.

Robbie Robertson Brings Art and Music Together in Collector's Edition of New Album

'Hopefully it's an inspiration for other music people,' he says

September 20, 2011 12:00 PM ET
robbie robertson collector's set
Robbie Robertson at the release of his 'How to Become Clairvoyant' collector's set.
Dario Cantatore

The Band's Robbie Robertson has toured, recorded, composed soundtracks, written dozens of classics, and worked with everyone from Bob Dylan to Neil Diamond. But on September 19th, he ventured into a new arena – an art gallery.

Robertson recently issued a special limited-edition collector's set of his new album, How to Become Clairvoyant – a lavish LP-size box that includes an art book, an individually numbered set of five lithographs (including pieces by artist Richard Prince and photographer Anton Corbijn), a set of original tarot cards and the original album plus 10 bonus tracks. Surrounded by some of the original artwork – including Prince's variations on a photo of a 17-year-old Robertson – Robertson signed copies of the box at a one-night event at New York's Gagosian Gallery.

"When you look at that period when Warhol and the Velvets and the Stones were doing things, it was this intersection of art and music," he told Rolling Stone. "And then it went away. It was time for this to rise to the surface again. Hopefully it's an inspiration for other music people to go there." At least one fellow musician agreed: two days before, Trent Reznor (who contributed to Robertson's album) tweeted, "As a fan of nicely made 'deluxe' packages, my pal Robbie Robertson raises the bar significantly." 

For Robertson, connecting music with artwork is a longtime tradition. "I asked Bob Dylan to paint the album cover for Music from Big Pink," he recalled. "He said, 'Yeah, let me see what I can come up with.' He went and painted that and I said, 'Yeah, that's pretty good – we'll use that!' Somebody just told me they're asking $18 million for it."

In addition to releasing the collector's set, Robertson is juggling a slew of new projects. He's already begun writing new material (including new collaborations with producer Howie B.) and is in the early stages of composing music for an upcoming Martin Scorsese film set in 16th-century Japan. He's also begun work on his autobiography, to be published by Crown. "It's a huge undertaking," he says, "especially since I'm not doing it with anybody. But I'm enjoying the storytelling process." Right now, Robertson said he's not sure when the book will be finished. "My deadline is when I figure out what I'm doing," he joked. 

Related
Video: Robbie Robertson Talks About the Evolution of His Guitar Style
The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time: Robbie Robertson

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com