1979 - August: "Blues & Soul" Magazine Interview PDF Print E-mail


On the symbolism of the Peacock to his music and the Jacksons’ "Destiny" album:

"It’s a symbol of what we are trying to say through our music and it is summoned up by the fact that the peacock is the only bird that integrates all of the colors into one. It can only produce this radiance of fire when it is in love. And that is what we are trying to represent through our music. To bring all races together through love. Politics can’t save the world, so the music people should at least try. People are brought together through music. With our music, we try to get across the feeling of love, and, so, we relate it through the peacock."

"[…] The response around the world has been incredible. A lot of people didn’t see it on the back cover of 'Destiny'. […] Some get the message, some don’t. But once they do get it, everyone thinks it’s beautiful. The significance is important to me and is one of the main reasons why I do what I do. If I couldn’t bring that happiness to people all over the world through my music, I wouldn’t do it. I could never just make records for people to buy and just get rich from. That’s no good for me. There has to be more than that. I only wish more people would think that way."

On the influential message of folk music:

"[…] I love folk music myself; because it tells of the problems people really face. Folk songs can lift people’s spirits and they often have such a great message. Like the peacock thing is with us, really. The message makes people feel like real people and that they should stand up for their rights and not give up."

"That’s why I love Paul Robeson so, because his folk songs all said something. Songs like "This Little Light Of Mine". […] I only wish more people had been educated by him."

On children:

"I’ve always been totally crazy about children. I feel that they are more than just children; that they are all little geniuses and that they have a secret all of their own. A secret that they cannot always express. […] I studied child psychology because of my love for children – all over the world. […] If a kid doesn’t like you, he’ll tell you. But adults pretend and put on phoney ways. I wish the world could be full of children!"

On tolerance towards other nations and cultures:

"People become addicted to the world and the violence. And they become subjected to other people’s thoughts and to the American system. Our way is not the only way."

"[…] That’s what I like so much about travelling. You can see the systems that other countries adopt […]. We say we’re right, they say they’re right. […] You realize that there are other cultures than your own and it makes you feel small and insignificant. Like in India, I was amazed to fiind out a thirty year old man could marry a ten year old girl. We weren’t raised that way, so we look at it weirdly. But there, it’s been happening for centuries. […] And there, they treat the cow as a sacred animal. It’s like a God. They can all be starving to death, and, still, the cow sits there and the people won’t touch it."

On religion and politics:

"No, I don’t (prefer to talk about these topics in interviews), because people are too quick to listen and it’s a tremendous responsibility to have so much power. Whatever we say in our music, the kids will listen. More than to the news or newspapers. We can educate them through our music. For example, Marvin gaye educated so many people with his "What’s Going On" album. He opened so many minds by just asking "What’s going on?" It was great. […]"