1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

How "Whiplash" changed my life.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by twinjet, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    For those who have seen the movie Whiplash, you know it's an intense flick. The musicianship is superb, the story is riveting and the language... harsh. For those who haven't, watch it.

    For the past two years, I have been ├╝ber focused on gear. I'd spent close to $2,000. Not much for the average TBer, but that's a lot to me. Of the gear I had gone through, almost all of it was an incurred loss.

    Before you say it, just know this isn't so much another "No GAS" thread, as it is an inspirational thread. Watching Whiplash got me thinking. All the musicians in the movie are incredibly talented. How did they get there? Not by perusing pawn shops 3 days a week, I'm sure. Not by buying the latest and greatest instruments. Just hard, extensive practicing.

    I'm big into jazz. It's my absolute favorite stuff to play. If I could actually make a successful living off of playing, I'd do it. That isn't going to happen (it's not a life goal), but I would still love to be an active circuit player in my town.

    My biggest struggle as a bass player is and has been maintaining my tempo. Now, I don't allow tempo to significantly change, but I do know that I tend to speed up or slow down enough to fall a half-beat behind on occasion. In a live performance the change is usually unnoticeable, as I can cover it up with a fill. But sometimes, if the band slows down and I try to speed it up, I end up second-guessing the original tempo and if I'm right. That's when it becomes noticeable. The occasional syncopated solo from the drummer or pianist can really throw me off, as well. While watching Whiplash, this trend stuck out like a sore thumb while I counted in my head during drum solo scenes.

    How the movie changed my life:

    A few weeks ago, I had made a commitment to sticking with a single electric bass until April 2017. Watching the movie forced me to shift how I thought and approached bass. My gear-oriented thoughts have lingered on to learning, bettering myself as a bassist, expanding my repertoire and just making the best music I possibly could. Now, I play whenever I can. The movie has got me wanting to get out there and hustle. Yesterday I picked up my bass and hit two different jams to kickstart my night. I got out there, played some solid bass and left the jam with three less business cards than when I had gone in (I only carry three, maybe more now!).

    For the foreseeable future, I will be making exactly 0 bass purchases as I strive to be the best I can be. What this means is daily practice. Reading about and applying technique, theory, ear training, sightreading, melodies, improvisation & rhythmic exercises and so much more. We have an endless ability to learn and my desire to do so is fuelled by that knowledge.

    I may not be the next Jaco, but I am content knowing that over the next few years I will evolve as a player. I am a good bassist now who can hold his own, but I want to become a damned good bassist, and I want people to know that when I back someone up. Not for egotistical purposes, but so I can be known as a dependable player.

    In conclusion:

    Always strive to improve and make the best music you possibly can. I have pledged that to myself. The most inspirational part of the movie can be seen in this clip:

    [Note: Explicit Language]

    Thanks for reading.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Glad it inspired you.

    Just don't make yourself UTTERLY MISERABLE like the students in that movie.

    There is no fame or chops worth the crap hey put themselves through.
    Tbone76, andruca, OldDog52 and 18 others like this.
  3. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Agreed. They practice to the point of hating the music. One reason I chose not to pursue an education in it.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
    jnsnj, Ewo and nixdad like this.
  4. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I think foregoing the gear quest and the clip from the movie are about two very different things. It's not like the gear wasn't telling you how great you were or how much you suck. You need people to do that and people, not gear, usually become the impetus for our next steps forward or backward. I do agree with the idea that it can be hurtful to praise someone for a mediocre effort, as it seems to be the idea in the clip, and if it wasn't for a real live person telling me honestly how much I sucked at one point, I probably never would have excelled. It became a driving force for improvement as I didn't want to hear it ever again, or at least not as much. I also agree that there is a fine line between inspiration and discouragement depending on the delivery, which was also a central point I derived from the clip.

    So, nice clip, but it doesn't seem analogous to what you're saying is your impetus to get better...but what matters is that you're choosing to get better, and that's important. Good luck.
    gregmon79 likes this.
  5. 5188. 5186. 5185.

    I agree, Twinjet..
  6. That movie did the exact opposite to me. I've hardly touched any of my instruments since watching it.

