Headpress Books Established 1991

Sun Ra

Interviews & Essays

A collection of interviews and essays on Sun Ra, his contemporaries, his records, his myth and his fan base.


Great Service

Headpress is people

Important Shipping Info

Be aware of our processing and delivery times, which may take up to 3 weeks on some titles.
Also, customers not in the UK or USA please click here before placing an order.

Composer, bandleader, pianist and space philosopher, Sun Ra was a unique individual and one of the most colorful and enduring of musical legacies, transcending time, place and culture.

From the mid 1950s until his death in 1993, Sun Ra led “The Arkestra”, a fluid collective that lived and played together under the despotic tutelage of their leader, who claimed to hail from Saturn. Their music was jazz, but avant garde compositions in which players were instructed to adhere to a “space key” — improvising without regard for conventional tonal centers — was symptomatic of an altogether different direction in sound: electronic music, space music and free improvisation.

But Sun Ra’s legendary status was earned as much for his eccentricities as for his unique artistic vision. He developed and propagated a mystifying sci-fi mythology which he weaved into both the music and Dadaist performances of The Arkestra (performances which inspired artists as diverse as George Clinton and MC5).

Sun Ra collects together for the first time interviews with Sun Ra, his confidantes, and his contemporaries, alongside illuminating essays exploring his prolific musical output, mystique, philosophy, fans, and much more. Despite being a greatly influential and prolific musician and spokesperson, few books exist on the enigmatic Sun Ra. This one provides a fascinating overview from respected musicians and fans alike.

Edited by John Sinclair

Contributions from Wayne Kramer, Michael Simmons, Ben Edmonds, Amiri Baraka , Rick Steiger, David Henderson, and others.

Selected contents:

• Sun Ra interview with John Sinclair 1966
• Sun Ra Obituary from New Orleans Times
• El Saturn LP cover art and Sun Ra posters
• The Sun Ra Undergound: zines and bootlegs
• Report from The Embassy of the Living Sun Ra, Tillburg 2008
• Marshall Allen Interview
• Wayne Kramer on Sun Ra
• Sun Ra and the MC-5
• Amiri Baraka on Sun Ra and Black Arts
• Sun Ra Arkestra residency at Detroit Jazz Center 1980
• *Sadiq Bey’s Sun Ra Project in Berlin
• Sun Ra on Film
• The Arkestra Today

W. Kim HeronMetrotimes
Read More
“Sinclair's own 1966 interview and Ra's Detroit-Ann Arbor connections will be of interest to many.”
Florence WetzelAll About Jazz
Read More
“For those already immersed in Sun Ra and his music, this book will fill in gaps and pose some interesting questions. And for those new to his world, this is an ideal place to dip into his mind, providing an interesting introduction.”
Edwin PounceyThe Wire
Read More
“Sinclair's anthology is an entertaining supplement to the archival precision of Geerken/Campbell and Szwed's depth of scholarship — it offers a more intimate portrait of Ra while still keeping the mystery that he surrounded himself with during his lifetime intact.”
Sample Pages
Related Posts

Amiri Baraka

Ben Edmonds

David Henderson

David Kerekes

DAVID KEREKES co-founded Headpress and its imprint Oil On Water Press. He is author of Mezzogiorno (2012) and Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit (1994), co-author of Killing for Culture: An Illustrated History of Death Film from Mondo to Snuff (1994 & 2012) and See No Evil: Banned Films and Video Controversy (2001) and has written extensively on popular culture.

John Sinclair

In 1969, the poet-provocateur, MC5 manager and White Panther JOHN SINCLAIR found himself the victim of that decade’s draconian American drug laws, and facing a twenty-year jail sentence for the possession of two joints. The counterculture Sinclair helped create came to his rescue, however, when John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Phil Ochs and others performed at a successful benefit gig to petition for his release. Since that epochal moment, Sinclair (whom Ben Edmonds calls the “hardest working poet in showbiz”) has travelled the globe with his beat verses and inimitable growl, performing with some of the world’s finest musicians. He interviewed Sun Ra in 1966.

Michael Simmons

Rick Steiger

Wayne Kramer


customers outside the uk & usa

Due to changes in international shipping we are presently not always able to offer a flat shipping rate to all countries outside the UK or USA.

If you are ordering from a country other than the UK or USA, please contact us before placing your order for a shipping price. This is to ensure you are charged the most sensible price for delivery, wherever you are in the world.

Click on the link below and send us:

(1) Info and quantity for the item/s you are after;
(2) Delivery details, i.e. Country, State and Postcode

Alternatively, email us with any questions here