He says that he used to conceive ideas by observing the travelling performers who passed through his Minnesota hometown because he did not have any exposure to other musicians in his youth.
"Mass media had no overwhelming reach so I was drawn to the travelling performers passing through. The side show performers - bluegrass singers, the black cowboy with chaps and a lariat doing rope tricks. Miss Europe, Quasimodo, the Bearded Lady, the half-man half-woman, the deformed and the bent, Atlas The Dwarf, the fire-eaters, the teachers and preachers, the blues singers. I remember it like it was yesterday," the Daily Express quoted him as saying.
He added that when he did close to these people, not only did the travelling circus troops inspire his music, they thought dignity, freedom, civil rights, human rights and also how to stay within oneself.