tv Charlie Rose PBS March 28, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight, david payne, he has written a powerful memoir called "barefoot to avalon," a brother's story, highly praised powerful look at divisions and pain within a family.ñi >> the only way that i felt i could fairly tell this story was to be harder on myself than on -- at least as hard ooó myself as anyone else, and i think that with my brother, his generosity and the fact that i had -- that i needed something from him and that he offered it with suchñi simpliciy and sweetness at the end that it was just important for me to acknowledge the ways that i had
been ungenerous toward him regarding his mental illness and the fact that he had stopped working and that that had created estrangement in the family and that i had resented that. >> rose: and lived with his mother. >> and lived with his mother. >> rose: we continue with don cheadle whose new film is called "miles ahead." >> she was always on the vanguard of what was happening. he didn't want to do what he had done before. when you hear the music, it's great because we can hear these outtakes and they're not trying to cut things out and make them pristine, they let you hear the outtakes and the beginnings and the engineering in the booth and you hear miles play the beautiful ballads and as the last note is ringing and you hear the brushes on the drum set, he's, like, play that back. >> rose: david payne and don cheadle, when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the
following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: david payne is here, he's the author of five novels including breakout debut confession of a tauest on wall street. he has written a memoir about his family, "barefoot to avalon," a brother's story, a searing account of complications with his brother and father. the "new york times" called it a beautiful book. the san francisco chronicle says the book is as much of anything of the power of inexhaustible
candor. his sentences may demand patients but illuminate family history and ask complex questions about social prestige, mental health and the ties that bind. it is called one to have the most powerful and penetrating memoirs, honest, engaging and heartbreaking. james kaplan calls it an analogy to a brother that pledges beyond depths, a fever dream of a memoir, a map of love and loss, head long, heartbreaking and gorgeously written. the salem winston journal says never has there been a more eloquent depresidential election of a father dragging down a southern family even has it tries to rise. and payne has the makings of a charles dickens. a consummate story teller of language and people in
improbable situations. the atlanta monthly calls it payne's earnest and unflinching account of a brotherhood that lasted long into their adulthood. and pain burns as brightly as any writer of his generation. for all of that, it's a remarkable book and an interesting time to think about family and, so, i'm pleased to women david payne to this table for the first time, welcome. >> charlie, thank you. it's an honor to be here. >> rose: it's a powerful story of your brother, father, mother and grandfather, all of whom i knew. why did you write it? >> well, my brother, it was such a poignant and difficult story. he had bipolar one disorder and lived at home with our mother for nine years.
he and i become estranged. there was difficulty in the family. my life was under pressure in terms of my career and i needed help moving home from vermont to north carolina and, after all these years of estrangement, i was speaking to my mother and she said, why don't you ask your brother to come help you? and i called and not an hour later, the phone rang and it was george a., as we called him -- >> rose: that's what his grandfather was called. >> -- to call to offer his help. he came to vermont and during the move he died on the highway in an accident help meg move back. >> rose: and you saw it in the rearview mirror? >> i saw it in the rearview mirror. >> rose: the book begins a couple of days before that. >> right. >> rose: what is it you're telling us? are you telling us -- because it's not just his story. it's your story. it's the story of a southern family. it's the story of memories. it's the story of coming to
grips with flaws and dreams. >> it's about how we lost each other as a family. it's about how a long history of mental illness and alcoholism and all sorts of difficulties played through multiple generations of our family and finally at this last moment we were able to reconcile and have the eight days that my brother and i had together before i lost him. >> rose: but he said -- remind me of the conversation between when you said, as i remember it, he said, it's okay, david. >> there is a passage toward the end where my brother, i was
