Van Dyke Parks is an American composer, arranger, record producer, instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, author, and actor. Parks worked with Brian Wilson (including as lyricist to the Beach Boys' Smile project), Phil Ochs, The Byrds, Tim Buckley, Little Feat, Loudon Wainwright III, Rufus Wainwright, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder,Ringo Starr, and Skrillax, among many others. He also produced a dozen albums of his own, most recently Songs Cycled and Super Chief: Music for the Silver Screen. He lives in Los Angeles and has generously provided incidental music for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
"Well, to me, the tensile strength and the very definition of an artist is something that I would place at the top of a vertical hierarchy. To be an artist is to suffer and to lead a life without shelter. It takes a great amount of daring-do, self reinvention, imagination, familial loyalty, sacrifice, economic uncertainty, and the right to be wrong, the right to fail in order to achieve something of noticeable value. "