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New Herman Matthews Lesson Posted at MusicPlayer.com 5-21-01


djarrett

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Man, that is some TOUGH stuff.

 

Herman Matthews is officially my new drum idol. And such words of wisdom...I know I can get any gig now if I don't show off any of my chops and have a radiating smile. I'll just kick back and play all those "punk latin" grooves and get a hair cut like eraser head. I will play with my sticks backwards and make mean faces at the band when I am playing so the band that I am auditioning for will really think I am playing something complicated. Then I know I will be a success in the music biz cause Herman Matthews who has played with Kenny Loggins and Tower of Power told me how to put on a sure fire audition.

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Hey Felix, I don't have a problem telling you to your face that your original post had a "smart ass" attitude. I spelled it backwards to have a little fun and to see if you were smart enough to figure it out.

 

I think you are way to hard on Herman Matthews and the Lesson. Have you played with any nationally recognized groups? Herman's comments and advise are very real and true. I didn't find anything in the article that was unrealistic, in fact, more people need to hear the truth about auditions. Perhaps it's "old hat" to you and you already know it all, or perhaps you simply don't like Herman Matthews. That's all fine, but the guy is a great musician and drummer. In the music business it's common place to have to play with groups and artists who's music we don't really care for. Sounds like you are judging this guy based on who he's played with rather than who he is as a musician.

 

Like all of us, you are entitled to your opinion ... but I think you were being a little harsh. Rather than giving a thought provoking comments about Herman Matthews and the article ... you came across (to me at least) as a smart ass! Ease up bro ... life is too short.

 

Bartman

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Well, now ... I go away for a day and you two are fight'n again!

Time Out for you both!

 

Seriously, Felix. In the spirit of learning, I have always said that if I ever get to the point that *I* think that *I* know it all, ... I will just quit playing. I think it important to draw some kind of knowledge out of each and every bit of information we take in. Kind of like squeezing the juice from an orange. I want it all!

I think your original comment leaned towards a whimsical approach to close mindedness.

Knowing you from your previous post, ... I know this is far from the truth. You are very concerned about learning and improving.

I do sense come cynicism from you about the fact that Herman plays for some giants in the music industry and you may have not. I do not know the source of this, but perhaps this would be the topic of another (or even a private) thread.

The truth is ... I have found that no matter how great a drummer you are, and how well you can play, ... that only two things really matter in your drumming career when you boil it down. Those two things are:

1) It is *Who* you know

2) It is all about having a great and flexible attitude -- no room for premadonnas!

 

Nothing else really matters in the grand scheme of things.

Call that Hollywood. Call it unfair. Call it bull $#!+ ... but that is just the facts ... Ma'am!

If anything Herman said could land me a Gig with Kenny Logins ... I AM ALL EARS!!!!!!!!! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

I hope if you did not get anything out of this Herman Matthews lesson, that perhaps you will on the next!

And Felix ... "what did you practice today!" ... because I know you did!

 

LOL,

DJ

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Very funny article. My GF and I laughed at how stupid it was last night. I was vocalizing those shitty beats. Hilarious. I wasn't fighting with the Bartman DJ, HONEST. Bart's cool.

 

Well, of course I have a different view on things here. I do think I know it all or have the resources to get there...and what I don't know or can't play I really am not choosing too. It's my world! It's only art/music. I pick and choose at random. Plus I'm not a SELL OUT. Let's get commercial a second. Lots of pro's have a holier than though attitude. I'm a drumming consumer now. And like a car or any other product, if it sucks, I'm gonna let people know about it. I don't have to be nice, just honest to myself. I think someone of my talent level that has not sold out is a rare and beautiful thing in this day in age. Sorry. I sell out every day...not with my music though...NEVER.