saying good night -- we were getting ready to leave the house in vermont where i lived, and i tapped on the side window of the ford explorer he was driving and i said, ready? and he said, whenever you are. looking at the winston glowing on his thigh, i almost say something about my pristine ashtray. thanks, george a., i choose, instead. it's no big deal. no, seriously, man, i couldn't have done this without you. you're a good brother. these are words he hasn't heard from me in quite some time. he contemplates them for a beat and raises the winston to his lips. it's okay, david, he says. the truth is, i don't make that much of it at the time. it's hours later than with we meant to start. i'm dirty, stressed and tired and on the verge of leaving. everything i've taken is my life. i simply squeeze his shoulder, turn away and whistle up leon,
my brindled hound who gains the high seat of the truck with one sprain and we set off riding the groaning breaks of our unfamiliar, overloaded rigs downhill. only later does it nag me that george a. didn't say, you're a good brother, too, or you helped me in the past so i help you, or any of the other countless things he could have said. he says, okay, david, not resentfully, but someone at the long end of a contest who's been on the receiving end of it and ready to forget it. >> rose: you are unscathing in your clear and precise and penetrating analysis of yourself and what you think of as your failure. >> the only way that i felt that i could fairly and honestly tell this story was to be harder on myself than on -- at least as hard on myselfñi as anyone else and i think that, with my brother, his generosity, and the
fact thatñi i needed something from him and thatñr i -- that he offered it with such simplicityó and sweetness at the end,xd that it was just important for me to acknowledgeñi the ways that i hd been ungenerous toward him regarding his mental illness and the fact that he had stopped working and that cede estrangement within the family and i resented that and he lived with our mother. >> rose: who did not want you to do this book. >> is thathat's right. my mother and i -- very early in theñi writing, she said i think for you to writeçó in book is exploitive. she and i didn't speak about the book for almost two years. then when i showed her the final draft, she wrote me a very, very beautiful note that said, i've
finally come to understand that you've written with your most authentic self and that it's not exploitive of your brother, and she gave me her blessing before she died on the book. >> rose: pay attention to the title in the book story. this is a picture of your brother. the title is "barefoot to avalon," a brother's story. "barefoot to avalon" describes a daily race. >> avalon peer on the otter banks in kill devil hills in north carolina, when he was 16 years old, he wanted to play football at woodbury forest, aborting school, and i was a runner in those days. every morning, we would do a four mile run, two miles down to avalon peer two, miles back, and in the third mile i would always leave him behind and to make his own way in the final mile. the very last week of summer when i made my kick at the end,
he kicked it beside me and suddenly we were in this grueling sort of hell for leather race and he pulled away and beat me on that particular day, and he went back to boarding school, he got a starting job on the team, and toward the end of that season we got the call from the doctor telling us about his first psychotic breakdown with bipolar one disorderrer. >> rose: what was his psychotic breakdown? >> he was out on the football field. he basically became catatonic. they called the coach. the coach called my mother. she came up to virginia to pick him up. my brother, in the hotel room, kept going to the window and thinking that he saw our father, our dad in the parking lot where he actually was not. so that was his first break. >> rose: i think on page 76
you talk about the cover photo, and what's powerful about this book is your language. >> in the photo, you can tell the boy's an athlete of some kind. 6'7" and 210 or 215, lean wasted, acros broad across the . i thought my brother was the best looking boy i ever knew, among the best looking i ever saw. as i studied this old photo, though, i think perhaps it isn't clark gable after all i'm searching for but those clean-cut, all-american boys on lawns and beaches posing for the camera with their girls in paste waxed cars before they went to world war ii. george a.'s smile extends friendly confidence like theirse something prepared for disappointment and strikes me
