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Author Topic: Music Thru The Years  (Read 2654 times)


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Music Thru The Years
« on: April 22, 2004, 02:27:04 pm »

Last month (March, 2000), I taught a Master class on "Music Of The 60's" at a performing arts school in Idyllwild, California, to a group of students in their late teens.  They were all pretty sharp and most of them were familiar with the old rock groups.  If anything surprised them, it was probably that at 63 years old, I also knew who Pantera, Limp Biskit, Korn, Nirvana, and Smashing Pumpkins were.  That threw them for a loop. In many ways, the music of the 60's is not so different from the music of the 00's.  A lot of it is about frustration, discomfort with the way things are, and personal unhappiness.  

Well, those things don't change much from generation to generation.  There's a famous quotation lamenting how today's youth have no respect, are out of control, and generally gone to shit, except the quote is from Plato or Aristotle and dates back a few thousand years, so not much has changed.  The music today reflects the feelings of the people making the music, just as it did in the 60's.  Before the 60's, music content was controlled by the record companies and a few dozen "pop" writers.

Groups like the Stones, Jefferson Airplane, and the Doors changed the way people listened to music.  Popular music became personal for the first time in history, talking about actual situations, depression, the fact that Mom isn't always right (gasp), and you didn't hafta have the Mayberry attitude to exist in the world - it was alright to question values.  

"Mother's Little Helpers" and the "ones that Mother gives you don't do anything at all"  took a hard look at drugs in the world and the hypocracy of government authorized medication and stuff that was also available.  The only places these bits of knowledge were available previously were in "race music" as it was called (rhythm and blues, and black music), which was not readily available to most white kids.

The point I'm trying to make is that Marilyn Manson, is not very far removed from Alice Cooper, and NIN is not that far from Frank Zappa.  Nirvana and the Doors have a lot in common.  You get my point.  The more things change, the more they stay the same

All in all, it turned out to be a pretty nice week in the mountains, free from having to worry about recording (or getting my column in on time).  And it gave me time to think about music and where it's going.  With all the power of the major record companies now residing in just a few hands, this is the dawn of the rebirth of the independent label.  If you're looking to get a recording contract, the independents are the new place to go.

So how do you get their attention?  Get your own CD out there, play your ass off everywhere you can, and build a following as fast as you can.  Prove to the record company that you can make them money.  Get live reviews and CD reviews from newspapers and magazines (like Harder Beat) and play your butts off, till everybody knows who you are.

Unless you're the next Hanson or the next Spice Girls, it's the one way that really works.  (If you're the next Spice Girls, contact me directly - there is another way that works.)

Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio


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Re: Music Thru The Years
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2004, 03:41:36 pm »

 Very Happy Harvey:  How true - and in the vein of "new ways" to create music and distribute it, I have a business proposition for you.  I will PM you privately tonight.


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Re: Music Thru The Years
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2004, 03:00:55 am »

hargerst wrote on Thu, 22 April 2004 19:27

The point I'm trying to make is that Marilyn Manson, is not very far removed from Alice Cooper, and NIN is not that far from Frank Zappa.  Nirvana and the Doors have a lot in common.  You get my point.  The more things change, the more they stay the same

I think I can agree with the Marilyn Manson is simillar to Alice Cooper, but I'll humbly disagree with the last two comparisons. I know this is not the point but being a music teacher I feel the need to interject. Kurt Cobain had much in common with Jim Morison but compareing the two bands is misleading. Moreover NIN and Frank Zappa is not even compareable. There's nothing simillar about them asside from wanting to f*&%k like animals.

And to turn to a depressing note, music has made a sad paradigm shift. In the 60's rebelion captured an audience with it's anti establishment rhetoric and music. Currently, anti establishment is the norm and as a result "the establishment" tries to cultivate it. What are we left with? Homoginized, corporate aproved, processed anti establishment cheese. Tell the kids what's wrong if you have the pulpit and try to advance music apreciation and culture.

In the end though, like you said, proveing to the establishment that you don't need them and haveing a viable music production that they can amplify is the only path now. I turned down a deal myself once since it only offered an unsecured loan and a pay cut. I cut a separate deal and in the end I was far better off. I got paid, they got empty promises and points.

When the Stones, Beatles and Motown took off there was a simillar homoginization in music that we are experienceing today. The diference is today the audience has less and even in many cases no exposure to classical music. The modern audience has no fundamental exposure to historical music and thus has no roots to rebel from. As a teacher I have been unpleasantly suprised what that can do to a student. It's too bad that with recent budget cuts in "elective" studies that we rob our children of music education.

The bright side is that sometimes a person like yourself gets to speak and turn some young people on. That's the first step. The second is to give them the tools to form an opinion concerning what they enjoy listening to. Sadly we have, as a society, become too lazy and too partisan to provide young people with the tools to distinguish art from culture. Moreover most music education consists of teaching a child to be part of a letter that spells something on a football field when no one is watching.

I rant....I'm sorry.

Robert de Buys
1818 28th Ave
Homewood, AL 25209
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