Friday, February 6, 2009

Stifled by the shadow

Hey hey hey!

Whew, it's been a little while! Between endless trips to the hardware store, tons of guitar lessons, home improvement, and gearing up for a gig...I've been quiet. But anyone knows a Josh doesn't stay that way.

I was driving home last night, rumbling along the dark highway, and guess what - I had a blog idea. I get 'em a lot when I'm driving.

Here's the point: Innovation sounds groovy. Filling shoes and proving yourself does not.

Let's take some great innovators to check out. Charlie Parker is a cool example. Saying he played the saxophone is like saying Jesus had a mullet. He was one of the creators of Bebop. Charlie, not JC, that is. Listen to how exciting and cutting edge his music is - from sixty years ago!

But let's take another one, and a great illustration of the innovation vs. emulation. Eddie Van Halen.

Everyone wants to play like Ed. And nobody can play like Ed, because only Eddie is Eddie. You can't play like me, and I can't play like you. So when we try to play like someone, we run into trouble.

Now, when Eddie plays, he sounds fresh. He sounds new. He's the thing. When other people try to play like Ed, they can sound well...stifled.

I think a lot of players, myself included, are so awestruck by these mighty guitar heroes, that we often find ourselves standing in a gigantic shadow - so concerned with living up to those standards, that we don't use that time to find our own voice.

The ironic thing is - that very uniqueness is what makes the heroes sound so cool! Nobody plays an E7#9 chord like Jimi, and nobody howls like Stevie.

I think what we can, and should gain from these cats would fall under a few ideas:

- Dedication to their art
- Learning from their heroes - to a point
- Confidence in their own sound

Because, let's face it, if Randy didn't FULLY rip your face off with crazy train, it might as well be a disco song.

So mean it, and mean it to be you.

I'm off to write a song for my aunt.

- Josh

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another great blog. Finding my own sound is what I have been doing for the past three or so years. I feel as though I am almost there. Thanks for the inspiring blog.