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 Forum index » Discussion » Diversity in electro-music
Ever encounter strong biases against electronic music?
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CJ Miller



Joined: Jan 07, 2007
Posts: 371
Location: 127.0.0.1

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 11:33 pm    Post subject: Ever encounter strong biases against electronic music? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I mean mostly with details like venues, permits, etc?

Often I encounter people in my daily life who have knee-jerk reactions. My manager at work has said that acoustic instrumental music sounds "refined", and that electronic music is "trash" to be consumed and disposed of, devoid of any artistry. But when my chamber music switched from Bach to Xenakis... his preconceptions were rendered moot. Also with loops and physical modeling I have found that many complainers can't discern how sounds are produced or tracks made. People where I work have often derisively remarked upon "more of my music made by computers" which was actually people on regular instruments, playing live. People seem much more sensitive to this with instrumental music, since vocals I guess provide some grounding human feeling to what they hear. Maybe as relates to percussive electronic music many people I speak to about music seem to have a conception of purely percussive music as less intelligent and engaging than, for instance, works which focus on harmonies.

For example, in Lowell, Mass. every year they have been having a giant folk festival, which is a big city sponsored event with lots of media coverage. When I was playing with my friends in a gallery which often hosted raw musics, playing things like amplified strips of metal and wires, oscillators, effects loops, etc we were usually not bothered very much. But when we played during the folk festival there were police there trying to shut us down every few minutes! It seems that the city thought our music was bad for their tourism trade. I was surprised, it seemed fairly rustic and home-spun to me...

And later I was involved with an underground old-school Tekno soundsystem in NYC. We organized free parties where we would meet at some unused, usually public spot which was secluded, with a generator, decks, gear, etc and play. We would play until dawn, or sometimes get chased away. I was called naive for suggesting that they try negotiating with the city to just give them a permit to play. Apparently they demanded to hear the music and then just outright refused to issue them permits, ever.

My wife lives in suburban CT where our town has a bandstand in the town center, and apparently they always refused to allow her to play there with DJs, synths, or computers when she was organizing events.

I have heard that buskers have also encountered these kinds of problems.

What it seems to me is that if there is some pop music structure with melody and song, then it might be ok. But if it is percussive or too difficult it will not get a fair hearing. People only seem to tolerate electronic music around here if it is hidden away, or accompanying a "band" playing popular music styles. Difficult acoustic music does not appear to be so stigmatized. Like with my manager's assessment above.

Any support or suggestions?
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 5:12 am    Post subject: Re: Ever encounter strong biases against electronic music? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

CJ Miller wrote:
"trash" to be consumed and disposed of, devoid of any artistry.


While music lovers (relatively few of them exist) are "there for the music" in most cases, the music must be there for the people -- to provide "atmosphere".

I encounter this in my classical work -- as a classically-trained organist I encounter a huge -- almost hysterical -- bias against great organ works (including Bach, Vierne, etc.) and, in order to make money, I am required to play music that, essentially, functions as accompaniment. Even when the organ is not accompanying voices, it is providing "soft, background" to fill in time. The notion that time would be given to experience an organ work as the center of the experience is non-existent!

I don't play clubs -- however I think it is similar -- the music is there to provide "atmosphere" and to accompany the dancing, socializing, drinking -- or whatever the patrons are doing.

CJ Miller wrote:
For example, in Lowell, Mass. every year they have been having a giant folk festival, which is a big city sponsored event with lots of media coverage.


Sounds boring.

CJ Miller wrote:

When I was playing with my friends in a gallery which often hosted raw musics, playing things like amplified strips of metal and wires, oscillators, effects loops, etc we were usually not bothered very much. But when we played during the folk festival there were police there trying to shut us down every few minutes! It seems that the city thought our music was bad for their tourism trade. I was surprised, it seemed fairly rustic and home-spun to me...


Your crime was that you were not providing the proper ambience for a "folk music" festival.

Tsk tsk.

I remember when folk music became the rage in church music back when I was a kid.

I speak from experience -- the meanest, back-stabbingest, close-mindedest, musicians I ever encountered were the champions of church-folk-music. The folks carefully honed their ignorance and took great pride in it.

Do I sound like an organist? While I likely sound like a "mad organist" I'm really a battle-scared one.

