May 30, 2004

generock

I saw the Thrills on Friday night at Paradise and just about vomited. This was one of the most pathetic shows I have seen in a while and what made it worse is that their album is selling like hot-cakes, EMI was in the audience, and way too many drunk morons were singing along word for word.
They had the attitudes and looks and moves of big time rock stars, but were devoid of any of the talent, skill or entertainment value that should accompany that. And in truth, they didn't even *have* those things; they *tried* to have them, but ended up coming across as totally forced and manufactured. There is nothing worse than being arrogant with zero to back it up.
The drummer had the stiffness (in playing and posture) of someone half dead; the stoned guitarist appeared to want nothing more than to have some acid-flavored bug fly into his gaping mouth. But the lead singer was the worst by far. The list is long, but here are a few gems: Saying 'Thanks!' immediately after each song was over before anyone had begun clapping. Announcing before a song that it was in 3/4 as if that were some crazy difficult strange time signature that would require us to listen even more intently and be impressed. Yelling 'Come on Boston, make some fucking noise!' That was as creative as he got.
You can tell a lot by looking into the eyes of people in general, I think, and musicians are no different. What I saw when I looked into the eyes of these guys was nothing. I mean, NOTHING. No spark of energy or intelligence or creativity. No indication that they had anything to say or contribute. Nothing but glazed over, practically cataractic (is that a word?) holes into the voids that were their brains.
I can't help but ask myself how a band like this can garner the amount of attention they have seen thus far into their short career. Am I totally missing something? Or am I overestimating audiences and record labels? Those EMI execs would probably walk out of a Fantomas or Mars Volta show. Too creative and interesting to make them any money.

Posted by halsey at 09:52 AM

May 28, 2004

too bad FZ is dead

Hopefully this post will in some way or another continue the slightly disorganized thoughts about classical music found in this and that earlier posts.

I am not necessarily trying to propose any solution because this is a difficult situation and is not clear-cut in any way. Some of you might feel that there really isn't a problem at all. There are different types of music out there, and different people listen to whatever they want and that's that. Each to his or her own, right? Sure, but what happens when the number of possibilities dwindles so much that there are not enough choices to satisfy the infinite variability of human taste?
I want to continue to live in a world where there are endless options of music to choose from. The dominance of certain types nowadays is scary to me and makes me worry that each day it becomes harder and harder for music not a part of the mainstream to be heard and appreciated. When all the sixty year olds in the BMOP audience kick it, I don't want to be alone listening.
Frank Zappa is probably the best model of what direction I'd like to see things go. He wrote some of the most intellectual and complex music the rock world has ever seen. And he took it on tour with the best musicians available and conducted it with his guitar strapped on jumping around the stage. It totally rocked and he had large audiences of varied ages, backgrounds, etc. precisely because he was able to write music that is appealing on a number of different levels. Some people like his musical and technical prowess, others like to eat up the ridiculous and clever lyrics, and still others just like to rock out and feel good.
This is a guy who had Steve Vai and Terry Bozzio on tour with him and who also has had Pierre Boulez conduct his works. Being that legitimate in both worlds is truly a remarkable feat, but can't be unrepeatable, can it?
We need a new FZ, or even better, a lot of new FZs. They are probably out there right now, but are under appreciated and unheardof.
I think that BMOP is doing an admirable job in bringing modern orchestral music to more people than would normally be exposed to it. In a similar vein, the LA Philharmonic recently performed music from the Final Fantasy video game to a sold out crowd (thank you, S). These are just two examples of many small efforts which is great. A debate over the best way to reinvigorate classical music with younger fans could go on for a long time, but the most important thing is that we keep experimenting.
This music is too good to just go away.

Posted by halsey at 01:22 PM

May 27, 2004

credit where credit is due

Despite the overblown cheesiness, the distasteful commerciality and the image-centric nature of the entire American Idol phenomenon, Fantasia Barrino really does know how to sing! I am happy to see her win and happy that 65 million people care about music enough to vote in this silly competition.

Posted by halsey at 11:06 AM

to be or not to be attractive

Apparently you can't be a serious classical musician and be attractive. At least not if you are a woman.
I like beautiful music, and don't really care who is performing it, but if the performer is a beautiful woman, I see no reason why she should hide it. Flaunt away! Skin-tight catsuits for all!

"In a sense the resistance to strong, attractive women is comparable to resistance to so-called Eurotrash opera productions or to "La Bohème" on Broadway: resistance against any change to a status quo that already feels very, very fragile."

