My on-again off-again fixation with Warren Zevon is on. From a 2000 interview article at Salon.Com:
Without waiting for an answer, he continues, "I started out in life writing serial music when I was 12 years old. Writing [Pierre] Boulez and [Karlheinz] Stockhausen. So I know a little something about self-declared fine art."
"What exactly is 'serial music' anyway?" I ask.
"Twelve-tone music," he says, then rubs his face. "Oh God, you don't want to know. It's a paradigm. A technique. It's a way to cloak an uninspired composition. With simple melodic music, you know right away it's bad."
I spent more than my share of time writing bad serial music in graduate school. (That's not to say that there isn't good serial music; I just wasn't writing any of it.) It was actually a highly valuable experience. Still, I'm much happier writing other types of music.
Zevon's comments, though, bring up a lot of oddlly conflicting thoughts and emotions for me. For example: Is he dismissive of serial music because the twelve-tone emperor has no clothes? Or is it because he was likely a bad serial composer? (I suspect the answer is actually some third option that I can't come up with.)