Why Laurie Anderson Wants to Re-write the Bible, and Other Fabulous Observations

In this episode of Essential Conversations, Ann Delisi’s rare 1994 interview with avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson.

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Very rarely does an artist live up to the term “creative genius.” But for avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson, the title seems fitting. Anderson’s thought-provoking work has taken many forms over the years beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s with performances in New York City.

“Plenty of days, I sit around going… That was my last idea as an artist. I’m finished. I will never have another idea.” – Laurie Anderson 

Anderson has used a variety of mediums for her performance art, including, sculpture, technology, film, and writing, to name a few. Her work has even led her to invent electronic instruments including the tape-bow violin and the talking stick. 

With so much creative output, one would think that Anderson is never short of ideas. But according to Anderson, it’s quite the opposite, “Plenty of days, I sit around going… that was my last idea as an artist. I’m finished. I will never have another idea.”

Despite the challenges, Anderson always seems to have another idea to push the boundaries of her work. Anderson’s 1981 single “O Superman” brought her recognition outside of the art world, and she directed and starred in the 1986 concert film “Home of the Brave,” and worked with an impressive lineup of artists and musicians, including Brian Eno. Anderson was married to Lou Reed from 2008 to 2013. 

At the time of this interview, recorded in 1994, Anderson had recently finished writing “Stories from the Nerve Bible: A Retrospective, 1972-1992.” Looking back on her career and interpreting her previous work was a difficult process for Anderson, which she told Ann Delisi she would not recommend other people go through if they had the choice.

When asked what year she would choose to live in, she chose 6,000 B.C., saying she would re-write the Bible to include a much more meaningful place for women in our history and society. 

In this episode

  • Rare 1994 interview with Laurie Anderson 
  • Writing Stories from the Nerve Bible: A Retrospective, 1972-1992. 
  • Anderson’s 1896 concert film “Home of the Brave” 
  • Working alone and finding her way out of creative ruts 
  • Having a love/hate relationship with technology 
  • The idea behind her “voice of authority” vocal filter 

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  • Ann Delisi
    Ann Delisi hosts Essential Music, the Essential Conversations podcast series and the Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast. Born and raised in the Motor City, Ann is a broadcaster, interviewer, producer, music host, storyteller and proud Detroiter.