My new year's resolution: Sayonara, rock music...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by CJ_Marsicano, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. After spending most of the year trying unsuccessfully to form a band much closer to my rock-oriented musical tastes (Black Flag, Stooges, Minutemen, Fugazi, Velvet Underground, etc.), as of this past November I have chosen to formally give up on that genre as an artist.

    During the past several months, I found that my worst suspicions have been confirmed. The very narrow-minded confines of the Pennsylvania music scene has left the impression on those wishing to perform live in the area that it will not allow for any rock-oriented music beyond these basic and overplayed flavors: classic rock, southern rock (whose fanbase around here blows my mind considering PA is NORTH of the Mason-Dixon line) and hair metal. A few "nu-metal" bands are permitted to slip in, but that is about it. I've played more than enough of the previous three flavors to determine that I no longer want to play those songs anymore. There are some classic and hair metal songs that I liked at one time, but I am pretty much bored with most of them.

    My plan for the band was to find musicians willing and daring enough to play the cover material I had selected, sbsorb those influences and know those songs inside and out, compile a repitoire based primarily around those songs, and perform live. Those influences and the study and performance and inspiration thereof would then be assimilated into the band's original material, of which I had already started writing some songs for. I would either play bass or guitar in the group, and if push came to shove, I would also end up singing or sharing lead vocals.

    I sincerely felt it would succeed. I had more than enough friends that I mentioned the idea to remark that doing such a thing would improve the area's music scene immensely. Plus, with the recent advent of bands like the Strokes, White Stripes, and Hives and the enduring popularity of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam -- all of whom I liked and whose material would have mixed in well with the rest of the set -- I felt that I could not go wrong, that this new group would stand out quite well amongst all the bar band clones.

    Practice space and PA gear were not an issue. I did not own a bass amp (my previous one was stolen years ago), but the music shop where I did most of my business since I started learning how to play in 1979 (I'm 36 now) was more than willing to accept a deposit and payments on anything I needed. In other words, I could have slipped them 100 bucks and walked out with a new bass or guitar amp, no questions asked.

    With full belief in the concept and the music and the aforementioned encouragement, I spent much of my extra money on ads in newspapers in the area looking for musicians for the project and directly stating the influences in question, as well as making similar posts in popular musician's boards centered on the geographical area.

    The first call I got was from a young 20-something vocalist who was all up for the concept. I got to talk to him on the phone for a half-hour and concluded by telling him that I would keep him up to date as I got more calls from people.

    Then the "fun" started. I had one voice mail message from an "interested" party who was a guitarist. After a week of phone tag, I found out that the guy was new to the area who was more into classic rock (red alert!) but was "willing to try anything". After a short exchange of e-mails withhim, one of which said that if it was a new band he wanted a say in what went in the set list. Red alert number two. Finally, I got to talk to the guy on the phone. He sounded like he had a screw loose but I gave him every benefit of the doubt anyway. He asked me for a list of the artists the band would be covering. I told him and said I would also e-mail him a list, which he did. Two hours later, he chickened out. Fine.

    Things went very slow. The vocalist kept calling every week and I hated giving him either bad news or no news at all. He understood. I kept trying.

    The next few e-mails were from people looking for a bassist. I considered them all but all of them were playing material heavier then the direction I wanted to go in. A couple said they'd "consider" my ideas. I turned them all down, given my past experience after I compromised myself almost to death in previous bands.

    The last e-mail (all sent to a account, by the way) was from an 18-year-old guitarist who'd only been in one practice band. He talked a good game, said he could send me a demo of his playing, so I asked him to send it to my PO Box. I'd been in his position before when I got into a professional band one month after I graduated high school. The tape came a week and a half later... he'd stolen one of his younger sister's Britney Spears tapes, and taped over it himself playing an out-of-tune seven string guitar to some Korn or Godsmack song playing on the stereo in the background. I was beyond disgusted, e-mailed him, and bluntly asked him how long he'd been playing. He said, "about seven or eight months". My heart sank. I was playing guitar and bass for four or five years before I joined my first professional group (I'd been in one garage band the year prior that lasted two years).

    That was back in mid-October. I e-mailed my would-be vocalist and regrettably told him that the band wasn't going to happen. A week later, I decided for therapy that I would make myself a demo in the EDM (electonic dance music) vein, something I did last year when I made a five-song EP to give friends I was meeting up with in Toronto in March of 2002. I started on a Saturday, finished on a Sunday and had myself the equivalent of a 12" single.

    So I decided to write and record a follow-up. That has come out to my satisfaction as well. My artistic career decision had been made once and for all.

    My electric guitar and most of my basses have had their strings loosened and have been packed away in my basement. Only one bass sits near my computer for composing purposes only, I have not yet recorded with it. All of the music I have recorded since October has been wholly electronic. I am currently writing and recording more material as of this writing as well as compiling a list of independent EBM labels that I will be submitting the music to. Finally, I am artistically content and working without any compromise whwatsoever... and I did it by leaving the decaying corpse of rock music behind.
  2. You're not alone in this. Unless you're in a major city, it's virtually impossible to find indie-minded rockers who also have some sort of work ethic. Contrastingly, immense pleasure can be derived from electronic music production.

    Best of luck to you.
  3. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    It is a pretty pathetic scene around here.
    You'd think it would have the makings of a great least down in the Lehigh Valley with all the colleges.

    Bunch of rednecks.
  4. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    I feel your pain brother. Last year, a guitar playing friend and I decidied to get a small group together. We were gonna play 50's thru 70's music. Just for fun-we would do a few gigs here and there, it was really just a side thing. Off we went in search for a drummer.

    I put a flyer up in the local music store. Spelled out exactly what we were gonna do, what we were looking to play.

    Drummer #1 comes in, and all he keeps telling us is "I was on tour with real, properly educated musicians." So after a few songs, I asked him if he could rehearse once a week. He replies that he probably doesn't want the job. I said OK, fair enough.
    Then, he goes off on why we have to play that music, I was on tour, I didn't get to play intros or play with power etc etc etc. So I asked if he even read the ****ing poster I put up, and if he didn't like it, why was he wasting my time? My friend was stunned, but I didn't care. Who needed to hear that crap? So I told him thanks for coming, goodbye(and made him carry all his gear out afterwards)

    Drummer #2 sounded OK on the phone-said what we wanted to do was right up his alley. He was new to the area, but wanted to play again as soon as he could. Well, he couldn't play that well. And again, he started with "why do we have to play this kind of music?" I said, "the poster said 50's thru 70's what don't you understand about that?" He didn't want the job either after that-we didn't want him anyway.

    Drummer #3 was a nice kid, but he just wanted to "jam" not play any songs. He was high on drugs-I noticed that when I looked into his eyes. He's playing a song, and his drum rolls away, and he doesn't even notice. We politely threw him out too.

    A guy calls two days later, telling me "I don't play on Cape Cod." So I asked why he even bothered calling? He says to just send him a list of gigs, and maybe he'll show up. I told him it didn't work that way, sorry. He says "I'll think about it over the holidays, and call you in January." I said I would hold my breath, and hung up on him.

    I'm playing mainly Christian music now, and I'm loving it. I do some classic rock now and then. But with the christian musicians I have been lucky enough to work with, it's always fresh, and exciting. I couldn't be happier.

    Do what you gotta do to keep playing, and keep yourself happy doing it. Don't let the actions of a few idiots dampen your spirit. Happiness is there playing music-you just gotta find it.

    But it seems that you have, and thats all that counts IMO!

    Take care :)