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Critics - sort of OT


Eric Iverson

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Re: critics, this is what Theodore Roosevelt said once:

THE MAN IN THE ARENA

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"

delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

download PDF of complete speech

 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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Allan Holdsworth once said, laughing: "Critics? They can't even make music by rubbing their legs together!" (referring to how crickets sing their "songs").

==============

My point - I don't object to intelligent music criticism - not everything is of high quality, and there is some "dreadful dreck" out there, LOL. I don't expect a Polyanna attitude. But some music critics don't seem to know anything about MUSIC (what a CONCEPT!) and some of us musicians are a little unfair to our brethren. If he's sloppy, that's bad; if his technique is TOO clean, that's no good either ('no feeling"). If he plays the same way for years, he's not innovating anymore; if he DOES innovate, and play something new, he's "LOST it", "doesn't have the same soul" etc. etc.

 

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On the way to a gig in a limo many years ago I remember Peter Nero expounding on the value he places on critics. He told me "If you come to hear the concert you get the $25 experience. If you read about it in the paper you get the 25 cent experience."
Scott Fraser
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I don't object to ANY critic's opinion as long as it comes with a "caveat" that the opinion is solely based on personal reaction, and NOT meant to be a judgment of performance, or composition construct, or anything else a "professional critic" is paid to comment on.

 

Fo instance, if a particular critic's area of "expertise" is in critiquing say, a pianists' skill and/or execution of a particular piece of music, then, so be it. IF the musician being critiqued DOES play it poorly, then the critic's words can be weighed in that context. As most music critics ARE "frustrated" musicians, it's easy to make the assumption that some oftheir more harsh criticisms are due to this frustration,.

 

Now, if this OP is a veiled referrence to the criticizing of other FORUM members, I'm at a loss to see how that can come about. We do actually live in varied parts of the country...AND globe( one member living in JAPAN!), and only if some post recordings of their playing in the proper forum page, then only those who are inclined to LISTEN to them can make ANY kind of critique of their abilities, OR lack thereof.

 

I MYSELF have never bothered with listening to any of these musical posts, due mostly to not wishing to hear, nor form an opinion of anybody's musicianship based solely on the questionable sound reproduction of the average desktop computer speakers, so I "opt out".

 

As for the other stuff, I can only say that anything as subjective as the liking or disliking of a particular musical "genre" should be granted immunity from any critique based on "quality of performance" since, if one "hates" country music, then ANY critique of it's public offerings should be left to others to provide. Perhaps those who LIKE country music. But, that criteria also has it's limits.

 

Critiques of live performances are a different matter. And a poor stage presentation is really no matter for total dissmissal of any performer's true abilities. We all, or most of us anyway, have probably experienced sitting through embarrassingly poor performances by artists whose studio work is usually impeccable. Another example might be....how many actors who've won Academy Awards have gone to the STAGE and flopped? The answer would be...SEVERAL. There is a lot to consider what makes a certain musical offering stink while previous efforts were amazingly stunning, and it's best to consider any possibilities before passing our arrogant "final words"!

 

But, we are also entitled to our opinions, and passing them along in a "room" full of others doing likewise is harmless, as far as the "pros" go, but between members, a lot of "leeway" is best given.

Whitefang

 

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I wasn't attempting to criticize any other forum members, and yes, it is a free country - we have a right to our opinions and to express them.

I mostly object to people who don't realize that making good music, and playing our instruments well, is not EASY. But anyone can say "that sucks"..... Now of course, people on this forum are usually on a lot higher level than THAT! LOL

 

 

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I don't listen to anyone who "talks" for a living, and believe without question. I have never listened to a critic or read their stuff very much. I know what I like, I don't need any stinkin advice to tell me what I like, I got that covered.....
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I think it was an ACTOR, but I forget WHO, that once quipped:

 

"Those who can, do. Those who CAN'T become CRITICS!" :D

 

Sounds kind of OSCAR LEVANT-ish to me :)

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Well, bad "reviews" or opinions ARE a bit more fun to write. It gives both "frustrated" AND actual smart-asses a chance to keep their "barbs" sharp! :D

 

I mean, take this comment that JEAN-PIERRE RAMPAL once made of Jethro Tull leader and flautist Ian Anderson and which reads better---

"Ian Anderson doesn't seem to play the flute all that well", or the ACTUAL: "I don't consider Mr. Anderson to be a FLAUTIST as much as I do a FLATULIST!" ?