george a., in 175 is going off on an inward war and it will last 25 years and george a. won't return from it. this picture is the last glimpse i'll ever have which is why i kept it and put it out every place i lived in. here's looking at you, d.p., he's saying with that little grin and squint, this one's for you. my reply in kind, enjoy it while it lasts, oh, do. >> rose: what did you mean? i mean enjoy your life while you have it because it's not going to be that long. >> rose: and help us understand the relationship. it was obviously influenced by our parents, influenced by the lives that you'd had and the dreams that you had had, but because it's so powerful, how would you characterize it? >> well, i think there was a sibling competition that went on between us from the early days,
and he and i -- the football was part of the thing that we had a competition over, but i'm afraid that i didn't always understand the -- when he first developed bipolar disorder, we didn't really understand what it was. we thought it was -- we didn't understand that it was a form of mental illness, we thought it was perhaps some kind of malingering. this was in 1975 and, so, it was a long journey for us to try to understand exactly what it was that was wrong with my brother, and i think that, during part of
that, i judged him for things that were not true of his condition. so that's what i hold myself accountable for. >> rose: what informed you when you set off on this journey to write this book? i mean, you had written five novels. you clearly were a student of literature. you wanted to be a poet in the beginning and turned to novels. >> i think each one of my books had felt as if it moved closer and closer from fiction toward the boundary line of non-fiction, and each one got closer and closer to the truth of my life and my family, and i realized that what i was trying to get at was who am i? who is my family? who are my people? who did i come from? how did we come to be who we are? how did i come to be the person
i am? >> rose: did you answer all those questions? >> i asked them. i can't say that i answered all of them. but i answered them -- as many of them as i could, and i think that, in order to answer them, i had to be honest in a different way than i had been in fiction. >> rose: you're taking us on a journey, too. i mean, is it simply to say to those who know you and those who knew your family and those who live within a family, you know, that this is one man's account of life inside a family, but it is a story written so many times in the life and experiences of family that deal with conflict, dreams, memories, tragedies, alcohol, infidelity, all of those things that make up the fabric of so many families. >> and i think so many of those
things we tell ourselves -- we weave stories of happiness and perfection and ease, and i think oftentimes we leave out the dark truth at the base of our family stories. so i think i wanted to try and, at least in my case, to tell the truth a little bit more aggressively than i had done it. >> rose: to tell the truth because of what? because that's a writer's responsibility? >> because i think what a writer is supposed to do is to ask what is the human condition and what is the deepest account we can give of our presence here. not to lie about it and to whitewash it, but to write about the darkness and the difficulty
and the conflict and the competition as well. so that had never been spoken in our family, and i thought that it needed to be. >> rose: but there had been these explosive and powerful conflicts, exchanges, which brings me to your father who i knew as well. your father was a tall and handsome who married the most beautiful young woman in town. and to know that, and you thought, my god, they have everything. they are going to be fantastic. that's what a young boy growing up in a small town -- me -- said. >> so it appeared. >> rose: so it appeared. so it appeared. >> rose: but behind the walls and the doors of the house -- >> but behind the walls and the doors of the house, my mother,
an 18-year-old young girl who wanted to escape her family got pregnant and married a boy who did not want to marry her. so that did put him in a position that, somewhere at the heart of our family, from the very beginning, there was a sense of resentment, there was a sense that something had been extracted from my father that i think he never forgave, and people looked at them and they saw the perfect exterior and they saw the beautiful girl, but something had been extracted from my father -- >> rose: and he had to become an adult earlier than he might have wanted to. he had to get married and all the responsibilities of that. >> right. >> rose: he wasn't ready for it. it's not a reflexion on her, it's a reflexion on him, that he wasn't -- >> i think that's an older way or looking at it, but we have a different opinion with that.
