http://www.myspace.com/colindieden - That's where it can be found. If you like Connor Oberst, you're going to lose your mind a bit for this. I went to highschool with Colin towards the end, and the kid's come a long way.
Myself, I have a show coming up in a few weeks. The weeks leading up, including now, have been intense, as I go through some pretty important soul-searching as to why I write. Lately, I wonder most about what the purpose of playing music is at all. Nick Welch, dear friend, told me once that I shouldn't worry about it so much. He did so in words I could have easily said myself: "Dude...fuck it. Just play music."
Half of me agrees.
This afternoon I spent some time outside of Henry's, talking about music with another dear friend. His take was different. We talked about a Master Class he'd attended with a percussion instructor from Yale. After a particularly impressive, but not flawless, performance by a particularly hardworking student, he told the rest of the studio; "Either become like him, or quit. The world doesn't need another mediocre musician."
More of me agrees.
I think the truth comes somewhere in the middle. What made Bob Dylan great wasn't that he gave any kind of damn what his audience thought. What he did give a damn about was what he had to say.
When Johnny Cash set down "American Recordings" in the mid-90's, his comeback wasn't paid for by punching the same ticket stub that had made his career earlier. He took the advice of Rick Rubin - to try something new. He had to re-define his sound by being who he was at that moment in his life, and in his career. And we got singles like "Hurt", and even this, which is damn genius: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25EYTbrmgM8)
Hell, the Beatles. That's all I've got to say there.
Still, they were perfect at what they did. Nothing was an accident. They all relentlessly pursued exactly what they wanted to say, how they wanted to say it. Music without purpose - without a meaning - is just acting with instruments. It's how we got Miley Cyrus, and a cavalcade of other technical but soulless sonic waste. It's exactly what Jeff Goldblum's character means about his teleported steak in, "The Fly".
Ronnie: [Ronnie eats it] Oh... Oh, oh, tastes funny.
[Spits it in a napkin]
Seth Brundle: Funny? How?
Ronnie: It tastes um... synthetic.
Seth Brundle: [Seth smiles and takes the napkin] Mmm-hmm.
Ronnie: [smiles with intrigue] So, what have we proved?
Seth Brundle: The computer is giving us its interpretation... of a steak. It's, uh translating it for us; it's rethinking it, rather than *reproducing* it, and something is getting lost in the translation.
Ronnie: Me... I'm lost.
Seth Brundle: The flesh. It should make the computer, uh crazy. Like those old ladies pinching babies. But it doesn't; not yet because I haven't taught the computer to be made crazy by the...
[smiles at Ronnie]
Seth Brundle: flesh. The poetry of the steak.
You can't just interperet someone else's steak. Because what they came to the table with was genuine. Yours has to be genuine. It can't just be rearranged bits of the same drivel fed to you by every hand and mouth you meet or hear on the radio or in the street.
Without something genuine, something original, something worth hearing, there is no point to ever take the guitar out of the bedroom. But since I'm going to be playing to 80+ people in little Homer's, I guess I'm up against it now. So I guess I had better figure out what I want to say.