Don't Play My Gen's Music Unless You Know How

HipshotPercussion

Senior Member
Short Rant Time:

Just came back from the Port Townsend, WA Street Fair.

Ruined by a band that played classic rock covers in 2/4 time, obliterating both the rock and the roll.

Trust me, you don't want to hear Kinks' classics played oompah style. Aargh!

Last weekend in Los Gatos, CA we went to the same kind of thing. But the band was made up of 60+ year-olds and it was great because THEY knew the music.

I yam disgustipated.

End of Rant. Thanks for the space.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I'm used to being berrated for not paying due respect to classic rock tunes. The rock police are similar to the jazz police, except nowhere near as anal, & they don't typically wear long black coats & brimmed hats.

All that said, oompah style 2/4 is completely beyond reasonable interpretation. 2/4 versions with some drive however, just might be interesting.
 

HipshotPercussion

Senior Member
My problems with this band started when, while walking down the street looking at overpriced but occasionally interesting art (Port Townsend is the art glass capital of the world, for example) I found myself cringing at what I thought was the Decemberists playing SATISFACTION.

Now, I like the Decemberists. I like what they're doing (and my son, who's a film producer, has used their music in several films). But I have a problem every time I hear someone call what they're doing "rock."

I'm eager to hear genuinely new music of a kind I've never heard before, and because of that I'm all for "interesting." But "interesting" doesn't necessarily mean "good." In this case it meant "derivative" and "soulless," at least to me.

OTOH, what do I know? My youngest daughter just got her B.A. in music in Classical Composition, and she believes that "doing jazz versions of Broadway show tunes is what destroyed that genre." As a lover of the Andre Previn-Shelly Manne-Ray Brown version of MY FAIR LADY I have no idea what she's talking about.

(Personally, I think Charles Lloyd's success destroyed jazz, although I'd respect any argument that said it was Harry Connick Jr.'s covers of...everything.)

Yeah, I'm still ranting. Sorry.
 
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mainedrummer

Junior Member
Ahh, I can feel your pain! Art is in the beholder, or creator, but I hate hearing stuff I grew up on played as department store muzak or otherwise murdered.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I dunno... our polka medlies are a hit! Then again, our fans expect that from us.

Bermuda
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
That sounds almost as painful as Big band arrangements of "modern hits" from "today's top artists."
Sorry.. but "Invisible Touch" by Genesis done with a 16 piece dance band should never be allowed again.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
That sounds almost as painful as Big band arrangements of "modern hits" from "today's top artists."
Sorry.. but "Invisible Touch" by Genesis done with a 16 piece dance band should never be allowed again.
It's no different than Paul Anka singing Blackhole Sun, Don Ho singing Shock The Monkey, Lesley Gore doing Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, or Pat Boone singing You've Got Another Thing Comin'.

Sometimes it's just fun for an artist/band to do something different. I personally love the London Symphony Orchestra's versions of music by Tull, Genesis, Yes, Procol Harum and particularly their version of Tommy. I can't say the Paul Anka and Pat Boone stuff bears repeated listening, but it's well done despite it being a bit campy.

I guess that's the key. If you're going to take a rock song and do a polka or reggae or big band or easy-listening version of it, it's got to be executed well to make it work at all. Obviously that applies to any music, but when you do something radically different, it's held to a higher standard because everyone is so familiar with the popular version.

For example, my boss's parodies are held to a high standard, because he's changing the lyrics. But if we didn't keep the playing and production true to the original, the success factor would be much lower. The exception being the polka medley on nearly every album, which is really just for fun and a chance for Al to shine on his primary instrument, the accordion.

Bermuda
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
when you do something radically different, it's held to a higher standard because everyone is so familiar with the popular version.

Bermuda
Agreed, & quite rightly, my band is frequently on the receiving end of that heightened scrutiny.

I both get, & get, the same thing with drum design, if not more so. Drummers have an almost universal definition of beautiful drum form. You can have any finish, any theme you want, but look out if you dare deviate from the classic shell with lugs combination.
 

HipshotPercussion

Senior Member
My big objection to what I heard yesterday is that the deviation didn't seem deliberate. Either this particular group is composed of superlative actors, or they really, really, really thought they were rocking out.

Interesting thing for me was that as musicians they all seemed quite skilled, and the band gelled pretty well. Technically, the drummer was proficient as hell. There was just this matter of consistently strange - or strained - time/rhythmic choices.

Speaking of Don Ho, he was a friend of mine. Couldn't stand his music, but when it came to being one of the guys he wasn't only "the voice of the Islands," he was "the Bill Clinton of the Islands." Gotta love a guy who got rich singing "Tiny Bubbles" to grandmas and took his wife, kids, and mistress out together for dinner at least 3 nights a week. (The mistress had a condo on another floor of the one Don and family lived in, so corralling everyone was no problem.)
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
my band is frequently on the receiving end of that heightened scrutiny.
Tell your detractors to have a good look at your crowd. I've seen 'em.....can't say I've seen anyone there NOT enjoying themselves. All the young writhing females up the front tells me you must be doing something right Andy.

One of my favourite local bands here in Melbourne in the early 90's was a cover band called The Hodads who reworked old classics into a 2/4 country and western flavour. Great fun, very creative, very clever and always had the room up and rockin'. Done correctly, adding a twist to old favourites can work very well. But I guess "done correctly" can be a little hit and miss.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Bermuda, "I can't say the ... Pat Boone stuff bears repeated listening" ... get serious! Pat's cover of Smoke on the Water is fabulous! I prefer it to the original :)

I think your polka tune is popular because it lasts 5-10 mins. If you did it for much of the gig I think there'd be rumbings, since variety is a fair bit of Al's appeal. Polka is like chilli - fun in the right amount, tear-inducing when overdone.

Re: the thread title ... if someone is playing the music of another generation in a different way, it's either deliberate (and they like it) or they either don't know that they don't "know how" (think Donald Rumsfeld's unknown unknowns). I guess there's a third option - they know they suck and hoping they'll improve in time.
 

HipshotPercussion

Senior Member
WHAT???!!!

When's the last time you heard one of his recordings?
Please don't ask me to debate the merits, or lack thereof, of Charles Lloyd. The way I see it, he's the guy who paved the way for, you know, Kenny G.

Hey, I'm a guy who thinks of Ahmad Jamal as a half decent lounge pianist. Well, almost half decent.

Yeah, sorry, but I'm a tough crowd.
 

HipshotPercussion

Senior Member
Re: the thread title ... if someone is playing the music of another generation in a different way, it's either deliberate (and they like it) or they either don't know that they don't "know how" (think Donald Rumsfeld's unknown unknowns). I guess there's a third option - they know they suck and hoping they'll improve in time.
Polly, I think all that you just said is true.

In my life experience there's always more than one option. And the right answer to every question has always been, "All of the above."
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
All kinds of music have been stolen, borrowed, honored, dishonored, interpreted, misinterpreted, rendered and screwed up. Every style, time period and culture is fair game. Classic Rock, being ethnic white music, is fair game.
 
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