>> rose: you tell me. i'm asking. >> i don't think that my father necessarily -- that, at 20 years old, for him to be trapped into a life that he did not consent to live, to be trapped into that life and to be forced by social pressures to have to take on that life and to burden himself to the end of his days was a reasonable ethical obligation to demand of my father, even though, had he said, no, i would not be here. >> rose: and what did it do to his life? he is a central character in the two of you. >> i think my father became a kind of a wanderer because he did not -- he did not accept --
he didn't accept the ethical obligation to take on this family and, so, he left the family, he abandoned the family and he became like a wanderer. he was like the ancient mariner. you know, he moved from land to land, he had strange powers of speech, the moment his face i see -- but, yo anyway, my father was a dark and tragic story, but he was also a -- he was a very talented, he was a create raqontour, that's what you remember about him as well. >> rose: right. but something i said about my family which is that rather than people choosing to affirm their
relationship to each other in love, they chose to extract something from the other person that the other person was unwilling to give and that was at the center of our family and what went wrong in your family. >> rose: a passage on page 66 i'd love for you to read where he is reading to you. >> my father says, do you know why i read you this? no, sir. i stand there with the pressure in my lungs and chest, the cinch, knowing to a dead certainty i'm going to fail the test. what do you think it means, david, to measure out your life with coffee spoons? a moment passes, now a second, and suddenly it's as if a draft wafts through blowing all the doors and windows open. bill sees me get it and his eyes burn. i'm proof rot. don't you be, david. measure out your life in
gallons, bushels, hogs heads, don't be dissuaded by the woman or women on the sofas, even if she's your pregnant girlfriend or wife and you love her, ask the overwhelming question and don't let anybody stop you. god speed, god damn you, go and maybe you'll have the victory i thought i would have but stepped aside to give you. this is your fate written in the manifest, not in the ink but in the blood of our parental sacrifice. >> rose: and when you heard him say that? >> i think my father was tell me some part of my life got taken away from me, don't let yours be taken. go live the biggest life you can possibly live and don't measure it off in coffee spoons, measure it out in something bigger, and that's why i wanted to write this book to speak as much of it as i possibly could. >> rose: there was huge rage in him. >> there was. >> rose: and it was expressed both to you and your brother.
>> it was. >> rose: and there is a moment in the book in which you're thinking about your own relationship with your own son and you're taking to him about the fact that he doesn't want to eat something. >> right. and i see myself repeating the same abusive action toward my young son that my father repeated toward me, and i say to myself, this can't continue any longer. the same thing that i swore that i would not repeat, i have repeated, and that really is the beginning of the book was, here i sign my name in blood upon this contract with my children in the future. >> rose: what is it about your life that we should know that's reflected here? >> i don't -- my suspicion, though i don't know, my suspicion is that my life is not very much different from most other people's lives, and i
think that other families have these same issues of mental illness and strife and difficulty and love and gratitude. it's just that we don't -- >> rose: there is not somebody within the family that can write a book like this that gives expression because, i mean, the talent -- that gives expression so that everybody can feel -- feel. >> well, i hope that that's true. i hope that i've done that. >> rose: well, if i just listen to 15 critics, it's clear that you have done that. but the question also is what do you hope it accomplishes other than giving a huge magnifying glass to you and your brother and your family and the point, the brilliant point about you have to to your own self be
true. it's your life and you have to define and you can't let anybody else define your life. >> what i want it to do is to say, while i was here and while i contemplated my life as a man, this is what i experienced. this is what i lived, and i believe that that's my fundamental testimony as a writer, just as your fundamenta6 you sit here every night and give your -- you know, your -- give back to the world what you give to the world. and this is my experience is what's in this book. >> rose:ñlhas writing this book changed you?ñrñi >> i think i changed in the course of writing the book. i wouldn't say writing the book itself changed me. i think probably the close to eight years of therapy that i spent during the course of
writing the book probably changed me. >> rose: you have been through a divorce. >> i have been. >> rose: but are you in a good place in your life, now, having put this down, having dealt with it, having given expression to it? >> it's likexd having dropped a weight. it's like having dropped a weight, and i wasçó saying to someone earlier tonight, i was describing the scene with my son and how i had yelled at myñr son the same way my father had yelled at me, and i remembered leaving a cub scout banquet with my son when he was ten years old, and one of the boys at the ban quest was cutting --ñi banqt was cutting up and knocking peoples' hats off and my son said, what's the matter with that kid, dad, what's his problem? i said, i don't know, i suspect there is something going on at home, don't you? and h he looked at me and said,i
used to be mad like that, didn't i? i realized in the course of writing this that the course of that changed. that all of that -- the conflict and resentment and the forces that i had had to deal with in order to write the book that, in some ways, they had passed away. >> rose: your father committed suicide. >> he did. >> rose: shot himself. he did. >> rose: how hard was that? it was -- i never saw it coming, and it was deeply sad. i never saw my father committing suicide that way. i don't know what to say about it even to this day. he and i were -- had been estranged for two and a half years. i had not really talked to him, so i don't know the specifics -- >> rose: estranged because? estranged because of his
abandonment of, you know, me in my childhood, because -- it had been many, many years since my father and i had been close, and, so, we didn't really -- you know, we didn't talk that much. so i didn't know what the particular circumstances were at the time of his suicide. >> rose: your mother was close to her father. >> she was. >> rose: very. she was. my mother was -- she died on, i believe i told you, february the 10th >> this year. she had stage 4 lung cancer. she spent five months living at home with me in hillsboro and then the last month as well, so that was a difficult passage but it was wonderful to have that final time together.
