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  #41  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

Great posts. Bob, put me down as another who's jealous of your drum solo experience - great attitude and approach!

The closest I came to that was playing at a party many years ago and the power cut out. We had a ton of drunken revellers desperate for music so I started playing some simplistic Afro rhythms on my toms (any excuse will do :) to there was something for people to dance to. The others in the band picked up the cowbell, maracas and tambourine. The partygoers were stomping along to the beat so hard that we had to tone it down because the host was worried that the balcony would collapse.

Totally agree with you re: Innagaddadavida too. Was it Ron Bushy drumming? He wasn't strutting his stuff but maintaining and developing the mood of the track. It's the difference between being a drummer and being a musician, which strikes me as what Ken was driving at with the Morello quote ... a top quote, especially good coming from someone with a quality single stroke roll ...


PS. Steel, you DO know what Steely Dan was in William Burroughs's Naked Lunch, don't you? :)
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  #42  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

Pol,

Only on DW do you have two people at each other's throats and then registering in the same thread.

I think people may not understand the grand narratives that play out in popular music, and how often seemingly innocuous music is full of these references. It my be better topic for the cloaked reference thread. But when people say theory, there is harmonic theory, rhythmic theory, but also race and gender theory. Theory is a big word.

You and I have played this out many times. I would say that race is the grand narrative of American popular music in the 1940s and 50s, whereas gender is the grand narrative of the 1970s and 80's, even into the 1990s with Lilith Fair. In the mid-1970s you had many bands who became huge who went from a male dominated audience to a female dominated audience, Genesis and Journey are the biggest I can think of that mark that shift, and also Styx, Kansas, and the Hair metal of the 80s fit in here. With this shift came the invention or reinvention of power pop and the power ballad. That is where you most readily see the social dynamics of gender play out in music. A lot has been written about the swell against disco in racial and gender parameters; but personally I think the the movement against disco had more to do with over commercialism. I am pretty sure you would agree with my summation. I think you and I are the two people who beat this to death.

But here is the question, What do you think was the grand narrative of rock music in the 1990s and 2000s? I have some ideas; but nothing set in stone. I'll share it but I want to get your unfettered input first.
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  #43  
Old 06-24-2010, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

The grand narrative of rock music from twenty years ago onward is a hard thing to pin down.

Recently, there have been many things in pop culture that lack originality, like remakes of movies from decades ago, film adaptations of classical super heroes, etc.

Music might have that same cancerous problem, but there are gems I think. Lady Gaga sure has the originality thing going on(At least with fashion).

So, to put it in a single term that seems more like a good thing than bad, I'd say the grand narrative of 1990-2000 rock is 'Reflection'.
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  #44  
Old 06-24-2010, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

My first thought with your post was that you missed the 60s ... and wasn't that a grand narrative? :)

Ken, you may have to help me out here because I had a bit of a breakdown in the mid-90s and stopped playing from the late 90s through to 2007.

My impression as a non-musician at the time was that the 90s were mostly about globalisation and the 00s about technology. Governments - shifting heavily to the right - have increasingly handed power to giant multinationals, and they have taken on the role of our (tacit) unelected leaders.

Just today our nation's leader was removed after proposing additional taxes on mining companies ... they have high foreign ownership so our PM was trying to get Oz a greater share of the non-renewable resources being dug up at warp speed. The companies' and their (well-funded) public campaign saw him sacked. He made the mistake of not reporting to his corporate masters for veto before enacting policy.

The rise of the Net in the 00s has seen a greater increase in the influence of the media. Increased commercial influence is inevitably reflected in the arts. All this points to homogenisation. Music is increasingly technologically based and produced more cheaply and efficiently, with songs spending their short lives trapped in the battery hen cages of mechanised beats before being rapidly replaced by another on the production line to serve wired young people leading largely digitally-based lives (there was an extended chat about this in the Drummer vs Computer thread).

Sorry, more musing than grand narratives :)
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  #45  
Old 06-24-2010, 04:05 PM
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In my opinion the current "grand narrative" back to at least the 90's is self promotion. It seems like most "artists" these days are just talking about themselves. Their experiences, their lives, their possessions, their bitches and hoes, etc. The pop scene is all about self promotion and even more so, self indulgence. Hm. Maybe I should change my answer to that. Self indulgence. There, I said it.
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  #46  
Old 06-24-2010, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

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My first thought with your post was that you missed the 60s ... and wasn't that a grand narrative? :)
I realized that when I was in the shower, probably about the time you were writing it. I think we have a psychic connection. :) I meant the 50's and 60s as oppossed to the 70s and 80s. I don't know how the 40s got lumped in there; but I was referring specifically to rock.

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Ken, you may have to help me out here because I had a bit of a breakdown in the mid-90s and stopped playing from the late 90s through to 2007.

My impression as a non-musician at the time was that the 90s were mostly about globalisation and the 00s about technology. Governments - shifting heavily to the right - have increasingly handed power to giant multinationals, and they have taken on the role of our (tacit) unelected leaders.