 

National Acts? I don't feel I have to justify my credentials to post an opinion. But I will just to humour my already "HUGE" ego. I turned down auditioning for Rob Halford back in 98 when I had a chance. I also turned down a band that would be on call for some frigging company that would be warming up all the national acts- I'd have to talk to the guitar player on what company it was. But I am just not interested in that. Maybe 10 years ago, but not recently. I also played a bar circuit for...shit, two or 3 years with sometimes four gigs a week. My playing went to hell during that time, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. My little world.

 

Well, back to my day job.

 

Ciao!

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Yes, I never felt that Felix and I were "arguing" ... just stating our opinions and debating ... which is what this Forum is about.

 

Felix, just to bring a little clarity on my post. The reason I mentioned national acts ... what Herman Matthews was saying in those regards is true. It is political, it is who you know, and it IS a roll of the dice. I know a lot of players (including myself) who win AND lose auditions for the most obscure reasons. The times I get the gig, I thought someone played much better than me; the exact opposite for the gigs I don't get.

 

I agree that the grooves that Herman placed on the lesson where not complex or insightful ... but I don't think there was any claim to that. From what I understand, he was posting grooves/beats that he had to play for a particular audition.

Here's a taste of what my audition parts looked like.

These are grooves he had to play because they were already on the CD of the group he was auditioning for.

 

The other point I'd like to make is this: a lot of players can possibly already play these grooves ... but it doesn't make people want to dance. It's not a matter of just playing the groove, but HOW you play it. The balance of the kit, the snap and placement of the snare, the consistancy of the kick drum, the overall timing; they all are part of making the groove happen (as I'm sure you are well aware of). So just because the grooves are simple it doesn't make them invalid. Listen to the radio and you'll hear grooves a lot simplier than these. Sure you may HATE commercialism or the way the music industry handles itself, but the fact of the matter is ... these are the grooves that sell. If you want to make a living as a musician, be prepared to play these grooves. There's room to play "art music" and "commercial music". The general public doesn't understand "art" but does know "commercial" unfortunately. In my career, I play gigs that can be very boring but put food on the table ... AND ... I have gigs that meet my musical appetite but don't pay a dime (or very little).

 

The main reason I felt the article had merit was that I hear young players (some of them my students) who focus on all the wrong things. Their priority is on soloing chops rather than laying down a solid groove and make the music feel good. I'm sorry, but I don't know too many drummers who get calls for gigs because they can play flashy solos. Being able to solo is important, but it's NOT at the top of the list. Who cares if you are the world's greatest soloist ... but you can't lay down a slammin' 2-beat groove!

 

There is a young high school drummer (not a student of mine) who knows me from a church that I play at. He comes up to me from time to time (or emails me) with questions. Rather than talk about anything to do with actual playing, his questions are things like ... how do I get endorsed? WHAT?! What I would like to tell him is "you can't play a solid beat to save your life and you are worried about endorsements?" In an effort to be positive, I gently try to set him straight. For one thing, the companies don't "endorse" you ... you are endorsing THEM! He's convinced that he is going to have the next hit band; focusing on the look of himself and the drumkit ... rather than the music and his playing abilities. sigh

 

So a kid like that NEEDS to hear what Herman is saying (who by the way said that an audition CAN be a crap shoot ... he didn't say every audition IS a crap shoot). Here are a few quotes from the article that EVERYONE needs to remember:

  • Don't go to an audition to show off your chops.
  • Walk into the room with a smile on your face.
  • Show enthusiasm while you play.
  • Never act like you are above the gig.
  • The artist wants a confident person in that seat.

 

What is wrong with any of these comments? Most of the suggestions are simple common courtesies and apply to ANY job interview.

 

I didn't see this article as a "sell out" and I don't think it "sucks". The article has merit and was written to people who have not traveled down the path that DJ, Felix and I have traveled.

 

If you agree that young drummers need to hear the things listed in Herman's article ... I would suggest not tearing up the article, even if you personally feel it has no relevance to your own life or playing career. A young person hearing you say that the article "sucks" may believe you and not bother to glean some of the wisdom that it holds. They may even take it a step further and do the OPPOSITE:

 

When you audition be sure to show off your chops, it's all about YOU baby. Walk into the room with a crappy "the world owes me" attitude and put a frown on your face. Don't show any enthusiasm when you play; sigh a lot (like Al Gore during the debates). Let them know who's boss and that they'll be damn lucky to have you in the band; you're WAY above this gig!