When you go against an organized group of folk musicians you will be lucky to escape in one piece. They are brutal. Good heavens -- they sicced the local police on you! As their church-folk-music counterparts, to promote their music -- to have an entire festival for their music -- is not enough. They must silence everyone else!

I laughed my a$$ off when watching "A Mighty Wind" because the pretension (all over music that contains little more than I-IV-V triads in root position) is unfathomable.

CJ Miller wrote:
My wife lives in suburban CT where our town has a bandstand in the town center, and apparently they always refused to allow her to play there with DJs, synths, or computers when she was organizing events.


They just built a new performing-arts center in Kansas City. All I can say is, prepare to hear music that you've heard before.

CJ Miller wrote:

Any support or suggestions?


You certainly have my support -- for what it's worth!

I do my own music in situations where it has a chance to be heard and appreciated. I stay away from street corners. When folk musicians approach on my side of the street, I quietly move to the other side.

I prefer to live and play music another day.

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DES



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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

CJ - just a few thoughts about this...

It might be a good idea to approach the 'officials' who run the shows with a promo pack of sorts. Include letters of appreciation and/or recommendation from the galleries/theatres/etc that you have played. Perhaps a letter of introduction describing what you do and how you think it can enhance their festival. This can 'validate' you (in the eyes of the officials) as a legitimate performer.

A lot of town function organizers are somewhat conservative (not in the political sense) about musicians and music ...new music styles 'confuse and frighten' them. You need to try and increase their comfort level with what you do. Assure them that there will be no volume or language issues, etc. and make sure there are none or you will get banned forever.

You may want to also mention that even though it's a folk festival - not everyone coming there will want to hear folk music - they may be along for the ride with a friend, spouse, etc. Just a like a good restaurant, variety is a good thing.

The thing to remember - you are approaching them on their turf - meet them on their terms and you may stand a better chance of getting what you want.

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mosc
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmmm. Seems like we need a certificate of musical worthiness. Something that the Wizard of Oz would hand out to let people know that you are making real music.

Actually, in a way, this is a good sign. All new music has met with resistance by the ignorant masses and their more ignorant leaders. Perhaps we should start feeling bad when we start getting thousands of cheering fans demanding our music to accompany their mating rituals or communal intoxication festivals.

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Danno Gee Ray



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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Tongue in cheek...


I propose a new genre - "Combat Ambient"

Everyone take out their APC's and WSG's, plug in and wail !

Instead of revenge...Reverb.
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nobody



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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, I wouldn't play electronic music at a folk festival. I just wouldn't. That's asking to have the cops club ya. It just is. It's like opening for a heavy metal band by playing country. You'll get shot. You just will.

Play where you're appreciated. Attend shows/venues and keeps your ears open in various neighbourhoods and listen to what is being played where. If you think your music will fit in, look into playing there. If your music is radically different, you will only be appreciated if every performer is radically different from each other anyway.

And of course, create your own internet space, where you can present your work and fack anyone who doesn't like it because it's YOUR place.

Two final words: house concerts! Cool
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CJ Miller



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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
It might be a good idea to approach the 'officials' who run the shows with a promo pack of sorts.


I wasn't involved in organizing the Lowell shows, but I played. We were not at the festival itself, the gallery just happened to be in the same city. We often played there, and it didn't occur to me that we would suddenly start being hassled. The gallery was supposedly already cleared for the performances we were doing.

Not bad advice though. This is what I was hoping to do in NYC where I was more involved, but I was the new guy and got voted down.

DES wrote:
The thing to remember - you are approaching them on their turf - meet them on their terms and you may stand a better chance of getting what you want.


But when the turf is supposed to be public, they are supposed to be facilitating these things for us. Instead they were trying to make public space into something private and exclusive. What I want is the same rules for everybody.
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CJ Miller



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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Hmmmm. Seems like we need a certificate of musical worthiness. Something that the Wizard of Oz would hand out to let people know that you are making real music.

Actually, in a way, this is a good sign. All new music has met with resistance by the ignorant masses and their more ignorant leaders. Perhaps we should start feeling bad when we start getting thousands of cheering fans demanding our music to accompany their mating rituals or communal intoxication festivals.


Well, it's funny how it appears a minority of people will appoint themselves custodians of popular taste! For instance I notice that there is a lot of music that is never played on commercial radio, supposedly because people don't like it, when in fact it has a fairly big audience. Just to throw a few things out there, death metal, politically-oriented rap, trance... these have a fair amount of listeners. I have been lucky enough to live near some wonderful college and public radio stations which were quite eclectic - and they did have an audience. Hopefully still do.

