Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The end of music

I know some guys that have a record company called "Rock is Dead". I'm not going to even bother linking it. its there, trust me. and the point isn't anything to do with Rock as much as that it is dead. The Bob Dylan film bio really ff'd me up. Two weeks ago Festival Express and a Hendrix movie ff'd me up the same way. See, ever since I was 16, I knew that I was a musician. When I was a real little kid I knew that my destiny was either to be a musician or to be a scientist. I started playing guitar when I was 12. By the time I was 16 I could actually play a song. The first 4 years were really slow. I think I played "Bad to the bone" with one finger for most of them. So from 16 on through all my 20's I was a musician. By every strict sense. I wrote 500 songs. I formed and played in probably 15 bands. I could play 6 or 7 instruments exceedingly well. Ok, lets see:
  • Electric Guitar
  • Acoustic Guitar
  • Fretless & fretted Electric Bass
  • Alto & Tenor Saxophone
  • Piano
  • Flute
  • Mandolin
I could learn just about anything by ear. I could sight read for bass, guitar, and saxophone. And on top of all the theory I knew I think I also knew some secret mojo shit about the creative process and where a good song comes from. The thing I didn't know at the time was that music was dying. In the end, it was me that lost out.

So, think of it. Think of the Beatles landing in New York, or of Bob Dylan at that 63' Newport folk fest, or of Jimi Hendrix 1966 in Monterey winning a coin toss with Pete Townsend, painting his guitar like a young indian brave before a symbolistic hunt that will prove his manhood and then burning that fucker in front of 10,000 of the hippest people in the world who were all on Owsley's. Music was fucking Huge! It was the primary method aside from literature that people shared new ideas. These ideas permeated the 20th century and used the different forms of music as a carrier wave to convey them. Literature was and still is great. but it doesn't make you dance in the street, love your neighbor and have indiscriminate sex with whoever. you just learn factual data from it.

Music hasn't been the same since. Once music started producing legions of followers and gobs of cash, a million hangers on and parasites also showed up to benefit from its wave of popularity. Frank Zappa documented this well in one of his books. He talked especially about how Sgt. Peppers changed the music studio forever. Because the Beatles carefully crafted early studio masterpiece sold so many copies, what should you do if you are a record company, bu t buy a bunch of studio equipment and attempt to duplicate the phenomina with other bands.

My big error and many other peoples as well, was that when I was growing up in the 80's, I didn't realize that it was over. I spose that I didn't want to see the truth, especially because it turned out that I was a pretty decent musician and I enjoyed it an awful lot. Here I am now, its later on. I've sworn off and disavowed music if only because it is a charlatans business, and that there are a bunch of hippies involved. But I'm also relatively skill-less. I've got 15 years of experience doing something that isn't worth a whole lot right now. oh well...


Blogger Nicky-Gnads said...

Hey Bro
Yeah football sucks! I did go and tailgait this weekend ironically enough, and I had a great time, but there was little football to do with the party. Yep, I went to Calexico and Iron and Wine, opened up with Califone, it was fucking surreal. I was way too baked and drunk to really enjoy it, but I struggled through it. I just was taken by your post because it seemed like a parent mourning a child. I don't know why you always persist with this music is dead to me. You were fucking great, better than anyone I have ever seen. With your intelligence you understand things about music that go way past technique, and today any old moran can learn technique. What I think people saw in your music was that extra thing. That shit that made that guitar burning more important than just some dude doing something crazy, lots of those people were on tons of drugs remember, and now they all drive SUVs and probably suck to talk to after all that they were lucky enough to experience. It will always sadden me that we lost one of the last real musicians. I know you will be determined to always do anything but that, but you could have done something that most of those posers only try to do. In this culture of imitators and formulaic consumption we need those inspired people to create or the world would have been robbed of meaning all together. Right now it isn't, and if you sift through the shit, you can still find gold. I don't know, I just feel better writing this because then you can't rebutt my argument. That was about it.
Nate Davis

12:55 PM  
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1:50 PM  

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