Archive for July, 2015

Yeats (again) and music.

Yeats once famously wrote the immortal line ‘too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart’ and it is a line I constantly turn to in times of trouble or doubt (indeed it is another of my posts). It is sage advice from the master and like the best of Yeats it is simple and straight to the point. Anyone that knows me, knows the importance of music in my life. I play music but I think it is more important than just playing, music is an aural experience and a feeling that can transcend strictures such as class, time and space. Back in the long, long ago before Wi-Fi crushed all sense, proportion and accountability out of our everyday life, listening, buying, owning, finding, playing and cherishing music was a commonplace pastime. It was a sociology all onto itself and the joy of meeting a fellow connoisseur was intoxicatingly exciting. It made one feel all shiny and new, just like a virgin, in fact like being touched for the very first time! Thinking of the consumption of music now I realise I am a Luddite in this regard, I like the times before the great serfdom when musicians got paid (yes we recorded onto tape but the quality was poop). Who would have thought that the Dane (you know the one) would be right? But today as music turgidly staggers into ever increasing oh so emotive twinges of a folk shite harmony crapfest and we exist in a world where bands are increasingly not allowed to grow and be paid, the old guy was right.

Anyway enough about the Dane let’s get back to the Paddy. Why Yeats? Well I made many sacrifices for music right from the get go. I was obsessed and obsessional, dysfunctional and disillusioned. So much so that I genuinely believed that playing music could pull me from the depths of grief brought on by losing my mother (yes her again). It didn’t, it couldn’t. I lied and pretended it did but you see the pattern was set way before that I compromised myself for music, in the vain hope it would cure all. It doesn’t, it can’t. You see for me it was the fucking sacrifice, I know I lost two relationships to music (one a teenage love, the other? Well let’s just say it was a shipwreck), on top of that I have lost friendships (funny thing is that adult males spending their time in a confined space together for oh, let’s say years causes a tad bit of tension including calling each other fuckers, bastards, etc etc) but most importantly I lost proportion and perspective.

Now, there are musicians reading this thinking ‘well once you’re jamming it’ll be all good man’ yes indeed, all good. However, music is played by humans and humans are political. Since the very first time one of our ancestors beat the life out of another ancestor our species has been ‘politically’ or in layman’s terms relational or to distill it further we all have moods ( moods are for cattle and lovemaking said a famous musician funnily enough). In prison no one is guilty and in music there is not one person with an ego. Freud would be fucked if he had musicians on the couch. Of course, musicians have egos, other musicians. (NB: I actually don’t have an ego but then I am great).

I am, of course, being deadly serious. Don’t sacrifice everything to end up with nothing but a heart of stone and for the love of God be the living stream and not the rock. Yes, music is brilliant but you know what? The older I get the more rounded I become, the more family matter, the more friends matter and the more I matter. Punk rock did change our lives D. Boon but punk is dead, it became another cheap product for the consumers head. You know what I love to do with my bass every now and then? Leave it in the corner and don’t touch it because when I go and live with normal people, ya know the ones with healthy relationships and shock! horror! balanced egos I can’t wait to get back to playing. ( I do actually love my bass btw not more than family and the love of my life and good friends but more than everyone else). All this was started by a friend when I was discussing Anvil (the movie) I said to her; ‘ Oh it was the triumph in the face of adversity and they were so great to stick to the dream’ and she replied ‘I don’t know they put their family through shit and seemed pretty selfish’. She was right (she is annoying like that). The next time you look at that film, just look at the faces of the family members and witness those without egos and the effect their selflessness has on those beneath them (I jest). Right, I’m off to listen to nothing but the sound of silence.