MC: These songs have multiple stories depending on whose doing the telling.
GM: Sure, and there is nothing definitive in anything that I wrote. Obviously if anybody else were to take up the ridiculous conceit of this book they would do it with different songs, but if anybody were to take up the same songs they would tell different stories, they would hear different stories, they would find different stories. These songs are invitations. There is nothing definitive about them. The fact that David Cronenberg used the Five Satins’ “In the Still of the Night” for a scene in Dead Ringers doesn’t say anything definitive about that song. It’s a testament to the suggestiveness of the song, the way it can add to and take away from things, the way it can dramatize what people want, what they can never have, and what they’ve lost.
MC: There are many references to movies in this book. There’s a section at the end of the chapter on “Money (That’s What I Want),” where you reference the final scene of Killing Them Softly, in which Brad Pitt says, “This is America, America is a business, so fucking pay me.” And then that song starts playing.
GM: That’s the end of the movie. The screen goes black and “Money” comes on with that tremendous piano riff that kicks it off, “The best things in life are free / But you can keep them for the birds and bees / Give me money.” The hammer just comes down and hits the nail and pounds it all the way into the wood with one single stroke.
-Matthew Choate interviews Greil Marcus in BOMB Magazine (11/26/14)