Just today our nation's leader was removed after proposing additional taxes on mining companies ... they have high foreign ownership so our PM was trying to get Oz a greater share of the non-renewable resources being dug up at warp speed. The companies' and their (well-funded) public campaign saw him sacked. He made the mistake of not reporting to his corporate masters for veto before enacting policy.

The rise of the Net in the 00s has seen a greater increase in the influence of the media. Increased commercial influence is inevitably reflected in the arts. All this points to homogenisation. Music is increasingly technologically based and produced more cheaply and efficiently, with songs spending their short lives trapped in the battery hen cages of mechanised beats before being rapidly replaced by another on the production line to serve wired young people leading largely digitally-based lives (there was an extended chat about this in the Drummer vs Computer thread).

Sorry, more musing than grand narratives :)

Maybe things were easier back then . . .

I don't think that some of this is actually new. Globalization, you had reggae and Indian influences in the late 1960s and 70s. The Afro Cuban thing goes back into the 1940s and 50s. the Beatles and The Police traveled all over the world. Technology, prog dealt with these issues in the 70s and 80s, ELP, Genesis and Rush, esp. Homogenization, I would say you need to have it to have popular music. Without it ever one is listening to something different and nothing would get "popular." But I think all these narrative do play out in a grand narrative. They are and have always been at the heart of rock music.

As Steely states, one of the big shifts of the last 20 years is reflection. So much of rock music is prefaced on generational conflict. The Velvets wrote about that. That is what the hippies were about. Punk and Rap wanted to start at Zero, and get back to a time when rock had no past. But by the 1990s, rebellion was a great marketing tool, rather than having any real efficacy. If rebellion is a marketing tool, does it have any efficacy at all, and did it ever?

Reflection sets itself against generational conflict, which is one of the major narratives of the 20th century, going back to WWI, which was a war prefaced on erasing the past, a war prefaced on the heralding of technological future (Futurists) against a romantic past, which would again play out in Nazism. Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters and Peter Sinfield really tackle this in their lyrics with Genesis, Crimson, Floyd and ELP. All those public school brats.

I would say that rock has historically defined nihilism in its generational conflict. I hate my parents and want to die. "We gotta get out of this place." Nihilism was a major part of the the rock music of the 1990s and grunge. Pearl Jam's Jeremy comes to mind. I hate you all and want to die. The Velvets and the roots of punk were the models. Nihilism plays against self-indulgence. But being overly self-indulgent is a form of nihilism, isn't it? It's self-destructive. I think that the answer sits somewhere between reflection and nihilism; honoring the past vs. destroying the ego and the past with it. I think rock music has always had a "problem" with the dichotomy, as well as self-indulgence. They're all fundamental artistic conflicts.

In the 1990s, the big shift came when kids started listening to their parent's music. One of the aspects of Alt rock and grunge was that it took its mantle from the singer -songwriters of the 1970s and heavy metal, genres that was criticized as being overly self-absorbed. They often say Neil Young started grunge, and Patti Smith. Cobain loved Lennon. Cobain exemplified the alt rock narrative, and named his band Nirvana, extinction of self. In alt rock, lyrical content was prefaced above musical ability, and energy (emotionalism) was extolled above technique. The idea of the song was to tell a story or capture a mood. REM's Night Swimming comes to mind, and later Radiohead, Paranoid Android is a good one. "I am paranoid; but no android," (If you haven't heard OK Computer, it's time) and Blur. There was a quest for authenticity against corp rock of the late 1970s and 1980s. But everyone thinks their music is "authentic," and perhaps everything else is crap.

again, no answer just more musings. where's Duncan?
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  #47  
Old 06-24-2010, 06:23 PM
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. Lady Gaga sure has the originality thing going on(At least with fashion).

.
To me, Lady Gaga is nothing but taking what Madonna did in the 80's and 90's, taking up a notch. All her music and fashion is the same Madonna did, just a bit more extreme. And perhaps more compacted, as Gaga takes from all of Madonna's era equally.
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  #48  
Old 06-24-2010, 06:37 PM
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I would say that rock has historically defined nihilism in its generational conflict. I hate my parents and want to die. "We gotta get out of this place." Nihilism was a major part of the the rock music of the 1990s and grunge. Pearl Jam's Jeremy comes to mind. I hate you all and want to die. The Velvets and the roots of punk were the models. Nihilism plays against self-indulgence. But being overly self-indulgent is a form of nihilism, isn't it? It's self-destructive. I think that the answer sits somewhere between reflection and nihilism; honoring the past vs. destroying the ego and the past with it. I think rock music has always had a "problem" with the dichotomy, as well as self-indulgence. They're all fundamental artistic conflicts.

