Stolle's Quote Collection

Some are funny, some are serious. Some are life lessons, some are (frankly) bad advice. But all have something to say...

 

“How much history can be communicated by pressure on a guitar string?” - author Robert Palmer (Deep Blues)


“Some of it wasn't even in tune, but it was, like BETTER than in tune." - bluesman Lightnin’ Malcolm.

"There are so many possibilities in music. It's an open sky." - Sonny Rollins

"If you learn how to be patient, it's a whole new world." - jazzman David S. Ware

"Don't trust a brilliant idea unless it survives the hangover." - journalist Jimmy Breslin


"It's not technique. It's what you have to say." - guitar namesake Les Paul

 

"A bad solo, no matter how well played, is still a bad solo." - music critic Leroi Jones
 

"If things were simple, word would have gotten around." - philosopher Jacques Derrida


“Everyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” - Charles
Mingus

"It's not the notes you play, it's the notes you don't play." - Miles Davis

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows." - Ernest Hemingway

"A writer is a Columbus of the near at hand." - Salman Rushdie

"To write is to sell a ticket to escape, not from the truth but into it." - novelist Alexander Chee

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." - Ernest Hemingway

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

"A question ain't really a question — if you know the answer, too." - folksinger John Prine

"Coltrane had a sax. Dale Earnhardt drives a race car. Everybody has their tools." - Talib Kweli

“Music is my life.” - street musician Foster “Mr. Tater” Wiley


"Cabbage heads will grow larger if they are among music. A cow will give more milk if she hears music. Music, I believe, has something to do with even living." - Mr. Timothy Gates, Clarksdale's piano man


"That was a beautiful record I dropped on you for your listening pleasure" - Clarksdale DJ Early Wright


"Unless you are [blues], the answer is yes. I can live without you." - actor Bill Murray (Ok, he actually said "a pizza"…)


“Money ain’t everything. [Dramatic pause.] But it’s a damn good thing to have!” - bluesman Honeyboy Edwards


“Now looka here... I did not say I was a millionaire... But I said I have SPENT more money than a millionaire!” - bluesman Howlin’ Wolf


“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” - author Dorothy Parker


"I was born with nothing, and I still have most of it." - folk artist LV Hull


"Gentlemen, now that the money has run out, we must start to think." - Jacky Fisher, British Royal Navy


"Money is the best lotion in the world." - Chris Rock on 60-yr-old Jerry Seinfeld's youthful looks


“Somebody’s gonna win, and somebody’s gonna lose.” - juke joint owner Red Paden


"It was like being on a 5 dollar bill, shaking hands with Lincoln." - Louis CK on meeting an influential hero


"I told them to be fruitful and multiply, but not in those words." - comedian Woody Allen


“Nobody loves me but my mother. And she could be jiving, too.” - bluesman B.B. King


“You can’t make all the money all the time. Somebody else needs to make the money sometimes.” - blues kitchen owner Miss Sarah Moore


"It's the guy who sells the guitars that makes the money. Not the guy in the band." - comedian Joel Hodgson


"People really feel like music is free but will pay $6 for water." - Jay Z


“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.” - author Hunter S. Thompson

"Going into the blues business because you love music is like going into the cattle business because you like steak." - paraphrasing a paraphrase from "The House that Trane Built"


“Always have bail money.” - 50 Cent

"You can't arrest me. I pay rent here." - R.L. Burnside


“I’m bad. Like Jesse James.” - John Lee Hooker


"To argue with a person who has renounced reason is like administering medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine


"Me thinks the whole world is crazy except me and thee; and sometimes I wonder about thee." - Quaker saying via Delta Bohemian


"They laugh because I'm different. I laugh because they're all the same." - Anonymous

"What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver (The Summer Day)


"My dear friend, clear your mind of can't." - Samuel Johnson


"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

"If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." - General George S. Patton

"Our heads are round, so our thoughts can change direction." - artist Francis Picabia
 

"The bulb was already there. All I did was screw it in the socket." - Big Mac creator Jim Delligatti

"The difference between composition and improvisation is that in composition you have all the time you want to decide what to say in fifteen seconds — while in improvisation, you have fifteen seconds." - saxman Steve Lacy


"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." - Oscar Wilde


“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus, The Stranger

"Everyone tries to get as close to happiness as they can." - free jazz pioneer Peter Brotzmann

"Blues wasn't the description of the s***, but rather the attempt to get out of the s***." - Peter Brotzmann


Confronted with: "Mr. Lincoln, you are two-faced!" The president replied, "If I really had two faces, would I be wearing this one now?" - Abraham Lincoln


“There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at — with no result.” - Winston Churchill


"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full." - Henry A. Kissinger

"Behind every failure, there is an opportunity someone wishes they missed." - Lily Tomlin

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

"When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity." - John F. Kennedy


"The problem with making it look easy is that people think it's easy!" - producer Lorne Michaels


"Everything is a marketing problem." - Anonymous


"More is lost through indecision than wrong decision" - The Sopranos

"Reality outran apprehension.” - Herman Melville, Moby Dick


Q: "Do you ever consider how lucky [you are] to do what you enjoy? That's insane, right?” A: "No. You had a job. You left. Nobody else left." - from Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee


