Most conversations I have with people about music lately go something like this:
Friend: Hey! Have you heard the new song by (Top 40 artist/s)? I heard it on (major radio station) yesterday! It rocks!
Me: Um..yeah. I tried to listen to it, but…
Then I spend the next few moments trying to find a nice way of saying that it completely sucked.
I used to laugh it off and say that “I like my music like I like my women: loud and aggressive!” But Robbin didn’t care for that too much, and it’s not entirely true (ie; Cocteau Twins …although this video isn’t great, the music should be turned up to enjoy the distortion…if you like to feel the distortion anyway!), so since then I’ve tried to be more or less diplomatic.
I am very greatful for anyone who recommends music for me to try, and I feel bad because the criteria I use for ‘good music’ is usually quite different from what other people use. Look at it this way: a lot of people like Lite ‘beer’. I don’t. Lite ‘beer’ is produced and marketed by companies that only want your money. They have no interest in quality above not making people sick. (They certainly put no alcohol in it either, so how anyone gets drunk off that shit is beyond me…) I think if something needs a huge marketing campaign to get you to buy it, then I should be suspicious of it at least. The best beers I have had were ones that most people haven’t heard of, and that were recommended to me by friends (Old Rasputin being my current fixation..and at 9% ABV..)
Recently, Kristin Hersh was interviewed on RISH (it’s most of the way down the page on the right, under Rish Radio) . I think this helps explain how I look at music pretty well. This discussion was prompted by a comment about how most people only know the Meat Puppets as ‘someone who did something with Nirvana’…(and no; there is no implied shot at Nirvana!).
K: That’s the artifice of the music industry. It’s never gonna celebrate substance over style, it’s gonna do quite the opposite. And music, which is a spontaneous human impulse, is just gonna keep going as it always has. I truly believe that the best music is played in garages and churches and on back porches, in bedrooms and basements, and we’re never gonna hear it. Which is a little sad, but is probably as it should be because that’s how it began before there was a recording industry. You play for the sky, and if you’re not doing that as a recording artist then there’s something wrong with you. You have ego in the way, or greed in the way, or you’re self-conscious and maybe it’s not your fault. I demand of all the musicians that I work with that they believe that they’re working in a vaccuum because otherwise you’re not serving the song; you’re serving somebody else.
Interviewer: People (need) to remember as well that the music industry has only been around for 60 years…
K: Absolutely! They forget there wasn’t always money attatched to this equation! You really have to be willing to starve in order to do this. That’s why I like that the whole industry is collapsing, and I’ve lost some good soldiers in the process, and I’ve starved in the process, but I like the idea that the people left playing music are gonna be the ones that have to…
That about sums it up nicely.