In the 1990s, the big shift came when kids started listening to their parent's music. One of the aspects of Alt rock and grunge was that it took its mantle from the singer -songwriters of the 1970s and heavy metal, genres that was criticized as being overly self-absorbed. They often say Neil Young started grunge, and Patti Smith. Cobain loved Lennon. Cobain exemplified the alt rock narrative, and named his band Nirvana, extinction of self. In alt rock, lyrical content was prefaced above musical ability, and energy (emotionalism) was extolled above technique. The idea of the song was to tell a story or capture a mood. REM's Night Swimming comes to mind, and later Radiohead, Paranoid Android is a good one. "I am paranoid; but no android," (If you haven't heard OK Computer, it's time) and Blur. There was a quest for authenticity against corp rock of the late 1970s and 1980s. But everyone thinks their music is "authentic," and perhaps everything else is crap.

again, no answer just more musings. where's Duncan?
I'd say that's pretty spot on.

As a kid growing up in San Francisco, I was in awe of the music of the late 60's. And as I became a teen, I got too see a lot of "20th anniversary" celebrations of assorted 60's events. Classic rock was huge.

And as an under aged teen, I saw everything that was going on in the 80's. And yes, while a lot of it was cheesy, it was at least fun. I looked forward to finally being able to old enough to go out and experience this fun.

And then I turned 21, and grunge took over. And suddenly, it wasn't about fun anymore.
And it wasn't a return to the social reflection of the 60's. It was all about self loathing. Cut your hair, stop standing out, and write songs about how much you hate yourself.
I thought it was pretty much a big bummer.

Granted, there were some great albums in the early 90's, but overall, it was a bummer.

And the funny thing (or not) was grunge was considered a reaction against the fact that 80's hair metal had become a parody of itself with a million cookie cutter bands (which was 100% true, and I hated much of it), but by 1995, grunge had become a parody of itself as well, with a million cookie cutter bands, while Cobain killed himself and Lane Staley was having problems keeping it together. It seemed to be a case of grunge saying to hair metal "hi, we're going to rebel against you by doing the exact same thing you did." Just replace spandex with flannel. Obviously record companies had a lot to do with it, by singing a million cookie cutter bands, but still, the bands were there to be singed.
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  #49  
Old 06-24-2010, 06:39 PM
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@DD, sweet jesus, man...

@DED, Lady Gaga is more like Marilyn Manson with a side order of Madonna. Marilyn Manson was just the spawn of Alice Cooper and KISS. She's just the next wave of shock pop. Incidentally, my 2 year-old daughter loves Paparazzi. :p

I think this whole narrative thing needs to be broken down by genre. At least my views of it. I think hip hop and rap are almost completely about narcissism. Look at me, foo, I gots mad bitches rollin' on dubs! I'm not really sure what rock (in general) is about anymore. I listen mainly to QotSA and TCV. Their lyrics are all over the place. If you look at the way they produce, long jam sessions then plug in some lyrics afterward, they seem to be more about the music itself than the words or the message. They're pushing a mood, how does the music make you feel, the words are an afterthought that usually fits the mood of the music. I've tried listening to some emo stuff (which seems to be all the rage these days), but I find most of it annoying. Fall Out Boy, AFI, and 30 Seconds To Mars seem to be about self pitty. My life is so hard no one loves me. I tried to kill myself but I even screwed that up. If I become a different person will you love me?

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  #50  
Old 06-24-2010, 07:54 PM
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And then I turned 21, and grunge took over. And suddenly, it wasn't about fun anymore.
And it wasn't a return to the social reflection of the 60's. It was all about self loathing. Cut your hair, stop standing out, and write songs about how much you hate yourself.
I thought it was pretty much a big bummer.
I was hoping you'd give some insights. Great post.

I did want to say something about the self-loathing aspect of alt rock. In the early 1980s, U2 were considered an up and coming alt rock band. They were influenced by all the right bands: The Velvets, The Ramones and The Clash. By Rattle and hum, they were porraia, and part of it was Bono's huge ego. In alt rock, you had to be self-loathing, you couldn't be boastful or prideful. Maybe it rebelled against 80s excess in that way.

From my perspective, I never hated corp rock, and I know you are a big Journey fan. Corp rock was the derogatory word alt rockers used for Arena rock. But those guys could sing and play their instruments. I don't want to go there .:p but living in the world, you have to adapt, which could be construed as selling out. Otherwise you can live in a commune or the desert. People eat pork even if you don't. It's somewhat immature to not want to adapt and be able to live in the world with others in a peaceful manner, to live with others who disagree with you. The question I always asked alt rockers is, "what if I don't agree with you?"

motojt yeah, I've thought about this sh*& a bit.

you may be right about breaking it down to genre. But as a question, couldn't modern rock and emo be said to deal with the notion of alienation? I don't know what rap is about anymore; a lot of it used to be about race. But even the notion of Getting rich or dying hard trying speaks to Marxist view of Capitalist alienation where the only thing that matters is material success. For young black men who had been denied that in racist America, that became an empowerment narrative.
.
I was checking my youtube and it said that this video was selected for me. How did they know? It's pretty scary. . .