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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You know, Guys. I really am with Bart here.

Felix, ... what I think you miss here is the fact that the grooves Herman lays down in the lesson *are* simple. It takes a fantastic groover to be able to nail an audition with simple grooves.

 

I have known drummers that could blister when playing by themselves. Put them behind a band and they were as lost as a cat in an interstate median! It is *not* all about the flashy chops and fast licks. It is about the music. Simple grooves and locking in with the groove will get you the gig *way* before triple paradiddles played on bass drum over inverted patty fla-flas around the toms!

 

I believe that other musicians just want a drummer that can play in the pocket with a great attitude.

 

And while I have the floor, ... let me say this. Drugs and Alcohol have no place in (or before) an audition. Get high on playing ... and leave the drugs behind!!

 

That is my story and I'm sticken' to it!

DJ

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I read the article and could sight read the grooves also, but I don't think that was the real focus of the lesson. The points Herman made and how to apply them in a playing situation I thought were right on the money. I think he was just trying to get across the fact that common sense and a good attitude at any level of playing is important. To this day I still see older, experienced drummers try and shoehorn in their more technical grooves and fills into a song that requires simple drumming. To me these drummers come across as insecure and not repecting the fact they are playing a gig with other MUSICIANS.
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Patty Fla Fla's? You have to teach that rud. DJ! Taste, that's a whole other ball of wax-and since we have been commercially assimilated by the "BORG" I think we have all been marred by what is appropriate and what ain't. And I'm not talking about overplaying in a ballad tune/etc.

 

Bart, you should have written that article so I could have been spared all the clumsy prose in between and just gone straight to the bulleted points.... I actually think you and DJ forth better examples than Herman Mellville or whatever the dudes name was.

 

I especially liked the endorsment story.

 

Aren't we missing an important ingredient here-attitude? Oh no, right, see second picture with Herman snarling at the digital camera with the butt-end of the stick pointing at U. And why did it take several posts from you guys to justify valid points? VERY CLUMSY and WORDY PROSE. GET to the point.

 

Ok, I'm done. The article still sucks in my book. But you guys are good.

 

I'll probably take this all back if I ever have to audition for a band again...oh, I have a TERRIBLE attitude if I smell a stinker. You all know how much of a smart ass I am, but believe it or not, I get a call about once a month to do some cockamamie thing on the drums. Too funny.

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Remember Felix:

Resistance if Futile! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gifhttp://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

Here is the real point of the comments. I know Herman Matthews and can say that he is the most down to earth and humble guys I have met.

He is just like all of us. Grew up with the desire to play and make music. He happened to be in the *right place* at the *right time* with the *right attitude* and played the *right grooves* and *GOT THE GIG!*

Typically, I do not go to an audition unless I have thoroughly checked it out and know that *I* want to own the drummer spot! In Herman's case this was true as well, and he accomplished his goal!

These truths are self evidence with us all. I can truly say that I have not met many pro-drummers that I did not like. Most of the real greats are wonderfully nice folks and are humble as the day is long. I have met a few that were arrogant and time has taught them the lesson of humility and they have either gone away or they have become humble.

I really think it comes back to attitude. The words "garbage in -- garbage out" come to mind. In this case ... garbage out -- NO GIG!

 

We all really want the same thing ... to communicate through our music. This means landing a Gig for most of us. (lest you be a one man show like Bozzio!) ... And I hope this lesson helps the majority land that gig!

Keep Smiling, Keep Practicing, and Keep Makin' Music!!

DJ

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Well....

 

I've been reading this thread with some amusement. On the one hand, I see Herman's points (and Bart's and DJ's). On the other hand I see Felix's too. Felix, we might have quite different tastes in music but I think our philosophies about playing are very similar.

