Good and Great

I’ve been reading the Lefsetz Letter a lot recently, and its made from some inspiring reading.  Sure, it paints an accurate picture of a dying industry which is apparent to anyone not employed by or signed to a major label, but it seems to get at the true nature of creation.  Besides my favorite recent quote “U2 are tax exiles who like money,”  Lefsetz constantly makes the point that if something is amazing, it will break through.  There are plenty who are simply “good” but that’s not nearly good enough in a landscape filled with approximately 600 Quadrillion Mediocre Bands using every aspect of social media to push themselves further into your face. Anyone else have to de-friend several people on Facebook because of their constant invites to see their sub par to mediocre band?

It gets me thinking of how many bands leave me feeling truly blown away.  The percentage is certainly low, but don’t we all live for that moment?  Last weekend I went to see the Tuneyards at the Williamsburg Music Hall, a band I’ve written about on several occasions, and mid set I thought to myself, “if this is the standard of performance a band has to live up to, we are all going to need to work WAY harder.”  The show was phenomenal, the band was simultaneously raw and incredibly polished.  It seemed like it could fall apart at any second, but it was so enjoyable, we all just willed it to continue.  The crowd was all smiles the entire time, even the elusive Jeff Mangum, and the overly present Sean Lennon, who were both in the crowd, mingling with us non-beautiful people.

Conversely, the night before at the same venue, I saw Thurston Moore perform an acoustic set.  And while certainly above average, it did not approach the level of greatness that one would hope for…even with a full Harp on the stage.  Tons of shows turn out this way.  Perfect venue with great sound, excellent musicians, good crowd…and the results are just standard.

But much harder than passing judgment on a show we attend, is turning the camera on ourselves.  Occasionally you may find yourself asking “are these phat beatz i made using garageband far superior to Timbaland or whoever the fuck makes that type of music these days?” And perhaps your answer is yes.  But….perhaps it should be no, and you shouldn’t spring those sounds on the world just yet. And with the constant facebook invites, lets establish a rule, right fucking now:

If you have more than one show within the same city/state, less than 1 month apart, don’t send out separate invites for each one.  One email at the beginning of the month is fine, or if its a special show, you get maybe 2 opportunities to group spam before its irritating as hell and makes everyone want to delete any record of you ever communicating with them.  So please keep that in mind.

Rehearsals have begun with a new band I am a part of, and more than any other time in my life, I am attempting to put a magnifying glass over my own playing.  It certainly has room to grow, but perhaps knowing that is the first step towards beating mediocrity?