Thursday, 30 July 2009

What do we miss in music?

I've found time to share with you before the move a rather profound story about music, and how the setting, and our preconceived ideas, can affect our judgement and our perceptions. I found the story originally on a 'synthgear' music blog and really just want to spread this story:

Washington DC, Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007: He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3 year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly, as the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move on.

45 minutes:

The musician played. Only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.

He collected $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments, then what else are we missing?

So Long

As I said in my first post, this was probably not the best time to start a blog! On Friday night we are packing the van, ready to leave nice and early on Saturday morning bound for Southampton. It's an exciting yet slightly scary time, but setting up the phone line and internet connection is going to take a while, which is realistically going to see me without the internet for about three weeks. This is NOT cool but can't be helped! I don't feel like I've settled in yet though, so I'll be back soon with hopefully lots of good news and interesting moving stories! See you on the other side :)

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Think Big, Dream Bigger.

So last night, I had my leaving drinks. As I was stood at the bar, I looked through to the 'band room' where I have played many times, and stood and watched other local bands do their thing. It looked surprisingly different in the dark, with tables and chairs and just two weird looking middle-aged woman and a small dog. It's normally brimming with excitement and energy and sparsely populated on the floor with a young band eager to impress. It made me think, in an unintended cliche, that dreams can start here. I've certainly watched two bands play here a few times who are now heading onwards and out of the pub circuit and into the world of music videos, professional recordings and iTunes.
I feel blessed with the talent I've been given, and am more than excited ahead of starting my music course at uni. I just see it as my stepping stone, because four years ago I was adament that my 'then' band would settle for nothing less than everything and it wouldn't be a problem getting there. I grew up, people fell out, and reality hit with a bang. I was just glad for my pedantic side which signed up for uni as a 'Plan B' route. But it's fine now, because uni can only provide me with the necassary contacts and experience and, most importantly, new people to discover and play with to 'make it', however this might be. And I take my dreams with a pinch of salt these days (but only a tiny one) and, who wouldn't want the whole fame package, but I'm not lying when I say that I'd settle for any kind of living that sees me making music and money. I'd be truly grateful for that, and I know also that it will happen, it's just a matter of time.
It was a long chain of thought as I was propped up at the bar, waiting for another drink that I didn't really need, as I peered at the dark shadows looming in the next room and wondered when it would next come to life. How different one room can be. Quite the disguise it was wearing. There is, however, an exception to the dream. If I'm 40, and still playing in that room, I'm out. I can't help but feel bad for the blues guys that are doing it still; who knows if they're just doing it for fun or kidding themselves that it might still happen. I mean, if they are enjoying themselves, then good on them, but when I peer in from the same position that I was in last night and all three of the crowd are tapping their feet, I can't help but think they're feeling a little cheated. Maybe they're touring, so it's OK 'cause they are having fun, but what if they're local. What if they never really got out of this little town in the middle of nowhere. Which had a big influence on my reconsidering of my chosen uni. I decided that now was the time to go a bit further away, to somewhere bigger and more thriving, somewhere I'd feel out of place but somewhere that I could try and touch more people that wasn't still within range of the local weather forecast on the local news channel that I was watching in the same region of the country. OK, so it's not a million miles away, but it's enough. And I can't fucking wait. Top 40, here I come.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Big Wide World

In just over a week, I shall be embarking on the next big phase of my life; University. My room is beginning to feel more and more empty by the day, with all my possessions slowly finding their way inside the growing mountain of boxes stacked up ambitiously in the corner of my room. It is a week of memories and reminiscence, which began last night as I spent the evening with two very close friends of mine, with whom I spent many many years playing music with in my very first band. It was a great night in which we sunk bottles of wine and chatted and laughed and just had fun. We talked about the band and flicked amorously through a scrap book that I'm so glad I started back in 2003. Posters, setlists, photos, it had everything and was great to look back on and smile. Although short-lived, it was a fantastic legacy to leave, which was proved at our come-back gig a few weeks ago as hoards of ardent old fans relived their spent youths singing along to our Glastonbury anthems. I have never played a more special and enjoyable gig. And I cannot put into words the feeling of the energy and appreciation of the crowd as we burst into our final number, a political masterpiece titled Break Free.
Tomorrow night I'm having leaving drinks with friends at The Riflemans pub in Glastonbury, where I look forward to further exploring old memories and being with the people I love.
I've been in Glastonbury for about ten years now, the longest I've ever lived anywhere and it was a strange feeling walking up the high street yesterday, thinking it might be the last time for a long time. I've done all of my growing up here and so this town holds all of my fondest memories. I will miss it, there's something special about this place, but I can't tell you how excited I am to be moving out, moving up, moving on. But I'm still coming down from the hugest laughing fit in Jake's garden that has ever existed. Guess what we were laughing at, guess what was so funny...yup, absolutely nothing. I love life!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Death of an Icon

Today I bought a newspaper, and I'm getting quite used to seeing Michael Jackson's face splashed across the front page. And then many more inside. Normally when celebrities die, they die two deaths; their actual death, and then their media death. Their media death lives on for a long time past their actual death, and this is the time where they fall victim to a complete overkill of new stories, secrets, illicit love affairs, spiralling debts, alcohol addiction and pretty much everything inbetween.

I feel prompted to write a short piece tonight on the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. Now everybody has got their own opinion on the guy. So here's mine. I have always thought that the guy was just a misunderstood, naive 10 year old living inside a 50 year old man's body, because he was never allowed the childhood that everyone else his age was. He was too busy in gruelling rehearsals and being beaten by his father. The child molestation allegations made against him were unfair and wrong; the guy was simply living out the childhood he never had. It might have been different if he'd admitted luring children into his dingy flat, but the fact that the guy had his own theme park equipped with everything a 10 year old boy could want surely proves this. He just wanted to play, like he never got to when he should have been. I hate it when people are quick to judge without much of an opinion, other than that of the media's; 'oh he was just a peado' but this is so ignorant. I think the phrase is ignorance is bliss. The reality is, the man was an absolute genius. The word legend is banded around all too easy these days, but MJ was one of the original legends, and his legacy will live on forever.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Blog Lovin

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I am a music enthusiast and love nothing more than discussing, playing, appreciating, performing, recording, writing and everything else -ing to do with music. So I've decided to join the blogging ranks and talk about my musical musings. I haven't really thought this one through yet...maybe nobody will follow it. Maybe I'll talk about music I like or describe songs I've written or get excited about Bon Jovi's new album or review drum kits, I guess I'll just see what happens as I go along, it's probably best.

So, a bit about me. Well the title of the blog is a Bon Jovi link, so get used to that, I'm a HUGE fan. I'm a drummer living right now in Glastonbury, UK but moving to Southampton in under 2 weeks (maybe not the best time to start a blog!) where I'll be studying Popular Music Performance at the Solent Uni. I've written songs for years and also sing and play a little guitar, I've loads of gigging and recording experience. OK now it's starting to sound like a CV, I guess you'll learn more as I go for now that's that. I hope you enjoy reading!