Monday, April 25, 2011

The burning question...

"What kind of music do you play?" There it is again, the question that demands an answer but somehow never seems to leave me feeling like I have given an accurate answer. The only honest answer seems to be "Good."

While my music is most often categorized as "Blues", my repertoire is derived from a number of musical styles rooted in rock, blues and country; creatively merged and arranged to suit my personal vocal style and ultimately resulting in my own unique "sound". Because of the strong blues influence that runs through out my music it seems to be the best fit when forced to classify my "type" of music.

In regard to my band (Zero Gravity) The challenge that developing this "sound" has created for me/us is in finding musicians that are open, flexible and creative enough to go there with me. While there are an abundance of wonderfully talented musicians whom I feel privileged to play with, the tendency is to resort to compartmentalizing the styles resulting in the band simply performing 3 or 4 separate styles. All done very well but completely missing the goal of creating a new sound. I'm thinking my music might fall into the new "Americana" genre based on the description, however the listeners tend to refer to it as belonging in the "Blues" category.

I've been advised more then once to "stick to one genre so as not to appear to be un-focus". My response is "Why?". I can list a number of artists that cross over genres and are quite successful and probably more musically satisfied (at least if they feel like I do about music).

The obvious solution might appear to be to form separate bands for each style. Unfortunately this robs me of MY style (a merging of rock/blues/country) which is what I want to perform.

Of coarse there are occasions when putting together a "country band" to play a "country gig" or a "blues band" to play a "blues gig" etc... is necessary and appropriate, but these are generally gigs dictated by the hiring party, whether that be a club or private party. As a professional musician these are good gigs and a viable source of work. I am often compelled to follow this model by default, but it is no longer what I want to do except on occasion. At this point in my career I want to continue to develop and perform original pieces in my own style. I want it to be steeped in the blues, delivered with a rock n roll edge, have the soul of R&B and a southern/country heart.

It's a beautiful thing, music, and the challenge is one that sparks a feeling of aliveness in me. As frustrating as it can be the reward when it all comes together is so great it's worth accepting. The search for musicians is more of an opportunity then a chore and more exhilarating then exhausting but requires a dedication and focus that is unwavering to get it right. The best part of the journey is the wonderful musicians and music lovers that I have the pleasure of meeting and playing with.

Keepin the music LIVE

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stick N Stones

Just an observation over the years...

As I pursue the social networks and cruise the music scene it never ceases to amaze me what people have to say online or behind the scenes vs how they behave in person. As I read articles, blogs, posts or whatever, much of it is filled with good wishes toward each other, offering support and hoping for the best for one another. My spirits are raised and I begin to believe there is a community of supportive loving souls out there all wishing the best to one another. Until....

I come face to face with some of these "well wishers". Somehow the "warm fuzzies" are left at home and the "Sticks and Stones" start to fly. Granted this is usually a "new kid on the block" flexing his or her best competitive attitude in effort to appear "cool" and confident; or an "aging musician" whose time has past or at least he/she believes it might be passing soon, and the insecurities are showing. It's quite a show and really rather entertaining.

Real "Fans", are the best! No really, no sarcasm intended! They just love music and players that have a good time. Support every band they can and are the real deal, real LIVE music supporters. However, there are the few who call themselves "Fans" but are stone throwing "Moles" looking to start drama between bands. They are self proclaimed "band loyalists", the unhappy individuals that believe you can't support more then one band and call yourself a true "Fan". Whatever!!! Maybe they missed the audition for "Real World" "Real Housewives" or some other freak show and this is their simpleminded idea of support for the band they follow.

Fortunately I have been around long enough to have found a great number of humble talented and devoted player but I certainly had my share of band drama and if you've maintained a band for any length of time you know this guy.
The band member that got dropped, cut, or quit in a fit of drama for whatever reason and is now willing to tell anyone who'll listen how shitty the band, the material, and the talent was any way. He/She will murmur to any ear that will bend and gets a real thrill if the listener is a "Mole" who will help perpetuate the drama. Even worse, the band member that stays on board and talks shit during every break about how none of the players measures up to his/her skill level but they need the money. This is usually the same guy that bitches about how much they are not getting paid (right in earshot of the club owner!), never makes rehearsals (he's to good for that)and jumps ship for an extra $20 bucks. To them I say "How's that working for ya?"!

Fortunately even though there are a few bad apples, for the most part, my experience with people (musicians and Fans alike) is always a pleasure. I love people, good and bad. Besides, if I'm patient and watch carefully, the bad apples always float to the top and are easily moved aside or scooped up by the "takers" who are to busy to notice. To them I say "Good luck with that!".

It's a short time we have here on earth and the time is even shorter when we get to do something as rewarding as making and sharing music. if you can't laugh at this maybe you should ask yourself a few hard questions...just sayin'

...PS...this is not directed at anyone in particular just an observation over the years so if you're a "Mole" and reading this, sorry but this is not fuel for your burning need to gossip. You know who you are (most of us do too).