10.16.2014

Maybe It Is Enough to Just Play Music

Yesterday I posted a thesis that it is not enough to just play good music, you also have to uniquely entertain with non-musical elements like theatrics, lights, headgear, and other compelling things to attract the attention of the audience.

In this post I am going to reverse myself. It is enough to play good music...if you are REALLY GOOD.

You see, ultimately it is just about rising above the fray so that your musical "product" is compelling enough to make people want to consume it instead of some other artistic medium that is available to them. People who are looking for live music want the best they can find.

Using non-musical elements to entertain is sort of a shortcut to this. A cop out in a wsy. You are making it a multi-media musical experience. The music itself hasn't changed, but the packaging is prettier. Pretty packaging can sell a mediocre product. But an awesome product needs no packaging. It delivers.

So perhaps I ought to focus on the musical excellence of GUPPY EFFECT, my band, by practicing harder and minimizing biffs and adding more nuances and virtuosity to the music itself. People truly looking for quality music will appreciate this.

Maybe non-musical theatrics is just an excuse to not try to be awesome and hone my craft, or a way to cover up the lack of awesomeness that may exist at present (but could be remedied with more R&D on quality control). Maybe I should focus on making the band awesome as opposed to being OK with just pretty good and nice packaging.

I want a good product. Packaging is not irrelevant but it shouldn't excuse less than awesome product. So I think I will experiment with that.

Then there is James Brown. He wanted excellence in both product and packaging. He would fine his musicians for wrong notes as well as not pressing their jackets and shining their shoes.

The problem is, I am not sure my band is on the same page for quality product either. We are a top notch band compared with most, but there are still a lot of biffs and there is room to grow. My band mates seem to want to avoid band practice if they can. I know that's partly because they have lives outside of band, but band practice night is sacrosanct.

If we want to improve the product...we have to come to work and develop it...strengthen it. I would like to think my band mates are doing this honing of their own skills at home but sometimes they don't and show up to practice unrehearsed. I blame myself for this as band leader. Not everyone is as driven to practice music as I am, even if I try to lead by example. They need direction too. I need to be better about a practice agenda and goals so the lads know what to work on.

I will try to be better about this.

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