    Getting better so you won't get laughed at just doesn't appeal to me.

    Then there was a bit of talk/typing on here about how it's all about vanity, & it's true.
    Realizing I had some stuff for what appeared to be vanity, I sold them.

    Now I have the bare minimum & I still don't touch my gear very often.
    Maybe this is the final stage before I finally sell it all & just watch TV & play video games as a hobby.

    OTOH, it's great that you were able to use the film as a motivation.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
    Tommyc and twinjet like this.
  7. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Thanks for the comment. I mostly used the clip to show the story of Parker and to illustrate the importance of effort and where it gets you.
    nixdad likes this.
  8. Come to think of it, that teacher would have had his butt beaten pretty bad by some students, where I went to school.
  9. mrb327


    Mar 6, 2013
    Nobody Knows
    I've also recently significantly reduced stock.
    The "just shut it and play" is beneficial.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  10. REV


    Jun 18, 2006
    I have a friend who is a trumpet player. He is by far the most dedicated musician I know. He finally made it into the LA studio scene and soon after he did all he could talk about was getting into some other line of work. The music business really turned him off. He still loves to play but now it's completely on his terms. If he even thinks a gig will be a pain he won't take it. I'm saying all this because for years I was inspired by this man only to see him practically stop playing because of the business. It's great to get good at your instrument but not at the cost of everything else. I think the movie shows this to some extent.
  11. fourtet102


    Jun 20, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ
    I hate heaters!
    Good movie but as realistic as Star Wars:) (sorry master yoda).
    hrodbert696 and Papalampraina like this.
  12. DaveB in VA

    DaveB in VA Gold Supporting Member

    May 27, 2015
    Charlottesville VA
    At the end of the movie I was hoping that the young drummer dude would jam a drumstick in that old farts left ear and keep pushing until it came out the right then grab the parts sticking out and twist his head off. What a horrible teacher and sorry excuse for a human being. I like the actor that played the teacher in those insurance company ads though.

    "That's not my time. Again...That's not my time. Again...That's not my time."
    hrodbert696 and Killed_by_Death like this.
  13. That's good stuff... I need to motivate myself to move forward with bass. Maybe, as with the movie, I'll highlight what I can't do to see just how much I'm missing and start picking things off the (admittedly long) list... can't read quickly, hardly know scales and intervals, theory is pretty weak, etc.

    "I SUCK!" he yelled, storming off to practice in his bedroom.
    twinjet likes this.
  14. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Any day a player goes from being gear-focused to music focused is good day.

    Stop worrying about the gear. Start worrying about the music.
  15. twinjet

    twinjet GE90-equipped Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Exactly. My bass makes all the sounds I need and like. It's an eye pleaser. It's easy to play. No need to waste more time and money!

    I'm excited about this journey because I'm not very good at much else, but the bass thing I have a pretty good hold on. I could always stand to improve, and so I shall! Onward!
  16. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    It changed my life too. Now, when my drummer speeds up, I slap him in the face and say 'not my tempo'

    Not really, but I sometimes want to.
  17. Mammoth_Bass

    Mammoth_Bass Check out my band Mammothor!! Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Sandown, NH
    Great post twinjet! Just yesterday I made a profit & loss spreadsheet of all the gear I have purchased and sold and was surprised that I was much further from breaking even than I had thought. I need to focus more on practicing than getting a deal/spending $$
    StayLow, twinjet and GregC like this.
  18. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I've been through many ups and downs with my chops, my gear, my focus, my opportunities. When my children were first born, I channeled a lot of energy into building an arsenal of basses. Now that my life has stabilized, I have noticed a natural focus on taking my chops to another level with the gear I've assembled and I peruse the classifieds much less.

    Also: since I first noticed my bass slump, I have branched out into guitar for the first time and dusted off my drums, as well.
    twinjet and covermego like this.
  19. SteveBass5

    SteveBass5 It all sounds the same, It's all one song! Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    Thanks for sharing. love the inspiration!
    twinjet likes this.
  20. Aelfwine


    Jul 21, 2016
    I had initially thought your thread was referring to the Thrash Metal band Whiplash (I highly recommend them)

Share This Page