Wednesday, August 29, 2012


It really is tough trying the road less travelled sometimes. Imagine you had the choice as a lightie of pursuing Accounting or something equally banal. Instead you choose something like the music industry or even worse, self employment. It is a universal truth that the road less travelled can yield greater satisfaction and greater rewards, but the risks are certainly also more.

However, with the advent of the internet, computers and a global belief system that "you can do anything you set your mind to" and a general feeling of "it's not fair - I also want" it has made the choice to be different or take risks far too easy to make. Let's focus for a minute on the average musician. Back in the day you had to be an exceptional, accomplished, talented writer or artist to crack it in a very demanding industry. Now all you need is enough money for a home pc and some jorts. Or so most people would like to believe. This is of course one of the biggest fallacies for which mankind has been responsible. Right up there with "men prefer women who don't put out" and "modern banking working for you". You see, whilst I am not exceptional, accomplished or talented, I am happy to admit this and go about assaulting your auditory senses on my own terms and not expecting any form of remuneration. This is unfortunately not the case with most other so-called musicians. They like whinging. And not in the good Nick Holmes / Aaron Stainthorpe way either. They are permanently informing their 236 facebook followers (some of whom are simply too lazy to "unlike" them after the free sample turned out to be dross) of their woeful and under appreciated circumstances. They also love exhorting the paying punters to greater heights of participation at live shows - often berating their fans for the lack of support instead of removing the online-advertising-fuck-up log from their own eyes.

I have no gripe with artists or musicians who like it in the underground, but don't use it as a refuge for your ineptitude. Don't claim to be something you're not and then complain and claim to be misunderstood and unique. Morrissey is misunderstood and unique and he's sold millions of albums. Ian Curtis was misunderstood and unique. He has had a lasting impact on modern music, even 30 or so years after his death.

The result is a fiasco of shitstorm proportions that has now evolved into a self sustaining version of the industry. The more you're willing to pander to the ever more eclectic tastes of the consumer, the more chance you have of being noticed. People love train wrecks. Lady Gaga, Nicky "WTF" Minaj, the list goes on. At least Siouxsie had some style and what she did wasn't a compromise.

This has also affected the level of quality accepted by the brainwashed masses. Turn on any radio station that panders to hit driven demand and prepare to regurgitate your breakfast. It's ludicrous.

So here is my plea. Go and check out some of the local musicians in your area trying break through by using the completely out-of-the-box method of actually being good performers, writing quality material and wearing something that doesn't look like a Transformer Outfit or an Office Braai. To the musicians out there: to thine own self be true. And by that I mean, be objective and honest with yourself about your work. If it's good enough, make it better. If it isn't please for fuck's sake do not subject us to it. Do not expect to live the Motley Crue lifestyle. Those days are over and you're probably not good enough to sell enough records or concert tickets. If you sincerely believe, upon honest introspection, that you are one of the few genuinely gifted musicians out there, please, please, PLEASE do not give up! To deny us your talent is tantamount to stealing from us. The real appreciators will always be there.

Educate the guy next to you.
Find something worthwhile.
Be passionate, but patient.

Vote with your feet - online or at a live venue.

NGDG: "You know, Charles. If you work in a bar, you must know your drinks. If I ask you for one thing and you tell me 'no, we have something else', you insult me." I hear ad nauseum. "He's not insulting you, he's making a suggestion, you cantankerous old fart." I snap. "This does not concern you. Who are you?" Who is The Neal? "Someone who doesn't have to put up with your patronising pontification." Chastened. Silenced. Boom!

Spread The Love. It SHOULD Tear You Apart.

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