4/15/2008

Paul Simon, Thief? (and "The World's Biggest Prick"?)


[Paul Simon courtesy of RollingStone.com]

Just in time for his Neil Diamond-like reappraisal by a generation of hipsters, an interview with Los Lobos' Steve Berlin has resurfaced, in which the saxophonist accuses Paul Simon of outright theft–-and more-–during the sessions they collaborated on for Simon's landmark Graceland album.

"I have plenty of recollections of working on that one [Graceland]. I don't know if you heard the stories, but it was not a pleasant deal for us. I mean he [Simon] quite literally–-and in no way do I exaggerate when I say–-he stole the songs from us...The guy was clueless...He's the world's biggest prick, basically."

"It was ridiculous. [On the second day together with Simon in the studio] I think David starts playing 'The Myth of the Fingerprints,' or whatever he ended up calling it. That was one of our songs. That year, that was a song we started working on By Light of the Moon. So that was like an existing Lobos sketch of an idea that we had already started doing. I don't think there were any recordings of it, but we had messed around with it. We knew we were gonna do it. It was gonna turn into a song. Paul goes, 'Hey, what's that?' We start playing what we have of it, and it is exactly what you hear on the record. So we're like, 'Oh, ok. We'll share this song.' A few months later, the record comes out and says 'Words and Music by Paul Simon.' We were like, 'What the fuck is this?'

We tried calling him, and we can't find him. Weeks go by and our managers can't find him. We finally track him down and ask him about our song, and he goes, 'Sue me. See what happens.'

Classy. (We've also heard first-person accounts about Simon's less than pleasant undertakings in the past.) If the above is true, they should've sued Simon, just on principle alone. Here's the entire interview.

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