I am not sure what happened this morning, the brainstorm was a bit like a dull knife trying to make a precision cut as if a surgeon tried to use a butter knife to make a clean incision. you gave what you had, yet the result wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, yet, In my heart, I knew it was far from great. if you are normal, you will have some days like these. while you always try to go for great – attaining it at a consistent level is hard if not impossible. what you have to learn is that you are not perfect and stop beating yourself over the head if a not so great day happens.
the heavyweight champion of the world Joe Frazier had a quote about the greatness that went something like, “greatness is there every day, the ring is just a place where it is displayed.”
have you ever had dreams that took years to develop? ever think, “why doesn’t the world have this product?” or take a physical or skilled talent like fitness, being a painter or singer. I don’t know too many great ones that do not play or practice something every day to get better. maybe I should clarify between an artist and a performer/entertainer. the second had a great talent at working a crowd or giving a show – these folks are not necessarily the best artists…they are the best folks that have some charisma off a stage.
I am thinking of Steven Tyler with Aerosmith right now. I think Van Halen, bad company, and Aerosmith are the reason I simply refused to go pay to see shows and ended up working and getting paid to do shows. as a kid, I had to work any side job to be able to afford a ticket to see a band live. in comparison, the tickets weren’t’ all that much in relation to today’s prices. there was nothing worse than paying to see wasted musicians on a stage that gave half-baked performances that appeared great to anyone who was as messed up as they were, but if you were sober, you looked at it all and asked, "why did I waste my money on a ticket?"
when a rock star starts believing they are a rock star - then you need to raise the arena roof to accommodate their ego.
in those days, the bands did a bit of a reverse income model than they have today. they didn’t make money touring, but were there to support record or album sales. today, most of the artist's income comes from touring and live shows and i think many of the older bands realize how fortunate they are to be doing what they do, getting paid well, when not so many years ago, they would have had to find a new career.
I digress. what I remember about the Aerosmith show was that it was the period when the band was deep into substance abuse and Joe Perry really wasn’t even on the same page as the rest of the band. yet, out of all that show, I remember the rhythm section sounded like a dinosaur marching along and Steven Tyler simply carried the entire show on his shoulders. It is a compliment from me, as I don't’ really listen to lyrics or singers much. yet it was Steven Tyler that demonstrated the value of a lead singer and/or front man in the value of a band that was messed up behind him and despite everything seeming to sound/go wrong in his bandmates and the FOH – he gave a great performance.
years later, I see him on tv or busking on the street and I think he and the band realize what a great second chance they have been given and I hope are giving great shows. it is the same for most of the bands working today….what were the odds 30 years ago that they would be out playing music today? I don't’ think many would have foreseen the change in the market.
I guess that is why I like live entertainment so much. each show is a new one. and before all the slick computerized EQ/automation/cue systems/and some really amazing PA systems of today – bands played live. I think as musicians they might brave been better a few years ago.
my dear punk rock drumming friend frank once commented, “I was surprised how fast you had to work to play well live and become a band playing in front of 50 people versus the studio.”
call me old school. I look at today's “live” shows and I used to dream of shows like that 30 years ago, yet today, I think….”is the music getting lost in the medium? how much of this is really live?” (you would be surprised at what goes on under, to the sides, and the FOH to “help” the show.
part of me wonders if the audience doesn't’ know any better, or do they really not care? the one function of entertainment is escapism – so today's shows probably do that well. we used to joke, “add more pyro” to solve any problem – yet today with the world of sanitized/cued/programmed everything…the shows come across as sanitized and when the band is 70 feet from the audience with a moat of people and security – how is that intimate?
I mean today, you have bands bringing people up on the stage to play.
I have sketchbooks of old punk rock type songs with rock melodies. videos that were never created, ideas….the problem is I really suck as a musician, but I can see the entire show. the “you” show we were trying to create when 9-11 hit was a fully immersive array that imploded the audience. actually, it is possible to do this today, as the one missing element with low frequencies appears to be solved with one of my favorite audio companies.
my life today is to feed people healthy food, and the woo room is taking all the things we learned in live entertainment and creating spaces for people to look into themselves. yet, I could easily pitch the old show as new and probably have the market fund it – as the examples are there for “this is possible” – what amazes me Is that I have still never seen anyone do this type of show.
I have a strange ratio…you think of 10,000 ideas, it works down into 1,000 rough ideas, then 100 strong concepts…you build 10 of them to WYSIWYG levels and maybe make 2 of them, of which one might make a profit.
if you were a gambling person, the logical look at such odds would have, and probably does have many shy away from trying as the risk of failure is all very real and quite high with inventing – innovation carries slightly better odds. yet, the process of it all is what drives people like myself. I confess this changed, and the meaning of the work has changed over the years. it used to be profit and stuff driven – as to say, “I will be successful when I acquire so much $$$ or things.” and then I realized that was a great way to make things that probably weren’t’ all that great for humanity – while lots of fun and providing a way to escape – did it really help people?
then I met that old man in the desert…actually, he was not that old and he had in him that which I was seeking all this time.
today…the main question is, “is what I am doing helping someone? does it have value to people?” I have thought about jumping back into entertainment, yet, as soon as I get around the players there is a sense of greed or some unexplained lack of a team that I see. when I was studying and going to the trade shows for legalized cannabis for our closed environment systems – I was surprised at the thoughts and actions of the law enforcement people in states where what was illegal had become legal and how to deal with it. I think I was more blown away with the level of greed I saw in the other side with people thinking, “look at all the money we can make!”
thankfully, I did meet a few people from both sides that went a bit deeper in the “why?” of it all and there was a small vein of folks working in the industry for reasons beyond a paycheck and/or payday.
I wake up each morning excited about the possibilities and potential of ideas….I am a lucky man to have found that which makes his heart sing. a very lucky man.
people ask how I found this? I simply replied, “I did all the crap jobs I needed to save up to build something that would allow a dream to come true…today we are building a dream factory of sorts….as the pace of life in the normal world that is encumbered by people and egos is not needed to make great new ideas.
and don’t let anyone fool you about the eureka moments. they really do happen – about 4 times a year. the key to getting 4, remember to show up and put in the time, effort, practice and work the other 361.
here people think it is some skill or magical talent. it’s not, it is just people are too busy trying to catch the brass ring than realize you can make your own.
as for the one band that showed up every time, every show, and played live….long before they were the one everyone thinks is cool. it was three guys in the band rush. I find it funny how many people that love them today didn’t think they were very cool when I thought they were great. to the other bands that came on stage messed up and thought they were giving a great show - to the folks that were sobre in the shows...you got us to stop paying to go see you perform. perhaps it amazes me that people are paying the rates they are to see a cued experience today - that amazes me so.