May 18, 2011

I Shot the Serif

Dear AAP-
The question last week from the guy about his band wearing masks or not made me think of the last band I was in where we argued for months and eventually broke up with me quitting first over the look of our WEBSITE. I couldn't believe we were even arguing about it. I didn't care how it looked mostly, but two of the the guys were acting like it was the biggest issue in the world and wouldn't compromise about anything from the pictures to the colors to the logo to the font. I don't think the Clash and those guys worried about these kinds of things. Is the problem the technology or is it the people? - Just Play.

Dear JP:
The truth is that even bands like the Clash (and especially The Ramones) were VERY particular and focused right from the beginning when it came to crafting their public image and the icons/pictures/typography that presented them to the world, and I'm sure that, if the web had existed back in 1977 their respective websites would have been equally thought out and "on message." ...but as with all things, if the product itself (the music & the underlying message) isn't great, then it doesn't really matter how good the "packaging" might be.

There are tons of great musicans in the world and there are countless great bands... but ultimately there has to be something special, some kind of X-factor that separates the immortal bands from the rest. Call it a common purpose, wavelength or vibe, the bands that really explode in people's heads usually click on some internal and I would even say, mysterious level. I think about all the people I've played with, from bandmates to strangers I've just jammed with once or twice and there is something internal that you just FEEL when you're really clicking with other musicans and when the music you're making somehow just sounds like more than the sum of its parts. Know what I mean? ...and you can't really predict when lightning will strike.

For example. I've played with countless friends and strangers who, like me, could play whole bunches well-known punk rock songs... but, even though we were hitting the right notes at the right time, the sonic result just sort of laid there in people's ears, but then I would jam with one friend who was purely a "Led Zep / Thin Lizzy" kind of guitarist, who had barely heard of the Ramones and never liked them all that much, but when we jammed together in his livingroom... man... It. just. sounded. awesome. I still have no idea why.

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