The soundsystem I was working with for a few years drew much of their inspiration from the teknival crews and electro-hippies of Europe, where they have had similar problems on a larger scale. The audience is there, and even if you provide food, water, toilets, clean up afterward, do it in a remote area - some committee still prohibits it. If 10000 people come to hear you play, maybe it actually is "mainstream", but a minority doesn't want it to be.

It seems to me that culture which is made by the artists and other immediate participants is always more robust than some spectacle engineered to create a captive audience for whatever products or ideology.
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nobody



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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I feel ya, CJ, man. That's what's great about the internet for musicians. You don't need to worry about a handful of pompous, self-appointed custodians. If you work at it, there's nothing getting in the way of your starting your own crowd.

House concerts are a great way to attract real fans while avoiding hassle. It doesn't have to be YOUR house - just the house of someone appreciative - someone who has room for a performer and a small audience. I have a friend who does this. I would do it myself, but my house is too small. You know, maybe I could do it for five people...

A minority appointing themselves as custodians is, sadly, business as usual for h. sapiens. That's what politics, money, power and corporation is all about. Like you, I would like my species to grow up. So keep doing what you're doing - our species needs more people like you. Cool
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

this discussion reminds me of when I was working as piano bar pianist. I felt as if I was part of the furniture, I had to quit. Rolling Eyes

I also remember once I was working as demonstrator of music software and someone while passing near me said (so that I could hear): "that's stuff for musical handicapped" Evil or Very Mad

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DES



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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

CJ Miller wrote:
We often played there, and it didn't occur to me that we would suddenly start being hassled. The gallery was supposedly already cleared for the performances we were doing.


In a case like that it should be the Gallery owners who deal with the promoters/town hall. If the police etc. are hasseling you - refer them to the owners. If the owners decide to shut you down then you need too. But if the owners feel that you are providing a value to their establishment then you may be suprised how much good they can do for you.

CJ Miller wrote:
DES wrote:
The thing to remember - you are approaching them on their turf - meet them on their terms and you may stand a better chance of getting what you want.


But when the turf is supposed to be public, they are supposed to be facilitating these things for us. Instead they were trying to make public space into something private and exclusive. What I want is the same rules for everybody.


Well, the thing is if they went and made arrangements and planned this - in other words not spur of the moment - then they in effect got the space first. Now what goes on musically inside an establishment should not be their concern. But outside - they called it. This is where permits come in handy. Did they have a permit to do this? More then likely they did - even if it was the town committee who sponsored it. Most times insurances are required - the town has that covered. A lot of times small music festivals like this are put on to help spur the local economy - get more foot traffic to the local business.

You were right when you approached your friends about getting a permit...that gives you the right to that public space for what you want to do. They may not make it easy to get the permit - i.e. require extrordinary amounts of liability insurance, pay for police presence if more then a certain amount of people show up, etc. If you apply for a permit and they deny you - you can fight it and chances are good you can win. There are precedences for this. Unfortunately you need an attorney to communicate in the right language to the powers that be.

@Mosc - a certificate of music worthiness...lol my be a good idea in fact. The problem is no matter what style music is out there - there are going to bad performers and good performers of it...

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emdot_ambient



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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

CJ Miller wrote:
But when the turf is supposed to be public, they are supposed to be facilitating these things for us. Instead they were trying to make public space into something private and exclusive.

Welcome real world politics.

You know what they say about "all politics are local"...what that means in reality is that no matter where you are, somebody's in charge and the reason they're in charge is that they get a kick out of being the big fish in the little pond.

Like in my town...the vast bulk of available "public" funds for the performing arts goes to an old theater (circa 1928). Only thing is, that theater is a privately owned for-profit business. They rent the place out, hire in somewhat big names for lectures and concerts, etc. Almost none of the money goes to supporting local artists (who by and large can't make enough money on their art or music to live off of).

Same shit, another day.

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emdot_ambient



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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
All new music has met with resistance by the ignorant masses and their more ignorant leaders.

True...but electronic music's been around since the 50s. Nothing I've heard in electronic music, no matter what the genre, could seriously be labeled "new music" in terms of style. Even the most avant garde noise stuff harkens back to at least the post-punk industrial scene of the early 80s (if not back to the musique concrete...if not Italian Futurism and the intonarumori!).