Posted by halsey at 09:15 AM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2004

beware of 1:14!!

Anger and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. It took us a very long time to get acquainted (25 years or so) and we are still sort of feeling each other out. We had a pretty significant run-in a few weeks back and this song resulted. I thought it was pretty cool that the energy from such an encounter on an otherwise wasted Tuesday evening became a song.
In some ways I am embarrassed by this song (no parking). Not because I think it is poor musically or particularly badly engineered or anything; but rather because I don't know if it is believable. You *should* believe it because it came from a place that was pure and direct, but I don't know if I was able to get this across in the song. And if it doesn't convince you, it might come across as pathetic and over-dramatized. How's that for self-confidence?
I guess I'm just not sure I fully achieved what I had hoped. Not sure if I am able to bring the listener into my world in that moment. And if I failed at this, there isn't much else to grab onto. So in that sense I suppose it's a little risky. But I figure letting you kind and benevolent listeners listen is the only way to find anything out, right?

So here is my little Q&A to kick things off. As always, ask your own if so inclined.

Is this finally a happy song?
No. In fact, not at all - as you may have gathered from the anger discussion above(!). This does not mean it isn't a positive song though.

What household object did you end up hitting?
I tried a bunch, but what I ended up using were the couch hit with timpani mallets and a spent snare drum head hit with marimba mallets. And a cat hit with...

Are there any swear words in this song?
Yes. Parental Advisory in full effect. As in: Kids, don't let your parents listen...

Was there really no parking?
Believe me; there was NONE.

Posted by halsey at 08:03 AM | Comments (3)

May 25, 2004

I have more questions than answers

Clearly there is a difference between classical and 'popular' music. Well, there are tons of differences, but what are the differences that might be key to understanding this lack of energy that I talked about in my last post?
Is classical music too pretentious? Is it too 'smart' for the masses to appreciate? Does it have a distasteful 'holier-than-thou' attitude? Has all the spontaneity been composed out of it? What makes something classical as opposed to something else anyway? What has one piece of music being performed in a concert hall and another in a rock club? I could muse upon these questions for hours and hours. But I won't bore you. Well, maybe I will.

What is it that is so exciting about rock or metal or rap or hip hop etc etc to the younger generations? Well, you can dance to it, you don't have to think about it to let it make you feel good, it has a certain raw power that is seductive...the list surely goes on and on. Are these characteristics vital to attracting a youthful audience? Probably. Do these characteristics lose their appeal on older audiences? Possibly. Is this just a natural and biological progression? When we get older are we compelled to think more and feel less somehow? Is the world reduced to a set of knowable and understandable things such that nothing that lives on emotion alone is any longer valid? I really hope not.
Rock musicians perform their own music typically. And they also don't perform it from a static score. There is a spontaneity and improvisational aspect which is exciting. We like to think that during a rock show ANYTHING can happen. Yeah, the band has planned out some stuff, but you never know! Maybe they'll take a request, or maybe if the audience does X, they will play Y. All you know when you show up is that particular musicians will be taking the stage. Nothing more; nothing less. That leaves a lot up to the imagination and can create a palpable anticipation. So maybe we should get rid of program notes to introduce some mystery? Set lists are cool, but it would be so pathetically lame and pretentious if they were handed out before Blink-182 took the stage, don't you think?
At a rock show I always feel like there is some sort of collective experience involving both the audience and the performers. However, I feel that in classical shows there is this invisible wall between the performers and the audience. There is no spontaneous banter between pieces or the crowd screaming out requests. We are there to sit quietly and watch and listen like it is some souped up television or something. No interaction: We watch. They play. We listen. They play. We clap. It's over. All neat and proper. That's boring.
I got to thinking that perhaps the venues are part of the problem. It is hard to really let yourself loose and feel the music when you are in a gilded concert hall with barely enough room in your seat to sit comfortably and with legions of well behaved and dressed people straining to pay so much attention they forget what music is really supposed to be about. Maybe it would do us all some good to not insist that everyone is absolutely quiet and still while the performance is happening. I thought it would be fun to have the conductor purposefully come out before the lights have dimmed and while the audience is still milling around and start the program. That might startle a few people. Maybe we need to just take ourselves a little less seriously. Maybe we should make it LOUD!

I don't have too many answers here, but I do know for sure that I like music to hit my heart first and my brain second. Popular, classical, whatever. This is why music is so powerful.

Posted by halsey at 09:52 AM

May 23, 2004

is there something wrong with 'classical' music?

