Nicolae Tanase: Will, what is the meaning of life?
Will Ackerman: I would be surprised and somewhat disappointed if there was a consensus of what constitutes “the meaning of life.”
When I was about 16, the man I most looked up to (Hugh Folsom at Windham Hill Farm) asked me a question which I was instructed to only answer when I felt I had an answer that was truly reflective of me. The question was, in the tradition of a Zen Koan, “why is a mouse when it spins?”
Eleven years went by before I came up with what seemed to me to be a worthy answer which was “the more the better, of course.” I’ve never been particularly moderate… Thankfully I never put heroin in my veins or played with coral snakes, but I’ve surfed waves that were altogether too big, I’ve jumped out of planes, I’ve scuba dived WAY past what the diving charts say, I’ve driven drunk out of my mind when I was younger (and am always grateful I never hurt anyone, myself included). I work too much and, if it’s not in the studio, it’s on a tractor or holding a chainsaw (I estimate that the time I spend with a chainsaw in my hand vs. a guitar in my hand is roughly 20 to 1)…
I recorded a record and created a record label, I had no idea what was happening in the 70s and 80s because I didn’t have time to consider anything beyond Windham Hill Records and chasing girls…. I’ve been married 3 times and did a terrible job on the first two (both in terms of choices and follow-through) and managed to grow up enough to have married the most wonderful woman on the planet who’s put up with me for a couple of decades and who I love more each week, AND I have the most beautiful and brilliant dog in the world, and I continue to produce records in my studio at a prodigious rate and am grateful for life in a very immediate way.
As I lay dying I’m never going to have to deal with the horror of the thought “I never took any chances” or “ I shoulda done something when I had a chance.” I did it.
~Will Ackerman, producer, guitar legend and founder of Windham Hill and Imaginary Road Studios; he is currently also a member of the New Age ensemble, FLOW.
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