Haha - love the link! Well, for about 45 seconds :)
One of my faves was Pat Boone's version fo Smoke On The Water
. I like it more than the original. It's both a crackup and classy.
What if SS, was, "Freedom, oh, sweet sweet Freedom, here comes a bright new sun, and it leaves me wanting more." :)
Yeah, we've touched on this on the forum a few times, the extramusical playing a major role in the music. When I was young I had a real hoik! ptui!
attitude towards the extramusical. We thought that extramusical elements were BS that masked a lack of talent. These days I think that, unless the music is OUTSTANDING (and I don't use that term lightly), then music needs extramusical elements to be of high value (not necessarly $$).
After all, music stemmed from the extramusical right from the first vocalisations and clap sticks. It meant somthing, represented something, said something. Performances weren't so much this artificial thing we've developed where the musicians perform as artists or stars in front of a rapt audience. There was no separate "band" and "audience", just the whole tribe hving a pow-wow. The musos just had a certain role in the gig, along with the chief, shaman, dancers, people clapping along etc. If anything, some pop and rock bands come closest to that rootsy dynamic, often those playing small gigs and parties. It's not just about the music but everyone getting together to enjoy an uplifting experience.
The least interesting types of extramusical elements are sex and love. Common as muck, unless they are outstanding. Dance/disco/funk is also common - "get ya body movin' yeah". Comedy is a good one (I like comedy) and it frees up bands to get into a bit of genre bending a la Uncle Frank, early Tubes and Weird Al.
Then you have scenes that express group attitudes - the rebellion against prudishness of old RnR (and jazz, going back further), the ghetto expression of rap, the nihilism of punk, the anti-establishment of metal, the left wing politics and anti-hierarchy attitude of experimental music, blues's down-to-earth reconciliation with life's pain etc.
Singers usually understand this more than other band members because they're the ones who are have to present the words in a way that suggests that they agree with the lyric's worldview. I mean, no matter how great the music is, not too many singers will sing a song that promotes bestiality ... "Hey baby, I love your snout. I bet you like to get about. I love it when you swing your tail. Don't care if you're a girl or male" :)
So if singers are feeling or acting out the ideas in the lyrics, then image and stage presentation matters. You might not want to sing a plaintive version of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
while wearing Daevid Allen's umbrella hat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFZ1N22I_QU
) but that outfit is fine for playing Radio Gnome Invisible
... I'd not heard of it until you mentioned it. If the YouTube link didn't tell the story there is NO WAY I would have worked out the meaning from the music. I would have just thought of it as having some beautiful ethereal passages along with some fairly dull jazz noodling in the middle. No doubt the meaning would have been clearer at the time, but the song is abstract expressionism, which will always go over the heads of a lot of people.
Some think that art shouldn't need explanations to be clear, but I think that's too precious. Nothing wrong with providing explanations. The explanation becomes part of the art and allows it to be appreciated on another level. I guess that's marketing. And marketing - explanations - plays a much bigger role in art than we often care to admit, or we rail against it. But in a sense that's genre messing too, just on a broader scale.
So I don't care much for the connoisseur attitude of "pure music" being superior to other forms. As far as I'm concerned it's more a matter of "whatever it takes" to say what you want to say, just as long as it's not fraud like miming when people expect live music. Some musics are deeper than others, but depth rarely pays the rent. Probably because life itself is only occasionally deep, if at all - lol
As for jazz players in R&B bands, maybe they like playing jazz best but I expect they still love playing those gigs. It's hard to play music you don't like and perform with enough conviction to please other band members and fans. How about a monster R&B player like Jim Keltner who, like Bill and Billy etc, is also playing exactly what he wants to play? I suspect that many much-derided pop musos who are accused of playing crap for money are playing exactly what they love too.
The best situation is if good musos enjoy a wide range of styles like you do. Then the world is your oyster :) If I was a really good drummer I'd have that luxury too so I only get a taste and have to make my bucks producing management reports.