Taking Responsibility For Your Music


Platinum Member
I'm in a band that plays mostly originals with some covers sprinkled in. Last night we had a practice and were working on some covers. Out of no where our guitarist busts out Eric Clapton's "Cocaine". We jumped on it and it sounded absolutely amazing- we really nailed it. That song fits so well (musically) with our set and everything else we are playing. We played it several times even deciding on exactly where we wanted it in the set. The guys were making comments such as, "this one will get the crowd going!", etc. We walked away from practice feeling very satisfied with this "new" song.
I woke up this morning bothered by something. Although I've heard the song a million times and have been a fan of Clapton's for some time, is this (Cocaine) a song that we want to represent us or our band? I'm no Boy Scout (not that there is anything wrong with that) but it just seems that we would be somewhat irresponsible for playing it because we (as a band or individuals) in no way shape or form advocate drug use or wish to glorify it.
I have no problem explaining to the band that I don't wish to play the song. There are several (thousand) other songs we could do instead. We have another practice tomorrow night so I want to make a decision before then. I just feel that we as musicians should take some responsibility in what we deliver to our audience.
Am I being over "responsible" here?
Should I just chalk it it off to Rock-N-Roll?
Are there any songs that you wouldn't do because of subject matter?
This is a valid thing to consider. That song is product of its time and is too politically incorrect to play now. The song "Black Betty" could never be produced today and if you hear it in commercials, you absolutely will not hear the lyrics.

It would be interesting to compile a list of songs that just can't be done anymore in very many places.


Platinum Member
Exactly. Coke is less harmful than fatal gunshot wounds. Music is art. Art reflects life. Life is not always pretty.
That is true but in and of itself is no guide for what to play. Would you play "Cocaine" at a high school dance? (HELL NO) At a biker bar? (HELL YEAH)

Life is not always pretty - sometimes it is offensive and disgusting. There's a time and place for everything.


Silver Member
I actually think this is a valid discussion but the song in question isn't that good an example and it's a cover so that takes some responsibility from you. But instead what if your original song is glorifying racism for example or child abuse? Even if the song was really great without the lyrics, I doubt any sane person would play it. So there has to be a line somewhere even if you believe in freedom of speech (which I wholehartedly believe in myself).

That's why I almost always listen to instrumental music. No words corrupting my great soundscapes.


Platinum Member
But instead what if your original song is glorifying racism for example or child abuse?
One thing that should be real disturbing for artists is how their music is being used by the military- for recruiting, as soundtracks for the killing of human beings on combat missions, and also to psychologically abuse prisoners. I suspect that some of these groups would take this kind of use as a sign of success, which is pretty messed up.

It would also be great if people churning out oppressively negative stuff in general (like "people = s---") would think about doing something else.