String-busting guitarist of unstoppable Dutch punk dazzlers, who'll offer visiting jazz fans a crash course in creative improvisation at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Saturday (June 23). $12. 416-870-8000.
What record changed your life?
It was an album of modern Ethiopian music by Mahmoud Ahmed called Ere Mela Mela that sounded new and mysterious yet strangely familiar. That record opened up a whole new chapter of music for me.
The Ex recently recorded an amazing album, Moa Anbessa (Terp), with Ethiopian saxophone scorcher Getatchew Mekuria. Who would you like to work with next?
We don't go out looking for people; our collaborations happen more intuitively. Like when I saw this Dutch rock singer Anouk, she had such a powerful voice, but her band was shit. I thought she could do something great with the Ex. It's usually someone unexpected.
What was your strangest experience on stage?
Many strange things have happened. Back in 1982, we did a show in Groningen where for some reason the people working at the club decided to knock us off stage in the middle of our set! But we played like hell and they couldn't stop us. So they went outside and slashed our car tires.
Having now outlasted most of your late-70s punk contemporaries, to what do you attribute your longevity?
We keep pushing the limits. We've never been stuck in one scene or style. It's very inspiring to collaborate with great improvisers, whether it's Getatchew, a modern dance troupe or actors in a play like A Clockwork Orange. With new people come new ideas and new possibilities.
If you'd never got involved in playing music, how would you be making a living today?
I'm 52 now and I've never worked for a boss thus far. I'd like to keep it that way.