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Is a little insanity good for the creative process?
D C RUIZ of New talks to Paul Minotto
about the primeTime Sublime Community Orchestra


A butcher, a baker, a mortician, a housewife, a plumber and other nonprofessional musicians dressed up as clowns performing contemporary classical 'new music'? Well, yes. Why not? The primeTime sublime Community Orchestra is not really a community orchestra; that is, if you think of a community orchestra as a group of Sunday musicians who play in tune most of the time, getting together to murder 'The Classics' for the shallow entertainment of unenlightened listeners. This group plays original 'tunes' or rather 'pieces' that cover most of the major genres of twentieth century music and then some, all encapsulated in a contemporary classical avant-garde (is there such a thing?) framework. From popular music genres to various folk musics to film score and cartoon soundtracks -- any style is fair game.

The artistic director for this multi-genre, new music ensemble is Paul Minotto. I spoke with him at his home studio in New Jersey, USA.

The primeTime Sublime Community Orchestra
The primeTime Sublime Community Orchestra

[D C Ruiz] How did you first get interested in music?

[Paul Minotto] I had always liked music as a kid starting around seven or eight years old with my Bubblegum Pop records by groups such as the Ohio Express, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Archies, people like that. When I was twelve, I saw a commercial for a set of records called Superstars of the 70s by Ronco on TV. One of the excerpts they played was Foxy Lady by Jimi Hendrix. I literally had an epiphany or some kind of spiritual orgasm. I went to Kmart and got the 45 of Foxy Lady and on the other side was Purple Haze. I was hooked. After buying all the Hendrix records I could find, I wanted to learn the guitar. Eventually I got good enough to play in rock bands. I even learned how to play the guitar with my teeth, just like Hendrix. All the little girls seemed to approve.

[D C Ruiz] How did you get interested in orchestral music and other genres?

[Paul Minotto] After Hendrix, I was introduced to the music of Frank Zappa. Through Zappa's influence, my tastes in music became much more varied. I played contrabass clarinet in the school Concert Band, guitar in the Jazz Big Band, percussion in the school orchestra and I began to write music. After high school, I taught myself piano and saxophone and worked in Top 40 bands around Atlanta and the southeast.

Playing saxophone?

Yes and keyboards.

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Copyright © 26 September 2003 D C Ruiz, USA


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