"I refuse to stop what I'm doing. I get more flak now, so I just ignore more people." - Ricky Gervais

"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." - poet Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

"The whole idea of the Bill of Rights and jazz is freedom of expression that nobody, not even the government, can squelch." - jazz writer Nat Hentoff

"The answer to attacks on journalism is always more journalism." - journalist Josh Marshall

"A total eclipse reminds you of your insignificance. Frankly, I think we all could use that." - 2017 total eclipse watcher


"Only a very few people feel that what they do is because they must do it — not knowing the reason why, other than some inner force is driving them." - musician Don Cherry (on Albert Ayler)


"If anything's possible, where do you begin?" - Jazz composer Maria Schneider


"To hell with circumstances... I create opportunities." - Bruce Lee


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"A man who works hard stinks only to the ones that have nothing to do but smell." - Laura Ingalls Wilder

"If not us, then who? If not now, then when?" - civil rights icon John Lewis


"The Spartans do not ask ‘how many are the enemy’ but ‘where are they?’" - Plutarch, Greek historian


"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time." - composer Leonard Bernstein


"If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough." - race car driver Mario Andretti


“Fast is fine, but accuracy is final. You must learn to be slow in a hurry.” - Wyatt Earp


"Never mistake motion for action" - Ernest Hemingway


"If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem" - Anonymous


“I’m trying to find the nailhead, not just strike the blow.” - Marilyn Monroe


"The game is for life. Whatever you do in this world in this lifetime is going to follow you. You can't get away from your trail." - juke joint owner Red Paden

"I love this place, it's just like home — filthy and full of strangers." - Ronnie Scott on his jazz club.

"I drink to make other people more interesting." - Ernest Hemingway


“I’d rather come to your funeral any day... then for you to come to mine.” - Freddie King (Leon Russell/Don Nix)


"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely... but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke... loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a ride!'" - Hunter S. Thompson


"Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health." - The Dalai Lama (via bluesman Charlie Musselwhite).


"The death rate in America is still 100%." - NPR


"The corporate environment. It's such a typically human attempt to organize what is unorganizable." - Jerry Seinfeld


"When the uncreative tell the creative what to do, it stops being art." - Tony Benett


"Show business is not about the shows. The shows are just there to justify the meetings." - Jerry Seinfeld

 

"The man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time." - Henry Ford


"Innovation is everyone's full-time job. Be the dog, not the tail!" - pointy-haired Dilbert boss


“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“With great power, there must also come great responsibility." - Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee (paraphrasing Voltaire)


“We're gonna need a bigger boat.” - Roy Scheider (Jaws)


"You don't want to be the guy who owns the boat. You want to be the friend of the guy who owns the boat" (works for pickups, too) - comedian Bill Burr


“Please don’t use Comic Sans — we are a Fortune 500 Company, not a Lemonade Stand.” - Anonymous (via Facebook)


“I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.” - Anonymous NYC sign


“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” - E.B. White


"The function of man is to live, not to exist." - author Jack London

"The use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it." - philosopher William James


“Life is what you make of it. You want to make it good; you can make it good. You want to make it bad; you can make it bad.” - bluesman L.C. Ulmer


"Life does not come with inherent meaning. You have to find your meaning." - Terry Gross (NPR)


“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” - author Annie Dillard


“If life is anything, it’s embarrassing.” - songwriter Todd Snider


“Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another.” - W.C. Fields


“Why limit 'happy' to an hour?” - W.C. Fields


“You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline.” - musician Frank Zappa

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” - novelist Ernest Hemingway

"Drinking and gambling, staying out all night. Just living in a fool's paradise." - Mississippi blues-jazzman Mose Allison


"I've been living the last 20 years like I was on shore leave." - Roger Sterling character (Mad Men)


“If I don’t go crazy, I will surely lose my mind.” - bluesman Eddie “Son” House


"I don't know karate, but i know ka-razy!" - James Brown ("The Payback")


“I feel stupid and contagious.” - musician Kurt Cobain


“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” - Albert Einstein


“I have no idea what I am doing but incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm.” - director Woody Allen


"It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something." - Ornette Coleman


“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” - Benjamin Franklin


"If you're the smartest person in the room, find another room." - Michael Dell


“The best way to learn a language is to sleep with someone from that country.” - humorist David Sedaris


"I start in the middle of a sentence and move both directions at once." - sax-god John Coltrane


"A man's reach should exceed his grasp." - Dustin Hoffman


“Find your comfort zone. And then leave it.” - heard on NPR


"Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt


Sherif: “Have you no fear?” Lawrence: “MY fear is MY concern.” - Lawrence of Arabia

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso


"When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." - Sherlock Holmes


"Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan." - John F. Kennedy


"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you." - Kurt Cobain


“Get busy living, or get busy dying." - actor Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption)


"You know I like [Lawyer] Clark, yes, you know he is my friend / He say if I just stay out the grave, he see that I won't go to the pen." - Sleepy John Estes


“It’s not that life’s so short. It’s that you’re dead so long.” - Anonymous


“Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” - Albert King/Don Nix


“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” - Mark Twain


“I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties, there isn’t any privacy.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


“I'll just walk the earth… meet people... get into adventures. Like Caine from ‘Kung Fu.’” - Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction)


“To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” - William Faulkner


"Those who do not move, do not notice their chains." - Rosa Luxemburg


“You should just move here.” - sound advice from Clarksdale businessman, cheerleader and friend Bubba O’Keefe

Mr. Braddock: "Ben, this whole idea sounds pretty half-baked." Benjamin: "Oh, it's not. It's completely baked." - The Graduate


"It has to be exquisite, to be good. Anything less, and you can skip it." - actor Christoph Waltz


"Clarksdale is going to go through a significant revival in the coming years.. mark my words." – Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren (2006)

"Basking in the moonshine of a muggy, Mississippi night, my life was forever altered." - Cat Head owner Roger Stolle

"Pioneers Take the Arrows, Settlers Take the Land." - various sources

"A year ago, I was meeting with the CEO of May Company and traveling to Hong Kong on business. Last week, I booked a blues musician named 'T-Model Ford' and set up a store display that includes a chair made out of painted cow bones. You tell me which sounds like more fun." - Roger Stolle (Press Register, 2002)

To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway: “If you are lucky enough to live in present-day [Clarksdale, Mississippi], then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it will stay with you, for [Clarksdale] is a moveable feast.”

“His music changed my life, and whether you know it or not, and like it or not, it probably changed yours, too.” - Eric Clapton on Muddy Waters

“Well I’m goin’ away to leave / Won’t be back no more / Goin’ back down south, child / Don’t you want to go?” - bluesman Muddy Waters

“I got to keep movin’... blues falling down like hail.” - Robert Johnson

“Say what you will about the South, but no one retires and moves up North.” - Anonymous

“I’m from the United States of Mississippi!!!” - 90-something bluesman James “T-Model” Ford

“My home is in the Delta...” - bluesman Muddy Waters

“I’m an old familiar tune / that you used to hum / Set your watch back, baby / when you see me come.” - musician John Paul Keith

“[In the South,] the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” - William Faulkner

“Mistakes Were Made: Five Years of Raw Blues, Damaged Livers & Questionable Business Decisions” - appropriate title of Broke & Hungry Records retrospective 2-CD set

"If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." - baseball great Mickey Mantle

"Your liver pays dearly now for youthful magic moments / But rock on completely with some brand new components." - Cake ("Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle")

 

"Baby, you ain't no Frigidaire. You can't keep nothin'. Tell everything you hear." - bluesman Buddy Guy


"It takes two years to learn to speak — and sixty to learn to keep quiet" - Ernest Hemingway


"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - often attributed to Lincoln or Twain

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain

"The aim of argument should not be victory, but progress." - philosopher Karl Popper

"Excess ain't rebellion. You're just buyin' what they're sellin'." - rockers CAKE


"I wouldn't want to fit in. Who fits in and then goes on to do something great?" - young author Nicolaia Rips

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” - Henry David Thoreau


“Dance as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on earth.” - baseball great Satchel Paige

“Trying to be popular in high school is like trying to be mayor in a city that won’t exist in four years” - Artist J. Holzer

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.” - Anonymous (suggested by Cat Head’s dog Sadie)

“Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time, and it annoys the pig.” - George Bernard Shaw

“Even failure is worthwhile and admirable, provided only that the failure is splendid enough.” - William Faulkner

"'How did you go bankrupt?' 'Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.'"  - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises


“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” - Michael Crichton

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main... therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” - philosopher John Donne

 

“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” - Kenyan proverb

“I, too, am an American.” - Langston Hughes

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” - C.S. Lewis

“When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” - African proverb

"Dear Abby, Do you think about dying much?” "No. It's the last thing I want to do." - Dear Abby a.k.a. Pauline Phillips

 

“Trains don't run forever / Fire goes out some time / Gotta tell you, baby / We've come to the end of the line.” - late songwriter J.J. Cale

 

"By the time you get close to the answers, it's nearly all over." - Merle Haggard

 

“I am learning how to play and how to write, and that is superior to the pretense of knowing.” - musician Jack Wright

"Fast mouth. Slow gun." - anonymous gunslinger's epitaph

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

"Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do." - Jean-Paul Sartre


"The answer to this problem, when found, will be simple." -  Albert Einstein (re: grand unified theory)

"Please do not understand me too quickly" - French author André Gide

“…and that’s for DAMN SURE!” - late, great Delta bluesman James “T-Model” Ford

From the writers of Mad Men (TV show based on Madison Avenue ad men of 1960s):
• "If you don't like what is being said, then change the conversation."
• "I want to make it clear that unless this works, I'm against it."
• "I told him to be himself. That was pretty mean I guess."
• "One never knows how loyalty is born."
• "What you call 'love' was invented by guys like me. To sell Nylons."
• "This is America. Pick a job, and then become the person that does it."
• "It’s your life. You don’t know how long it’s going to last. But you know it doesn’t end well."
• "I'd tell you to go to hell, but I never want to see you again."
• "I'm not a solution to your problem. I'm another problem."


 

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