>> rose: what do you think of all these people saying all these amazing and wonderful things, comparing you to everybody from dickens toñi others?ñi you're a writer, that's what you wanted to be -- not be but do. that's what your life is about, putting sentences on paper. >> with all the estrangement with my father, my father with was the one who said, don't measure out your life in coffee spoons, and he was the one who read me proof rock and said, you know, live the biggest life you can possibly live, and i think that that's what i set out to do, and i think some part of him, because he didn't get a chance to do it, even -- i think he wanted to free me and my
other brothers as well to have a chance to do that. so it's been my ambition since i was 15 or 16 years old. >> rose: do you ever ask yourself what would george a.'s life been like if he had not been living with bipolar? >> i think he had a pretty damn good life. i think he -- he married, he was a successful stockbroker, he loved his wife, and then things crashed for im in the last nine years of his life. so i think -- >> rose: that's his mid 30s. that's right. that's right. and that's way too early for that to happen. but he had a taste of sweetness in his life. he had a taste of it. >> rose: and your mother? she was loved by many. we had her memorial service not long ago, and she was the rock
of our family. she was the rock and the lioness, and i think she had a lot of her father's strength, and i remember in your father, i remember thoseçó men. they were quite a special breed. your father was very special to me, and when i was writing my third novel, ruin creek, i did extensive interviews with him and he gave me fabulous notes on the tobacco industry in north carolina at a time long before i would have been alive. >> rose: he was an amazing man. family cemetery, and he could tell a story of everybody whose name -- he could tell you everything about them. he had an extraordinary intelligence and memory. >> i was glad that i could go back and interview those men, men like your father and my
grandfather and capture what the -- the social ethos of that period was like, because it's so different now. >> rose: i wanted you to do something that will be hard for you, i assume, although you have been asked to do it before. page 141. >> was george a. already psychotic when he called me at my dorm at avery at u.n.c.? had he looked down and seen the white caps on the ocean far below him, the bay bill our father fell in boston and kept falling through atlanta, where he had no job, no money, no one to lean on and a list penneddens on his property, down and down until he landed in the washouts in the shenandoah, up there where his father and father's people come from, the same place where george a. and i ended on november 8, 2000, at the first
exit outside lexington, when i looked down at my feet and see by magic black and terrible the zip disk lying chipped and spattered in the gravel with george a.'s blood upon it, and i gaze up at the sky and say, please, god, don't make me carry this, don't make me be responsible, let my brother be alive, i require it of you, i compel you because if he isn't and if i'm responsible, then the universe isn't tolerable and i return my ticket. yet the sky was empty and returned no answer, and here i am still holding and george a. is gone and i still mess him as i sit wondering who i am and who we were and how different we were from other families and their stories outside the bell curve, out of hailing distance ago together, or only as fingerprints in snowflakes, each unique but from the middle distance, mor more or less the e as any other.