Dee Snider at Congress . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7C5k...ure=grec_index

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  #51  
Old 06-24-2010, 09:37 PM
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you may be right about breaking it down to genre. But as a question, couldn't modern rock and emo be said to deal with the notion of alienation?
Yes for emo, pop-punk, and pop-rock, maybe for metal, but definitely not for desert rock (or stoner rock if you prefer). I've actually renamed stoner/desert rock to metal blues because a lot of QotSA, TCV, and Kyuss tracks have a bluesy feel to them. Not the traditional blues riffs, mind you, but the style and feel, the mood. I think they stick out from the alienation mold like a boner in gym class. If I had to attach a narrative to their music I'd probably have to say it would be walk your path. Not as in alienation or rebellion or anarchy, but more like you should just do what you want. And remember, I'm getting this from the music, not the lyrics, as they're generally chaotic and meaningless when taken as a whole. Also, bear in mind that's how I interpret it. Mileage may vary. ;)

P.S: In the spirit of the nickname hijack in the Little bit of Theory thread, feel free to just call me jt. I don't particularly care for it because it reminds me of Justin Timberlake, but most of my coworkers use it regardless.
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  #52  
Old 06-24-2010, 10:14 PM
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I was hoping you'd give some insights. Great post.

I did want to say something about the self-loathing aspect of alt rock. In the early 1980s, U2 were considered an up and coming alt rock band. They were influenced by all the right bands: The Velvets, The Ramones and The Clash. By Rattle and hum, they were porraia, and part of it was Bono's huge ego. In alt rock, you had to be self-loathing, you couldn't be boastful or prideful. Maybe it rebelled against 80s excess in that way.
I still love the first four U2 albums. I think they are just amazing pieces of work.
In retrospect, it's easy to see where there influences came from, but at the time, they seemed rather different. And to me, they had that lost late 60's era attitude about them, signing about trying to find your place in the world, political and social commentary.

The funny thing is, I remember being the only one in my Jr High who knew who they were. I visited my family, and my cousins had no clue who U2 were. Which didn't make sense, because I discovered them by watching MTV, who played "Gloria" and "New Years Day" all the time. But then "Pride" became a huge single a few years later, and suddenly everyone claimed to be a fan.

But I agree, after Rattle and Hum, Bono's ego got huge, and it was a huge turn off.
Someone comped me a ticket to see them on the Pop tour, and I walked out, they had become such a bad parody of themselves, and they even seemed to make fun of their old material.

But I never tire of hearing the "Boy" album.

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From my perspective, I never hated corp rock, and I know you are a big Journey fan. Corp rock was the derogatory word alt rockers used for Arena rock. But those guys could sing and play their instruments. I don't want to go there .:p but living in the world, you have to adapt, which could be construed as selling out. Otherwise you can live in a commune or the desert.
I never fully understood the term "corp rock" as it's applied to bands it's often applied to. Journey's first three albums bombed big time. Their 4th album was only a minor hit. The band never turned a profit until their 5th album. They didn't become mega-huge until their 8th album. If they were a corporate product, they would have been turning out catchy hit songs from day one, not jazz-rock fusion songs they were making. Even much of their later material had fusion elements laced through it.

Many other so called "corp rock" bands had similar stories of humble beginnings. It's not as if were assembled by corporations with writers handing them pre-fabbed hit songs like New Kids on the Block, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson were.

There were a few exceptions. When Paul Katner left the Jefferson Starship, the remaining members did abandon writing their own material for pre-fabed crap and were re-born as the "Starship".

Anyhow, there is more to this post, but I really have some stuff I need to go do.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:52 PM
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Yes for emo, pop-punk, and pop-rock, maybe for metal, but definitely not for desert rock (or stoner rock if you prefer). I've actually renamed stoner/desert rock to metal blues because a lot of QotSA, TCV, and Kyuss tracks have a bluesy feel to them. Not the traditional blues riffs, mind you, but the style and feel, the mood. I think they stick out from the alienation mold like a boner in gym class. If I had to attach a narrative to their music I'd probably have to say it would be walk your path. Not as in alienation or rebellion or anarchy, but more like you should just do what you want. And remember, I'm getting this from the music, not the lyrics, as they're generally chaotic and meaningless when taken as a whole. Also, bear in mind that's how I interpret it. Mileage may vary. ;)

P.S: In the spirit of the nickname hijack in the Little bit of Theory thread, feel free to just call me jt. I don't particularly care for it because it reminds me of Justin Timberlake, but most of my coworkers use it regardless.

speaking of hijacking . . .

An overall or dominant narrative need not pertain to everything that is recorded during a time period. Not every song recorded in the 1950s was about race. But overall, the context of music making during that period dealt with the cultural preconceptions about race, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and of course, Elvis all are performing in a racial context, as are The Stones and Beatles in the 1960s. Gender and sex roles play a dominant role in 1970s music the moaning or Robert Plant, the dress up of Bowie and NY Dolls, as well as in the Corp rock or Arena rock of the 1980s. You can read these cultural codes into the music.

It may very well be that music of the last 20 years is incapable of begin codified in such an all inclusive context. But I don't think so. I think you and Polly are on to something with the idea of the way the internet has allowed for a greater freedom in expression. I think that this has become the major narrative of music today. What is the the implication of having that freedom, and how does it play out in the music?