 

I guess it boils down to what you want to do with music. It's the age old "artist" vs. "craftsman" riff. If what you want is to be a "pro" drummer - you wanna make money by getting gigs and sessions - then you definitely need to know the things that Mr. Matthews pointed out. And DJ is right, I've met very few "pro" drummers who weren't really easy to get along with and have a great attitude.

 

On the other hand, my personal very favorite drummers - people like Charlie Watts, Stan Lynch, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Stewart Copeland - well, you can't exactly imagine any of these guys auditioning for anybody or being real studio cats. They are highly stylized players. They also have a different kind of attitude than your basic "pro" players.

 

Of course, one can argue that those guys are who they are and therefore they've earned the right to play whatever they want and have whatever kind of attitude about it they wanna have. But I would argue back that all of them were still the personalities that they were, and played the way they did, long before they ever became known players. I also know drummers today who have similar attitudes and are not well known, but their ethic is no less valid. If you have a particular artistic vision and you want to make that happen to the exclusion of anything else, including making money, then Herman's article may not be of much use to you. It would also not really behoove you to try to become something you're not. I never had any illusions that I could become a "pro" guitar player because there are too many gigs I would hate and/or would not suit my style. I would be nothing but trouble to 90% of the people who hired me, if they even wanted to hire me in the first place. To those other 10%, though, I'm a godsend, because I'm exactly what they want and we totally understand each other. Being honest about who I am and what I want enables me to find that small number of people I love to work with, and not cause myself or anybody else any grief with the rest of it. Part of that has involved taking money out of the equation. I don't make my living from playing and I know it would be impractical to try, given my attitude.

 

So... if you wanna be a pro, you have to have some job training and the right attitude and a willingness to be very flexible. If you wanna be an "artiste", that's fine too, but don't try to bring your "artiste" sensibilities to your pro session - or just don't become a pro if you can't switch gears like that. Just try to find other people of like mind and form or join a band.

 

Again this might be obvious to Felix or Bart or DJ but it may not be obvious to everyone. The "original band" mentality and the "gigging musician/studio cat" mentality are often very different things.

 

--Lee

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Whoa! Lee!

 

Great points. I do however believe this one simple truth.

 

If you play for the love of playing, play good, and have a great attitude, ... the money will follow.

 

All of your favs started out playing for the love of playing and that morphed into a lucrative situation for them.

 

Those that pursue playing strictly for the means of making money are 99.9% of the time disappointed with the outcome.

 

Auditioning is just a simple necessary hurdle in most cases. A means to an end.

 

Play for the love of drumming and making music. The rest will follow!

 

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Originally posted by djarrett:

If you play for the love of playing, play good, and have a great attitude, ... the money will follow.

 

Sigh... I wish that were true. One of my favorite drummers in the world is 43 and works in a warehouse. He's one of the best drummers I've ever seen AND has a great attitude, everybody loves him and he's a very stable guy with no pretensions whatsoever. If anybody deserves to be making his living drumming, he does. But - he isn't. And most of us probably know at least one person like that.

 

All of your favs started out playing for the love of playing and that morphed into a lucrative situation for them.

 

True, but luck and timing had something to do with it too and I think most of them would own up to that.

 

Those that pursue playing strictly for the means of making money are 99.9% of the time disappointed with the outcome.

 

True, and I wasn't implying that "pro" drummers are only in it for the money. All I was saying is there are gigs that are more likely to earn you money than other gigs, and it takes a different attitude and usually a different kind of player to grab those gigs. I don't think Keith Moon would have done jingles or played weddings. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif And by his own admission he would have made a terrible session drummer. That isn't to knock him (although some did); it's just that if he hadn't happened to have found the other members of the Who, it's hard to say how he might have realized his potential. He made the Who and the Who made him. And that involved luck as well as talent.

 

So I think it's a good idea to figure out which kinds of gigs you are going to pursue, so you don't get too down on yourself for trying to be something you're not!