>> rose: the book, "bare'to avalon: a brother's story " . david payne, thank you for coming. pleasure to have you on this program. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: miles davis was one of the most celebrated jazz musicians of all time. don cheadle stars as davis in a new film called "miles ahead." theñ9the film marks cheadle's sn writing and directorial debut, the film is called a saturated depiction of one of the genre's undisputed greats. here's the trailer from "miles ahead." >> if you're going to tell a story, come with some attitude, man. ♪ñr >> i'm milesñi davis. my name is dave braden, rolling stone magazine. i'm here to do a comeback story. >> ahhh! don't send people to my house. >> you have new material. my material, my session tape.
you're under contract here. we actually own that tape. >> miles! you own? how much money you got on you? okay. you've got 19,000 light, but that's a start. i moved to new york, met some cats, played some music. >> studied piano, too, new. no, just woke up black, knew how to play. >> you're black? don't move on in this damn music, it's all about improvisation. francis, i'm going to send a plane to pick you up. i need you. i love you. (sigh) >> somebody stole my tape. what! you call him right now and tell him you coming over. >> i can't take you over there, he'll kill me. >> you don't do what i say, i'm gonna kill you.k it takes a long time to be able to play like yourself.
>> i gave up everything for you, miles. i deserve better than this! >> hold it, buddy. do you have a ticket? >> you're looking at it. you trying to piss me off, man? >> miles. give me my music back. ♪ go, go, go, go, go! >> this is madness, i'm not dying over this jazz tape. >> don't call it jazz, man. that's some madeup word. it's social music. >> rose: pleased to have don cheadle back at this table. wow, that's really something. >> good to see you. thank you. >> rose: before you sat down, i had a chance to do a series of interviews with him and i can hear him again. >> yeah. >> rose: the way he talked. i said to him once, what is it about your music? he said, the sound. thew3fá sound.
you know? >> yeah. amazing. and so much of it and so many different genres and so many different iterations of who he was, keep inventing himself over and over. >> rose: what was your introduction to miles davis? >> it was early in my life. i started playing sax when i was 10, 11 years old in elementary school. i played alto. i was trying to find those alto players that i wanted to try to emulate. of course, charlie parker. buchanan ball haider al- abadily who played with miles was another hero of mine. -- cannonball adderly who played with miles was another hero of mine. i would put a record on, you could put it on 78 and it would actually play it almost an octave lower so i could hear what was happening in the solo. so i was that kid that would run home and, like, try and write
these solos out and figure it out. >> rose: like diagramming sentence also. >> yeah, and oh, that's what he was doing and how he moved around that. i couldn't come close to doing it. but i was gleaning what was going on. >>ñr rose: that wasñi>ok an eary introduction. when did you say i'm going to make a movie? >> well, it was something that kind of came down -- i told the story a billion times, but 2006, miles was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame and they were interviewing vince wilbourn, who is his nephew, toured with him, and they said are you ever going to do a movie about his life? he said, yes, and don cheadle will play him. so he made a proclamation. so they called me. they had been trying to do a movie that predieted dated me at least 20 years and frances and were trying to center it around these different story lines. whey they pitched me was all
right but closely related to a lot of biopics before and structured in a similar fashion. i said, i don't want to do that with this artist. he was all about own violation, changing it and not about doing what came before. i wanted to do something i thought was more daring and impressionistic and wild. >> look, i didn't just get off on the wrong foot. i just need a little background. i mean, i could write some bull (bleep) of a magazine, but i would rather hear it in your own words, you know? >> miles davis story in my words. >> that would be great. all right. okay. i was born. i moved to new york. met some cats. played some music. did some dope. played some more music. then you came to my house. >> that's it? all right, i guess i'll fill in
the blanks later. >> that's what all you mother (bleep) do anyway, right? ♪ >> rose: how would you define his spirit? >> restless. >> rose: restless? yeah. never stopping, always searching, trying to figure out the next thing. right before he died, he was working with prince, so i can only imagine what he would be doing today if he was alive. he would probably be working with kendrick lamar and those guys. >> rose: he would be connected to what those guys are doing in hip-hop and rap. >> yeah, the sonics of the day. he was always trying to be on the vanguard of all the sounds that were happening. he didn't want to do what he had done years before. and when you hear the music, it's great, because we can hear a lot of these outtakes now and they're not trying to cut things off, make them pristine, they let you hear the outtakes and the beginnings and the engineer in the booth and you hear miles play these beautiful ballads and
as the last note is ringing and you hear the brushes on the drum set, he's, like, play that back. no revel ri. no lang bid, oh, isn't that beautifuler what we did? play the next song, let's go. >> rose: so many things he was attributed to. one was the way he would play with his back to the audience. what was that about. >> miles would say does the conductor face the audience when he faces the orchestra? i'm conducting. i'm directing my band. i'm trying to get something out of them. like herbie said, miles paid them to practice in front of people. so he was always searching for something, and vince told me he would walk around the stage a lot of times trying to hear acoustics different places where the sound would come back to him and, you know, he was always putting his fingers to his ears and trying to hear different sounds. he was always searching for it. also, you know, he was miles.