I went to a performance of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) on Friday night. It was everything one would expect from a performance of this type. Interesting, well-composed music, a highly talented group of performers, a beautiful performance space, all around nicely put together. But still I was left feeling disappointed. Perhaps this is somewhat thanks to Mr. Byrne who set a very high bar the previous evening, but I don't think that actually had much to do with it.
I was disappointed because there was something missing from the performance; something I almost always feel is missing when I attend classical shows. I'm not entirely sure what words are appropriate to describe it, but it's something like energy, vitality, power, excitement, and it's important.
The thing is, I really like classical music; it's not as though I am trying to force myself into a new musical sphere. I love the romantics, the big orchestral pieces, the string quartets, minimalist experimentations, grand opera (Verdi is my favorite!) and much more. I have thousands of classical cds. Yet I still feel this way about most performances which leads me to believe that something is wrong.
The program consisted of five pieces from five American composers who are all still alive (they aren't even old!). One piece was commissioned specifically for BMOP and this performance was the premiere. The composers were all in attendance and with varying degrees of eloquence spoke about their pieces in a pre-concert discussion. These are five smart and creative people with interesting ideas and the talent to turn those ideas into music. However, the balance between idea and emotion seemed to be tilted too far towards the former with the exception of one piece which was, interestingly, written when the composer was 23. Many of the ideas were more interesting than the music itself. For example, the notion of exploring the extremes of the piano's capabilities by presenting us with quiet resonating tonal fields interspersed with sharp percussive attacks is really cool. I did like this piece, but I think I liked it even more before I heard it and my mind wasn't tainted by reality. I am not normally capable of quoting Wordsworth, but this quote I read the other day is appropriate to this feeling:

We also first beheld
Unveiled the summit of Mont Blanc, and grieved
To have a soulless image on the eye
That had usurped upon a living thought
That never more could be

For me, mountain summits are never disappointing, but the reality of this music was less than I had imagined or hoped for.
This whole experience made me sad and a bit dismayed. There is so much music being created out there in the 'classical' (or as BMOP likes to aptly and cleverly call it 'music formerly known as classical') world, but its future, in the U.S. at least, is unclear. Normally I am one of the older people at shows, but at least 75% of the audience last night must have been 60 or over and there were only a handful younger than me. Don't get me wrong, I think it is great that this demographic is supporting and interested in this music (they've got the money, right?!), but if this is MODERN and CUTTING EDGE shouldn't the modern and cutting edge generations be more excited about it and involved with it? This is a slightly unfair comment as the majority of the performers themselves were relatively young, but who are they going to perform for in twenty years? What can be done to ensure audiences exist in the future?

(much) more to come soon...

Posted by halsey at 06:35 PM

May 21, 2004

what it takes to make me feel like I am in high school again

6 string players
10 very talented musicians
7 incredibly awkward dances
~9 Talking Heads songs performed live by the man himself
2 hours of incredibly tight, well-rehearsed and energetic performing
35 dollars gladly spent
1 Verdi aria (Traviata)
300 yards of distance walked backwards
28 years of eclectic music career
1 baby marimba
47,843 (approx) percussive notes
0 houses burnt down, BUT
EVERYTHING ELSE same as it ever was

ONE David Byrne

Time travel *is* possible!

Posted by halsey at 08:39 AM

May 20, 2004

ideas(big + simple) = amazing

I went to the Einstein exhibit at the Museum of Science yesterday afternoon with Angel. This will confirm all suspicions that I am a total geek, but I found it incredibly exciting. I had this powerful visceral reaction to learning again about the curvature of space-time, the notion that travel at (very) high speeds causes time to slow down, and the feasibility of time travel. I felt like I was there at the moment these amazing ideas were developed, as if they hadn't yet become a staple of all of our lives. This kind of creativity and big thinking is so inspirational. I'll give in to the cliché: Einstein was a friggin' genius!!
It turns out that Einstein was an avid musician as well as a scientist. I suppose this doesn't surprise me given that there is so much math in music and so much of the same sort of creative thinking involved in creating a piece of music and developing the Grand Unified Theory (ha! as if I know...) There is a beautiful order that exists in both math and music; a balance of rigor and creativity. A building off of established rules and principles while striving towards things entirely new. Apparently Einstein practiced violin often and used this time (along with time sailing) to clear his mind of the clutter of everyday life so as to enable the BIG ideas space to percolate. I couldn't agree more that music has this power to both remove and focus us. To make us feel and give us inspiration.
If Einstein wrote any music, what it would sound like, I wonder? Maybe he did.

