Jammin' @ Joe's Garage!


Dear Poppa Chris

I am in a band and we are jamming out the back of our guitar
player Joe's house. We want to make a living out of this but we can
only get door-takes, I can't afford a new pair of fuckin' drumsticks!
If everybody is saying the music industry is thriving, why are all the
musicians still starving?

Peter Shorrock
Brunswick Vic.

Poppa Chris:

Well Peter, the funny thing about our music industry as such (and
probably the rest of the world's) ... is that the industry of
promotion, recording, publishing, media, tuition, retailing et al. is
totally and utterly dependant on the hope of you, me and every
other muso making it big with their respective talents, of course
believing that talent will always get you through..... as well as the
hope that the music-buying public will believe that shit!

Lets face it, the stories you hear about guys and gals with their hit
singles in the charts, and still starving ...... are for the most part all
true!  ........ 
(the story of jazz legend Duke Ellington, backstage, begging his
manager for $10;  bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorious spending the last 6
months of his life sleeping on park benchs cuddling his bass etc ...)

You must always remember that the music INDUSTRY is made up of
all the ingredients of any other concern that defines itself as
"industry". 
I will explain ....................................

Production - 

"the factory floor" - musicians/songwriters being the factory
workers, writing songs about how their spouse screwed them royal
at one time or another, then getting door-take gigs once they have
written the same song 12 times with their piss-ant bass player mate
and his dope smokin' drummer. 

Development -

colloquially named "paying your dues" .... this is where the factory
workers are expected to take their package of little ditties and blast
them out to the unsuspecting public (affectionately known as
"punters") and hope like hell they get enough people (usually only
mates wanting a free beer) through the door so they get enough
loose change to buy some petrol to make it back home again.  
(with no defined industry awards as such)

Design - 

Factory workers pool enough of their dole cheques together to start
recording and hammering little ditties into a saleable "product"
(usually by adding the word "fuck" to a song, or by slagging  Jesus or
an equivalent deity), taking their ditties to a recording engineer in
his state-of-the-art studio put together by his maxed out credit
cards.... who has already paid his dues by once being a factory
worker himself and somehow working out the scam. 

Packaging - 

Upper-echelon "corporate-rock" gurus who notice that you are
starting to pull lots of chicks to your gigs, lend you money for a new
guitar and a haircut, and tell you to take out 4 verses of your 6
verse - 8 minute love song so it will be "radio-friendly." 
They then send you on a whirlwind beer-barn tour, made up of pubs
that never returned your demo-tapes 2 years previously. 
You end up being support for the 10 year re-union of a "remember
the good 'ol days" act that have been resigned to Toadstool records
as a tax-writeoff and have just released a "remember me?" best-of-
package called "flogging a dead horse".

Accounts -

You make your big record with your 12 songs, all changed by the
producer allotted to your project in an attempt to make the most
radio friendly album of the year; unfortuneately you go over-budget
and you have to endlessly tour for less money than you made on
your unknown door-take gigs ...... playing your 12 songs just like the
record, which you now hate, in order to pay off the advance the
record company gave you.

Promotion -

You are sent on a round of interviews to get free promo, usually
getting asked questions by a one-time-musician-turned-embittered-
journalist who gets you on the front cover of a dinky street-rag in
return for free tickets, a beer, and a chick, to your next not-so-sold-
out gig.

So there you are Pete ......... to quote a famous musical philosopher;

"..... and then the band broke up .... and it looks like .... oo-OOOO, we
will never play again !!!!! ......."

"....guess you only get one chance in life to play a song that goes like
........ boom-bap-boom-boom-bap ......... aaaaaah-oo-oo-aaahhh?
 
So Pete, to finish this little musical pschyco-analysis type diatribe for
today ...........

The problem with defining music as an industry is that it is not!
Musicians usually think that music is an art! 
This is why they are completely out of step with reality!!

Hope it helps!!