Tune in… tune out.
Be open or closed… with all your senses.
Stop and smell the roses…
Too many of us are disconnected from the world, from each other and sometimes even from our own lives. We move in a haze… a haze of electronic, electro magnetic, infrared, bluetooth, cellular signals. Sometimes, we actually should disconnect… Literally disconnect… Turn off the TV and the Smart Phone and the pads and just connect as human beings. Yeah it may seem odd, but just stop and stare into each others’ eyes for a while. Seriously. Look that deep into another person’s soul. You might get laid.
The more advanced the technology becomes, the more distanced we are from each other. Think back to the romantic, glory days of letter writing… with a pencil or a quill. The tip on the tongue or a dip in the inkwell. The thought… the detail… the effort that went into scribbling down your thoughts and feelings, thanks and gratitude. A messenger… a pigeon… a note tied to a rock, tossed onto a balcony or thrown into a hopefully open window. “O Romeo, Romeo wherefore art though, Romeo?”
That gave way to the roller ball, and then the typewriter, and then email… texts… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blah, blah, blah… Language reduced to 140 characters. Emotion and heart left on the family-plan floor.
Last night I saw a guy sitting in the Starbucks on Hollywood Boulevard writing scripts on a TYPEWRITER!!! I took a picture. I had to… It was too fascinating. And when he busted out the old-fashioned White Out… even my daughter noticed…
As music people, especially those around my age… we long for the vinyl we owned as kids… There was such a wonderful and precise process readying a platter to serve up on a turntable… And then the snap, crackle and pop… and I don’t mean Rice Krispies.
Perhaps even cassette tapes or 8-tracks. Though I am sure we all had those rip, snag and cause a never-ending mobius strip-type maze… That sucked! So okay, maybe not THOSE!
CDs were cool and we bought into that whole craze, but how damn ironic is it, that the same folks… US… who still long for vinyl, also long for the CD and the case and the booklet. Yeah, I actually miss putting a CD in the retractable tray and watching it glide back in… because those pretty much have given way to the digital download. And honestly, that just feels like a cold transaction and not a long considered, happily enacted purchase.
And don’t even get a musician started on the compression of mp3 files and the loss of the highest highs and the lowest lows!!!
But it’s music. And we connect to the music…
But then something odd happens in the live arena… not to all of us, but many.
We disconnect. We cut ourselves off. We put up our very own barrier, between us and the band. When you go to a concert and your seats are not great, how much time do you spend watching the actual band play vs. the time you spend watching the big screens? Okay… we all do it. We all look up… glance up… Especially if our seats suck… and this ALWAYS messes me up. I did not come here to watch television. I want to see the band, the stage, the crowd… drink it all in… with my eyes… Soak it all in to my memory… Keep every sight, sound and scent in my brain.
A few weeks ago I was watching Nic Harcourt host the Guitar Center Sessions. The band was Plain White T’s and singer Tom Higgenson was lamenting that live shows ain’t what they used to be. He said nowadays when you look out at the crowd and try to connect, all you see are little screens. He could not understand why people would watch a concert with their eyes focused on a 3 inch screen, instead of on a larger-than-life stage. I know, I know… they want to capture the moment… preserve it… save it and be able to bring it out on a rainy day. I get it… I like doing that, too… in significant moderation…
I’ll take a few snaps of the stage… maybe a few of the band… and perhaps… perhaps… do a little video when they do something really cool… or play my favorite song. But that’s it… It is just not worth missing out on that possible connection with the band… or incredible moment you might miss… or that once in a lifetime THING that will happen at the EXACT moment you are busy filming and NOT paying attention.
So to those who think they need to talk above the music, go sit in the fucking lobby and shut the fuck up. It’s actually NOT about you. And to the rest of us, myself included… PUT DOWN THE DAMN PHONE and take in the music… live in the moment… and let the healing waters of Rock n’ Roll wash over you.
Keep an eye out for my full thoughts on music etiquette… and a new “music project” coming soon. And rock on!