Joe Hill took the time to reply in our comments section but I wanted to highlight his thoughts as well as my reply. I also could not resist putting up the photo of another, very famous Joe Hill to go along with it.
In response to Jonathan Scales' essay in part three of our series, Joe writes:
Great thought as it sounds and i respect a musicians thoughts over any qualifications i have but there is just so much ability to absorb music outside your comfort zone. I was called a music snob, a title i relished as i felt it was my duty to expose as much musical diversity as possible to my community.
On the downside it was always difficult for the mainstreamer who just wanted to come by for a beer and relax while i demo'd Iggy Pop or the Gourds. I can't tell you how many times someone would complain loudly..."what is this crap?" and i would try to tactfully explain Disraeli Gears or Phish. I never could understand how if it had a banjo in it, it was so intolerable to so many! I couldn't grasp why SCOTS filled the room their first time through but the Uptown Rhythm Kings, a 9 piece jump blues band only drew 7.
It's your comfort zone...i have mine and Jonathan Scales has his, we all have one. I got excited when someone insisted i hire this band because i knew they understood what the musically hip looked for in music and cringed when someone insisted i put Bob Seeger on the stereo when i wanted to put on REK. Music is about we agree to disagree that is why some bands i've never heard of fill rooms and some i think are wonderful struggle to make till the next weeks show...i like to think that the musical elements are like a Ph test kit....
thank you for allowing me to talk circles!
I know where you're coming from. "What are we listening to?" is a phrase that I've heard countless times in my life (the inflection reveals all). And as far as your point about original bands goes, goes squared or cubed for cover bands. There are large swaths of music scenery blighted by the kudzu of party anthems. Sometimes the scene manages to grow something native, sometimes it might even make it outside of its home soil, but all too often it just gets choked out by noxious vines.
Thanks for writing and I hope to continue this conversation!
Our next article in the series, from recording engineer Dave Davis, will be posted on Monday.