Creator of Astrology Songs, Harvey Sid Fisher is nothing short of intriguing // inspiring. Left Bank’s Alex Norelli caught a glimpse into his work and who he is as an artist // person, and it is without a doubt that this interview will provide inspiration for you and your own art. Catch the interview below x.
The creative process has little to do with writing. It is more like finding money or little treasures on the street and you quickly snatch it up before the wind blows it away.
Words by Alex Norelli
Alex: How did you get into music?
Harvey: I am not sure that I am into music. I never had a record collection. I mostly listen to talk radio. Very little music. In all my years I remember buying only one album. It was a vinyl of folk songs as a gift for a friend.
In a conventional sense, as I have written about a hundred songs with unfinished notes for thousands, and for common convenience, I will call myself a songwriter but it’s a misnomer. The creative process has little to do with writing. It is more like finding money or little treasures on the street and you quickly snatch it up before the wind blows it away. Song ‘snatcher’ seems a better way to describe how my musical creations manifest. I snatch or receive the ideas and elements that make a song. They pour from somewhere in the ether outside myself where the true mind broadcasts and I am the clever humanoid radio receiver picking up the messages at those propitious times when I am reasonably alert to the trickling signals of the cosmos. The rest of the time I am just automatonically walking in my sleep.
Prolificity, a huge body of work, comes with intention, desire and passion. I am a slow writer because the world is not really waiting for my next song so there is no rush. I could spend months on a song but if someone offered me a dollar fifty I could probably have it on their desk by morning.
Alex: What kind of research did you do about each symbol before writing the songs? Did you think of specific people you know who were born in those months and write about them? Or are they all an amalgam of many people born in those months?
Harvey: I knew nothing about astrology when I started ASTROLOGY SONGS and I don’t know that much more now. I doggedly asked a lot of people a lot of questions and compiled voluminous notes from them on the basic sun sign information plus what I could cull from my personal insights and added my own touches of artistic license to smooth out the rough spots. I secretly wrote all twelve songs and copyrighted them before I came out of my zodiac closet to present it to the world. I tried to raise money to record an album but nobody came forth until I was cast in a tv commercial for Lincoln which paid for everything. The universe seems to conspire to assist a passionate idea. I was not sure what I had with my finished album product so I contacted an astrologer’s organization that was going to have a convention in Vegas and asked if I could perform my ASTROLOGY SONGS for them. They said yes, and I did; they applauded and bought cassettes. I had passed through the fire of a most significant trial.
I thought an album of ASTROLOGY SONGS was a great idea and that I would make a billion dollars from this project. Astrology is the world’s largest religion. How could it fail? No one that I know has ever done an album like this before. Maybe ambient music with narration but not a song for each sign. My original name for the album was SONG SIGNS which I changed to ASTROLOGY SONGS. A simple marketeering ploy. Unfortunately I started out with nothing and I have a lot of it left.
I never made a living out of it but it did get me over a million views on Youtube, a gallon or two of digital publicity ink, a bit of a cult following, some touring of the country, and a lot of fun. All my fans are my friends.
Alex: Have you ever tried to makes songs of others series? Say the day of the week(granted there are a lot of those already.
Harvey: As mentioned, I did an album of duets with couples fighting called BATTLE OF THE SEXES, and an album of GOLF SONGS & GOLF JOKES.
For a while I was toying with the idea of an album of songs written in the form of dime novels where ‘his manhood was aching as her dress slid down and puddled at her feet’, but it was an artistic seizure that dissipated out of reach and interest. I have had people suggest I should do an album of Chinese Astrology songs. I tell them, ‘No thanks, I’m done with that genre. You do it’.
Alex: Who are some of the people who have creatively influenced you? Have you had any mentors or people you’ve idolized along the way?
Harvey: My heroes are the songs. All the great songs that moved me were written by great songwriters who also wrote much that was meaningless. But them few gems are unforgettable. Trying to credit every mentor is incalculable. We as human beings never truly know how we serve; or fully appreciate how we have been served, helped, molded, swayed and inspired.
I may have had millions of mentors. Who knows? I am definitely the product of all and everything I have encountered with a little bit of me thrown in (whoever me is).
How I got into songwriting: I was still hairstyling when I met a songwriter and played poker at his house. I looked at him across the table one night and said to myself, I could do that. I can write songs. I’ve moved on less. As a hairstylist cum song-snatcher, I wrote about what I knew. My first song was called, ‘Bouffant Baby’.
Alex: What are your thoughts on age and art? I have friends who complain they are reaching 25, or 30. There are some people who say you are only as young as you feel. What have you learned about age and doing what you love? Some people say its never too late to do what you love.
Harvey: I know I am getting old. The post office told me my ‘forever stamps’ had expired. To my surprise I heard a doctor say that lifestyle trumps genetics and vegetarians live longer and have less medical problems than animal eaters. There are a lot of real old people out there with spunk, smarts and creativity and I am sure you know a few.
I have been macrobiotic since 1980 (with an occasional candy bar or other no-no). I am 73 and I take no medications for any chronic medical or mental problems. Many of my aging contemporaries smoke cigarettes and eat junk food. If I die before them I am going to be awfully embarrassed. You know when you are not feeling well but how can you tell when you are healthy? In Macrobiotics it is believed that the sign of perfect health is when you don’t need toilet paper.
Alex: If you could play a show anywhere in the universe where would you play?
Harvey: It’s not where I gig that matters, it’s to who(m). There is nothing better than playing to a quiet audience that is listening, enjoying, and communing with my lyrics. That’s the best of all universes. When I play a gig my first stop is to the sound booth where they control the volume and after introducing myself to the sound man, I say, “Please, let the audience hear my words.”
I am not a great singer or a great guitar player but I am the only one who knows all the words to my songs. If the audience cannot hear all my lyrics then there is no need for me to be there.
I have been to shows where there was one singer with a guitar onstage and you cannot hear the words he is singing because the sound man thinks the guitar chords are more important.
One noisy sound man can ruin your career faster than twenty bad lawyers.
Alex: What’s your zodiac sign? And did you feel it was more difficult or more easy to write that one because of the insights you have into yourself?
Harvey: I am an ontologically whimsical Sagittarian: hee hee hee hee.
All signs are good. I was totally unbiased with sagittarius.
Here is the first verse. You be the judge:
“You live and let live and you go your own way
Don’t like to be told what to do
You’ll crusade for a cause
and defend underdogs
You are almost too good to be true.
You’re a sag…”
Get a load of this- all 12 Astrology Songs Samples – in one video clip: