Ry Cooder Interview

“Once you can see somebody play, I’ve always found this to be true, it illuminates the whole situation, how they hold the instrument, how they physically go about doing these things. Copying notes off a record is pointless. You got to know how they get themselves in a physical state and then things happen, they just seem to happen, that you know how that’s done or you can understand how it’s done makes a whole lot of difference. That’s why filming musicians is such a good thing, because then if you can’t go where they are, if they’re dead, you look at this film and you really understand a lot, just looking at a guy, you understand a lot.” – Ry Cooder, from the interview

  • Ry Cooder Interview Part 1 00:00
  • Ry Cooder Interview Part 2 00:00
Interviewee: Ry Cooder
Interviewer: Chris Strachwitz
Date: 02/26/1981
Language: English

This is an interview originally recorded for research purposes. It is presented here in its raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. All rights to the interview are reserved by the Arhoolie Foundation. Please do not use anything from this website without permission.

Some interviews contain potentially offensive language, including obscenities and ethnic or racial slurs. In the interest of making this material fully available to scholars and the public, we have chosen not to censor this material.

See below photo gallery for a transcript of the interview

Ry Cooder Interview Transcript: