Elliott Sharp is an avant-garde guitarist and composer who has released an average of an album per year since 1977.
Where did you go to high school?
White Plains High School, White Plains New York.
Did you like high school?
High school sucked. Classes were boring and stupid as were most of the teachers and students. I was often battling administration types because I was involved in an underground newspaper - very political stuff - anti-war, free speech, this was 1968-69. There was one exception, a great physics teacher - good anti-authoritarian attitude, non-condescending.
What were the people like?
It was a big public high school, 2500 kids. Jockish activities were of course really big.
Did you "fit in"? Were you "popular"?
My buddies and I were the outcast intellectual hippie fuck-ups. Long hair was quite an oddity in suburbia at the time so we were constantly fighting for our right to look the way we wanted. We reveled in our anti-social status and hung out with other like-minded people in the woods, in parking lots, at the edge of golf-courses, in construction sites, even "coffee-houses" set up by religious organizations always altering consciousness in various ways.
Did you ever flunk a class?
No, it was easy enough to do whatever work was necessary once you figured out the scheme of things.
Did you enjoy P.E.?
It was the worst! PE teachers tended to be the most stupid and totalitarian, especially for long-hairs and blacks. I nearly didn't graduate because of detentions earned for not having white socks a few times.
What did you do to keep yourself amused in class?
Doodles, amphetamine-fueled cryptic densities, secret reading, morse-code communication, sex and drug and rock and roll fantasies, occasional pranks. I hid a subliminal-level audio oscillator in a heating duct that drove everyone crazy after about ten minutes. I nearly got suspended.
Were you ever suspended or expelled? If so, what happened?
I moved for cloture in a very very boring social studies class. I was suspended but then reinstated a few days later. I was also banned from distributing our underground newspaper.
Has your permanent record followed you? How?
Has high school influenced what you're doing now?
Only in that one realizes that the world is run by the same shitheads that ran things in high-school, you know the archetypes, and that one must confound, confuse and subvert these people in any way possible.
Do you have a message for "the kids" in high school?
Don't believe anything you are told. Demand empirical evidence and respect for the laws of nature.