No iPod, Radio or Humming on 'No Music Day' For some, it may seem impossible to go a full 24 hours without any music. But that's the dream of Bill Drummond, former musician, artist and founder of "No Music Day."
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No iPod, Radio or Humming on 'No Music Day'

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No iPod, Radio or Humming on 'No Music Day'

No iPod, Radio or Humming on 'No Music Day'

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

And I'm Melissa Block.

With this challenge, could you go for 24 hours with no music? In London, the iconoclastic musician, writer and artist Bill Drummond has declared tomorrow No Music Day. Here's what he calls his statement of intent.

BILL DRUMMOND: On No Music Day, no hymns will be sung, no records will be played on the radio. iPods will be left at home. Rock bands will not rock.

BLOCK: This will be the third year that Bill Drummond, of the early '90s band the KLF, has declared a musical fast.

DRUMMOND: Plectrums will not pluck. Record shops will be closed all day.

BLOCK: And he's got followers. The BBC's Radio Scotland is among those pledging to go music free tomorrow. Bill Drummond says each of us may have our own reason to turn the music off for a day.

DRUMMOND: My reason for wanting to have a no music day is to give me a space once a year for me to address my relationship with music and hopefully will be invigorated.

BLOCK: And why does it need reinvigorating?

DRUMMOND: Four or five years ago, I found I was becoming somewhat jaded in, and my favorite piece of music, I have on the iPod or MP3 player. I just wouldn't have the effect I wanted to have. It just - I've (unintelligible) because it's also accessible, but I just felt, well, maybe I should take a break. And initially, I tried to imagine not hearing music for a year. Now, I knew that was an impossibility. I actually tried a week and I didn't get pass day two because, you know, you can't help but hear music. So I decided, okay, I'll do one day, but I'll do one day each year.

BLOCK: And you've picked the 21st of November for a particular reason.

DRUMMOND: I did. I remember learning once when I was - I don't know - about 11 or 12 at school that St. Cecilia was the patron saint of music. So I looked up in Google what her saint's day was, and it's the 22nd of November. So I like the idea that I'd have, if I'm going to have no music day, I'd have it in the day before St. Cecilia's day, so have a bit of a fast before we celebrate music.

BLOCK: Aha. Now, the ending, though, is that it shouldn't be just you observing this fast of music. You want other people to join in. It's a community activity here.

DRUMMOND: Yes. But initially, it was just me. But I felt, well, hey, I'll throw this in the open. I put up a Web site. But I didn't do any promotion. I didn't work it or forced it on anybody else. I know that what I read at the beginning of this piece, it sounds like I'm coming over as Mr. Dictator, and I enjoyed writing it in that way. I liked the idea. That was, you know, my idea would be. There was no music at all anywhere on Earth for 24 hours. But it's an idea as a dream, not as an idea as me that's going to go out there and try to make it happen.

BLOCK: When you've observed this musical fast, the next day what's that like when music comes back into your life?

DRUMMOND: It's fantastic. The first year - I don't know what I'm going to say about me, but I put on "Green River" by Creedence Clearwater Revival...

BLOCK: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: ...and it was fantastic. Last year, I had some of Bach's "Well Tempered Clavichord," and that was brilliant. I haven't decided what I'm going to break the fast with tomorrow night yet.

BLOCK: How do you make up your mind?

DRUMMOND: It might - it could be John Coltrane, "Favorite Things."

BLOCK: I guess it's fun to think about what you'll choose for that moment, huh?

DRUMMOND: Yeah. That's what I'll go with. I've decided now, it'll John Coltrane playing "My Favorite Things."

BLOCK: It's a great tune. Well, Bill Drummond, Happy No Music Day tomorrow. Is it proper to say happy No Music Day?

DRUMMOND: I think, yeah, that will do. I don't think Merry No Music Day. That's not going to work, is it?

BLOCK: Okay. So Happy No Music Day.

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

BLOCK: We'll stick with that.

DRUMMOND: Thank you very much.

BLOCK: Bill Drummond is the founder of No Music Day.

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