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The Woodshed: The Right Mood

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JJ Rocks Article # 230:
From St. Croix Music Magazine, Issue # 44, May, 2010
When it comes to creating, learning, or just physical practice to keep your chops up, being in the right mood rules. There was a time in my life when being in the right musical mood was a luxury. But the days of having to drive many miles 6 nights a week in all kinds of weather and playing songs that I hated are long gone. Back then it didnt matter what mood you were in. You had to do what was needed to get by. Well, at least I wasnt doing construction for a living, and the constant playing had to make me a better musician. But having control of the right mood was impossible for me. I just took my chances and hoped that I would be driving home that night with a smile on my face.

Thank God there were some extremely great musicians up on the stage with me who shared much of the top 40 misery. But dont get me wrong, there were many, many cool times up on all those stages when everything cooked! But the mood from that was always an aftermath, not something that I showed up at work with. No wonder that me and many of my musical buddies were either in a studio on our one night off, or getting blasted with draft beer and steamed crabs at the local blues jam. Now that was a great mood! But even when I was a producer in Hollywood at Gold Star (A+M Records) I still had to try to create the right mood before going in the studio with international bands that had songs that needed a lot of work. Being in the right mood at that time was priceless.

So now that Im in a more relaxed setting without a worry in the world, Im really particular about setting the right mood for any of my musical endeavors. Even when Im just sitting under a coconut tree trying to come up with a cool musical idea, I always get in the right mood. First, Ill have a good dose of input by listening to something that I love thats in the genre that Im shooting for. That brings the first smile to my face. And right before my mind wonders off into the land of creativity I always make sure that my surroundings are just the way I want them. I have to have a cool drink, just the right lighting, my favorite incense, and maybe a little herbal therapy. But regardless of what it takes, I treat being in the right mood like its the king of my universe.

So the next time you want to sit down and try to find your musical inner self, dont forget your other God given senses like sight, smell, touch, taste, and of course hearing. Dont just sit down anywhere and start to play. Take a few moments to get just the right atmosphere that brings out the best in you.

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