Os Mutantes Info
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Sérgio Dias Interview — Popwatch

1. It seems that several of the founding Tropicalistas were Bahian. I’m not clear on the early background of you folks, but I do not believe you to be from Bahia. Can you please tell me about your early influences or experiences that impacted the future Mutantes?

The so-called recipe was the fact that we Mutantes where born in São Paulo — very urbane and cosmopolitan. Both our parents where extremely creative — my mom is the first woman in the world to write and orchestrate a concerto for Piano and Orchestra. I grew up in the Municipal theater watching her receive standing ovations and having to come back 11 times to stage. My Dad was a great writer. He also helped in some of the “heaviest” lyrics of the Mutantes. Most of the onomatopaican work came from him, also he was an great opera singer you can hear him in some “backward tapes” in some of our albums. We where very technologically oriented, for my oldest brother Claudio is a real genius in electronics and the builder of most of our gismos. We had a great exposure to the world culture via friends of my family, NASA, any kind of research that we could hear about we had to know it.

2. Please tell me about television’s effect on the MPB. How did television impact the Mutantes and vice versa?

I believe we’re part of the historical growth of Brasilian TV. We did more for them that they did for us — let’s say we helped each other out, we had the image they had the means. Regarding the MPB I believe the “festivals” at the time did the big push for the entire revolution in the social — music era of the ’60s.

The Beatles are an obvious influence on Mutantes, Jimi Hendrix as well, but the Mutantes took these influences and turned them into something altogether different. What musical, literary and artistic influences were visited and revisited by your group?

Everything ! You can hear Verdi’s Aida mixed with Ben Hur on the intro for “Don Quixote.” We’ve heard it all and we’ve used it all... there’s Sly and the Family Stone, The Ventures, Shadows, the great Duane Eddy, Back, Rita Pavone, Suzy Quatro, boy... everything...

3. Sex, magic and drugs were a powerful combination of influences on your group. Do you think they helped you develop who you were musically (and personally) or would that have happened anyway?

I believe the most happy time was when all this complication of Sex and Drugs were out of the way then we had only Magic...

4. Your lifestyle made you seemingly dangerous to your government. A few Tropicalistas were hunted down and temporarily removed from Brazil because of the perceived threat of revolution. Did the government hunt you down for being a rock musician?

Yes, we had to hide and had several threats. I believe our image of being clean and young helped us to get away with it but I know we were a stone in their shoes...

5. What is the single most subversive act perpetrated by the Mutantes?

I don’t know how can you understand the crazyness of a tourturer? Or how can we predict what would offend them the most? We never changed our lirics if censured we mutilated them putting noises over it like “Cabeludo Patriota” where we sing my hair is of yellow and green and my beard blue anil (which refears to the flag) and we mutilated this one.

6. Did the AI5 effectively wipe out the Tropicalista intellectual movement?

Yes, they did succeded on destroying an entire maybe two generations regarding the intellectual and will of power to do and create art and politics, Brazil is now a pitiful resamblance of what once it was. I see the young generation very conformed and too busy avoiding bullets shot from the drug dealers or the police, or just trying to find a way out of the economical desaster of a grim future... The level of corruption in the country is very high, something like the same process when you guys had the coup of ’63, killing Kennedy and growing the arms mafia and corrupting the ideals of Thomas Jefferson and all the others who helped to create the great idea of the United States.

7. How would you like Tropicalia to be remembered?

Revolution, expontanious wild fire of youth, raw sexuality and freedom, and after all a huge amount of love and idealism.

8. Where did you go next after the Mutantes? What are you doing now?

The same. I’m writing music, getting off with my Mustang kicking ass on my tires faster than 65 miles, Putting out CDs on the world, touring, playing, raising my daughter, being entangled in sexual magical day-to-day life with my wife, putting out more CDs... dreamming, studying a lot... laughing at it all... like John’s Joker... Serious now, I moved to the US, toured America top to bottom from Ames Iowa to Paris Texas, with several other musicians such as Airto and Flora, Jeremy Steig, Eumir Deodato, TM Stevens, recorded a lot with all of them had a chat with Ted Kennedy, was a lot in NASA Houston, visited the house where the english surrender... Boy I know the US a lot...

I did put out CDs: Mind Over Matter in the UK and Europe (Expression Records) to be released next month in the US by Mancub Records, also Mato Grosso, a colaboration with Phill Manzanera, (Black Sun Records USA) Song of the Leopard the last release worldwide (Black Sun USA) recorded in South Africa and Brasil and now a brand new one Estão da Luz to be yet released... Whoever want more info, check it on the web at www.sergiodias.com.br, the english version will be on the “air” in a week.

Check out:

Rita Lee interview
another Sérgio Baptista interview

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