Willis Earl Beal quotes

  • I'd rather be somewhere building a house, if I knew how. The whole idea of being a professional artist is like a demeaning kind of thing.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Artist #Ideas #House

  • If the only thing that you want to do is make money - if that's your whole motivation - I think you're lying to yourself. If the only motivation you have is to make money and make it, what's making it? Oh, you get a yacht or an island. Well, you're going to need someone to be on that island. You're going to need people, one way or another.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Motivation #Lying #Thinking

  • I deteriorate. I might tell you something one day and then something else another day. You fold in on yourself and that's why this whole artistry thing is the devil. It's evil. I hope I don't succumb to it.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Evil #One Day #Devil

  • I was not in touch with reality. Growing up, I was being shielded without my knowing it, because even all the way up to the age of 15, I made these paper basketball men and played with them, like action figures.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Basketball #Growing Up #Reality

  • Actually, my ideal life would be to have an evergreen tree farm and, every December, I'd load them up and just stand out on the street and sell Christmas trees.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Tree #December #Christmas Tree

  • Sometimes I wish it were a simpler world. I love and hate people. When I say I hate people, I really truly mean it. Sometimes I think everyone should be dead, that the animals would be better off without people. But sometimes I go into the square and I look at all the people passing me by and it fulfills me -as long as they don't bother me. As long as they just walk past and don't ask me for anything, it's fine. I almost wish I could think about it in a mundane way.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Hate #Mean #Thinking

  • What I'm trying to do is paint a picture of an atypical human being going through all of the existential struggles, but all the while realizing the carnality and small things, because I like minutiae a lot. All the while knowing that it's a forest - knowing that none of it means anything. I think if more people understood that, they would just go ahead and kill themselves like they're gonna do anyway, but do it quickly as opposed to hanging out and using up resources. Don't just sit around criticizing other people and wasting time. I do that, but I'm not really skilled in any other way.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Struggle #Mean #Thinking

  • I haven't figured out how to do anything yet besides recording music - I don't even entirely know how to do that. My favorite phrase is "It takes a lot of imagination to have no talent." So it's a struggle because I struggle between thinking about whether or not I'm actually a musician, am I actually an artist. Does it matter what I'm doing? Should I just go and jump off a bridge? Thinking about the social hierarchy and the fact that I'm American, and how I don't identify with being American, nor do I identify with any nationality or my race.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Struggle #Artist #Thinking

  • One of my struggles is that I'm a glutton. There's always those very simple, long, old-ass things, but they're very real to me, and I'm sitting in them, and they're swirling in my mind all the time. I tell people about it and they think, "Why don't you just go and make some money, go get a big-screen TV, or look at the Internet." Or they say, "Go create some introspective art." I just want to explode. I don't know how everybody else is able to walk around so calm. It's amazing to me when I see people walking so calmly down the street. I envy them, but I also kind of hate them.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Art #Hate #Real

  • As far as trying to make it terms of social hierarchy or status and all that in art and music - I've always felt that that stuff was bullshit. It's got very little to do with reality, and reality is where things live. You look at a painting and think, "Oh, it's beautiful. It inspires me," whatever. But it's never going to inspire you like reality. A lot of these artists and musicians who prioritize skill over experience, they sit around masturbating themselves over knowledge and intellect rather than just going to a place.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Beautiful #Art #Reality

  • The only way for me to give a good performance is to make myself extremely uncomfortable - and it just so happens that being on stage makes me extremely uncomfortable.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Giving #Uncomfortable

  • Music didn't really occur to me. Michael Jordan and Batman were my favorite two entities then. Michael Jackson was there, but I didn't really get into Bob Dylan, for instance, until I was in my 20s. The record I heard of his that got me interested in singing was Knocked Out Loaded, which is what many people consider to be his worst record.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #People #Singing #My Favorite

  • I heard Tom Waits in this kinky shop on Belmont Street in Chicago. Considering the way I was raised, they were such obscure voices, but their music saved my life - I didn't know who I was before I heard Bob Dylan and Tom Waits.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Waiting #Kinky #Obscure

  • I don't know what people want. I have delusions of grandeur, but I'm not sitting here talking to you and thinking that I'm the ***** President. I want to know everything, but I just can't.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Thinking #People #President

  • The truth is, all products - mine included - will take you away from yourself. You can listen to this music and think its pretty cool - or not - but the only thing that's going to save your soul is going somewhere alone and staying in that place for a while. Do something for yourself.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Thinking #Soul #Truth Is

  • I love Lana Del Rey! It's weird because I read something that said, "Oh, Willis Earl Beal and Lana Del Rey are the antithesis of each other." When in fact, she was what I wanted to sound like.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Antithesis

  • You got this new breed of hipster chicks and hipster men that don't understand anything about sacrifice. They didn't lay it on the line. People like Cat Power, Tom Waits, they are the last of the beats, the real true philosophers.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Hipster #Real #Cat

  • The person on the shrine is myself. I listen to my own music constantly. I made a whole other record already. I look at myself on the internet constantly, so much so that I actually physically hate my face. It's like I've become apart from myself. I can't even live up to myself.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Hate #Internet