>> rose: what's the dark side of his life? >> well documented. there's a lot of it. he dealt with addiction, absolutely. he dealt with abuse in his life. he dealt with, you know, racism and being in places where he was, you know, challenged, clearly challenged by the powers that be around him, and this is something who, you know, defined himself over and over again and really tried to push back at that, but he was dealing with america at that time with a music that was looked at as being for junkies and that negro music, so he was always trying to fight out of the boxes people were trying to put him into. >> rose: he loved boxes. he absolutely loved boxing. approached his music like a boxer. >> rose: how's that. he talked about how he would attack notes like a boxer, jabbing and where the power came from and where the breath came from. >> rose: take a look at this
here. this is when ian mcgregor is trying to get miles to talk about his life. this may be the scene that was in the trailer, but here it is, anyway. >> so, studied piano, too, huh? nah, just woke up black, knew how to play. >> you're black? go ahead. frances loves your pan. >> she looks like a classy chicken. >> rose: all we play at the house, classical. chopin, studied all them, broke down their compositions. they were revolutionaries, innovators, you know, pushing back at that stand at classical bag, chopin, all about
improvisation. doing that on the stage every night on the fly, didn't write it down, just came out of 'em. i want to quit every night. you know, old people, they come up to me and they say, why don't you play like you used to? i say, tell me how i used to. it takes a long time to be able to play like yourself. you don't do nothing like you used to. the music don't move on in this damn music, you know. it's just dead. >> rose: man, you were good. i want to talk about frances davis. >> mm-hmm, yeah. love of his life. >> rose: you use flashbacks. yeah, and hopefully in a way that doesn't feel like we're stopping the movie to go back and collect something and come back in time, you know. all of those moments, you know, we kind of felt that they were,
you know, reverie and dreams and just really something that he used to move forward even though he never looked back, you obviously do. and he was -- she was the love of his life. they both kind of describe her as the one who got away. she's definitely the one he had the most regret about not being able to work it out with her. >> rose: take a look at this roll tape. this is meeting with frances taylor. >> hey, give me a 20 spot. sure, miles. here you go. thank you, buddy. sure thing. see you later. ♪ (footsteps) >> hi. i'm miles davis.
