for William Seward Burroughs (1914 - 1997)

I was working on the Cut & Paste project (a work in progress to happen between Kassel, Linz and Wien, that involves on line, on site and on air presentations) when, on august 3, 1997, William S. Burroughs died.

To describe what WSBs' work means to me would take too many words. I read the Naked Lunch at age 18. Any twisted flight of my fantasy since then has been a "routine" to me. When I tried writing (fortunately giving up fast) I tried both the dry and hilarious tone of Junky and the hypnotic rave of Naked Lunch. Every time my music creates an imaginary soundscape (and it often does), it was always the sound of some of WSBs' places, like Interzone. His way and position to observe the world has deeply influenced mine. When I read in public (and I often do), I try to keep in mind his tone, always impeccable end effective. One of the most precious books in my collection is WSB's letters 1945/59 (wich include, in the original first person, plenty of Burroughs literature). The Cut & Paste project itself owes a immense debt to his (and Brion Gysin's) technique of Cut Up (that really did upset Samuel Beckett). I could go on like this for megas and megas...

I met William S. Burroughs in Rome in 1980. He was invited to read, along with many other beats in this huge open air festival (attended by thousands of people). I heard all the others, but I had eyes and ears for the man alone. I'll never forget his expression when I (not yet 21 at the time) walked up to him, with a rolled joint in my hand, eager to share "drugs" (it was only innocuous herb, or tea, as he called it) with the Maestro. He smiled at me thinly, looked at the joint and then said, revealing years of street culture (and earning my total admiration): "Sure, I'll smoke it with you, but you light it first". (Ginsberg took a couple of puffs too)

I cannot tell right now what my WSB tribute will sound like; it will definetly feature his voice, and it might include some live guitar parts. What I can definetly tell is that it will strive to express "control, without inner calm or balance; bitter knowledge, without maturity; intensity, without warmth or love." (Interzone, pag.44)

Sergio Messina/RadioGladio
august 26th 1997