And all the dance stuff's at least 20 years old really. New production techniques, but nothing fundamentally new in style.

It's so hard to find any commercial music today that's not laden with digital audio processing techniques (hell, even country music's been using auto-tune to death) and/or synths.

So it's really difficult to see why anyone other than classical music, opera, or folk/bluegrass fans would even think twice about seeing an electronic act performing.

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iWFBS



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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like how this discussion is steering, that topic of "new style" Is what I have been working on, been trying out newer ways to down tone arpregator and cross fades.....instead of using 4/4 doing 3/4 and off beat drum riffs, which tie into perfect beats as a background, been doing a lot with drum beats, working on a core of new patterns but they seems to get messy at times. what I am focusing on.... keeping the tempo down, 87 to 97 bpm, but making it sound fast then slow then fast again, then a suddenly a out of place bridge, then back to the original pattern. adding a pause for the strange weird synthesis we come up with, then back to the normal flow. so kind of stair casing up the down then up then down then down more then up, just to factor in mood changes. I try to think about how I can bring hypnotic type trance, but old fashion rock for the human feel. I don't play trance, techno rave stuff....just rock basic but mixing in bridges of those genre, its fun to play..but get sick of it.
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nobody



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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cool
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iWFBS



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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

HA...to the morons who say stuff like that, my brother is a custom drum builder, we share the same joint, he builds his drums, I do my thing on the keys...several drummers came in and made stoopid comments sort of like that. My brother has a way to inform them...."may be you ought to hear my brother on the drums" so i would proceed to pound one out on the cans for their personal inventory of getting their ass kicked." manifest this dipshit...they usually buy a drum to just try to sound like me....yeah, I also play concert piano as in the B's, my ladyfriend is a concert pianist for a choir, those drummers have the biggest ego since the invention of God. I know, I live with one...my brother. Twisted Evil
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emdot_ambient



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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Any drummer gives me ego crap I just tell them the old joke:

Q: How many drummers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Don't they have a machine for that now?

...or...

Q: What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine?
A: You only have to punch a rhythm into a drum machine once.

But my favorite comment ever when an unsuspecting spectator was confronted with electronic music wasn't even a synth/computer music hate comment, rather it was just an incomprehensibly dumb question...This was back in 1985 when I was performing with a friend who used a Mountain Music Alpha Syntauri computer synth running on an Apple IIe...After playing for an hour or so we were on a break and this guy comes up to my friend, points at his computer and asks: "How do you make that do that?"

My friend opened his mouth to reply, then you could see his mind working through the question and finally realizing that the question was so hugely broad that it was unanswerable. He shut his mouth an just ignored the guy. very cool

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have a cousin - older than me by about 20 years - who was a math professor at Lehigh University. I did a CD of computer music and gave him a copy figuring he'd be interested since he is a clarinet player. The next time I see him he says, "That was an interesting recording. If I didn't know it was made on a computer I'd would have thought it was music." Rolling Eyes

My brother -also older than me - offers to give me the latest Bob Dylan album to load on my iPhone, "if you put regular music on there".

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iWFBS



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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

PHIFFFFFFFT, Just goes to show, that despite how much goes into one's brain for enlightening others, always idiosity follows from the form of a mouth.
It's interesting, I am 42, I didn't quite have the desires to be a computer geek, I just wanted to play music. But having the recourse of guitarists and drummers and who ever else would always.....always......dis the keyboard player. So I got me a cheap commodore second hand
the old type....
A:1000000000024200002
B/ 20000000045545556
A: dc-dos

you know....that old dos malarky, arrow with half of a instruction book to learn to operate it with. I had a mac II, I turned it into a gold fish bowl for my retro apartment in Denver.
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iWFBS



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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

a particular return comment to one on another forum that got me banned....

person pissed off at me:

FUCK YOU ! and FUCK THE SHIT YOU CALL MUSIC ! YOU MOOB.


my response to said person pissed off at me:


Moob....I give it a two out of ten. It just lacks something. Here, let's work on it together, my be-unibrowed australopithecus friend


