Musicians are idiots (admit it). We learn the chords to “Wonderwall” and expect to be rewarded with genitals aplenty. Since that doesn’t happen, here’s some things that should:
1) Stop Sucking – I knew this guy who was “too much of a genius” to bother learning how to tune his guitar. He used to brag about it while chatting up girls at club shows. I’d say his name but you’ve never heard of him. Nor will you hear of him.
Take the time to be good at what you do. As long as they’re good at it, I’d rather see someone fart a song out of their arse than watch another mediocre singer/songwriter. There’s enough of those.
Be awesome and I’ll respect you. Be crap and join the pile of spammers, begging for likes. Speaking of which…
2) Stop Spamming – You should see the spam I get on Twitter. And Facebook. And email. If musicians weren’t so lazy, they’d be sending smoke signals all over the country “Vote for my band in some shitty internet contest!”
I’ll vote for your band if I think you’re amazing and I’m a die hard fan. Otherwise, that’s time I could be looking at naked people on the internet or something.
3) Stop Sounding Like Shit – You know those 4 full-sized Marshall stacks your guitarists have onstage at this little club? They look fecking awesome. Too bad they sound like shit. Small club = small amp. When you’re playing stadiums, then dig out the big boys.
I have seen hundreds and hundreds of bands, from the smallest club bands to stadium headliners…and almost every one of them sounded awful. Nine Inch Nails sounded good live. Jeff Beck sounded good live. Why? They actually spend time working on the way they sound. (I know, I know…you’re too much of a genius to bother with such trivialities. Show me again how to play Wonderwall.)
They also hire the best sound people in the business. If you can’t afford Bowie’s sound guys, then you can still take a bit of time to think about your guitar tone, your snare sound, your bass clarity. Take it seriously. If your band is all muffle-y then we can’t hear what you’re doing and we’re not gonna care.
4) Stop Getting Wasted Before You Play – Buy ticket to show. Band is wasted. Singer forgets words. Drummer out of time. Bass player staring down shirt of girl in front. Keyboard players falls off stage. Guitarist sits down to avoid the spins. (Seen it all, countless times.)
I want my money back. Wanna get wasted? Do it after the show, when you’re telling everyone how you’re too great to bother to learn how to tune.
5) Stop With The Unaccompanied Guitar Solos – Unless you’re someone like Steve Vai or Zakk Wylde, someone who we specifically see to hear the solos…then just don’t! Nobody wants to hear you noodle for 8 minutes. We’re there for your songs, not your solos. Half the 13 year old kids in the audience can outplay you, so don’t waste our time. If we wanted to see half-assed crap, we’d be at home on the toilet with a handheld mirror.
6) Stop Being Lazy Onstage – If I’m paying 50 (or 5) bucks to watch you play, I want to see you want to be there. If you’re too cool (or too hungover) to look like you’re having a good time, I won’t be seeing you next time you’re in town. You stare at your shoes and mumble into the mic. Green Day run around like escaped mental patients. Guess which one I’d see again?
7) Stop Whining About Other Musicians On The Internet – No.
And I don’t just mean the selection. I mean the sonics are crap.
Flick through the dial. In a bid to get you to stop on their station, the Top 40 stuff sounds super bright and super in-your-face. They take music that’s already heavily processed, and process the gunt out of it. The result is that Pink’s songs are like 40% white noise.
And the classic rock stations aren’t much better, at least where I live. They compress the ever loving fuck out of everything, altering the musicians original performance. For example, “Hey Jude” is a song that starts off somewhat quiet and slowly builds into one of the most memorable conclusions in pop music. Or at least it’s supposed to. On my local station they cram so much compression on it that the beginning is just as loud as the end, which is the opposite effect that The Beatles were going for. It makes the performance monotonous and eliminates the build up.
It’s the music equivalent of jizzing in your pants before you even get your clothes off.
Good job, radio sound-man. After all, The Beatles didn’t know what they were doing. It’s best that you fix it for them so that we can all hear how you think it should sound.
They do the same thing to “Stairway to Heaven” and every other classic you can imagine.
Some North America stations are even guilty of speeding up songs so they can cram more advertising in the day. That raises the pitch and again, alters the original performance.
Conclusion 1: Radio is not about the music, it’s about using cheap tricks to try and squeeze in a few extra advertising dollars.
Conclusion 2: Radio blows, get your music from the internet like a normal person.
*End cantankerous old man rant.*
Back in dinosaur days, if you wanted to record music you had to beg and plead with a record label to give you a 6-figure loan, which you then used to pay someone else to let you use their studio.
Fortunately however, high quality studio equipment has become more affordable in recent years. Most of The Complete’s music is recorded into 2 kick-ass pre amps that I own, and then put into the computer to be dealt with later. (It’s not entirely that simple, but you get the point).
But in order to get a professional sound you need more than just good gear…you need a good room. All the best gear in the world can’t help a crap-sounding room; after all, garbage in-garbage out.
Now, my recording room is good…but I only have the one (boo-hoo right?). I wanted to be able to set up my live room in a bunch of different configurations so that I can do ALL of my necessary recording in it. One set up for vocals, a different one for acoustic guitar, another for drums…you get the picture. To do that, I needed sound baffles. A quick Google search told me what they’re made out of, and to my surprise everything was available at my local big-box hardware store.
So I made some:
While not inexpensive, they cost a fraction of what 6 weeks in someone else’s studio would cost. This just helps prove that you don’t need to go down the old road anymore. Just save your dollars, use the internet to learn how-to, and do it your-freaking-self. (I’ve seen inventive people put together photography studios, video production suites, you name it. The internet is the most powerful tool available to creators.)
We only have ourselves to blame if we aren’t moving forward.
PS I’m starting to think I could build my own guitar amp…
I don’t watch the 24 hours news cycle. I don’t listen to Top 40 radio. Yet somehow I still know details of Lindsay Lohan and Taylor Swift’s personal lives.
And I couldn’t care less. Lohan gets in a fight? Throw the idiot in prison like you’d do to the rest of us. Taylor Swift gets her heart broken? As if that’s never happened to anyone before.
But I know less about pop-tart celebrities now than I ever did. You see, old media’s reach is not as extensive now as if once was. I have options. I read the news, just not CNN or Fox. I listen to more music than you, just not Billboard’s Top Whatever.
The rise of the internet is the rise of choice. And that’s what really troubles the RIAA and MPAA, not ‘piracy’. Your entertainment money isn’t going into their pockets anymore. Why should it? Hollywood remakes and junk-food, sound-alike music? Thanks, but I’d rather pay $30 to see Alkaline Trio than $30 (tix and food) to see the same Transformers movie over and over.
The old guard is losing our attention with the same old, same old. The future of entertainment belongs to the great writers, the great singers, the great songwriters, the great PERFORMERS.
Quality will win in the long run. The Stones are celebrating 50 years. Where’s Miley Cyrus?
So AC/DC finally put their catalogue up on iTunes.
Why hold out like that? Why not make your music as available as possible? I like AC/DC as much as anyone else, but even I didn’t know that they WEREN’T already on iTunes.
And come on, I bought all those albums on CD when I was a kid. Everyone and their dog has Back in Black already. Does their label really expect us to buy it again?
And besides, if their stuff wasn’t on iTunes until now that just means everyone who wanted it already got it from The Pirate Bay years ago.