Music is the most important thing in life to me, except of course for the love of my family…Music colors and influences, in the most positive way possible, everything i do, everything i think, everything I feel…Without music, the world would be a sad and lonely place, with music the world is warm and friendly and open and there are a myriad of possibilities and venues to explore and experience….
It helps, or maybe it is just the old cause and effect relationship, that I personally am a musician, definitely NOT a gifted, slashing wailing guitar god like Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton, but I am definitely a song writer, and I need to play guitar every day to accompany the words to my songs…This produces a calming, alpha wave effect on my brain that is better than any drug or meditation technique, i guess in a way music is my meditation….
It definitely enables me to transcend the dreary and mundane day to day trials and tribulations of life, to escape from the dreary world of the television daily dose of bad news, all the endless “photo ops,” little snapshots of all the wars and misfortunes that plague most of the world most of the time…I know, intellectually, that these things are happening of course, whether I watch them or not, they always have and they always will, how does that old saying go: “Life is a bitch and then you die”….
But I don’t need to be constantly reminded of them, that the world is a dark and scary place for most people, that “most people lead lives of quiet desperation”…..And I find music to be the most perfect escape valve or release mechanism that exists in this all too imperfect world…. It frees my soul, it exalts my spirit…..
The difference between true guitar artists like Hendrix and Clapton and me is is that they, first of all, have perfect pitch, that they are true electronic/electric guitar geniuses, and they are able to harness and translate all the finely tuned nuances of musical sounds and nomenclature, they truly and instinctively feel the minute differences between pitches and octaves and sound effects, fully utilizing and understanding special effects gadgets like wah wah pedals and distortion techniques and feedback and looping effects…..
They are as one with all the tonal frequencies of the music, they have reprogrammed their brains to reflect the totality of this sophisticated effect, and for whatever reason, dedication, practice, sheer musical intelligence, they have utilized their inherent talent, they have honed their talent to the cutting edge and are able to produce searing, soaring melodic lines of pure, soaring energy, which we all can instantly recognize and appreciate…..
For my own part, I am more of the “story teller” type of musician, like Tom Petty, Bob Seeger, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Chrissie Hynde (to name just a random sampling of golden oldies rockers) where musical virtuosity is not as important as the words to the song, the story lines behind each song, the message i am trying to convey and relay to other people…
There is a place for both types of musicians, but I have found that they are often mutually exclusive, for example, pure guitar lead players are seldom very good song writers, and pure song composers, like me, are seldom guitar virtuoso’s…There are always exceptions to every rule, and I really appreciate musicians like Neil Young, or Mark Knopfler (from Dire Straits) who are both story tellers and quite accomplished musical virtuoso’s, these are artists who have truly mastered their craft, and I am in awe of them and their blending of skills….
Again, I am showing my Baby Boomer tendencies by naming these older, admittedly mainstream particular set of rock and roll musical artists, who knows what kind of music and what as yet unknown and undiscovered by me skill sets the younger generation of musicians, most of whom I confess i don’t even know their names, are right now churning out in the modern day equivalent of the old “garage rock” bands….In fact, the music industry today has evolved into not a monolith but a fragmented, dissonant collection of “niche rock” where every single musical taste can be accommodated if you know where to look…You Tube is a national treasure!
But don’t get me wrong, music is not just for the guitar heroes or the storytellers, it is a universal bonding mechanism for everybody else too, people who just listen to and appreciate the music within the framework of our daily lives….How drab and dreary our everyday lives would be without music, it underscores every dramatic moment in not just mine, but all of our lives…Just stop and think about it for a minute…
Think how music illuminates, illustrates and demarcates each of our own individual lives, either together in a group setting like a bar or party, or music to jog by in splendid isolation…. Or music to make the interminable boring daily commute from the womb of our families, traveling from our own separate houses and apartments into the frenzy and high wire energy of work world on the buses and trains and subways, making it more bearable…..
How often after you break up with your significant other do you hear a song on the radio that reminds you of them and yourself in happier times?….How many bittersweet emotions does that bring to the surface?How many people, young and in love, joyously declare a certain song to be “their song?” How do we mark the Christmas season without Christmas music, played sometimes ad nauseum in elevators, offices and waiting rooms?…
How do we always remember special events, like the “Summer of 1969?”….How about classical music, funeral music, marching band music, patriotic music, wedding music, always in the background, music themes from movies, like the “Memories” theme song from the movie “The Way We Were” and how they shape and influence our thoughts, our emotions, our moods?
Sometimes the music is barely heard, or muffled, but how sorely would we miss it if it were not there at all?…Did you ever find the same song stuck in your head, on permanent rewind, sometimes pleasantly, sometimes annoyingly so, you want it to go away, to forget it, but the power of music is not easily dismissed….It is the heartbeat of life…
Music is the great unifier of the human spirit, the one common theme shared by all cultures in all times, and we are all the better for it….What would a world without music be like? I shudder to even think of it! The truth is, as human beings, we need music, especially in our modern, fragmented society.
It is the one unifying theme that unites us all, young and old, and cuts across all demographic lines of race, class, ethnicity, wealth and poverty, …..The music represents our spirit, and our spirit will always be there, it is what separates us from the animals, and the world, even with all it’s faults and foibles, is an infinitely richer, far more vital place because of music!
And the band played on….