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Good Music, Rock, but maybe wrong era


jar546

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OK, I am not here to promote, just ask for an opinion. This is NOT my band but I saw these guys play out the other night and I was blown away with their live performance and bought a CD which I have listened to every day since.

 

The music is what I like (subjective opinion) and I think it is well written. Live, the crowd is into it but I don't think this is as marketable because it would mostly appeal to the late 30's 40's age group.

 

The myspace only has a sample. One of the songs called "Side of the Mountain" has been getting airplay in Texas and as a result they were invited to play at the South By Southwest Music Festival in 2009. They were surprised that the song that was poplular is a ballad when they have many rockin songs.

 

What are your thoughts on this style of music in this day and age?

 

http://www.myspace.com/themaruceproject

 

 

Thanks

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I don't think there's any such thing as bad music... in the sense that, if someone enjoys it, that's a good thing.

 

That said, I would have found this amusingly dated twenty years ago. (After initial high hopes for the metal revival that blossomed around 1980, I was mostly wildly disappointed by the cartoonishness and schtick of the 80s bands, with a few exceptions.)

 

But -- hey -- Interpol is big right now [in a different genre] and they don't do anything that wasn't played out by 1982 and they seem to get some good ink. (All the crits love their stylistic sources, as did I, which is probably why I find myself hating myself for kinda liking them... probably in parallel to your own evident mixed feelings about the Maruce Project.)

 

And who would I be to talk? I play a lot of blues and country influenced stuff... ;) [Although I spent the late 90s and early part of th is century exploring the electonic/downtempo/postmodern end of blues and country. Lately, I've exchanged my synths more for banjo and mandolin but stuff goes around. Who knows what my next phase will be? All that's really certain is that it's likely to be not very commercial. :D ]

 

 

This is a subject I see increasingly -- even though it seems to me that there's a broad acceptance of a number of styles, even from the young and trendy. (That said, some cool bossa nova or quirky fourtracker folk is probablly going to be an easier sell to the hipsters than something that rocked the Kmart record counter in 1984.)

 

 

Should a writer try to force his work into other styles to "keep up with the times"? How often does that even work? We've all heard ludicrous stabs at being "with-it" from old coots (old like, well, me)... if one's heart is in music in the Kansas-Boston-Styx locus, trying to rock out with some grindcore, black metal, or emo is probably going to be quite a stretch. Chances are the reach will exceed the grasp.

 

Me, I write the songs I write... and then perform them in whatever style and form I'm feeling at the moment, pretty much with no regard to what's commercially viable or moving product.

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blue2blue,

 

Thank you for your well thought out response. I appreciate it. I too am of the Kansas, Boston, Styx era where I think that is real music. I know this is very subjective but I am sometimes confused by what I see happening.

 

For example. These guys have very few gigs booked and whenever they do play out, the bar owners want them to play covers. What amazes me is that my own band can get gigs playing classic rock covers from the 60s-80s range because there is a demand for the older stuff, yet the original stuff in question that is from the era is not "popular" enough. At the same time we have kids with no musical experience who scream into the mic and bang away so hard they break the E string of a bass drawing crowds and getting jobs with their "original" stuff.

 

I suppose our time has come and gone.

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I listened to three of the songs. They were OK, kind of, but there wasn't really anything special about anything I heard. (Of course, a live show with the very same material could be completely great for different reasons!)

 

I recognized some of the chord sequences from songs that I wrote in the Ancient Days, or from Uriah Heep songs, which is almost the same thing, and that kind of turned me off.

 

-CAG

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blue2blue,


Thank you for your well thought out response. I appreciate it. I too am of the Kansas, Boston, Styx era where I think that is real music. I know this is very subjective but I am sometimes confused by what I see happening.


For example. These guys have very few gigs booked and whenever they do play out, the bar owners want them to play covers. What amazes me is that my own band can get gigs playing classic rock covers from the 60s-80s range because there is a demand for the older stuff, yet the original stuff in question that is from the era is not "popular" enough. At the same time we have kids with no musical experience who scream into the mic and bang away so hard they break the E string of a bass drawing crowds and getting jobs with their "original" stuff.


I suppose our time has come and gone.

 

If it makes you feel any better, I listen to a lot of stuff from the 20s, 30s, and 40s.

 

Their time has come and gone (maybe even a couple times ;) ) and it's still great music.

 

No one has to feel bad about liking what they like. I'll admit I was not much into the Boston-Kansas-Styx axis back in the day (I was out there watching kids who are now senior citizens screaming into mics and banging away so hard they broke the E-string of the bass [and that's loud, you bet] ... :D )

 

Especially back then in the late 70s, it seemed like pop/rock band couldn't get a gig doing originals. I was on the ground looking for live music most nights of the week and, while there were still a number of cover bands fighting for gigs at the last few live rock dance venues (it was, after all, the first disco revival era, when KMart met the BeeGees and the funk went out of dance), it was rare to get a chance to see them. And rarer still when I could trick myself into enjoying Foreigner covers. For me, the punk/new music era couldn't have begun a second too soon. ;)

 

 

The problem with doing originals in a classic style (that is not currently enjoying a re-run) is that the older live music audience already has big-time brand loyalty. They're not shopping for anything new or exciting. If they go to see an old favorite -- by and large -- they will be sorely disappointed if the old favorite does not play a bunch of old favorites. Sneak in more than a couple new songs and they get restless.

 

And don't even think about trying to entice them into songs they've never heard before -- even if it sounds like the next big hit that never happened...

 

 

And the young live music crowd who do go after original music, by and large, are looking for original music that sounds new or different... or, occasionally, really old.

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So just write what you feel and what you like and don't worry about who else likes it as long as you are having fun and feel like you have accomplished something.

 

The days of "making it" are over at 43 anyway.

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Unless you're prepared to spend a lot of time on the road, a day job is pretty much required of people who write and play original music.

 

(Now, the 'day job' might well be a covers band or a corporate show band or such; I have a pal who does that and it's worked very well for him so far. He has his originals band -- with one of the guys from the corpo show band and another old friend -- and he has a small project studio where he records a number of spec projects, often but not always featuring some of his writing. The corporate band does trade shows, special events and, occasionally, big budget weddings [they were on a Bridezilla episode, in the background].)

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