference between that, between art and ideas. And the best example that I can think of of in terms of that is, say you hear a song and you immediately love that song. It's just the greatest song. And and but you can't quite understand the words in it. And you listen to it 50 times and finally understand the words but they're horrible words you hate them here against everything that they stand for. But it's too it's too late because you already accepted the song really physically and sensually and your in a sense defenseless against those things because they invade you in other ways. So I think in a way to use you have to be very careful at, about using ideas in an art form because, because of that reason.

Studs Terkel Yeah, but I'm not sure I I follow you completely if I do think, if I do, if you're saying what I think you're saying I'm not sure I agree with you either. Because to me art and ideas are not separated.

Laurie Anderson No they're, they're they're very very close I mean. But I think that if you take an extreme example of, of propaganda coming at

Studs Terkel Oh, I'm not talking about didactic trite to political direct.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel No I agree with you and of course.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel Yours is of course, suggestion naturally. Its suggestion rather than, it's not the hammer hitting someone on the head.

Laurie Anderson Yeah. Yeah. Well I think that yeah I hope it's not. I hope it's

Studs Terkel Let's take a pause now. We're talking to Laurie Anderson who's performing tonight and tomorrow night at under the auspices of the Museum of Contemporary Art at Park West. At 322 West Armitage. That's tonight 2 performances 7 and 10 I believe.

Laurie Anderson Maybe 11, could be later.

Studs Terkel Could be

Laurie Anderson We'll see what

Studs Terkel And tommorow night too. And as you may gather, she is an original. And I want to ask you about that Americ- United States I to IV again. And also your the music and the lyrics the instrumentation too. After this message. So resuming with Laurie Anderson. Now categories don't mean anything to to label. I mean you don't believe it but. How would hav- after to saying that. How would you be categorized I mean?

Laurie Anderson I'm usually categorized as as performance artist which is a very funny kind of catch all term and what it means is just that it's not really quite theater. It's not really dance it's not stories or films. It's a kind of combination. And I I don't mind the the term because it's, it's so open. I mean and each time somebody does something calls it performance art they redefine it. So it's. And it also doesn't really have any very clear cut rules.

Studs Terkel And so you, you're the actress, the poet, the singer.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel Combination and musician.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel But I meant in the field of music. This is not rock for one. Which is a generic term anyway. It's there, it's electronic. I mean elec- electrified instruments and that's about it.

Laurie Anderson Yeah. Well, I think of myself as a kind of moderator really. And a lot of the voices that I that are used in these things are are my voice somewhere. Some things are things on tape other people's voices but a lot of the filters are use can change the voice so that you can speak 2 octaves up or 2 octaves down and have a completely different. Well I found that using those filters if you have a different voice like that it's coming out of you. You find you have different things to say than you normally would. And these also are not characters in the sense of theater because they don't have names and they don't have pasts or futures or in there it,they they can't be in a way the whole criteria are very different. In theater you can, one of the ways to judge a play is is that character sufficiently motivated to talk about tornadoes and you have to set the whole thing up so that character

Studs Terkel Suppose we hear to follow through suppose we here, this is one you chose example number 22. Now this has m- German lyrics, German phrases as well as English. Now you were in, you performed in Germany.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel And what was the reaction?

Laurie Anderson Well I've I've done a lot of work in Germany for a long time because well I know and also a lot of American artists work there and really couldn't survive without working in Europe which is in a in a way a very traditional situation since the thirties really a lot of jazz musicians going over there basically to make their living and then coming back here. And one of the things about that was that's the reason I started working on this series called United States because you'd be sitting around a dinner table and somebody would say, "How could you people be doing that stuff over there," and you'd you'd start wondering how you could be doing something like that and you'd have to.

Studs Terkel Something like what?

Laurie Anderson Well, something like electing certain people. Something like treating sick people the way we treat sick people. All kinds of questions like that and coming up with answers was difficult. And so that's why I started doing this work. And it's funny as as I did it more and more I realized that this isn't really so much a portrait of of a country which I thought it was going to be of a specific country the United States as a kind of description of any highly technological society. And how do you learn to live in one with telephones and TV's and.

Studs Terkel That's what it comes down to, to the technological society.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel Technology obviously, you use it but also as part of your commentary.

Laurie Anderson I can also fix it. I keep screwdrivers with me.

