My ears are ringing terribly.
I sat there for a minute, between swiveling from the Eight Arms to Hold You book and the Tragic Kingdom book, trying to think of what i could play. Even though i have two electric guitars, i haven’t played very much loud electric guitar in my lifetime — guitar so loud that it distorts the amplified signal so badly that what’s coming out has no relation to what i’m strumming other than vague tonal qualities. For that minute i was i was mentally paging through my own songs, picturing open chords as tight barres further up on the neck and simple strums as thrashes.
At the end of the minute i decided that, for the most part, it just doesn’t work.
This month’s Rolling Stone was unusually chatty in tone, and it failed entirely to impress me. Four years ago i would’ve told you that my dream was to write for RS, and now i’m not even sure i would tell you that i want to be featured inside of it. My opinions on the magazine notwithstanding, one feature caught my eye; the article on Incubus.
I am decidedly indifferent to Incubus on the whole, though i am of the opinion that “Drive” is pretty much the distillation of what all of my songs possibly could sound like if i had a major label deal. At the end of the article there’s one of those colored boxes with incidental information in them, and in it there are two interesting pieces of information about lead singer Brandon Boyd. One is that “[b]efore a show [he] will scat jazz, growl punk rock, improvise a slow jam, or riff on Madonna.” The other is the following quote on Ani DiFranco: “She’s an underrated lyricist. Female artists are the perfect example of a creator: They know how to make life and art with their bodies. Life comes from their bodies, so on a very basic level, they have more to write about.”
There was something about the quote that left me in stunned silence, and that silence was mirrored by the long minute spent in limbo between my books of sheet music. Boyd, more than anything, comes off in the article as a rock star version of myself. He says things i say. He riffs on Madonna. He likes Ani DiFranco. His band wrote a song that’s indicative of my entire sound. And, i don’t really like his band; i’ve turned down invitations to their concerts and have serially neglected to buy any of their cds.
On days like today i get the sense that i don’t listen to and arrange loud music not because i don’t want to, but just because it hasn’t really occurred to me. Any other day i would tell you that my influences preclude the option entirely, but they really don’t: for every Madonna i have a David Bowie, and for every Ani DiFranco i have a PJ Harvey. Brandon Boyd is a sensitive singer-songwriter fan who enjoys an occasional pop tune. So am i.
I have no idea what i’m getting at, other than that even if converting my songwriting to be primarily electric occurred to me right at this instant, i think it might already be too late.