Saturday, February 6, 2010

First choice?

Rockers, here's a question for you:

How many artists, writers, poets, and guitar heroes thought, as they were first starting out, "My own personal sound is my first choice for greatness"?

I'm guessing (and realllly hoping) that the overall number was very small. You see, I'm finding out, both from my traversing the roads of music, and helping others do the same, that, for me, my own sound is almost as unchangeable as my fingerprints. Sure, I can learn new styles, techniques, and buy new amps, BUT - I'm still gonna sound like me. I suspect this might be the same for everyone. What do you think?

That bugs me sometimes. I think it's a blessing and a curse. I'd like to be able to say "I'm gonna sound like SRV" and be done with it. To a point, I can. But the Josh sound is still gonna creep into my playing.

Music has it's ideals, but each sounds unique, and it's useless to follow. With cars, I think it's different. This point is manifested when folks say "I'm gonna build a mean orange '69 Camaro", and they open up a catalog, and do just that. And ideals are on prominent display - there's a dozen popular builds, and those are the ideals people aspire to, and for the most part, stick to.

Vocally, that's impossible to do. And almost as impossible, yet far more subtle, is the guitarists obligation to their own sound. To me, at first, was maddening, and sometimes, it still is. I'd so like to be able to sound like my heroes, namely, because they're accepted as greats. Yet I'm consigned to sound like a Josh, and that's not proven yet, and not validated by Epic records yet.

Yet this is precisely why art is always diverse, colorful, and beautiful beyond imagination. Each artist is forced to sound/create like themselves.

My family has taught me innumerable life lessons, but here's some that have helped me on this particular subject. First, I've gained enough skill at introspection to know that my musical self-esteem is not incredibly high. Second, I've got a lot of German farmer in me. You start with what you've got, even if it's not your first choice. Get the wheels rolling, yah yah! It's good for shutting up any inner critics that might say "this music isn't good enough." (NOT to be confused with the very valid quality control mechanisms that are to be gained with years of study, by any means. I'm talking about the thoughts of "oh man I'll always be a lousy singer.")

Thank goodness that we can't change our musical or artistic voices. We'd all sound like (name your favorite musician) and be driving orange '69 Camaros. And there would only be about fifteen different sounds in the world - Probably classical ones.

So start creating that music, even if you're not your first choice.

Yah yah!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


just registered and put on my todo list

hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read.