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Music Genre: Is this determined by sound or lifestyle?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Gabu, Nov 23, 2002.

  1. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    When we write tunes most of us have a pretty wide variation in our sound. The tunes will reflect our mood, thoughts, ambition.... etc etc... of the moment that we are writing or recording them.

    Some recent threads have got me to thinking about music branding. So what do you all think? Are you a (insert any genre) band if you play music that sounds like that, or is it your lifestyle and attitude? I sometimes feel like a Punker, Metalhead, Rocker, Alternative-Dude, and recently have had moments of Jazz-Mania.

    All this thinking makes me wonder what the heck I am!
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I've never associated myself with a certain style of music. I don't say, "I'm a metalhead", or "I'm a Jazzbo" or "I'm a Punker", because I'm just a big fan of music. It's not uncommon for me to listen to Rush, Bela Fleck, Testament, Johnny Cash, The Chemical Brothers, Chuck Berry, and Seal all within the course of a day.

    Same goes with being a bassist. I never say "I'm a blues bassist" or anything. I'm just a bassist, cause I've pretty much have played everything at one point in my life or another. (though I do enjoy certain genres better than others)

    I never really worried about labels, I just listen/play music.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    What LiquidMidnight said. For many years I was mainly in the hard rock scene, but not exclusively so: I also did blues, classic rock, and pop (a band featuring Eva Cassidy, her first recording session).

    Nowadays I gig with a few bands, and play Motown/R&B, funk, blues, classic rock, hard rock, punk, "alternative" (radio rock), southern rock, and country. At home I listen to dub, techno/trance, indie rock/post-punk, avant-garde jazz, and other weird stuff, most of which I couldn't play even when it has bass.

    I'm just a music fan. I enjoy any kind of live music if it's performed reasonably well... even opera. :p
  4. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I am motivated by sound. Marketing (POP) music is Image oriented.
    I get inspired by how a song comes across, or a particular passage.

    I couldn't play Jazz to save my life though.
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    That's a great question. I guess that some bass players are generalists and play any genre that comes their way, such as great session players. Nathan East comes to mind. Leland Sklar is another one. He does country very well, but has played and toured with Phil Collins.

    Still, some of the most well known bass players do represent their music's lifestyle. Gene Simmons of Kiss, for example. Nikki Sixx of Motley Cru. Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam. They stay pretty much in their genre.

    I don't see anything wrong with either approach. If you have a real passion for jazz or reggae or polka or gospel or whatever, you may have little calling to stretch out and try other genres. On the other hand, some bassists may feel limited by one genre or just not have enough opportunity to play their favorite style, so they "play around", so to speak.

    Last comment here, some genres do make a sort of demand on the player to present an image. Heavy metal would be one. Christian rock would be another. You can't be credible if you don't have the look or the attitude required by those styles.

    I eventaully lost a beloved nu-metal gig when my increasingly grandmotherly looks no longer served the band. No matter how much I loved the music and no matter how well I played it, I just looked wrong with those teenage guys. I think they felt uncomfortable.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    ...and Sklar has played with Bill Cobham(Spectrum, one of those seminal '70s Fusion records).
    Sklar was a Fusioneer, though most assumed he was a Folkie on account of his gigs. ;)

    Personally, I prefer the "mutts" out there...the one-trick ponies become sorta boring(?); the "Once you've heard 'em, you've heard 'em" syndrome.
  7. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Thanks all for your thoughts. :)

    Let me add this to the mix.

    Suppose you were to write 10 songs.

    2 sounded Metallica influenced.
    2 sounded Sex Pistols influenced.
    2 Sounded Nirvana influenced.
    2 sounded Led Zepp influenced.
    2 sounded Pearl Jam influenced.

    There are several genre's listed here. So what are you? Wouldn't this be where what you dressed like, looked like, and who you associated with... made all the difference in what you were labeled?

    I don't like being labeled either, but I am always at a loss when someone says, "what kind of music do you play?" It seems a cop out to say, "I don't believe in labels, dude." As if you don't know what you are.

    In fact, that is my malfunction. I don't know what I am.
  8. Any pictures of you with a nu-metal band? :)

    I like a variety of music, so I don't worry too much about the lifestyles associated with it. Good music is good music; bad music is bad music.

