Our Third Biggest Concern

So, in my constant hunt for musical talent in the “Live Music Capital of the World”, I’ve found that this city is just like any other city, but with more people aiming high. A few extra bodies that think they can achieve greatness and don’t let the despair of others drag their spirits down. I applaud their perseverance and I’m glad I’m not alone in my quest for the sublime. It’s out there and it’s unfortunate that more of us don’t strive for more than mediocrity.The problem arises when the attitude doesn’t have a match the altitude. Just because we want something better doesn’t often mean we are willing to reach a little higher and grab what we desire. Procrastination is this country’s second worst enemy. Apathy might be the worst. I don’t want to talk to you about those. I want to talk to you about the third most pressing issue because it’s what’s been on my mind lately. This problem being the lack of role models in our society.

For example, I put out an ad looking for other musicians in the area. In a traditional ad like this there is a section listing the band’s influences. This is normally where I would have to take the time to figure out which artists, that I grew up listening to, are best reflected in our sound. Now, I think we have a fairly original sound coming along here. Not to say it’s not without influences, but I didn’t feel it was necessary to go on and list all the musicians that shaped my musical abilities into what they are. I took a different approach. I asked them, instead of me even listing anything, for them to write which artists, that are still recording today, that they feel are doing music right.I don’t want to know about the past, and it’s not yet relevant to discuss the future [unless they join our band], so I want to know what out there today still impresses each one of them.

It might be hard to think about. I can’t blame you. Hip hop has lost most of its identity to “one-hit wonders” and “club singles”. Rock music has lost touch with everything it used to stand for. Indie and Emo music have destroyed everything that was once cool and masculine in music and put feeling, politics and self loathing into the lime light. Pop music has “whored” itself out on American Idol and even country music sounds nothing like the “rockin’, dancin’ good ‘ol time it used to be. The people we grew up loving, respecting, idolizing even would turn in their graves if they could see how we’ve whored out the most beautiful thing in history and turned it into Simon Cowell’s “Bottom Bitch”. But if someone can’t find anything that is still good and powerful in modern music I want them to have nothing to do with my musical journey and my drive to re-energize the industry.

Kanye West [as much as people hate him for his antics – something I think is entertaining], Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne, Outkast, Mos Def, among others, are still at the top of their game because they have the talent to present and the character to grow, not only as artists, but as people and continue to bring great music to the stage. Yes, Nickleback, Shinedown, Seether, and God knows what other modern rock bands have deserted musical structure and rely almost completely on vocals and repeated melodies to sell their albums but there’s still Muse, Queens of the stone age, Arctic Monkeys and so many other great acts out there that you can’t possibly lose faith.

I know it’s hard to think that music could ever die out, but it will if we let it. Don’t assume the past will carry the future. We have to do these things for ourselves. If you like an artist and download their music, as least buy a ticket to go to their show. If you aren’t happy with the direction of things. Do something about it. If music isn’t your passion and I’m shooting blanks at you, well I’m sure there is relevance in whatever industry you’re passionate about. If you love working in finance, it could be you to fix the economic turmoil in our country. Don’t expect Obama or any other president to do everything themselves. If your giddy for the medical field, guess what, there is room to improve a very troubled sector there as well. The message of music is simply an analogy. Take what you love and make it better. I’m out here trying. I don’t know if my dream of being a musician will come to fruition, but I will be able to look back on everything I’ve done in my life and grin. Because I’ve tried, and I refuse to let anyone take that away from me. If you want to live your life to the fullest and without regret, then you’re going to have to do the same thing. Get out of the passenger’s seat and take the wheel.There are obvious setbacks in life and none of us like dealing with the unfortunate events, but if we don’t learn to face those problems head on then nothing will ever be resolved.

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