Yeah. I like it. Its a got a certain shimmer of what is it? Ah yes. Truth. But do tell me, why in your impotently brief tirade - in which you seem to be focused on the elementary linguistic tactic of changing the gender of a word by changing out a single letter, thus impugning the sexuality of your chosen victim - did you not go with "moobs". You see, when I was in third grade and this sort of chicanery was the latest greatest, the word 'moobs' would send us into gales of laughter. Not so much anymore, of course, but its good to see there might be a few chromosomally enhanced swains that occasionally shuffle up from the shallow end of the gene pool and dust off that old canard and let us all relive the sheer magic. Of course the other advantage you would gain by going the 'moobs' route, would be that you would be developing what we who's parents didn't drink liter upon liter of bathtub gin while they were pregnant would call a 'theme'. A theme is when things repeat... Hmmm, how shall I explain it in as few syllables as possible... ah yes, its like how your pj's match your sheets. Anyway, a theme, no matter how primitive, gives your rapier sharp wit linguistic architecture. Even such a hovel-like architecture allows there to at least be the remote chance that those you are attempting to insult won't merely dismiss you as the crook-pated dullard that you no doubt are. Much as nature has robbed you of many of the modern advantages to critical thought, you are only robbing yourself of any meager crumb of possibility that webbed toes and fingers might be overlooked. Yes. I would definitely have gone with 'moobs'
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mosc
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

iWFBS Respect is one of the primary values on electro-music.com. So we generally refrain from calling other people names. It's low form. If you have some issues from another forum, please take them somewhere else.

I know how it feels to get banned from a forum. It's happened to me too. It's certainly difficult not to strike back, but nobody here has offended you. Your anger, surely justified, is misdirected. We like keyboard players, drummers and guitarists. We come from diverse musical backgrounds. This is a place we can get along and support each other.

An old hit song says: accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

Please chill. You are welcome here, as long as you shelve the personal rants, and name calling. This isn't the place for that kind of stuff.

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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm convinced that those of us who have been involved in public performance for many years (whether famous or not) have accumulated many "war stories". With the kind of politics that surround music-making it is easy to become cynical (I speak for myself here). If I were a comic-strip artist I could conjur a cartoon of two new-age performers engaged in a knock-down drag out battle over which one's healing music is better! ("My healing, meditative music will kick your A$$!!! Grrrrr....")

Thus, CJ's story about police intervention to shut down his music-making brought to mind some battles I've fought in the past.

Fortunately, I don't fight such battles on any regular basis anymore. I'm at an age where I have a handle on my own musical capabilities and limitations. I seek out performance opportunities where my music is likely to reach a receptive audience. Since I don't make a living at electronic music, I can be choosy about what and where I play.

So, I agree with audiodef's comment -- I wouldn't attempt electronic music at a folk music event because the audience's expectation is something other than what I can offer.

I understand CJ's comment -- that to have one's music-making forceably shut-down is frustrating -- particularly when you were indoors in a private building.

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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cool
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DES



Joined: Feb 28, 2003
Posts: 662
Location: Oxford, NJ
Audio files: 6

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

'MOOB' - Laughing - first thing that came to mind was a new member/poster on a cattle forum.....

Very Happy

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iWFBS



Joined: May 13, 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Pheonix
Audio files: 1

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have always been a rebel, However I wasn't worked up over this dolt...trust me...I really didn't lose any sleep. The core of my song writing is standing up to those who put you down. To dance around that particular aspect gets one a mouthful of "wig peeled back" display. But, I am a really nice guy I hold doors open at the market for even the hardest of ego maniac. Funny thing is, one can do to me....I just roll it off, but when one goes and squanders one who is not as fortunate or different than the crowd....this is were I become explicit. I volunteer at food banks, I go to elderly homes and spend time with the folks, spend time with children who were abused, molested, handicapped or just plain discarded, I go walk the dogs at the humane societies, I feed anyone who is hungry...the list rolls on, when I was a kid, I was severely beat by my pill popping drunkard parent then to school where I was ridiculed and funned for the bruises, scared to death to go tell, because it would further seal my fate to get more beat at home...Not trying to angle for a pity party here,
there is a cause behind my song writing, as it should be, I am not trying to kick up dust here, this project my band and I are working on is Love songs, sort of like Industrial/Punk Love songs...putting out a clear message of love instead of all the hate in the world. Mainly I haven't put anything out on the net is because I want to land the project on the desk of a producer first. Kind of just my ways of things.
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