 

--Lee

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I've never really understood this artistic vs. working player mentality. when I hear comments like I know it all, I,m stooping to a lower level to play this music, or I,ve payed my dues and then slap the old "I don't want to compromise my artistic integrity" crap just does'nt wash with me whether you are playing covers or trying to succeed in an original band. I agree that there are a lot of musicians out there(original and cover) who deserve more than what they are maybe getting from the business, but becoming an ignorant ego maniac to compensate for frustration will pretty much seal your fate at whatever goal you are trying to accomplish. I'd like to ask everybody do we ever stop paying dues as far as music is concerned?, and when do we reach that level where we can do and play whatever we whenever we want? 'cause I have no idea!
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Lee wrote:

 

"Sigh... I wish that were true. One of my favorite drummers in the world is 43 and works in a warehouse. He's one of the best drummers I've ever seen AND has a great attitude, everybody loves him and he's a very stable guy with no pretensions whatsoever. If anybody deserves to be making his living drumming, he does. But - he isn't. And most of us probably know at least one person like that."

 

This goes back to the right time - right place and it *is* who you know!

 

That can make a difference!

 

Thanks for the comments Lee!

 

Bring your friend to the forum!!!

 

DJ

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I'm not sure if I want to be in the right place at the right time. We have some interesting things cooking for our band right now. *STOMPS FEET*..."I don't want to be a pro!" I want to cut my grass on the weekends, work in my studio and make love to my beautiful wife whenever I want.

 

I understand the artist vs. professional crap. The ultimate goal is to be a professional artist...for me, and still be breathing. If not, who really cares, I'm having a blast right now not doing crap with my music-I'm almost afraid of when I get busy with it again. TheN I won't be able to waste hours on this message board LOL BOO HOO.

 

!!!!!!!!!!!WIPE OUT, BAYYYYYYYBY!!!!!!!!!

k, back to my day job

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Originally posted by mrthirsty:

I've never really understood this artistic vs. working player mentality. when I hear comments like I know it all, I,m stooping to a lower level to play this music, or I,ve payed my dues and then slap the old "I don't want to compromise my artistic integrity" crap just does'nt wash with me whether you are playing covers or trying to succeed in an original band.

 

Well, anybody can be an arrogant SOB (or not), but that's not what I was referring to. In fact, that's what I was trying to prevent. If you decide not to be a "pro" as Felix has done, then you can do whatever you want and you don't have to compromise and no one will think you're arrogant for having done so. You can also focus more on the types of music you want to do. Some people have narrower tastes than they would have to have if they were going to become working musicians. It has nothing to do with being "better" than anybody, it's just being realistic about whether you can accomplish what you want creatively, within the context of being a working musician. If you can't, then IMO you shouldn't even attempt to be a "pro" musician, otherwise you'll just be unhappy and other people will think you're bitter and arrogant.

 

Either way, you still haveta pay your dues, and no, you never really stop paying. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif It's just a matter of what form your dues take, I guess. For people like Felix and myself, we'd rather do something else for money and just play the music we love and enjoy life. I don't hear either one of us whining about our fates. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

--Lee

 

P.S. to Felix: YOU GO!!! Love your 'tude, dude! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 05-25-2001 at 12:44 PM

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Originally posted by felix stein:

I want to cut my grass on the weekends, work in my studio and make love to my beautiful wife whenever I want.

 

I understand the artist vs. professional crap. The ultimate goal is to be a professional artist...for me, and still be breathing.

 

Let's see ... I do all those and I'm a professional artist (musician). I'm at home all day long, watching my son, working in my watergarden, practicing or working in my studio. The only time I really leave the house is for sessions and gigs, other than that ... I'm home ... and I LOVE IT!!!

I make a comfortable living and am enjoying life and my career.