Again, I think a big part of music over the last 20 years is the preference of emotion over technique. Something I personally don't think is a plus. I would say that nihilism is a big part of that music, and it would be interesting to try to come to a deeper understanding of why there have been so many prominent suicides, and perhaps an increase in very destructive behavior. Part of that is just part of the business. Judy Garland, Elvis and Michael Jackson all died the tragic self-destructive deaths.

I have wondered how much in intrusion of such theories can assist in musicians pursuit of creative expression. As Steely said, the notion of reflection or historical context plays a big role in music today. Something it didn't do as much back in the 1960s because rock just did not have a history.
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:27 AM
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Something it didn't do as much back in the 1960s because rock just did not have a history.
I often think that's why people say older music is better than new music.

Early rock, even though the early 80's, there was a lot of innovation of people playing things that couldn't be compared to generations past. Where as more modern rock has 50+ yuar history to be compared to.
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Old 06-26-2010, 04:38 AM
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James, your observation about reflection really rings home to me. I've lost count of the number of songs in the recent decades that young people think is a cool new thing and it's clearly a remake of an old classic.

Rock simply ran out of fuel and started consuming itself. The evolution of metal parallels that of horror films - always moving towards greater extremity. I can see that heading the same way as rock - just remaking itself in its own image. Extremity can only go so far.

Also agree re: rap. Disadvantaged kid finds his place in the world and gloats about his gross abuse of his new-found empowerment. Especially about his ability to put down women in the same way as he felt put down. Schadenfreude born of unresolved trauma masquerading as empowerment.


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Again, I think a big part of music over the last 20 years is the preference of emotion over technique. Something I personally don't think is a plus. I would say that nihilism is a big part of that music, and it would be interesting to try to come to a deeper understanding of why there have been so many prominent suicides, and perhaps an increase in very destructive behavior. Part of that is just part of the business. Judy Garland, Elvis and Michael Jackson all died the tragic self-destructive deaths.
I see "emotion over technique" as being part of the corporatisation of the music industry. It's actually manipulated emotion over technique, not emotion with any great depth.

You see the same trend in the print media. A reduction of studied and dispassionate analysis of current affairs (in comparative terms, anyway) in favour of cynically hysterical, faux-emotional sensationalism.

It's all about chasing the LCD dollar with the realisation that the standards gatekeepers like university professors etc are a small minority and not big spenders, whereas over half the population is of average or below average intelligence.

Ironically, corporate use of technology (following in the heels of the near-perfect studio musos in the 70s and 80s) has resulted in increased emphasis on technique over emotionality. Not virtuoso technique but an emphasis on perfect "professional" product with massive, glossy production where human inconsistencies have been tweezed out through use of machines, pitch correction, Pro Tools etc.

I suspect record company majors wanted to squeeze out the indie opposition by conditioning people's ears to only accept production standards that the underfunded and idealistic indie couldn't and wouldn't match.

Yet it feels right for the times - people are increasingly being reduced to high consumption worker bees with minimal time for reflection. Worship mighty Mammon.

Poo to that, I say! My mother was an author and a total ratbag and I'm her daughter :) So I refuse to play that game. I reserve the right to be reflective, analytical, to look and listen rather than follow, to ensure I have work/life balance and guilt-free downtime. I refuse to pander to the anti-intellectual LCD and I do what I can to use the system rather than let it use me. In other words, I'm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsCyC1dZiN8

:)
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  #56  
Old 06-26-2010, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

Well said Polly. Well said.
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

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James, your observation about reflection really rings home to me.
Ahem, that was my observation.

Polly, despite the fact I only quoted a single, initial line from your essay-like post, I did in fact read it all and I believe you deserve a fist-bump for that.

Also, one more observation that matched up with another post about self-absorbed metal: concerts and gigs from the metal from the 80's and the like are normally more flashy, huge venues, lots of reverb, big kits, shiny clothes, etc.

Nirvana completely reversed that. It's what i call "modest rock", where the bands themselves aren't as flashy in materialistic ways but still puts on a good show. It proves the hair metal bands wrong.

Which is awesome.
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

Ditto on that Polly. You are a girl after my own heart. I almost cried when I read that post. lol

This line could be right out of a Brecht text . . .

"I see "emotion over technique" as being part of the corporatisation of the music industry. It's actually manipulated emotion over technique, not emotion with any great depth."

For many artists, art was the only true expression of emotion; but maybe to some degree, all art is faux emotion. The role of music is certainly to manipulate emotion. For Brecht, that was not a positive thing under capitalism for the reason you stated. It was pure exploitation to create an army of worker bees for the Capitalist system. Brecht was a real rogue but I suspect that one hundred years hence, he will be seen as one of the most important writers/thinkers of the 20th century.

Getting back to the idea of homogenization of music, I have wondered if the internet will lead to the demise of popular music. If you don't have a unified production system, you can't have a popular system. Certainly there's a lot of indie music out there today; but it seems like the industry is having a comeback.

