Saturday, January 29, 2011


All quotes picked for the passage, save the second last, which inspired the passage.

I recently asked for a suggestion for a blog post--real life, don't go looking for the post where I asked. Though do feel free to leave any requests in the comments section.

The response I got was a tentative, "...Mu...sic?" followed by another person saying it would be interesting to see where I would go off only that starting point. And here we are.
“Music is my religion.”
--Jimi Hendrix
I have occasionally said, in response to a question about my religion, that I am a practicing musician. Some people I've said that to took it as a joke, either a clever evasion of the question or a way of declaring myself non-religious. No. In the idealistic sense that religion is a way to become closer to the divine spark, I am a musician. In the cynical sense that religion is a way to meet people, I am a musician. In the sense that I feel a calling to music to and from my soul, the essence of my being, I am a musician. I am not shy about it. I only want to make sure people either let the topic alone or understand. A concert hall is consecrated. Singing is sacred, and I use that word in the way I know it. Song is not to be set up on an altar and treated with reverence from a distance. Song has the aura about it that a counselor who has been working in street grime, and beaming because he is helping people who need it. Singing in any style, playing any instrument. It is not the style, it is the feeling.

I do have...issues with people who intentionally destroy musical instruments. Yes, including the guitar smashes. In fact, because people tend think about those the least, especially the guitar smashes.
“Music, the greatest good that mortals know and all of heaven we have hear below.”
--Joseph Addison
There's a band called Nine Days. You probably think you've never heard one of their songs, and also have probably heard exactly one, titled "Absolutely": "This is the story of a girl, who cried a river and drowned the whole world, but though she looks so sad in photographs, I absolutely love her--when she smiles." I bring this up both because I think they have some other music which is genuinely worth listening to, and because there are way too many people who seem to think that the band who sings that song is Blink182 or 3 Doors Down. Because...they all have numbers in their names. I guess. It isn't the people's fault, from what I can see, some of the music systems genuinely have their algorithms messed up. Which is worse, really.
“Find people who think like you and stick with them. Make only music you are passionate about. Work only with people you like and trust. Don't sign anything.”
--Steve Albini
I went to a music-focused day in the city recently, held at SF State. The specific workshop I went to was a DIY workshop, with DIT (do it together) focus. They noted that we probably won't get a steady cash flow, and we might not even want one. Art suffers if you have to get something out by X date, because then inspiration can't strike whenever and then polish until it's done. They focused very much on spreading art, on keeping your day job, and on making friends. They also taught us how to make origami CD cases, because screen printing and folding is much cheaper than a CD case.

When they noted that it wasn't likely that any given person would make a lot of money at this, a bunch of people were disappointed. I almost felt elated. I think I figured out why: I don't have to land a music job to keep spreading my music. My choice is not A) get a well-paying music job, B) sing only to family and friends, or C) starve. I can do both. I still want a music job, but I have the choice.
“As a musician usually music is your way out.”
--Damon Albarn
When I was younger, I didn't feel I had very many close friends. I realize this was mostly because I had unrealistic expectations: I wanted one person who completely understood me and almost always understood everything I said. My communication simply isn't that good. What I would give, to have it so...

I sang a bit, when I was very young. I thought it was fun. It was something to do, and I didn't have to rely on any other single person, because I could sing solo. Even when I got into choir, that stayed to a certain extent because our choir was gigantic, and people tended to either be committed or simply mouth without singing--mandatory class.

Then came third grade. I hadn't really thought about music during the summer, but when I came back to school the first time I sang I remember stopping in my tracks because I sounded so different. And then...compliments started.

"You have a lovely voice." "[genuine surprise] My goodness, I thought a high schooler was here."

As a young child who had found no talent of her own, suddenly being able to sing, to do something I'd always liked, something I loved, was amazing. I had not thought anything about me was special; I thought everyone had some special talent and I was the one exception, and then I was wrong. If you have ever truly believed something bad of yourself and then had something prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that it wasn't so, I think you understand.

I was good.

Nothing bad mattered as much, once I could believe, "I'm good."
“There's so much excellent new music around that I can't afford to buy it all and I haven't the time to review as much as I'd like. I can't remember a better time to be a musician or to listen to music!”
--Malcolm Wilson


  1. Your words are inspiration to us all. We all do have our own talent, some more difficult to see then others, but make no mistake, they are there.


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