 

I don't feel that I've sold out or given up the artistic side of music to be a professional. Yes, I record and play music that would be considered "commercial", but I also record and play music that fulfills my artistic side as well. It's a shame that society and the industry determine what sells; I'd love to make a living playing only the music I love. I have found a balance in that I do some things that I don't care for musically, but in return, it provides me the time to do what I want to do.

 

All of you have the potential to do EXACTLY what it is you want to do. If you want to play make your sole living in music, you can do that and not "sell" out or lose your artistic side. It takes work and good boundaries to maintain the balance between making money and making music ... but it can be done. I think it all comes down to how hard you want to work to make it happen and find your niche. I'm amazed that anyone would ever pay me for what I do ... but they do. I've found something that I love and can get paid for it; what a blessing.

 

I'm not rich by the world's standards, but I've got a nice home (never thought I'd have that being a musician), a beautiful wife and 12 month old son. I have no debt except a house payment; if I don't have the cash to make a purchase ... I don't buy it. It's incredible the freedom one can feel by keeping themselves out of debt.

 

I don't let the music industry tell me what to do or not do. I do what I want and find ways to make it lucrative and pay the bills. I'm a "Jack of all trades and a master of none," ... and I'm glad I'm that way. Now I have the peace to be who I am and live my life in such a way that I pray pleases God.

 

Sorry for rambling ... but I don't buy into the notion that if you are a professional musician you have to sell out to make a living; starving if you try to only do your artistic music. The assumption that you have to have a day job in order to pay the bills so you can do your artistic music. That's what some people need and want to do ... that's great! I don't need a six figure income and fame/stardom to make me feel successful. It all boils down to what you want in life and what it takes to make you happy. I think a person can do whatever they want, despite what the world says; still make a nice living and enjoy life.

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Hey, All You Drumsters!

 

Here is the deal! We are all BLESSED to be able to play ... period!

Felix, I do not buy into the "selling out" theory to play commercial music any more than I would consider it selling out to society by having a job with a major corporation! Or selling out to Free Enterprise to have ones own business!

I think of the boys in Hootie and the Blowfish. (since we all went to the same school at the University of South Carolina) They played the local club scene and roped in a following. It grew to a regional thing ... and then to national.

Did they sell out?

I would imagine that when the time comes, Felix, for your band to become a national act, you would be thrilled to be able to play your music for the masses. (and take a little change ($) in the process!)

 

How about selling out to your family by putting in 16 hour days practicing, working a day job, and working on projects in your home studio? It is all a huge privilege to be able to do any or all of these things.

 

There is currently a pretty active thread on Craig's open mic forum from a guy who is still trying to find a balance between all these things. You should check out this thread: How do you balance family and work?

 

Selling out sounds like such a bitter term. Perhaps even a judgmental term. I challenge you to re-think the use of this word to ensure that someday you do not fall victim to your own terminology!

 

Life is too short. Drum Long and Prosperous!

 

DJ

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I agree with you DJ.

 

Although I don't know you Felix, I do think I know where you are coming from; well, at least from what you say in your posts. I hope I don't sound like I'm hammering you personally, because I'm not. I'm using your comments as examples because I hear what you are saying ... and I hear it from time to time and have never been able to address it.

 

When I hear people use the comparison of "commercial versus artistic" ... I get this feeling that it's the same as "reading or not-reading". I've talked to a variety of individuals and I always get this bitter vibe from them. I think DJ hit the nail on the head. I'm not saying that anyone is necessarily bitter ... but the argument that I hear comes across that way. Like I stated on another thread ... I get this feeling that people that wave the flag stating "I won't sell out, I only play artistic music" or "I don't read, I learned on my own and was never tainted by the industry,"... it all sounds kind of bitter and/or insecure. Has someone been hurt or burnt in such a way that would make them respond with these types of positions. It all sounds very defense and a bit like victim posturing.

 

I so wish that we could all hang out in person to discuss these things. It's so hard to read the heart of a person when all we get are words on a screen.