As far as standards, who is going to set them? The industry, the academic, the artist the audience. I don't know that academia has ever had a role in setting the standard. Seems like it should be the artists themselves.

MGMT . .indie labels are so passe. "The Rolling Stones weren't an Indie Band"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdxzA0wYBTU&feature=fvst

I lvoe it when being a radical becomes so commonplace that the only thing to do is rebel against it.

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Old 06-26-2010, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

Hey, sorry Steely for not giving you the credit for pointing out that rock music is increasingly looking backwards at itself. Good observation.

The 'net - especially YouTube and MySpace - does raise my hopes that the power of the industry will be reduced. However, I've seen more and more high quality clips appearing on Youtube, headed by advertising. Again, corporations are using their advantage of high quality production.

I hate how we've become so hung up on production. Think of all those jazz recordings from the 30s right through to the 60s - Satchmo, Duke, Goodman, Bird, Miles, Trane etc. Or rock from the 60s - Beatles, Stones, Jimi, Janis, Doors, Floyd, Turtles. The production is total crap when compared with today's pop music but who cares? The music was FANTASTIC!

Yet plenty of younger people do care because their ears expect "better" - very discerning about the things that cost $$, so much so that it matters more to them than the things that money can't buy.

This is no criticism of any generation - people are just people, no matter what era they were raised in - but we can only respond to what we're exposed to. If most of what you hear is the soullessly perfect chunka chunka of a machine then it's not soulless to you, just usual.

So what do drummers like Elvin, Tony, Mitch and Keith sound like to younger people with their regular variations and low tech sound? Dull (not glossy), messy (not tidy like a machine) and weak (where's the dancey pulse?). How often do you hear drummers say that those guys were sloppy - as though standards have been raised. WTF? lol Today we'll hear players who are more precise, whose tempos are more even than those older guys but I don't think that in any way makes the new players any more satisfying.

We oldies are anachronisms but with an ageing society there's still plenty of us to maintain the demand for organic music - along with a surprising number of young 'uns who understand the vibe of retro music. As we oldies start falling off the perch the young retro fans will carry the torch into their middle age, but there will be an increasing army of virtual music fans also reaching middle age ... unless there's a big turnabout. I can't see it myself, but who can be sure what twists and turns the music scene will take?
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Old 06-26-2010, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

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Getting back to the idea of homogenization of music, I have wondered if the internet will lead to the demise of popular music. If you don't have a unified production system, you can't have a popular system. Certainly there's a lot of indie music out there today; but it seems like the industry is having a comeback.
We're certainly seeing signs of it. We're seeing few "big names" selling umpteen million copies of any one album, yet hundred upon hundreds of bands are able to sell a few thousand copies, and more underground genre's of music are getting small bits of mainstream recognition because it sells just enough to not be ignored.



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I lvoe it when being a radical becomes so commonplace that the only thing to do is rebel against it.
I remember being 11 or so, and thinking Ozzy and Judas Priest were so extreme. Now, they get played on classic rock radio along side the The Beatles and the Stones, and I think nothing of letting my 3 yr old listen to them.
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

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Ditto on that Polly. You are a girl after my own heart. I almost cried when I read that post. lol

...I lvoe it when being a radical becomes so commonplace that the only thing to do is rebel against it.
I think we're all in agreement that Polly is probably one of the most philosophical here. P:

Again, Kurt Cobain. He hated the "rebels" in punk and he fought them, but ended up being a 'true' rebel. Nirvana had an interesting impact on music...

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Hey, sorry Steely for not giving you the credit for pointing out that rock music is increasingly looking backwards at itself. Good observation.

The 'net - especially YouTube and MySpace - does raise my hopes that the power of the industry will be reduced. However, I've seen more and more high quality clips appearing on Youtube, headed by advertising. Again, corporations are using their advantage of high quality production.

I hate how we've become so hung up on production. Think of all those jazz recordings from the 30s right through to the 60s - Satchmo, Duke, Goodman, Bird, Miles, Trane etc. Or rock from the 60s - Beatles, Stones, Jimi, Janis, Doors, Floyd, Turtles. The production is total crap when compared with today's pop music but who cares? The music was FANTASTIC!

Yet plenty of younger people do care because their ears expect "better" - very discerning about the things that cost $$, so much so that it matters more to them than the things that money can't buy.
Yes, the internet is readily expanding the indie part of the music scene- but, take it from one of those indie guys, we're using what we have so we can get closer to the industry itself. We're interested in being able to make our music a living, whether it brands us as "sellouts" or not.

Well, Abbey Road sounds pretty good, even for today's standards... ._.

Ah, those Audiophiles.

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We're certainly seeing signs of it. We're seeing few "big names" selling umpteen million copies of any one album, yet hundred upon hundreds of bands are able to sell a few thousand copies, and more underground genre's of music are getting small bits of mainstream recognition because it sells just enough to not be ignored.

I remember being 11 or so, and thinking Ozzy and Judas Priest were so extreme. Now, they get played on classic rock radio along side the The Beatles and the Stones, and I think nothing of letting my 3 yr old listen to them.
Again, indie is going up, big and shiny is going down. At least for heavy music(rock to metal).

