The modern world - it’s just like with architecture - something has really gone wrong with the music. It’s partly result of electronic medias; people don’t actively participate in musical culture the way they did before. I met an old man in Paris years ago, he’s dead now, in the 1980s. He was young in the 1920s and 1930s. He said he and his wife would go out dancing five nights a week because it was in the neighborhood, it was cheap, it was social and the music was live. Imagine a culture in which this goes on every night in the neighborhood. Imagine what that is going to do with the musician. He is part of the scene; the dancers are as important to him as his instrument. I played for dancing myself. It’s very inspiring when people are dancing to your music; it inspires you to give it more rhytimic drive, you see the people moving, you become part of something, you lose your ego. All that old music has that for me, the music I like.
A lot of guys I know like 1950s rhythm and blues (R&B) but it’s too slick for me. All the musicians start to try to imitate the slick, professional guys after a while, so the whole thing becomes no longer interesting. Musicians became self-conscious. In the old times, before mass media, people sang, people would get together and sing just for enjoyment. They couldn’t turn on their radio or television and nowadays most people say: “I can’t sing. I dion’t have a good voice,” because all they hear is the most professionally trained singers on radio, or TV or CD or whatever. So music has become a highly professionalized thing, which to me spoils it. I would rather hear somebody that is amateurish, even crude, but still has a sincere, authentic connection. I would rather hear that than some virtuoso.
Robert Crumb, em dois trechos da entrevista conduzida por Hans Ulrich Obrist.