Posted by halsey at 10:36 AM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2004

vote now!

hrb_hair1_sm.jpg

haircut or no haircut?

Posted by halsey at 08:04 PM | Comments (3)

May 17, 2004

50 Cent to perform at the PEM!

I used to like the Peabody Essex Museum. I used to like it because it managed to effectively present works as disparate as maritime art and contemporary photography. And despite its provincial New England surroundings, it displayed exhibitions from all over the world. And I liked the fact that it was expanding and wasn't afraid of embracing beautiful contemporary architecture. I liked it even more when I heard that they had occasional musical events that included a performance by the ever clever and entertaining John Wesley Harding.
But now I hate them. Well, hate might be a slightly strong word, but I am certainly very disappointed in them and am angry that such an institution would behave in such an extremely small-minded way.
John Wesley Harding is FOLK singer, for chris-sakes! What is going on here? This is a man for whom all-ages shows means that people bring their five-year-olds. There is so much offensive stuff out there nowadays, it's almost unfathomable that the word 'slut' would cause such a violent knee-jerk reaction from anyone, let alone a modern cultural institution.
Is this just an isolated case of some stupid administrator having an agenda of his/her own? Or an institution bowing to external political pressure? Or is it another example of the blind over-conservatism that seems to be seeping steadily into our country recently?

I still haven't figured out what they are afraid of.

Posted by halsey at 08:49 AM | Comments (2)

May 15, 2004

5-5-5-7

I was on the edge earlier today, mainly due to the warm weather and the open windows and the smells of my yard and the strange nostalgia it all conjures for me.
But then I spent much of the afternoon walking around the house hitting things. I'm trying to find that perfect sound for a particularly important moment in this song I'm working on. It's very percussive and very loud and I want it to be powerful in a tight unified force sort of way.
It turns out there are lots of things to hit around one's house. And then when you realize that the thing you hit with is as important as the thing you are hitting, the possibilities become even more vast. So you can see why the whole afternoon got sucked up in this endeavor. And I still don't know for sure if any of what I did will actually be useful.
At the very least, I was reintroduced to a number of household objects that I had completely forgotten about. Hello, Wanda's Bread Box; I can't say I missed you.

Posted by halsey at 07:14 PM | Comments (2)

5-5-5-7

I was on the edge earlier today, mainly due to the warm weather and the open windows and the smells of my yard and the strange nostalgia it all conjures for me.
But then I spent much of the afternoon walking around the house hitting things. I'm trying to find that perfect sound for a particularly important moment in this song I'm working on. It's very percussive and very loud and I want it to be powerful in a tight unified force sort of way.
It turns out there are lots of things to hit around one's house. And then when you realize that the thing you hit with is as important as the thing you are hitting, the possibilities become even more vast. So you can see why the whole afternoon got sucked up in this endeavor. And I still don't know for sure if any of what I did will actually be useful.
At the very least, I was reintroduced to a number of household objects that I had completely forgotten about. Hello, Wanda's Bread Box; I can't say I missed you.

Posted by halsey at 07:14 PM

May 14, 2004

web methods

I worked on some web stuff yesterday for the Words and Voices project. I felt the urge to make this a separate entity somehow, and I wanted to include some photos that were related to the songs. My mom sent me a few great pictures of me with my grandmother from back in the day. I only had room to fit one on the page, but I look particularly stunning, I think. And in case you haven't seen a duck in a while, there is a reminder.
The page looks a bit sparse now with only two songs to share, but I hope to make this list longer in the coming months.

Do you guys like what you see?

Posted by halsey at 07:20 AM | Comments (3)

May 12, 2004

the next new

I am trying to start a new song now. This is always a weird time for me; this 'between songs' time. I find myself thinking so much about what I am working on that much of my life becomes identified in relation to the current song or piece. So what happens when there isn't such a song, specifically? This is why it's weird, I guess. In some ways, I really like it because it is a time when I allow myself to relax (only a little) and perhaps even take stock of what I have done and assess from a position of less immediate involvement. But the drive, and admittedly, pressure, to fly into the next one is pervasive.
I want to write another WaV piece and I want it to not be sad and I am thinking that perhaps this spam word idea might be fun to tackle. But last night upon sitting down to an empty Pro Tools session, it was hard. I've decided no piano in this one; at least not prominently. I need a change. What came out were some interesting rhythms and a riff with some potential. But where are the words? Where are the voices?

