Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hypothesis: The Point of Music is to Evoke Emotion. Agree?

Why do you listen to music & go to shows? Here's my motivation....

I hope Im not the only one, but Im so sick of hearing Eminem & Kanye trying to sing, of drummers being out of work because of producers using loops & ProTools to create repetitive drum lines, and seeings acts that have no business selling out doing so because of mass marketing appeal. The mass music does nothing for me, except keep my ears busy as Im driving around the South Bay. And to be honest, I never understood when I was a kid why my Dad drove with nothing on the radio - but I get it now. Noise. Marketing. Buy this. Be cool and wear this, or be there. Be an artist and buy Apple (yes, Im an Apple Hater).....I just hate it.

Then a friend drove to LA just to go to a show...which I thought was a little strange, because she is what I consider a tastemaker, and she wouldn't do that unless it was worth it. So, even though I hate to be in the popular circle, I found myself perusing this band she was going to see, curious as to why she had to see them, and travel at that. Note: check Mumford & Sons on myspace. Results: (1) it wasn't hiphop; (2) it wasnt the same old 4 man lineup of drums, bass, guitar, vocals; (3) the songwriting, delivery, and emotion of the music was truly unique, which is the most important thing in music to me at some level. Remember, I walk into a venue daily, and probably see 1000 bands a year perform. Alot of them start sounding the same.

And I believe the most important thing in music, or listening, is this: It Evokes Emotion in  Me. My mind & intellect feeds off of it, and it evokes a feeling (doesn't matter what feeling) that I haven't had before. In certain cases, I listen to a song, and I feel like the world is brighter, or Im invincible, or that Love really does exist.....
and in this case, it really hit home on a relevant topic in my life, and gave me some insight....

"And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand, and we'll hold your hand, hold your hand.
I will tell the night, and whisper lose your sight. 
I can move the mountains for you."

So again, Do you agree? Why do you listen to music or go to shows? What is a lyric that evokes emotion in you?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Buddha Question: What side of the creaky fence do YOU sit on?

Just woke up. 9:43am. 2 ads, newsletter on graphic deadline before noon. Meetings with staff all day, national show tonight. Went to bed 4:46am. Massive day of techie geek upgrades to our computer network at Saint Rocke. Cursing myself for liking to learn, and then, when things are not gravy, not hiring professionals to do the work in half the time. Life of a business owner. Pretty romantic, eh?

The problem is more complicated, for reasons I can't discuss, but at the same time the problem is simple: when is too much work too much? In our culture, we see it all the time. In music, you can take your pick from a veritable ocean of songs that loathe the corporate fool, or wasting your life to work and forgetting about love. If you work alot, you are characterized immediately as lacking soul, lacking true direction in regards to Plato's objective nature of things. But where is the line?

Play for too long, too hard, and on the other side when you're older, you'll struggle. When you get sick, you won't have insurance or a roof over your head, and you'll have to rely on other people, which I think is part of what makes this country amazing and terrible at the same time.

Or work hard, really hard, and buy a nice home, and provide & be responsible for your family. When you get sick, you go to good doctors, and when a rainy day hits, you have an umbrella. But that takes toil, time, and when you'd rather be surfing....we'll, lets say you click on "surf report" , watch the cam, and daydream for 10.

I've been trying to ride that middle - and God knows (don't know if there is One, but read Pascals Wager and you'll understand) it's a thin fence. Right now, it's pretty clear what side I've been leaning towards, and I've got to say, it's sucking. So I begin the transition of my ass cheek to the other side of fence, lean a little too hard that way, and then write again in a few months about how there is more to life than being happy in the moment.

Or is there?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What is YOUR soundtrack? I'll tell you mine....

SUMMER 1994.

Call John Welbourn, our big neighbor (who ultimately played in the NFL) to help us collect money for the keg we bought with my brothers fake ID. By the way, claim to fame, I once wrestled John to the by deduction, I am stronger than an NFL player (yes, I know, faulty logic.). Checklist: Miller Ice Keg, Jack Daniels Country Cocktails, Zima, about 200 people coming, $2 at the door, and the best band around playing at 9pm. Solid bar night, right? Wrong. Highschool. I'm 17. House party. All illegal, all risky, all shit that we had no idea about. All we knew is that (1) alcohol was a new found glory, (2) there was a slight chance I would get to kiss the Chadwick private school girl that I invited, and (3) there was going to be music played that would sink & dissolve itself into my mind like ice cubes in my scotch. That night World Tribe played until the cops came and broke the party up; I learned the lesson of not inviting 2 girls to the same party, and 200 people heard music that they would remember for 20 years.