I think another observation made in this thread was the ever-evolving definition of "shocking". Years from now Marilyn Manson and Slipknot will be like Judas Priest and Ozzy, in the "Nostalgia Radio" library.

It makes you wonder what will be next, what will be considered shocking after the current shockers are outdated.
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

Organic music is not dead and will not die! There are many of us who will keep it alive, not just the older generations who grew up with it. The only reason younger people go for it is because they don't know any different. They can and will learn. This has been my personal experience, and I see no reason why it shouldn't be duplicated for many others.
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:58 PM
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Again, I think a big part of music over the last 20 years is the preference of emotion over technique.
Excellent way to put it. I can totally agree with you on this. I would also like to add or possibly change "technique" to "complexity." But all in all, I think you've got it summed up quite well.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:22 AM
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I think another observation made in this thread was the ever-evolving definition of "shocking". Years from now Marilyn Manson and Slipknot will be like Judas Priest and Ozzy, in the "Nostalgia Radio" library.

It makes you wonder what will be next, what will be considered shocking after the current shockers are outdated.
As has come up here and there in other threads, extreme metal is so extreme at this point, it's really a wonder how much further it can go. We already have black metal bands who've been to jail for burning churches, real blood on stage, playing to the point where it's getting tougher to distinguish one note from another, and one band's singer killed himself, and the remaining members made necklaces from his skull. Of course, much of this is still relatively out of the mainstream.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:36 AM
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As has come up here and there in other threads, extreme metal is so extreme at this point, it's really a wonder how much further it can go. We already have black metal bands who've been to jail for burning churches, real blood on stage, playing to the point where it's getting tougher to distinguish one note from another, and one band's singer killed himself, and the remaining members made necklaces from his skull. Of course, much of this is still relatively out of the mainstream.
OMG, I knew some of the bands were waaay extreme but necklaces made from a suicidal singer's skull?? I'm wondering how much mental illness will be required in the future? Imagine if a band like that is considered ho hum! lol

As I said horror moves have gone the same way. What happens when screens are totally awash with violence and gore? My guess is the extremities will remain - once a standard is established then the barriers are down so they'll always be there. There will always be classical, jazz, C&W, folk, blues, rock'n'roll, psychedelic, RnB, soul, prog, hair metal, rap, shiny pop, techno, extreme metal ... just that each has faded - or will fade - slowly into minority interests as new stuff takes its place.

I can't even imagine where music will go from here ... apart from glossy mechanical pop, which will get ever more glossy and mechanical until the human element is negligible. There will always be retro/nostalgia movements too because each genre has intrinsic values that will always touch certain types of personalities.

There also seems to be a strong shift from the aural to the visual with the increased ease of home video production. Video is getting bigger and bigger. Pop fans increasingly want to "see" the music, to the point where bands are now putting how high production dance shows and mime to recordings.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:01 PM
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OMG, I knew some of the bands were waaay extreme but necklaces made from a suicidal singer's skull?? I'm wondering how much mental illness will be required in the future? Imagine if a band like that is considered ho hum! lol

As I said horror moves have gone the same way. What happens when screens are totally awash with violence and gore? My guess is the extremities will remain - once a standard is established then the barriers are down so they'll always be there. There will always be classical, jazz, C&W, folk, blues, rock'n'roll, psychedelic, RnB, soul, prog, hair metal, rap, shiny pop, techno, extreme metal ... just that each has faded - or will fade - slowly into minority interests as new stuff takes its place.

I can't even imagine where music will go from here ... apart from glossy mechanical pop, which will get ever more glossy and mechanical until the human element is negligible. There will always be retro/nostalgia movements too because each genre has intrinsic values that will always touch certain types of personalities.

There also seems to be a strong shift from the aural to the visual with the increased ease of home video production. Video is getting bigger and bigger. Pop fans increasingly want to "see" the music, to the point where bands are now putting how high production dance shows and mime to recordings.
Black Metal: yes, it's covered here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_m...in.27s_suicide
and if you get a chance to see this on late night cable, part of the film gets into this as well:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478209/

Yes, I do wonder where music will go. No one had heard of jazz at one point. We can pinpoint when rock and roll was invented. So from a historical perspective, it seems any day now something new will be invented that has nothing to do with rock and roll. Although some say rap/hip-hop was indeed that new invention.

As for "seeing music" I'm actually getting more fascinated by the idea. In the 80's and 90's, you couldn't make a music video without a huge budget, and even then, you weren't sure where it would get played. If you made a cheap video, you were probably going to get laughed at.

Then Youtube came along, and it became perfectly acceptable to make a music video using whatever cheap camera you have laying around. Quality was no longer a factor, because youtube is going to compress the hell out of the video file anyway.
I found this rather eye opening. And so my band made three videos, and all it cost me was $80 in video editing software.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

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We're certainly seeing signs of it. We're seeing few "big names" selling umpteen million copies of any one album, yet hundred upon hundreds of bands are able to sell a few thousand copies, and more underground genre's of music are getting small bits of mainstream recognition because it sells just enough to not be ignored.