Posted by halsey at 08:53 AM | Comments (4)

May 10, 2004

useful desire

I had the pleasure of seeing burgundy-shoed, golden-haired, big-voiced, and extraordinarily talented Patty Griffin last night (thank you mle!!). Patty told us that she had been challenged to write a happy song by a friend of hers, and the one she came up with was this song she wrote about her Mom when she was four growing up in Maine. She further explained that she had to go way back to her childhood to find the inspiration for a happy song.
I have trouble writing happy songs as well. I think that the best I have done is a neutral song, perhaps (imposters of memory?) and recently I have been feeling 'Enough of this sad stuff! Why do I have to depress my listeners all the time? This angst is so cliché! Can't I be uplifting?' This is easy to say, but hard to do. I think my songs contain hope, but not really pure happiness.
But is it just hard to write a happy song, or is it hard to *be* happy? I am beginning to think the latter. OK, so here I am now depressing you with my words too, but seriously, happiness isn't this thing that just happens without thinking about it and working on it, I don't think. Maybe, as Patty mentioned, when you are a kid, it's easier and simpler, but now that I think way too much(!), it's hard. I'm not trying to say that I am sad and depressed all the time, but I have gotten to the point where I realize happiness isn't easy and can't be taken for granted, so when I do have it, it's that much more appreciated.
Thank you, Patty. You made me happy last night.

Posted by halsey at 04:08 PM | Comments (3)

May 08, 2004

opus cactus

drop your bags, stop what you are doing, cancel your plans, do not pass go, and proceed directly to see MOMIX. I was half breathing, half crying throughout this entire performance. It was that beautiful. Go, see, listen; I promise you will not be disappointed. But you must act fast as their final Boston show is on Sunday.

Posted by halsey at 08:04 AM | Comments (1)

May 07, 2004

people feel, like ducks float

I have just finished another song, which is, in fact, part two of my Words and Voices project. I've had a hard time with this one for many reasons (some unknown), but I feel that it is at a point where I can share it with you. I fear it might be too obscure for anyone other than myself to like or be able to identify with. You'll have to let me know.
And I wanted to do an experiment of taking questions and comments in a more public forum than I have done in the past pre-aeblog. So listen to from us to me and ask me questions and make comments. I promise to answer them in one way or another.

Here are some from a secret source to get you going:

Who is that speaking?
I'm glad you asked that because this is important. The recording is of me interviewing my grandmother for a school project when I was 13. We were studying genealogy and my teacher (thank you Mr. Davenport!) required us to interview four family members with a set of questions he provided. After my grandmother died in 1989, I gave the tape to my mom.

There are so many words being spoken at the same time. I can't understand them all! What should I do?
Well, you could complain to me and if it seems like a consistent problem, perhaps I'll do something about it. Or you could listen multiple times and focus on a different line each time. Headphones helps as voices are spread out in the stereo field.

Why does it sound like you don't know how to play the piano?
Well, umm, I'm not glad you asked this question, but I said I'll answer anything. Truth be told, I do not have a clue how to play the piano, but I love the instrument and am lucky enough to have a Knabe baby grand at home. It's a great instrument for composing.

What is the deal with the ducks?
Another good question. Somehow ducks inhabit my subconscious. No follow-up questions allowed...

What's up with the melody at the end?
OK, no more giving stuff away.

Are you very, very well behaved?
less so every day.

Posted by halsey at 10:32 AM | Comments (3)

May 06, 2004

bottom feeder

In a further attempt to get over my Britney experience, I have been listening to the Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. This is an incredible album in many respects, but as I was listening to it most recently, I was blown away by the bass parts.
I'm not an eloquent critic, so all I will try to do here is encourage you to listen to it and enjoy the bass parts. They are clever, appropriate, tasteful and most importantly, unobtrusively creative - everything bass should be. So go ahead, listen and have fun!
And if you don't have a copy of this album, let me know and maybe I can let you borrow mine.