    It's not always obvious by looking at someone what kind of music they're into. I know an engineering professor here who's hobby is heavy metal guitar. Gave out some copies of a CD he recorded with some students at his last university.
  9. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    Sometimes I wonder the difference between genres...like my friend is a big metalhead and was listening to some obscure metal song, and I'm sitting right beside him in my truck listening to Blood for Blood(which is labeled hardcore punk) and it had the same exact style of sound.
  10. if i said what i was, this is what it would sound like.
    "hey everyone nice to meet you, my name is Shoonk and I'm a skank."
    yeah...luckily enough! i have a reasonabley wide variety, however i was trained to play ska music so that is what I am best at. however i was just asked into a 3 cord scremo (emo but kinda hardcoreish) band. which i can do thank god for bass versatility!
    but if you met me, and saw me and talked to me, you would know I'm relaly into ska, and i dont get offended by being called a skank.
  11. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I remember being about 14 years old, and buying a CD by this artist called "Me Phi Me", (good album). It had a sticker that said, "File under Soul/Folk/Country/Blues/Rap/Pop".

    I got a kick out of that. My musically challenged mind was forced to "think outside the box".

    Then I remember just getting really into swing jazz, and just loving Harry Connick, Jr. (Still do). Then in 95 he released this album called "She", which was funk. This really upset the jazz world.

    It seems to me that the artists always have less need for genres than the labels do, or Tower Records does. I can certainly understand their side of it, I mean, it's easier to find Huey Smith if you know what "category" of music he is, but it must be frustrating as an artist to feel that their pigeon-holed, labeled into one genre, and they can't get out.

    I wonder if Billy Joel's art pieces (I abhor using the inaccurate "classical" label to describe all art music, besides which, his music sounds more of the "romantic" period anyhoo), of late are being taken seriously within that genre.

    I say bravo to those that break the molds, that make punk pop, that make jazz funky, that make classical folksy.
  12. Stupidnick


    Mar 22, 2002
    ...my room...
    I dont believe in labels..
    when someone ask me what kinda music i say.. i just say ...".. i play music"
    they usually say .waht does that mean?
    im like..
    "well i play alot of different stuff"

    i try to mix alot of different elements in my music..
    like hrmm on the new album though its different not really silly anymore but more serious. I actually play some of those darn jazz chords and do some solos with a clean guitar with a little delay and chorus..
    But its semi upbeat music.
    Then again I used steel drums and a bass solo in this one song that was pretty much a 4 chord guitar song with a walking bass line.
    I was in the studio fooling with flip your wig by husker Du and ..hmm i got this idea to stick a bass solo in the middle of it.. just stop the guitar and drums... bust out from the root note and then go into a solo.. Then later on in the song i bring in a latin percussion type thing and use some steel drums in the background..

    Music is described by the charecter of the musician making the music. =D

    oh yes.. shoonk , im sticking with the Foxy Grandpas.
    I figured.. why try to be different if that name really does get attention. They will either think its a silly pop punk band or a bluegrass band..
    man they will be shocked when they here it..
    Besides.. all the old people call me the foxy grandpa at church now.. :eek:
  13. Jeff Ott once said punk is any time people use music to stand together for what they believe in. Be it the folk and country songs of the Mid-century, gospel of the 50's, Black Sabbath singing about "War Pigs" or Velvet Underground singing about Jane. I suppose using that reasoning I am (or try to be) punk, though through the communtative property I could say I'm folkster, metalhead, etc. Labels are stupid, but inevitable and ultimately, somewhat necessary.

    Still, I just call myself a "bassist" like Nick said, when people ask what kind, I just say "Whatever". After that, they usually leave me alone to play my video games. :D
  14. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    When we get asked what kind of music we play, the answer is "Rock". We play stuff ranging from Iron Maiden to Reo Speedwagon to Blink 182 etc...You could probably classify those three bands into three different genres, but to me they represent "Rock".

    I think the bottom line is to write what you write, and play what you play, and dont worry about what "genre" its supposed to be.
  15. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    What I'd like to know is: Can you be heavy metal hard rock without guitars or keyboards? I've heard metal guitar bands accompanied by violin, cello, and mandolin, but can a hard sound be accomplished without the guitar players?
  16. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    You don't need guitars to make a heavy metal sound, it's all about the grooves and the dissonance. I think you could have a nu-metal band with just, for example, drums, piano and screaming.
  17. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    Cool. Good to see that someone else agrees, but then I am on TalkBass.com, not TalkGuitar.com :D

  18. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Two years ago my two eldest children erm tennagers were into R and B sort of stuff. THey got into Nu Metal then hardcore etc and it was amusing to watch their dress sense change (or run away screaming).

    I personally like any music from any genre as long as I like it. I know that I used like twice in the same sentence. Music has to move me. I dislike many generic metal bands whereas some 'metalll fans' will listen to it to be faithful to the cause as it were.

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