know. frances taylor. >> look, this is my phone number. now you don't have to stare. bye-bye. >> bye. (phone ringing) >> rose: man had style, didn't he? >> yeah, yeah. you know... >> rose: what was the hardest part? ing this -- acting, music,fring directing, writing. >> yeah. it was a lot, you know. and something that, a few years ago, i was trying to find another director actually to take that part of it on. but everyone i talked to after i
kind of pitched him the idea and showed him the script, they're, like, this is yours? why would i direct this? this is your vision. you've got to direct your own vision. i said, because i don't want to die. i want to make it to the end of it. but, you know, it was ultimately the only way that we were going to get it made was if i wore all those hats, so i did it. >> rose: how did he view his life? did he believe that he had shown the world his talent, that he had been able to be what he was born to be? >> that's a good question. i don't know. and it probably would depend on the day that you asked him. i know that he never rested on his laurels. i don't think he ever felt as if the work was done and that he didn't have something else and something more that he wanted to
bring forward. so, you know, it was just a constant -- a constant search. i think he was clearly, if someone is born to do something, you know, he fulfilled his roll in this life and, you know, gave rise to so many musical styles and so many people that played with miles, went on to be leaders in their own right and create a whole different libraries of music we look at. he's the root of this huge tree, this limbs are gone forever. >> rose: what did he think of blue? >> you read about it and people are always talking about it as being the ultimate culmination of his mastery and he's, like, yeah, the record is cool but not really the sound i was going for. i was, like, what do you mean it's not the sound you were going for? he said he was trying to capture the sound he used to hear when
he was walking home and he would hear choirs in these little churches all along the roadside tucked back in the woods, and he also said he was trying to do something that reminded him of african kalimbas and he was just thinking about the sound in his head. he said he cut the album and it was cool but not what he was trying to do. >> rose: are you still doing "house of lies"? >> we just completed our fifth season. we went to cuba. >> rose: i know. i was just in cuba, too, and they're still talking about you being there. >> we had a great time. which didn't tear down the city much but we had a great time. >> rose: cbs went down and saw you guys shooting. house of it? >> amazing. this land stopped in time as far as we understand what time means, and the people were just very open and welcoming and warm. i mean, you know they need an infusion of something. >> rose: right.
we don't know need to supplant their culture and try to imprint their whole thing on there. >> rose: give them an opportunity to be all that they can be. >> absolutely. >> rose: you know, without losing any of their soul. >> exactly, exactly. >> rose: this finally is a flashback of miles leading a recording session. i want you to see this simply because it is also about his genius. here it is. >> that's in the forte scene coming in. >> that's right, that's right. and i wanted to sting it, you know, hit it and really take it off. then a crescendo. ♪ >> mm, mm, mm oh, yeah, man. y'all listening to them? that's how this (bleep) is supposed to sound. ♪ >> hold that over the next measure. >> let's get them back in. do it. thanks, man. >> tio, record this. all right, guys, you're on rehearsal.
take 3. >> let's be musical about this. be wrong strong, otherwise, out. >> one, two, one, two... ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> rose: the great miles davis. i should take note of the fact that you're still in the marble cinematic universe as they say. >> yes. they call you up and tell you when to show sniewp captain america. >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: thank you. thank you, charlie. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com.
rose, a continuation of our conversation about politics, about america and about books and movies that may interest you. >> past patiently wait and passionately spashing every expectation, every action. i'm laughing in the face of casualties, thinking past tomorrow! (singing) >> rose: i want to talk about these characters. first of all, they're latino -- >> they're everything. >> rose: they're everything. they're everything. my wife is chinese-american. >> rose: and that's on purpose. >> that they're everything? >> rose: yeah. yes. tommy said it so well that i just quote him -- this is the story of america then told by
america now. >> rose: that's a great line. story of america then told by america now. >> that's right. >> rose: you're america now. we're america now and this is what this country looks like. this is what our country looks like. simple as that. so we're allowed to tell our story. >> rose: what do you think it means to your actors? >> i have been told what it means to our actors. >> rose: you know your actors. i'm with them every day. it's very moving. you know, some of these actors i've known my entire adulthood. some of these actors i just met when they auditioned for the show. chris jackson and i, chris plays george washington, he's as much of a history buff as i am or more so, we're both west wing fanatics and he was daunted about stepping into george washington's shoes because he knew what hat represented, he'd
read cherno's biography of washington. daveed plays jefferson. he felt he never had a stake. we've all grown up in the descendents of this legacy of slavery and we think these are our narratives but the creation of this country is our story, too. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide.
woman: it kind of was, like, the bang that set off the night. man: that is the funkiest restaurant. thomas: the honey walnut prawns will make your insides smile. [ laughter ] woman #2: more tortillas, please! man #2: what is comfort food if it isn't gluten and grease? man #3: i love crème brûlée. woman #3: the octopus should have been, like, quadrapus, because it was really small. sbrocco: and you know that when you split something, all the calories evaporate, and then there's none. whalen: that's right.