Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

What swings the pendulum?


Billster

Recommended Posts

Got thinking about this because of the Miles Davis talk on the R&R Hall of Fame thread.

 

So the Mahavishnu Orchestra obviously burned brightly (Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire) and burned out pretty quickly.

 

Early fusion bands like Mahavishnu, Weather Report and Return to Forever dazzled, but soon enough the genre became a victim of its own excesses and worst elements. Then we ended up with Spyro Gyra :freak:

 

The same thing happened in the post-Van Halen era, where we eventually ended up with Van Halen III (not exactly the gold standard) and things like Warrant.

 

Nirvana was refreshing for a short while, but then came every sound-alike band down the pike.

 

So what causes the burnout phase and the pendulum to swing in some other direction?

 

Is it too many imitators crowding out the innovators of a style?

 

Is it listener fatigue from too much of a good thing?

 

Restlessness, ego-tripping, and/or impulsiveness on the part of the performers?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 9
  • Created
  • Last Reply
The same thing happened in the post-Van Halen era, where we eventually ended up with Van Halen III (not exactly the gold standard) and things like Warrant.

Nothing wrong with the music on VH3, true VH fans

liked it I myself being one.

What I get sick of is people don't let bands grow

they want what they did when they were young.

We need to grow up and stop living in the past,and

stop being so fickle.Eds playing I think has gotten better over the years but a lot of people

don't pay attention they just say well it ain't the same with out Roth and comment on something

they know nothing about.....Sorry :(

The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Guitar Geezer:

Oar could it be the fickleness of the listening/buying public who is all too eager to be led by the ____________ (fill in the blank with whomever is currently pronouncing what the latest IN thing is)

 

 

Oar not,

 

my 2¢ worth

 

Good Question Bilster

Bingo :thu:
The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lava, I understand about artists growing. I think that aspect points to an answer here.

 

If the artist doesn't grow, they will end up killing the music by re-hashing it. What if the Beatles did "Revolver II" instead of "Sergeant Pepper"?

 

But like Geezer pointed out, the so-called market makers who lead the music business absolutely don't encourage any variance from the last successful marketing plan. So an act that tries to expand their artistry is likely to be punished, either as a "sell-out" because the audience wants them to sound like their first hit, or because the marketing people don't know how to promote anything not on the master spreadsheet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Billster:

But like Geezer pointed out, the so-called market makers who lead the music business absolutely don't encourage any variance from the last successful marketing plan.

I once read an interview with Brian Eno where he complained about this very fact. Bands are supposed to write songs that are original and yet cliched enough to be instantly recognizeable as their own. How the heck do you do that?

 

I don't know that it's just the marketing guys though. I can see how, if I (as a musician) was making a shitload of money from a particular type of song, I'd be hesitant to change too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've noticed this phenomenon, myself.

 

However, I have a different take on the whole thing.

 

Back in the early '90s, Korn made its major label debut. The band became very popular within the first year or so of its existence.

 

Within three years after Korn started making a big impact, bands with similar sounds came out of the woodwork. One of these bands was Coal Chamber.

 

Coal Chamber was generally decried as a "Korn rip-off." But here's the thing... people who knew the band from its pre-label days would have remembered times when Coal Chamber played venues half a block from where Korn was playing on the same night... and both venues were sold out. And, again, this was long before either band was known on a national level, and long before either band had any kind of support.

 

In other words, even though both bands were peers--contemporaries, even--Korn was seen as the "original" while Coal Chamber was seen as the "copy" because Coal Chamber got its label deal a little later.

 

My point is... in my travels, I have seen almost every genre of band/artist out there, playing at the same time, in the same rooms, etc. What seems to happen is that when an artist of whatever style becomes popular for whatever reason (either by hard work or media blitz, etc), an all-out search for more artists of the style begins... primarily so that the labels can capitalize on the popularity of the genre.

 

This has happened over and over again...

It was well-documented that record labels flooded the San Francisco area with scouts instructed to "sign anything that moves" in the wake of the Grateful Dead's initial success. Remember all the 'Frisco bands that got popular around the same time?

 

And how many "punky" bands got signed in the late '70s just because they looked like The Ramones or were from The Lower East Side?

 

And then there was the "Sunset Strip" craze in the '80s... when every band that sounded like a cross between Motley Crue and Van Halen?

 

And then there was the whole "Seattle" thing...

 

Eventually, what happens is a combination of boredom from the listeners, limitations of the genres and a flooded market. The "next big thing" always comes along... then gets beaten to death... then gets replaced again with whatever manages to make an impact.

 

On the plus side, we now have a great resource in the internet, so we're never "stuck" with whatever is popular at the moment.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's difficult for artists to grow and to maintain their fan base.

 

On the one hand they have fans who like what they've produced so far. But what they produce next might be a significant departure from their prior issue. When that happens there is a significant risk of losing fans. Many people will be reluctant to listen to their newer stuff because they didn't like their old stuff.

 

With the cookie cutter approach to music marketing put in place by the record labels trying to keep the artists in a box, the artist may indeed be just thrashing around (or rehashing) where they've already been rather than growing artistically. That can't be good for their creativity and I think it shows in their new work.

 

But allowing the artist to do just whatever they want might not be a good idea either. If their new stuff is a radical departure from their old stuff, they run a very real risk of losing sales of songs because their fans don't like the new stuff and their non-fans probably won't listen to their new stuff.

 

It's a gamble to keep doing what they used to. But it's also a gamble to try something new. So how do they make that decision?

 

As a Rush fan, I've bought all of their albums/CDs. But some have been much better than others. They have pretty much stayed the same over the last 30 odd years. But the music they have produced in the last 15 years has not been as good as the first 15 years. Is this because they have become stagnant? Or is it because my musical tastes have changed? If it's because my musical tastes have changed, then why do I still enjoy nearly all of their earlier works? Or is it because that their new stuff just sounds like a somewhat tired rehash of their earlier work?

 

If their current work is just a rehash, then maybe they should branch out. But then they run the risk of losing the fans they've been able to keep in the hopes of gaining new fans. What if they have no desire to branch out? What if they feel that their newer stuff _is_ branching out? Some bands just don't seem to have more than a few good songs in them.

 

Which is more important, too, growing as an artist and a band or keeping their music sales up? And more important to whom? (the artists or the label)

 

Sorry for more questions than answers. But this is a subject that I've been at the periphery of both as a consumer and as a musician that plays other peoples compositions. From my perspective, I just have more questions than answers.

Born on the Bayou

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the public just starts to think everything sounds the same and stops buying. At that point the record companies have to find something new and promote it. Sometimes it is a grassroots band that has worked for years and gathered its own following which is a good thing. Sometimes the record company makes something up which usually sells well but sounds pretty bad to us musician types.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...