Everybody has a song, or a band, that sends nostalgia running down their back, reminding them of their first beer, first trip to second base, or a time they promised someone friends forever. And although I hear hundreds if not thousands of songs a year, and look at countless artists, there is reserved space in my heart & brain for certain songs, that to this day still evoke certain endorphin triggers, the way a sunset or picture might.
For me, that band was World Tribe. And so coming full circle, I smile when I think that this New Years, that same band that played the highschool party I speak of above, will be playing Saint Rocke to a sold out crowd on a 2 night stand. FINALLY. For one night, I can be a fan again, and just enjoy some music. No management or artists, no difficult riders, just good vibes. And although I own the venue, and it's business and this & that, for one night I can be that 16 yr old kid again, close my eyes, and remember.

This blog is not for promotion, so Im not going to get into promoting the night, talking about the date, etc. If you like the band, you'll come, and if you grew up where I'm from, I know you'll be there. You can't not be there. People will be flying in from around the country to see this.  But for those of you that don't know, I want to remind you of the moment. Stop. Think. Think back to when life wasn't about responsibility, iphones, and schedules, but was more about figuring out what you were going to say the next time that person you liked walked by. Or what you were going to wear to Homecoming (I wore nothing. I streaked the football game with 3000 people watching, and asked my girlfriend to the prom). And then think of the soundtrack thats playing while you recount this memory. I want to know what songs they hopefully you'll all share your nostalgia soundtrack, and maybe we'll even make a mixed cassette tape out of 'em.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pockets of Contenment - Green Room with Amos Lee

Amos Lee played tonight. I couldn't stand to be in the room to watch the otherwise amazing show.....

I'm generally not content. It takes the perfect mix of life, thought, my mood, people around me, and sometimes whiskey, to create that perfect storm which brings on the feeling of contentment for me. The Rocke world is no different; I've been now first hand in charge of hundreds of shows - having booked them, or filmed them, or at them - and with every show there is something that prevents my feeble mind from being content. But tonight was different at Amos Lee...tonight, it wasn't the show that made me content. It was the periphery; and I'd love to share why...

First of all, it't not everyday that you get to see Amos Lee play in a venue our size, on a stage that you built with your own hands, sound coming through speakers that you lifted up yourself on a jack. That man is truly gifted, and the carry of his voice is tremendous. What sucked is the lame girl in the back that had too many cosmos, and kept whooping and yelling, her shameful boyfriend that didn't get his lady in line. C'mon dude. Figure it out - you looked retarded, and everyone would agree with me. So right there, although Im supremely sensitive, that blew my contentment out of the water. The Manager was right next to me, and we both didn't need to even communicate - it was that apparent.

But after the show, as I was gathering my stuff upstairs, I went to say goodbye to Amos and thank him, and we had a brief conversation about the live stream we did, and the ramifications thereof in the music world. And don't get me wrong, I am humble, but I very rarely hear philosophical thoughts that floor me. But, if you could have listened to the way he explained the life of a musician, and his job as a musician, how he viewed the digital world as it relates to artistry ("to keep moving forward, to never stay in the same place...") well, for a moment, my mind lost its place and I just listened. Peaceful, content, learning. Thank you Amos, you don't even know that you cracked a knowledge egg on my head, but that was a really special insight to hear as a sometimes jaded venue owner.

And as if that wasn't enough. I walked downstairs and saw a couple that I had met earlier that night, and they thanked me for the show, and thanked me for "keeping the dream alive." Wow. Not a whole lot of cooler shit in the area of job satisfaction/appreciation than that. And just like that, as quickly as I was browbeaten on the girl being loud during his performance, and actually not being able to even be in the room during the show because of it (yes, I'm extremely obssesive and impatient:), I was turned 180 degrees by two moments, which I aptly call "pockets of contentment." Because life can't be happy all the time, can't work perfectly all the time...but as long as we all still feel these pockets, we know that it's there, and one day, maybe one day, I'll stay in the pocket.