Amongst different issues, John Lurie is a reality-television pioneer.
A musician who based jazz group the Lounge Lizards and who moonlighted as an actor in movies akin to Jim Jarmusch’s “Down By Legislation,” Lurie’s a polymath. His first tv sequence, “Fishing With John,” premiered on Bravo in 1991 and riffed on the fishing exhibits discovered throughout the local-television panorama within the late twentieth century — TV that made enjoyable of itself when that was nonetheless bizarre. The present was born out of Lurie filming a fishing journey he took with Tom Waits in New Zealand. Its hallmark was over-the-top narration contrasted with mundane footage of white guys fishing. In a single episode, the narrator insisted that Lurie was feuding with Dennis Hopper in Thailand. In one other, he claimed that Lurie and Willem Dafoe died in Maine. (They didn’t.)
Lurie’s new present, “Portray With John,” is extra earnest, however no much less bizarre. Lurie largely retired from music after contracting Lyme illness within the early aughts (although he launched a brand new album of labor from his Marvin Pontiac challenge in 2017). For the previous decade, he has lived on an island within the Caribbean that he refuses to call. “Portray With John” finds Lurie there, portray and telling tales, typically simply speaking in a tender, meandering means. He describes coke binges and the supportive atmosphere through which his dad and mom raised him. He pokes enjoyable at himself and Bob Ross. He crashes a drone. He rolls a tire down a hill. The impact is one thing quiet and humorous, as distinctive to the TV panorama as “Fishing With John” was 30 years in the past.
Right here, Lurie talks with Selection about his new present, which debuts Jan. 22 on HBO and counts amongst its inventive group govt producer Adam McKay and co-exec producer Mat Dwyer.
It’s been nearly 30 years since you probably did “Fishing With John.” Why did you need to do one other TV present?
It occurred accidentally. I used to be doing this [painting] method, however I needed to go to New York. And I used to be going to neglect the method, so we filmed me doing it. And I believed we might simply put it on Instagram, or on my web site, these one- and two-minute issues. It was sort of humorous and pleasant. Individuals appear so depressed lately, and I simply thought it might be a pleasant factor to provide folks. We had Erik Mockus come to movie it, and he turned out to be so good that it simply saved growing. Then I did this podcast with Mat Dwyer, and he stated, “Do you thoughts if I ship this to Adam McKay?” And I stated, “Positive.” Then [McKay] says, “I’m going to get this seen.” And he despatched it to HBO. After which I had a present on HBO, accidentally. Everytime you attempt to do one thing, it by no means works. However this simply type of occurred.
When you began fascinated about it not as brief movies, however as a TV present, what did you need it to be?
I didn’t have that. What was good about it for me was I actually preferred working with Erik, and we preferred working on it. He stayed for a month, and we’d movie issues like rolling the tire down a hill. And there have been some tales I wished to inform. However there wasn’t a plan for it, which I believe is sort of what’s good about it as a result of — you see that film “Kajillionaire”?
I like how that’s identical to “Uh, what? Wow. Actually?” I noticed that after I completed “Portray With John,” but it surely’s an analogous sort of factor. I believe it’s so significantly better to simply method issues like that — use what you’re given, use what unfolds for you slightly than cramming an thought into the digital camera
However whenever you take a look at the episodes now, what do you assume the impact of them is?
I don’t know. I’m actually interested in what that’s going to be like. Individuals are going to be like, “What the fuck is that this shit? Why am I watching this?” Once I paint, I sort of go right into a trance, a self-hypnosis factor, and that’s when the most effective stuff comes out. And I didn’t assume I used to be going to be snug portray on digital camera. However Erik filmed the portray for some time after which put it with music, and I used to be like, “Holy shit, this actually works.” I didn’t anticipate it was going to work so properly. However there’s some actual connection between my music and the portray, they appear to come back from the identical supply.
What was it prefer to have somebody movie you whereas portray?
I didn’t assume I used to be going to have the ability to do it.
But it surely sounds such as you shocked your self and also you have been capable of.
No, I simply made shitty work. To be fully candid, the following batch of work that I made after these six or seven which might be within the present have been higher.
As a result of filming interrupted your regular means of portray?
No, it’s as a result of that inventive a part of your thoughts, your soul, goes in the direction of the present. I get up and go take a look at what I did final evening and begin working instantly. And I’m going to mattress fascinated about it. However now I’m working on the present. So the portray turned type of secondary, you understand?
How lengthy have you ever been portray like this?
Since I used to be two. However, you understand, I acquired Lyme illness, and I couldn’t play music anymore round 2001. And my life for a very long time was simply go to the medical doctors and watch “Legislation & Order” and paint for myself. After which any person noticed [my paintings] and stated, “Oh, you must have a present.” And I used to be like, “Actually? I don’t know. The artwork world is so creepy.” However then I had a present, however the work weren’t so good. After which there was this second, the place it was like, “Oh, this could possibly be what music was.” And that was round 2004, 2005. And now I paint all day lengthy. I paint 10, 12 hours a day. And I’d slightly be doing that than the rest.
That’s your music on the present. Is it new, or previous music out of your library?
I stole from my previous library. It was all stuff I personal. We couldn’t use the Marvin Pontiac stuff as a result of I’m singing on there. We couldn’t have me singing. So we discovered some Lounge Lizards stuff and we took the vocal off some Marvin Pontiac stuff. A few of it’s from a film I scored. I acquired good on the finish there after I was doing movie scores, and I’d say something that I do that you simply don’t use within the film comes again to me.
There are plenty of merchandise proper now which might be designed simply to get folks to relax. The present seems like a extra genuine model of these issues.
There’s that TV business for one thing they usually simply have rain, proper? What’s it for, “Calm” or one thing like that? I search for and I see that and go, “Oh, what’s this? I want this.” I believe I did one thing much like no matter these folks have been doing.
Do you are feeling just like the timing is fortuitous? The world is much more tough to be in than it was even whenever you began making the present.
I did make it to cheer folks up a bit bit, to simply present that, look, you may have enjoyable. As a result of the pandemic was beginning after we began. However you understand, you go to search for a film and it’s all “zombie apocalypse, zombie apocalypse.” It’s like who wants the zombie apocalypse? We’ve an actual one. I wished to go the opposite means from that stuff. I wished to make one thing humorous and delightful. I additionally wished to do an finish run across the artwork world. Extra persons are going to see my work than any residing painter, and I didn’t should cope with the artwork world in any respect.