When CASH started, it was not only to facilitate giving music away, like 50 FOOT WAVE has always done. It was for other musicians to be offered a set of tools with which they can circumvent the recording industry and reach fans directly. It's a pretty simple idea. It's all based on that urge people have to keep the music going. It's not purely a giving urge, it's this idea that they have an energy that could help turn the music that's in the ether into the music that's in their ears.

It's completely reworked the way I function as a professional. Since the studio bills are paid by the audience, I have no one with an ear to the salability of the material. I can go to my lab and perform these experiments. And the outcome is only supposed to be truth, for lack of a better word. No one is interested in anything but that. And that's what I was essentially interested in all along. But even to play the game a little bit, you backpedal, you apologize, you alter your results until something palatable is the outcome. I should have never been interested in palatable, it doesn't come natural to me.

SINCE YOU DEPEND DIRECTLY ON YOUR AUDIENCE, DO YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF IN UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATIONS WITH THEM? ARE THERE ANY STALKER TYPES, LIKE THE GUY YOU DESCRIBE INRAT GIRL WHO LEAVES NOTES ON YOUR DOOR? That's fans, this is listeners; it's different. When Warner Bros. was selling a cartoon version of me, I got more of those fan people. It seemed to me they weren't particularly interested in what I was doing. They could have been fans of anything. You just took out Star Trek and inserted Throwing Muses. A listener is someone who appreciates the work you do, period. It's valuable to them. They leave you out of the equation except to thank you for your efforts. Like you would hire a plumber. That's been my goal all along. That's perfect for me.

I APPRECIATE WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. BUT I HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT THE DIY IDEA THAT ANYONE CAN BE AN ARTIST. I MEAN, NOT EVERYONE CAN BE A PLUMBER. I'M NOT SURE I WANT CULTURE COMPLETELY AMATEURIZED. I think we need to first get rid of the idea of the rock star of any kind. We do need to put music in the hands of people for a while. If they suck, they're not going to suck any worse than top 40, and at least will understand how it's done. Then with this education they're getting, they can pick and choose among the artists they do value. First we're in this period of free-for-all chaos, which I think is kind of necessary.

WHAT'S IT LIKE RECORDING WITH THROWING MUSES AGAIN? Great, sweet. It's not very exciting when we play together because it feels like this is the way everything should be. Listeners are allowing me to do exactly what the songs want to do. They're giving me the freedom and the time to make the music sound exactly the way it should. And I haven't had that ever, maybe not since I was a teenager.

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