 

I feel like Felix and I are very much a like ... but we just express ourselves differently. I don't like anyone telling me how to play or what to play. I like being my own boss and want to do what I want to do. With this in mind, it's unfortunate that we humans are relational. To exist in peace with each other, we sometimes have to compromise or bend a little bit. I know when I have an attitude like "my way or the highway" ... which I do have sometimes ... I don't get a lot of cooperation from people. But when I come to the table with open arms and express genuine interest in the people (or music), my ideas, thoughts and desires are more likely to be accepted or at least considered.

 

Whoa! Where did you go there Bart? What on Earth are you talking about?

 

I don't know where I was going with all of this; but it feels good to express it! LOL http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/eek.gif

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

 

This message has been edited by Bartman on 05-25-2001 at 11:37 PM

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Originally posted by Bartman:

When I hear people use the comparison of "commercial versus artistic" ... I get this feeling that it's the same as "reading or not-reading". I've talked to a variety of individuals and I always get this bitter vibe from them. I think DJ hit the nail on the head. I'm not saying that anyone is necessarily bitter ... but the argument that I hear comes across that way. Like I stated on another thread ... I get this feeling that people that wave the flag stating "I won't sell out, I only play artistic music" or "I don't read, I learned on my own and was never tainted by the industry,"... it all sounds kind of bitter and/or insecure. Has someone been hurt or burnt in such a way that would make them respond with these types of positions. It all sounds very defense and a bit like victim posturing.

 

I'm not sure where you get this. I'm sure there ARE people who have that kind of attitude, but really most of the musicians I hang around with who are in original bands see a very sharp division between ourselves and "pro" musicians. It is not a complaint, it's just a fact. There are some musicians who don't see any difference at all because they are fortunate enough to personally like "commercial" music. If you happen to be one of those people then you would not understand what Felix or I are talking about at all.

 

I suppose if you want to call me "bitter" because I got tired of spending many hours of my day playing and/or engineering music that I disliked intensely, just to pay the bills, you could, but you'd be wrong. I can't help my musical tastes, nor the popular music trends, and I didn't waste much time bitching about it, I just got a different job and now focus on playing and engineering only on stuff that I really love. It would be nice if, as Felix says, I could be a "professional artist", and I am certainly shooting for that. But meanwhile I'm still having a good time, so what would be the point of going back to a career path where I was definitely NOT having a good time?

 

--Lee

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Originally posted by djarrett:

I think of the boys in Hootie and the Blowfish. (since we all went to the same school at the University of South Carolina) They played the local club scene and roped in a following. It grew to a regional thing ... and then to national.

Did they sell out?

I would imagine that when the time comes, Felix, for your band to become a national act, you would be thrilled to be able to play your music for the masses. (and take a little change ($) in the process!)

 

I'm sure Felix would be thrilled, too. That's not the issue. If you are making money doing what you love, that's not "selling out". However it most likely requires that you have tastes that fall within a certain range of acceptable commercial formats. If you don't, you have to accept that or you WILL become bitter. It would suck if you gave up playing music and became really bitter because no label's marketing department was ever going to know what to do with you, and you felt doomed to being a starving artist forever.

 

Sure, we all have to make some compromises to pay the bills. That may or may not be in the music field. I'm not crazy about programming computers, but I don't really have any emotional attachment to it either, which means that no matter what a client asks me to do I'm not going to get upset about it. It's a lot easier for me than if an engineering client walks in and asks me to use a drum machine... or a top 40 gig requires me to play a Britney Spears song. To me that's too big of a price to pay to say that I'm a "pro" musician, whereas I'll program anything that somebody wants to pay me to program. I just had to accept the fact that my tastes are fairly narrow and if I stay within them I'm never going to get enough gigs to pay the bills. Most of the musicians I know who are truly bitter are the ones who still think they can "make it" commercially or become "rock stars" but are doing something that is clearly never going to make money. They work at crappy jobs because they refuse to learn to do something that pays all right, thinking that would be "selling out" or that that "big break" is just around the corner when it ain't.

 

--Lee

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