Friday, 17 April 2009

The Problem With Music

There is no guide to being a 'rock star', as even the late great Kurt Cobain complained. 'The Problem With Music' was an article written by Mr Steve Albini back in the early 1990s. I think it is a good article but I can never really finish reading through the figures as its stark truth makes a pretty disheartening read:

Plus we have to remember this was written before the time of digital music and downloads. If we bring the internet into the equation, then bands make even more of a loss now!!

The three of us have currently given up everything to do this band. I'm not saying that for a slice of your pity, or awe or for any damn thing. I am not seeking anything from you. There are lots of other bands who also do this, it's the damn norm if you are a dedicated musician. We've given up our day jobs, can't even fit part-time jobs around our hectic schedule, have learnt to accept a major change in our lifestyles through the serious lack of not having any money and are learning to deal with this constant, daily, heavy stress.

To be honest, apart from the last 13 months, I've never really had to deal with money being an issue in my life. Having to adjust to not even choosing to limit my spending but being forced to limit my spending because of lack of funds, has been a very raw and humble experience for me and I expect this will continue for the rest of my life.

You have a lot of crap days doing this. Despite giving up everything to finally do what you love, there are days when you cannot get out of bed and hide alone in your room till you are forced to come out for a gig or photoshoot. There are days when people who are meant to be working for you fuck things up so much and leave you feeling numb, raw and angry for giving them so much of your pure trust. There are days when every relationship in your life suffers because you are a fragile creative trying to meet like-minded fragile creatives who still don't seem to understand you or you fall for non-creatives who don't understand the very core of your being. There are days when you hate yourself and everyone around you and you scream at yourself, 'why the hell am I working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for absolutely NOTHING???!!'

So why the hell do you do it?

I'll tell you why.

1. Since the moment you picked up a pair of drum sticks 15 years ago, you have never ever stopped tapping.

2. The only thing that helped you survive the darkest, deepest years of your life was music. Nothing and no one else could or ever will help in the same way.

3. There is no greater buzz than jamming or playing onstage.

4. You are your complete and utter own boss. My god that feels sooooo good!

5. You get panic attacks on all public transport, find sitting in an open office plan staring at the dull faces of your equally suicidal colleagues a form of modern torture and believe all firms/offices are society's accepted equivalent of Abhu Ghraib.

Once you understand that being in a band is a purely creative outlet and that you cannot force your music on people who just don't want to hear it and no matter how much you go around telling people you are changing the world....YOU ARE NOT, then you can quietly go about your ways making a very loud racket. I respect those who have tasted a slice of humble pie and have stuck to their morals, ethos and principles no matter what. Music is not a competition, a clique, a race or a means by which to make others doing the same job feel less inferior than you because you have garnered more column inches than them. NO WAY.

Music is about personal expression, hearing the souls of other people, supporting new, refreshing sounds and helping to get them out there rather than choosing support acts who are the newest buzz bands or top friends that will make you look cooler and stronger as a clique.

All this, my friends, are the problems that I personally have with music. Yes, there is no guide to being a 'rock' star but there is always a guide to being a 'punk'.

What is it?

If you are one then you will already know it.


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