Monday, August 15, 2011

eclecticism and elitism

So at the guitar shop this weekend, I went to buy a cord for my amplifier so I can play at home again, and fell in love with a cheap mandolin but didn't have cash on me to take it home. I still want an upright bass, but due to cost and transport it's not feasible at this point in life.

Being as I look slightly more normal than I once did, and was interested in acoustic instruments (as the vintage Fenders and Gibsons on the wall are pricy and I've already got a serviceable electric guitar), it was assumed by the other people in the store that I'm into bluegrass, a genre I like to some extent (though the vocals get to be a bit much), but is only a facet of what I like. I didn't bother trying to explain to these total face-value judging strangers the extent of taste, especially when one of them started talking about the Beatles being the greatest of all time and how all punk bands were not as good as them. Whatever.

I've ended up at countless shows where I've seen someone I know and they say "oh, I didn't know you were into this kind of thing," because I didn't dress to fit the scene, maybe, my hair was the wrong length or I didn't wear enough makeup, or it was just assumed that if I was into Band A, I probably wouldn't be into Band B when I didn't know or care that such binaries existed. Given that subculture is inherently tribal, these kinds of things matter to some people, and maybe it once mattered to me more than it should have, but I'm to the point where I don't care as much, but I don't like having my enjoyment of something questioned just because I don't fit within its attendant paradigm.

I do a freeform show because I can't mentally limit myself to one strain of sound, though most things seem to be guitar-driven in one way or another, and sometimes it works to segue from one thing to another. I know I missed out on a lot of great sounds or other things because they didn't fit a preconceived idea of what was good or bad. I play a lot of stuff in languages that aren't English simply because I know they're not being played in other places, but I like to mix other things in too. Some seem to have a problem with that, but the people who call in or tell me they tuned in after the fact don't seem to mind, though others seem disoriented by my tendency to cherrypick.

But I've always liked what I've liked, for whatever reason. It has to move me somehow, make me hit repeat, evoke some kind of feeling or catharsis. Where that comes from I can't say, and I've learned it's better not to try.

I've said it before, but if this doesn't define what I do, nothing else does...

Ragga, Bhangra, two-step Tanga
Mini-cab radio, music on the go
Um, surfbeat, backbeat, frontbeat, backseat
There's a bunch of players and they're really letting go
We got, Brit pop, hip hop, rockabilly, Lindy hop
Gaelic heavy metal fans fighting in the road
Ah, Sunday boozers for chewing gum users
They got a crazy D.J. and she's really letting go


Randal Graves said...

Plenty of swanky stuff I would never have considered checking out if it wasn't for your show, so to hell with the niche-ing, elite-tastic puritans.

Bluegrass? Huh. Was a sheaf of wheat dangling off your lips?

Jeez, Beatles, jeez. Black Flag over them seven days a week, goshdarnit.

Oh, stop playing Katatonia, they're not freeform; troo kvlt axe has been Hello Kittyfied.

Anonymous said...

i really think there are something at play like individual character types, that in a very loose but recognizable way hold together all/most of our likes and dislikes, our dispositions and attitudes,though the specific contents may change over time.
RG bait:

Mary Ellen/Nunly said...

My musical tastes change with the wind, depends on what kind of mood I'm in. I went through almost the entire 80's without listening to any music because I was knee deep in kids of all ages and music reminded me of whining kids and smart-ass teenagers. The sounds of silence was my best friend at that time.

Christine said...

Which guitar shop did you go to.

thatgirl said...

Timeless Guitars in Parma. Clyde is awesome (I bought my first electric guitar from him in high school)... it's hole-in-the-wall, local, and oldschool, also a favorite stop-in spot for Tom Waits and Thurston Moore.

Christine said...

I want to go to there!