  • Nobody symbol occurred to me one night at my grandmother's house. The eyes are an inversion of X'd out eyes - the man is enlightened. His teeth are clenched. It's not a smiley face. It's right before he dies. It plays into my philosophy where everybody gets enlightened before they die.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Philosophy #Eye #Night

  • I never actually sexually attacked anybody. But I'm a writer, too, and I was always trying to figure out a way to recreate the experience of being this Albert Camus, Stranger-like solitary protagonist character without incriminating myself in any way, like, "Oh, what a perv!" I want to reach out to anybody out there who may have been riding on the train one time when things in their life were completely falling apart and saw a girl's legs in a skirt and it's the last bit of goodness that you can see.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Fall #Character #Trying

  • I want to help people to not feel alone, like I feel and have felt for so long. Everybody's just trying their best. I guess I'm like an anti-star.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Long #People #Trying

  • I first saw Dead Man in high school, and it changed everything. That movie was like a memory to me - I would get things that occurred in that movie confused with my actual life.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Memories #Confused #School

  • That's not to say I came from the streets or anything - most of the time I was on my grandmother's back porch. I was kept in a constant state of amniotic fluid.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Porch

  • I don't mind being artificial sometimes, because I like veiling myself. I mean, I'm not honest or sincere: I am self-centered and narcissistic. I just want to be this entity.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Mean #Mind #Narcissistic

  • I don't have a computer, but when I get access to one, I'm always looking myself up on Google, because it's exciting.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Google #Computer #Exciting

  • People tend to believe that I want to make soul music, which is not entirely untrue but, really, I want to be like the black Tom Waits - I don't want to make one kind of sound.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Believe #People #Waiting

  • Everything is this distorted mishmash of pop culture that pulls from this era and that era and is just thrown at the wall. These people have no clue what anything really means. There are guys out there getting a million hits for a video.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Wall #Mean #People

  • In a way, the whole music industry is just catering to the inherent esteem issues all these artists have - it lays it all out on the line and baits the artist, like a light baits a mosquito. And you go right into it. With every comment on the internet, you go up, you go down, and it's a big shitshow full of uneducated people.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Artist #Light #Issues

  • I feel totally disconnected from reality in Washington. Maybe I'm just really pretentious - in fact, I probably am - but I feel like people in this city have no idea about where their reality is coming from and who is helping them to live in this illusion. I've gone from the south side of Chicago, where everyone is completely unrealistic about what's important in life to a place like this, where people are still unrealistic about what's important, but it's on two opposite sides of the spectrum. I just get tired of it all. It makes me really, really angry.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Tired #Reality #People

  • I don't think talent has anything to do with inspiration. Inspiration creates talent. People prioritize innate talent too much. It gives them license to walk around and act like assholes. I think I straddle a line between being innately talented and having had to put in some work. You ever go to a party where there are a lot of creative people and they feel like they have license to just act any kind of way? I'm not really a moral person myself, but they just tend to never ever be sincere because they believe their art or the fact that they are artists makes them holy in some way.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Art #Believe #Inspiration

  • I'm very curious about people, and one of the most difficult truths for me to accept as a person is that I'll never be anyone else, and I will never fully understand anyone's perspective other than my own. Because I've come to some understanding of that, I feel it's this very difficult but worthwhile challenge to get as close as I possible can to that. If the only way that we can do that is through language, then that's how it has to be done.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #People #Perspective #Understanding

  • It always fascinates me how you can get so much joy listening to another person, when me, personally, I can only listen to myself and my music these days. I've got some people in my iPod, but I only listen to myself. I'm folding into myself and I used to think that that was what you're supposed to do - you're supposed to reject everyone else and figure out who you are. You get little shards and points of reference, but that's how you confirm that only you know what is right for you. Everything else is pollution. What's starting to happen to me is sort of an identity crisis.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Thinking #People #Joy

  • I think the best way to listen to my music is through recording. I would love to be one of those artists where you can go into a coffee shop and watch people pass by and then my music is in their ears. Not necessarily a sensory deprivation thing, but that's cool too. Unfortunately in order to focus on nobody else, you would probably have to go into a dark room and just sit there and listen to it.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Coffee #Dark #Artist

  • I think that live music is really pretentious - all of it. I hate festivals and live shows, because as soon as I get on stage, I start performing for people and it becomes about sex, banter, and skill. They're looking at me and not thinking about themselves. I'm thinking about how cool I look. It's just stupid - all live music is really stupid. I wouldn't encourage going to see anybody live, ever. Not even me.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Hate #Stupid #Thinking

  • Everything that I do is limitation and complete intuition. I'm a human being. I'm not a musician. I'm not an entertainer. I don't know anything!
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Intuition #Musician #Entertainers

  • I would much rather not be the center of attention, and I'd much rather travel and be writing my novel, rather than standing on a stage and trying to get people to understand something.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Writing #People #Trying

  • I am nothing; nothing is everything
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #

  • My delusion outweighs my talent by far and it always will, because if it doesn't, then there's no point in living.
    -- Willis Earl Beal

    #Talent #Delusion #No Point

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