Friday, March 7, 2014

Your Music Isn't "Uplifting" or "Empowering," So Go Fuck Yourself

Your music isn't "uplifting" or "empowering," so go fuck yourself with your guitar and shut the fuck up.
There, I said it.
I've been going to music festivals for almost a decade now, and have been performing in various bands at these festivals for roughly half that time. I still love the scene - I just prefer it in much smaller doses at this point. (Both literally and figuratively.)

It's definitely not as "magical" as it once was; my love of the scene has ebbed and flowed to varying degrees since my initiation at Moe Down. While initially I was at least 50% there to get fucked up (but only because I wanted to listen to the music with a different perspective, I'm a musician for fucks sake so cut me some slack), the necessity to get fucked up has dwindled to a cool 5%. I'm pretty much strictly there for the music at this point....that and the hippy chicks.
(Note : Getting drunk and stoned is a given under any circumstances, is standard protocol in daily life, and doesn't count as "getting fucked up.")

Now I don't want to attribute my moment of clarity in the scene strictly to the drugs wearing off......but I also can't lie and say taking the psychoactive tinted glasses off had zero effect on my perspective. Needless to say, I started noticing a few types of characters in the jam scene that rustled my jimmies. Lately, I've been seeing more of a particular type of hippy spring up....
 ...the dreaded, "Overly optimistic new age hippy that attempts to hide their pretentious and patronizing nature with counterfeit positivity." Maybe dreaded wasn't the best term to go with here, that implies a necessity for dreadlocks. I mean dreaded as in fearsome, dreadful, alarming, not dreaded as in a person with dreaded hair. Dreadlocks are fine as long as you aren't going around saying "Jah man" when you're so white you make Rick Astley look like Wesley Snipes. And I'm not just saying that because I got lazy for 4 years and my hair dreaded, dreadlocks are a pretty rad concept if you have the patience to let them form naturally. Manufactured dreads are like non-alcoholic beer. But back to the topic at hand....
"Overly optimistic new age hippy that attempts to hide their pretentious and patronizing nature with counterfeit positivity."
Ever notice that about the really obsessed hippys? The ones that go on long Facebook spiels professing love to everyone they know, or the ones that refuse to accept food from a friend unless it's 100% organic. They don't talk with you, they talk DOWN to you, maybe because you don't meditate with an incense in your asshole for 2 hours every day, or maybe because you don't know enough titles to Grateful Dead songs. Or the worst of all, the ones that are IN BANDS and REFER TO THEIR BAND AS UPLIFTING.
Woah, woah, woah, pump the breaks. I can't move past this. I can't move past the fact that there are musicians and bands that prop themselves up as "empowering" and "uplifting" without even the slightest hint of self-awareness.

That's right, there are actually bands out there in the jam scene that carry themselves as if they transcend music. This isn't even a small demographic, go look into the jam scene and look up what some of the bands are saying about themselves. I'm not trying to sling any shit at any particular bands personally, so I'm not pointing any fingers. But I cannot sit idly by when there are bands out there who legitimately believe they are profoundly changing the lives of their drugged out audiences..........audiences of which ironically can't dance for shit.

Let me break it down real simply here:
The thing about music being 'uplifting' and 'empowering' is, you cannot go around telling people that your music (or band) is uplifting and empowering. You need OTHER PEOPLE to say that shit about you. And when said OTHER PEOPLE claim your music/band is uplifting and empowering, you simply thank them and then shut the fuck up, not agree with them and go into a speech about how you're elevating the collective consciousness of your fanbase and finger-fucking their chakras with your music notes.
I got a news flash, assholes, ALL MUSIC WITH ARTISTIC MERIT IS UPLIFTING. Sure, mainstream mass-produced music is arguably pretty soulless on a consistent basis, especially if the only intent in producing the music is generating revenue for record companies with shitty music taste. But, shit, to some people some of that soulless garbage is pretty uplifting as well. So calling your own music, your own band, your own project any of those things is like cloning yourself just so you can have loud sex with your clone in public. No one wants to see that, and no one wants to hear your brag about your band in the most pretentious ways you possibly can, either. Fuck off with that self-dick-riding bullshit.
 Some may say I promote my own music in a boisterous and over-the-top fashion.


You're god damn fucking right I am boisterous and over-the-top with my promotion. I hype my music to the fucking moon and beyond Uranus. But the big difference is I'm having fun, and taking the piss out of myself just as much as I'm hyping myself up. There's a satirical edge to it; it's not a wink and a nudge, it's a kick in the face. Anyone who thinks I'm serious when I say "My latest track aborted the baby from Justin Beiber" is the same idiot of monumental proportions that worships bands that refer to themselves as "Uplifting" and "empowering," as if they're the only band to ever conjure these feelings, as if centuries of music has existed only to pave the way for THEIR band, THEIR uplifting songs.

"My band, we like....we just want to spread out good vibes and, like, raise the collective consciousness of our fanbase. We transcend music, we really are amazing, our debut album is being released soon it's called 'Favored Virtuosity: A Lesson in Self-Importance.' There's like healing frequencies that make our listeners buttholes twitch, it's so wild and innovative and unique. It's gonna completely change the lives of our fan base and the world of music, just you wait."
 Give me a fucking break. Arguably ALL MUSIC is uplifting. And that should go without saying, you self-important shitheads. So it sounds extremely pretentious when you go and point out these qualities specifically in your own music.
Music in and of itself is a gift from the universe, arguably the purest form of self-expression in existence. As such, the only person entitled to brag about the uplifting and empowering nature of music, is the genius who discovered the particular frequencies we as musicians use to create the very audio chocolate that enriches our lives.

The instant a band refers to their own music in terms like "empowering" and "uplifting," they are basically ignoring the fact these traits are present in most music. Just a thought.....if you're STRIVING to make "uplifting" and "empowering" music, you're likely going to fail and come across as try-hard, hokey and false. Your goal should be to express yourself artistically. If, through this artistic expression, others are inspired, be happy and continue expressing yourself. But don't go around claiming that was your intention all along like some sort of musical shaman.

So clean off your guitar, stop acting like your shit don't stink, and just fucking ROCK. Stop acting like music is just a means to an end, that you're just using music to "raise frequencies" and all that stupid bullshit. Ok, good.

And for those of you who don't play instruments, reread this article and count how many times I use the words "uplifting" and "empowering." Each time you read these words, they should be more painful than the last time you read them. And that WAS my fucking intent. Just trying to raise the consciousness of your anger, I guess.

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If you should strike me down I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.