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What justifiies calling them "influences?"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hrodbert696, May 5, 2010.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    This is a CL pet peeve. I keep seeing ads from guys who list their "influences." Sometimes these lists get insanely long -- I just saw one by a young bassist (are you a TB'er out there?) who lists -- I kid you not - SEVENTY-NINE different musical "influences," including listing the Beatles and Paul McCartney separately. Yes I actually counted them. I suspect that means he's learned to play 79 songs.

    If anyone were to ask me what my "influences" are (nobody has), I would tell them I'm not good enough to have influences.

    I can pretty much play my instrument. There are bassists I admire and who amaze me. But I won't pretend for a second that I am able to do anything that reflects imitation or inspiration of their distinctive techniques. I certainly don't have a style that incorporates the influence of seventy-nine different musicians at once!

    Is this just me? What's the difference between a real "influence" and just stuff you like to listen to or like to play?
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    "Influences" are a way to indicate the styles of music that you are interested in, and your hipness or lack thereof.
  3. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    When someone asks me who my influences are I usually respond that my influences are the people I play with. I soak up WAY more from those guys than I do from people that I listen too. It's been my experience that, usually, most of the guys that I want to play with like this answer. The people who try to peg me down on a more pat answer are the ones I should probably take a pass on.

    Does this mean my influences are non-bassists? You betcha.
  4. I think a proper bass-playing "influence" is someone who's playing style or tone impressed you enough for you to incorporate some of it into your own playing style or tone. It doesn't necessarily mean you are copying other players, just that you share some of their "sonic values."

    I think too many people use "influence" when they mean "inspiration"... For example, a lot of people say the Sex Pistols were hugely influential, but really they were more inspirational; they definitely motivated a lot of people to start their own punkish bands—stories abound about famous bands that started because friends saw the Sex Pistols play somewhere and the next day they went out to get some instruments and start their own band. But almost none of these new bands inspired by the Sex Pistols actually sounded like them (the Sex Pistols weren't especially imaginitive, soundwise). If these upstart bands that formed in the Pistols' wake had actually sounded like the Pistols, then the Pistols could be properly called a musical "influence" on them.
  5. jhan

    jhan Guest

    Don't know if this has anything to do with it, but I can't stand when a band lists their influences, and you go to their MySpace page and have a listen, and their songs sound NOTHING AT ALL like their influences.

    Not that bands have to be carbon-copies, but for a band to say that they're influenced by TOOL, Mastodon, et. al, and then all of their songs sound like Pavement with distortion or something . . .
  6. That's the way I see it.

    "I plan on playing music in the same vien as . . ."
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Yes, but your music, and other influences come about from an early age, and sometimes keep changing with age.

    OP : IMO there is nothing wrong in having lots of influences. You often hear of famous artists who say they were influenced by the music in their parents record collection. It has nothing to do with how good or bad a player you are.
  8. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I used to list a handful of influences when I was in original bands - not 70 of them but maybe 6 or 7. It just gives people an idea what sort of common ground you may have musically.

    Ya' know like if some dude was into Cannibal Corpse, he probaly wouldn't want to play rockabilly or jazz with me. :)
  9. fractiouslowend


    Aug 5, 2009
    i think an influence is just something that pushed your playing or attitude in a certain direction. It doesn't mean that it's obvious or even noticable. For example i was influenced by angus young and les claypool to (among other things) move around on stage and enjoy myself:)

    However, i think when posting an ad like this, listing your influences is a waste of time, instead, get a couple of friends and play to them and get some feedback.

    In your ad, just say, people say i/we sound like .....
    much more useful imo :)
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I would see this as a GOOD thing!

    So as an "experienced" player, I am very happy that young people are open to a lot of styles of music and that they aren't closed off to say music from the 60s! :)

    I think it's great that there are young guys who have actually listened to a broad spectrum and who cares whether they can actually play any of it(?) - the fact they are open to it, is the first step on the road.

    I tend to say that I have too many influences to mention and I could easily list hundreds or even thousands of artist whose music I have tried to play - from Classical to Jazz, via Heavy Rock, Indie Pop - Mahavishnu to Messiaen etc etc.

    I've been playing for over 30 years, but everybody has to get started and the more you listen to - then I'm sure it "influences" how good a musician you become! ;)
  11. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I always site Johnny B. Gayden as one of my "influences". That's because I stole a crap load of licks from him.
  12. jhan

    jhan Guest

    Early on, it was bass players who influenced me. Now it's music in general that influences me.

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