I remember being 11 or so, and thinking Ozzy and Judas Priest were so extreme. Now, they get played on classic rock radio along side the The Beatles and the Stones, and I think nothing of letting my 3 yr old listen to them.
It's an interesting place to be in. You had that song I'm Yours by Jason Mraz, which was huge and holds the record for the most weeks spent at the the Top 100 with 76. Will you ever have another West Side Story, thriller or Beatles? It's hard to say. But i would think if someone had a huge amount of talent, they could take the world by storm.

You have bands going back to Dave Matthews, Radiohead, Dream Theater, Tool or Arcade Fire. That virtually came up on their own two feet. You see so many of these indie bands, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, and so many of these Brooklyn bands. I don't really listen to that music, and although they are right here near me, I never hear about them until they are big in London. lol

In the 1970s you had The Grateful Dead, The Band, King Crimson, Yes or Rush who were largely cult phenomena and remained as such. these notions of mainstream, indie, cult phenomena become so politicized. in the end, is the music any good?
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:55 AM
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For me, making eye contact with the crowd takes second stage to making sure I do what I need to do so that the audience can feel exactly what me and the band feels when we play this music.
Music is all about delivery of feeling, expressing whatever it is you wish to express. If you can get the audience moving and feeling with you, they arn't going to give two shits what you look like. Albeit stage presence is important, but for a drummer, just laying down the beat and holding things together is about as much as you can do.
To quote a band i mention a lot on this forum, Circa survive,
"It's the talent, not the promo shot."
In order of importance for a band:
Feeling then stage presence THEN looks/eye contact.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

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Will you ever have another West Side Story, thriller or Beatles? It's hard to say. But i would think if someone had a huge amount of talent, they could take the world by storm.
I think it's possible, but most likely not.

In years past, people had the radio and word or mouth. Then they could add in MTV. Many things became popular in part because people had no where else to focus their ears, so if something good came along, people knew about it.

Today, internet, myspace, satellite radio, etc, the options are so wide. One can focus on whatever they want and ignore what ever genres they want. There are so many different scenes that people can be a part of.

When I was a teen, I could pick up Modern Drummer and I'd knew who almost everyone was, because I saw them on MTV or heard them on the radio, or they were jazz legends. Today, heck, I don't know who 1/2 these bands are, nor do I even know where they would be featured, and I wonder why they don't mention the bands who's albums I am buying, because it's not like I only listen to classic rock.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:56 PM
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Will you ever have another West Side Story, thriller or Beatles? It's hard to say. But i would think if someone had a huge amount of talent, they could take the world by storm.
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I think it's possible, but most likely not.
I'd have to disagree. These big sensations have been around, but we just don't see it, much like those who didn't see it with the Beatles or Michael Jackson. When you watch the videos of kids crying over The Beatles and MJ, you can always catch a glimpse of some middle aged or older people in the background giving those kids dirty looks. ;p Lady Gaga is the craze right now. It seems like all the young folk love her. From my 2 year-old to my wife's cousins who are in college. We're just the old people in the background this time around. Also, it doesn't take talent. It never really did. Just the right sound, image, whatever at the right time and overall media support.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

Speaking from a rock perspective, in the early 1990s the things that I thought were really hot were Primus and then The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I never was big on the Seattle seen, and really stopped listening to rock by the early 1990s.

From a selling point, it was Mariah Carey and then Celine Dion who were the big sellers, and Dianne Warren who wrote so many top 40 hits. By and large it was the women's movement, Sarah Mclachlan and Lilith Fair that it was making it happen. When I look at the artists I liked in the 1990s: TLC, Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrisette, all women. Dudes weren't doing much but moaning and groaning about their awful lot in life. Many people say that is what led the way to the Disney revolution. No one wanted to hear everyone whine after a while. When you are a rich and famous rock star and you're still moaning and groaning, no one really wants to hear it.

Lady Gaga seems like an attention hound. perhaps she should go see a shrink and spare us all. Artists need to be open minded. But is there a point at which musicians just need to call it for what it is and be pissed that people are using this art form solely for that kind of self-glorification?
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: A Little bit of Theory

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I'd have to disagree. These big sensations have been around, but we just don't see it, much like those who didn't see it with the Beatles or Michael Jackson. When you watch the videos of kids crying over The Beatles and MJ, you can always catch a glimpse of some middle aged or older people in the background giving those kids dirty looks. ;p Lady Gaga is the craze right now. It seems like all the young folk love her. From my 2 year-old to my wife's cousins who are in college. We're just the old people in the background this time around. Also, it doesn't take talent. It never really did. Just the right sound, image, whatever at the right time and overall media support.
True, Lady Gaga is hot right now.

But per the RIAA, her albums have gone 3 times platinum. Which is a lot of sales, and most artists would cut off their right arm to have 3 million in sales.

But compared to Micheal Jackson or the Beatles, 3 million in sales is a drop in the bucket. The average Aerosmith album sells more copies.
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