Music...have you heard of it?
I'm a musician
I have been since I was 14. I learned Guns and Roses tunes by ear, went through the Colonel Grey band program. I received my bachelor of music from UPEI while touring with the Jive Kings. I've done a good amount of recordings I'm proud of. I've been able to use my experience and knowledge to teach my skills to probably well over 100 private students in the past number of years.
I'm a bass player. I get paid to play bass.
Except for phases ( like the one I'm going through now ) I have had a terrible CD collection and I hardly listen to music
How weird is that?
Sometimes I chaulk it up to 'Do you see a Doctor performing Surgery at Home just for fun?!!' ( I can attest to this....I've yet to see my father-in-law come home and cut one of us open for kicks ) but.....it's not the same. Doctors are constantly learning through reading and conferences etc... i.e. their 'music', their 'CDs'. But I've rarely listened to music in the past several years. I'm always envious of my good friend Shawn Doiron who has a seemingly unending well of passion for music new and old...Mike Ross is always introducing me to something new. Besides my love of Jaco, which I can usually only share with fellow bassists ( and you too Alicia and Jenn ) I hardly ever introduce music to other people... ( the one I can think of is Andrew Chandler whom I ordered him to find Lyle Lovett 'Live in Texas' and he was thankful....but...Mike Ross is the one who turned me on to Lyle through his song Church. daaamn! Great performance! ) So I usually feel ashamed or that there's something wrong with me as a musician!
Sometimes I'm just not driven. I'm not driven to push forward. I hardly practice my bass. I rarely play music for 'enjoyment' i.e. not getting paid and sometimes it just feels downright sad.
I remember shortly before moving to Toronto for a short stint I got together for a jam with two of my musical cousins: Rob, who has been playing for a while and Jesse who recently discovered the guitar. Half way through our mega-jam in the accessible guitar key of E I realized...'this is the first time in a Long time that I remember playing music without getting paid' and it was wonderful. I remember in the very early Swing King/Jive King days when Bob would hand me a decent pile of cash at the end of the night and thinking 'Holy shit....I totally forgot I get PAID to do this!' and here I was jamming with my cousins, only a few years later, and thinking 'Holy Shit...I forgot it's possible to do this WITHOUT getting paid!'
(Now, as always, I have to qualify my statements. The above is not to say that all I think about is money and that my career choice as a musicial is unemotional, uninspired and devoid of simple musical enjoyment. I LOVE music...and I LOVE playing music! It's just that, when you're a musician, you're just like anyone else who has to pay bills, and playing music for enjoyment doesn't pay the bills. Enjoying music, while getting paid, is the perfect blend. )
But getting back to the not listening to music thing...I think also there's been a lack of 'contemporary' material that has excited me. Becoming a musician is sort of like becoming a Magician....you learn all the tricks. I can imagine a skilled Magician sitting at home fllipping channels and coming across one of those 'Magic' shows that we all would be amazed at...but not him/her! They'd know what's going on, they'd know the Magician's tricks and how it's all done... Exciting for the ordinary, same ol' for the skilled
This is much like what musicians go through... An example:
Who hasn't heard of 'Mambo #5'? I'm not even going to describe it because you know what it is. Simply...it was a hit! A commercial success ( I just read on the internet that Mambo #5 sold over a million copies in Germany Alone! )
But if you can find one real musician who calls it a hit and actually appreciates that 'song'...well...I will shave my head and body, wear nothing but a diaper, stick a pacifier in my mouth and mentally and physically assualt the entire cast of Anne of Green Gables during the show while they're singing 'Ice Cream'
Poor Mike would either have a heartattack from the horrific site or die laughing!
But seriously....those millions of people who bought Lou Bega's 'hit' CD had the wool pulled over their eyes...millions of lost sheep who for a brief moment in time followed their Mambo Shephard through the field of musical kitsch : the pied piper from a real musician's hell!
What's Lou Bega doing now? Who cares!!!
Take a guy like Tom Waits - always pushing forward - he's had minimal commercial success in the ways of selling millions of albums but...his albums still sell...and not just any one of them...all of them...they are discovered and rediscovered by countless people who refuse to be led by an imposter...
Yes, I beat myself up for not always being 'Up-to-date' with my CD collection but last night I read something in a Tom Waits biography that really changed me. I'm a big believer in that things happen when they do for a reason so this quote did it for me
'The thing about a record is that it's a record: if you don't want to listen to it right now, don't listen. Listen in thirty years ... In a sense, you put a record on and there it is. There's that moment they captured...Hey it's all out there' - Tom Waits
Awesome...and it's so beautifully true. So the next time someone says to me 'Man you haven't heard that song? You don't have that Album??!?!' I'm gonna say comfortably say 'no, I haven't' ..make a note...find the album and listen to 'that moment they captured'
As long as it's not a Lou Bega album. Then I'll just slap the person like the idiotiotic sheep they are!