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Musically Speaking: Damned if you do - Damned if you don't

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JJ Rocks Article # 223: Damned if you do - Damned if you don't

Somebody once said In music youre damned if you do, and damned if you dont. At first this sounded a bit negative. But when I started to think about it, I saw many past visions of want to be musicians (and their spouses) approaching me while I was on break and trying to point out something that I did wrong. Sometimes its the mix. Sometimes its an opinion of the bands song list and what we should be playing. And of course theres everyones favorite, letting you know who else is playing around town and how many people they are drawing. Even when you try your best to please them, they always seem to know more about whats good for you than you do yourself. But no matter what happens, the audience members (including the pretend musicians) are never wrong.

Sometimes I wonder if this is an automatic human response when someone realizes that they should have worked harder at what they do in life and have no one to blame for it. I say that because as you all know, this is not just about musicians. This scenario is applicable to most situations where someone has an opinion on what you do, even though they cant do it themselves. I could never understand that kind of mentality. But I do know one thing. Talking about something is much easier than doing it, so I guess to a degree, it makes a little sense.

That brings to mind the people who you never want to play your original music for. Because the first thing out of their mouth is the name of a band that they think you sound like. And the ones that do this the most are usually the ones that cant write songs themselves. Oh yeah, lets not leave out the part where you tell them its going to be on your next CD, and they tell you how many bands are trying to do the same thing and how you have little chance of success. Or my favorite is telling them that your songs are not for sale. Then they wind up giving you that speech about not sharing your music with the rest of the world and how much money there is to be made and how you can use it. Either way, you loose.

I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if you dont know what you are talking about, it seems to me that the only sane thing to do is stay quiet. Saying that you like or dont like someones music is an opinion, but saying that something is good or bad is technical criticism and you should be prepared for the repercussions. Well, maybe not all the time because most mature pro level players are used to it and will just blow it off. But its a funny thing how some musicians can wait their whole lives to get away from over opinionated managers and control freak booking agents, just to find themselves at the mercy of a few pissed off dreamers who are convinced that their ideas are more powerful than your actions. So make sure you think positive and your skin is thick because theres one around every corner.

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