Shirley Clarke: Did you like the name Aaron Payne?
Jason Holliday: As Aaron Payne I I was pretty. . .far out. Not any further than I am now, but I was. . .oh well, it had unpleasant memories that lead to this state of depression. And. . .I just thought, being with those people in San Francisco whose personalities were suiting their names that, if I found myself another name and gave myself another chance, uh. . .I’d be happier. And I dug being called Jason. And like, all my hip friends and the people that I knew, I told them my name is Jason now. And they’d call me that. But a few evil people. . .you know, every now and then they’ll call you Aaron. And, uh. . .I remember once, in San Francisco, I told Miles Davis, I said, “My name is Jason.” And Miles said, “Shit. . .That ain’t none of your name.” But he was hip enough to call me Jason. He hasn’t called me Aaron since. And, as Jason, I really have discovered a new personality. I’m a lazy cat. I’ve always wanted to really jump into it, but. . .I kept avoiding it somehow. Like I made an excuse for accepting other people’s problems and puttin’ down my own. And I always became this one or that one’s flunky or anything to do to keep from facing what I really wanted to do. And now I kinda like want to do it. And Jason sorta is giving me the strength to do it. Like, I came back to New York after being away for three four five years, and some old friends that you don’t even see any more and the new ones or the ones that you keep, I told them my name was Jason. And, uh. . .I was able to establish that. I got the social security card: Jason Holliday. I have a cabaret license. Believe me: there’s something to the name. You know, if the name rings a bell to you and makes you feel well, then take the name.