HOWEVER, having sat in with some great players some thirty miles distant of late has rejuvenated me. Not so much about drumming, but definitely toward music.
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Jay gave me a truism, saying, "It's tough to talk to a non-musician about music. Too much explaining."
I'm trying, right here.
I could try to write what it feels like to sit behind that kit and drive a band like an eighteen-wheeler right up an audience's communal duodenum—whether in a smoke-laden dive or a major arena. Words fail me here.
What playing all comes down to isn't the highest note, fastest lick or the skatey-eight keyboards you've got splayed in front of you.
It's all about technique. And explaining this term is like describing kissing. You remember your favorite kisses. Now dissect them for others to appreciate. You can't.
Technique is everywhere. It's that perfect over-easy egg, with just a thin film of yolk cooked on the sunny side of the ovum. It's what separates a doodle from a painting. Outback from Ruth's Chris. I could go on.
I am privileged to have met a number of fine artists via my daughter Grace at the Boyer School of Temple University. Hard-working, focused, yet hilariously fun-loving young adults. Perhaps some will become famous. I opine that all of them will continue to entertain ... and please.
I once saw an eighth-grade bassist who had the magic. He was about as big as a pygmy jockey. Even his bass was a cut-down model because he couldn't reach the low end of the neck. He was doing a middle-school big-band thing. Superbly. I talked to the teacher about him. He said, "His parents want him to be a chiropractor." Beyond sad.
I won't go postal on some of today's "artists." Many of them are bupkis without elaborate production, pre-recorded crapola, preening dancers and HGH-injected, reworked vocal tracks. Enough of them. This is why so many people now in college still listen to what I dug in college. This equation exists in a teetery balance.
This is why I cannot watch the mockery of music that is embodied in these IdleVoiceSemitalent shows. It's more about the back story than the technique. Everything is swaddled in a miasma of production, so much so that we lose track of the actual "voice" that's being judged.
See here the incredible Rachael Leahcar from Australia. She wouldn't even make it to an American show. Why? She's too good. Never mind she doesn't have a stellar range. She even hits a few clunkers here. PLUS she has the nerve to sing with only bass and piano. From her heart. This is technique, folks. Not cramming eighteen notes where one will do magnificently. Not screeching notes that sound like a Belgian ambulance.
Technique is the difference between Maria Callas and Mariah Carey.
Perhaps Dave Grohl says it best. His swears, not mine.
Parents, don't be like that idiot chiropractor. Kids, head out to the woodshed. And suck. I'd have a major hole in my life without music. Readers, I urge you to support artists worthy of wider recognition. One's who show technique. Unfortunately, they are getting harder to find.