So if I’m going to write a blog about rock music, I should try to explain what I like. For me it started with the Beatles. I was in 7th grade when they exploded in the US in 1963. I think it was the only time ever that the screaming pre-teen girls and the hip college students liked the same band. The Woodstock festival happened in mid-August 1969, and I started college 3 weeks later. It was a great time to be a music fan. I found my way on to the college radio station, where I had a weekly show most of the time I was there. Music has been an important part of my life, and I’ve been following it for 50 years.
Musicianship is the most important factor in determining what songs I listen to a lot. I listen to the voice as an instrument – how does it sound with the other instruments – more than what the words have to say.
I want to hear artistic effort, not entertainment product. I want to hear musicians, not watch stars. If there’s a singer who doesn’t play an instrument in the spotlight and the band is in the shadows playing something perfunctory, I’m not interested. I don’t want to see a dance crew and I don’t care what they’re wearing. I don’t want to see a hipper-than-thou attitude. Do you have something new to offer? Can you make good music without studio tricks and flashy distractions and fake emotions? If you just Stand There And Play, is it worth listening to?
That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to move. IF you can play, then I’m interested in how you present your music. Staging, lyrics, attitude, choice of instruments, etc., it all contributes to the experience.
What’s important about listening to a bunch of old music? Who’s your favorite band? Who did they listen to that led them to sound the way they do? And who did those bands listen to? Music evolves when someone takes what they’ve heard and adds something to it.
If you want to understand the history of music, it helps to hear it in chronological order, so you can hear how it evolved. You can see where some of the ideas came from that help make your favorite band’s music so great. If you like the Seattle grunge bands of the 90s you should listen to Neil Young, because they all did. The jam bands have all listened to the Grateful Dead. And everyone has listened to the Beatles. There are so many threads to follow. I’ll try to fill you in on the history – one man’s take on what’s worth listening to.
After becoming a father in 1987, I did the fatherly thing of wanting to tell her about the really important stuff, and that of course included music. What began there will end up on these pages. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with some of it, but I hope to have a great discovery for everyone.
(it’s an acronym for Stand There And Play)