Studs Terkel Before hear Example 22 you just said something you said you can also fix it. Do you? How do you look on tomorrow? Do you think we're? I want to ask you this you Laurie Anderson? Cause I'm, I'm thinking about your songs and looking over the lyric and, do you think we'll make it?

Laurie Anderson Well you know I think we you know I feel kind of silly trying to answer a question like that obviously as anybody does.

Studs Terkel What

Laurie Anderson But one of the things that I think is, is so sad now is that that well violence has a certain excitement obviously and people it gets the adrenaline going. And when you think of of the kind of thing that's the cloud that's hanging over everybody which is, "we could do it, we could do ourselves in my God, how you know." And it's it's so enormous and terrifying that it's exciting. And there are very few, in a way parallels to that in another opposite mode, a more hopeful mode. And I think the best example is a friend of mine a Vietnam vet who was describing what boot camp was like and the kinds of exercises they had to do with their guns and the kinds of slogans they had to yell out to psych themselves up to actually be able to take another human being's life. And the 2, 4, 6, 8, kill'm, maim and mutilate kind of slogans. He said later he got a job shoveling snow and he could not, that physical emotion was so embedded in his body that he couldn't forget those slogans and he, he was shoveling snow with the same kind of of violence. Then and they're really in a way aren't many parallel situations that you could set up and you get to to encode slogans in that way of a different nature I mean swinging a golf club and going, "equal rights," you know and it's it's just not as exciting to a lot of people and I think that if it could be if there could be more positive energy directed in that in that way that it that people would be less fearful.

Studs Terkel Well, you know it may also be I'm not going to be the Pollyanna here cause you know you are you are making a point. At the same time, somebody would say to you if the values of our society that have been inculcated and the so long deal the nature of violence beating the other guy so much that they have not a chance. The human that is, living here or another society has not a chance for other part of him to really express itself cause there is another part of man hasn't been used really.

Laurie Anderson Not very much.

Studs Terkel That's the thing, we haven't been, someone says we still live in pre-history. But it, but leads to Example number 22 an introduction to it, perhaps something?

Laurie Anderson Well, it's it begins with a German a little piece in German which basically translated as I, I understand the languages. I don't understand the languages. He kind of contradicts himself. I hear only your voice.

Studs Terkel [German] everything is in it. I was about to say bilingual but it's, it's bi-everything because the, the girl who's, "pay you what you owe me," also becomes as you point out the German opera singer too.

Laurie Anderson We actually no that the end of that was a duet between me and and a German opera singer and I'm doing the one sounds like someone's been str- slowly strangled. That's my voice there.

Studs Terkel You know [laughing], it's hard to talk to Laurie Anderson cause there's so many aspects of y-, you have hinted on so many things you've touched, you've said things. See, I look for more direct commentary you know and tha- I'm wrong because this the way you do it. You do it in a ta- tangential way which becomes very exciting at the sa- we live in a strange surreal time and your approach as I've if I follow you right is seeing a kind of absurdity here too.

Laurie Anderson Yeah it is pretty silly. Lot of things.

Studs Terkel "Big Science" we come to this now. So we come to the to the top of the mountain now or the bottom of the valley don't we. We come to, you would say we can knock ourselves off now it's amazing it's exciting in a perverse way it isn't.

Laurie Anderson Yeah.

Studs Terkel It's terrifying of course. But y- you spoke of this Vietnam vet friend of yours and how that that part of him was work. And now we come to "Big Science" we always think of science and the development of the human race.

Laurie Anderson Well, in a way it's not so much beakers as a kind of social science really. There is a lot of sort of architecture in, in this particular song. Big buildings and lights going on and off in them.

Studs Terkel We'll end with this.

Laurie Anderson Okay.

Studs Terkel "Big Science." But simply say that my guest is Laurie Anderson performing tonight at Park West with your colleagues.

Laurie Anderson Yeah, they'll be 2 saxophone players: Bill Obreht and Perry Hoberman, and a percussionist David Van Tieghem and a sound engineer who's back at the board

Studs Terkel Will you, and your violin?

Laurie Anderson Yeah. And I do a lot of the electronics live. So there lots of these

Studs Terkel filters. The

Laurie Anderson Yeah. A lot of toys.

Studs Terkel So it's, it's gonna an exciting to watch too it's at the Park West, 322 West Armitage tonight, 2 performances, 7 and after the second one. And tomorrow night, Thursday night. And we'll end with "Big Science." And thank you very much.

Laurie Anderson Thanks a lot[ wolf