Posted by halsey at 11:37 AM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2004

three of me

I have two ongoing musical projects which keep me pretty busy and excited. Unfortunately, this blog and two other websites are the most public I get with the music at this point. I have my solo project and my band and both of these projects are ones in which I use computers quite a lot to create a sound that is much larger than one individual could create on his/her own.
So I have been on a quest to figure out how to recreate in some fashion my music in a live situation without being totally lame. Now this is harder than you might think. I can't tell you how many bands I've seen play where there's just a couple people tied to the unforgiving sequence of their Powerbooks. Pressing the spacebar to begin a song just isn't very dramatic. They almost always sound like they are playing along with the pre-recorded stuff rather than the pre-recorded stuff fleshing out the music that is being created in front of the audience by real live human beings. This is so lame and very disappointing. I am in no way opposed to using computers or whatever technology might be available in order to create anything, but I don't want to feel like the technology is dominating and the people are subservient in some way. How do you do this without falling into this lame-ass category? Try this...
I saw Tracy and the Plastics perform at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Inman Square. You might think this is a band, but truth be told, she is one individual equipped with a dvd player, a projector and screen, pre-recorded video and a very powerful voice. Essentially she has created a show that involves a choreographed interaction between her 'live' self and two different 'selves' on video. So here she is, standing totally alone on stage having conversations with larger than life projected images of herself acting as the other members of the Plastics. Sure, this sounds silly, and it is in a variety of ways, but what struck me was how well it worked. I didn't for a second feel like she was 'playing along'. I felt like she was in control of the whole proceedings, and somehow it seemed like the video wasn't actually pre-recorded. It was almost as though the video characters were real, alive, and reacting to the external forcings of the situation in a spontaneous way.
So why was she so successful at something which is so hard? I don't really know for sure, but perhaps it is the interactive nature of the show; perhaps the fact that she is the very one in the video helps; maybe the fact that it is funny. But I think that the main reason is that she accepts the technology as vital and doesn't try to hide anything. It's almost as though by shoving this technology in our faces, she makes it less noticeable.

And the other great part of last evening was Annie Clark, one of the opening acts (I won't mention the other for fear of remembering how wickedly awful they were). Her songs were very well crafted and contained some of the most tasteful and creative bass playing I have heard in a long time. Thank you guys.

Posted by halsey at 08:23 AM | Comments (3)

May 03, 2004

oops...I listened to Britney

I think that it important to occasionally listen to things that you think are going to suck. I suppose I do it in the name of research. To this end, I listened to Britney Spears 'Baby, One More Time' IN ENTIRETY in one sitting today. And I am still able to function (barely). Yes, I am a glutton for punishment, but it turned out to be educational at the very least.
This idea really doesn't have to be about music. It could be about books, movies, whatever. I know that I sometimes judge things WAY too prematurely, like I'm all high and mighty and know everything there is to know. Now often I'm right, but I like to challenge myself sometimes just to keep honest. It's kind of like confronting your fears in a certain way. I fear Britney. I fear what she has done to the music industry. And most of all, I fear I might like her.
Thankfully, I can report that I am safe. I have not been converted, and I still think she sucks. Her music is every bit as predictable and derivative as I had expected. The lyrics are embarrassingly juvenile (she's young, but is that really her emotional range?) and she uses nothing but hackneyed rhythms and chord progressions. These flaws might be more excusable if she didn't have a 'world-class' team of songwriters, musicians, and producers working for her. I can say that despite all this, the production is flawless and some of the songs are quite catchy and this isn't trivial to pull off. Now I'm listening to Cake (this guy sounds very much like Mike Doughty...) to try to purge this catchiness.
I challenge each of you to purposefully experience something that you have been making fun of for the past several years, but have actually never experienced. Maybe you'll be surprised, or at the very least, you'll feel more justified in making fun of it in the years to come. Someone indulge me and report back on your experience! Please don't make me impersonate someone in my comments in order to not look like a total loser.

Posted by halsey at 02:23 PM | Comments (9)

May 02, 2004

St. Therapy

I saw the new documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster at the Independent Film Festival of Boston last night. James, Lars and Kirk deserve a lot of credit letting a film crew tag along during two of the most difficult years of the band's existence. It was remarkable seeing these guys, who we all think of as tough and in control metal gods, acting like the vulnerable, childish, scared individuals they quite often are.
They hired a group therapist to the tune of $40K/month to try to help them communicate better, and mainly, I think, to try to keep Lars and James from killing each other. The fact is, being in a band is like being married (I've done both, so I know!). The creative process is so personal and intimate, and overlapping with anyone in the name of a common creative goal is incredibly difficult. In many ways, this is why I write the majority of my music entirely on my own. I only have to deal with all of myselves that way. Well, this can be difficult too, and sometimes I do miss having another respected and understanding input, but this is what makes sense for me right now.
In some ways, music, the 'band' in particular, is unique in the artistic world. I mean, painters typically paint alone, authors write alone etc etc, and there is something comfortable about tackling one's creativity all in the space of one's own head. Is the band the only situation in which group collaboration is required and so important?

Posted by halsey at 08:29 AM | Comments (2)