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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"Not PC"?

 

That's ME! :D

 

Remember what I told you about saying the letters "PC" fast, then saying the word "pussy" afterwards. And, don't they sound ALIKE? :D

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I thought that "flatulist" line was pretty clever. I put it up there with old time comedian FRED ALLEN's barb about JACK BENNY'S violin playing---"Benny plays the fiddle like the STRINGS were STILL in the CAT!" :D

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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David Lee Roth once said (while touring behind VH's 3rd album) that he only read the bad reviews he and the band got, because they were better written and more entertaining.

 

he also once said:

 

"Critics love Elvis Costello because they all look like Elvis Costello. No critics look like me or get girls, so they hate us."

 

 

I'm a huge Elvis Costello fan, but that's hilarious. Although, Elvis was (and still is... he's married to Diana Krall) a bit of a babe magnet for some reason.. and he picked an ageless outsider image that he never has to change, whereas DLR found the "California sun love god" thing waning in popularity as the 90s came in but people won't let him move past it, really. he seems like he's trying to work a little bit of Vegas Elvis (Presley) into it these days rather than the Jim Dandy schtick.

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Well, bad "reviews" or opinions ARE a bit more fun to write. It gives both "frustrated" AND actual smart-asses a chance to keep their "barbs" sharp! :D

 

I mean, take this comment that JEAN-PIERRE RAMPAL once made of Jethro Tull leader and flautist Ian Anderson and which reads better---

"Ian Anderson doesn't seem to play the flute all that well", or the ACTUAL: "I don't consider Mr. Anderson to be a FLAUTIST as much as I do a FLATULIST!" ?

Whitefang

 

In Musician mag back in the day, someone did an homage to a Spinal Tap review for GTR, the Steve Howe/Steve Hackett project. Here's the entire review:

 

"GTR is SHT."

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I read Alex Ross, Pulitzer winning music critic for The New Yorker, but he explores music as much as critiques it. I view reading him as part of my ongoing music education. He also writes about a lot more than just music.

 

I read Robert Christgau purely for entertainment purposes. I like that he got with the times at some point and just gives some records a bomb emoticon as the entire review.

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I`ve read critiques by Andre Crouch because he knows music-he`s not frustrated, he`s a musician. I`ll read a well-written critique, as DLR said because it`s well-written. I`m a little past disliking an artist because of a bad review.

Years ago I wrote a post called `the hot seat`, after feeling kind of dirty from another `let`s trash Yngwie` frenzy. I mean, anyone who plays in public should be ready to take it as well as dish it out. Obviously I wouldn`t be happy to be reading `you sucked` with my morning coffee. But would I follow the writer home and slash their tires? would I be looking for a bridge-hold the bungee cord? no.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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I`ve read critiques by Andre Crouch because he knows music-he`s not frustrated, he`s a musician. I`ll read a well-written critique, as DLR said because it`s well-written.

 

Yeah, Andre is literate, intelligent & musical. Always a joy to read anything he writes.

Scott Fraser
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David Lee Roth once said (while touring behind VH's 3rd album) that he only read the bad reviews he and the band got, because they were better written and more entertaining.

 

he also once said:

 

"Critics love Elvis Costello because they all look like Elvis Costello. No critics look like me or get girls, so they hate us."

 

 

I'm a huge Elvis Costello fan, but that's hilarious.

 

LOL! Just goes to show you don't have to be a pro critic to offer criticism and it's funny to hear rebuttals like this one from David Lee, I always thought ElvisC looked a little like Buddy Holly...I never read the critics so forgive me if I know nothing about those guys LOL! :roll:

Take care, Larryz
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