Let us sit, dear friends and talk a bit about music.
I could give you the history of music and the etymology of the word “Music” and a few anagrams of Music. But that would be boring (mainly because the anagrams of music are just weird).
I would rather like to waffle on about my thoughts of music of late and how disappointed I am in music. You see, nothing grabs me anymore. And I know that if Dean reads this, I will get a very irritated message saying something like “Haken – The Mountain!!! Do IT!!!”. Yes I will!! As soon as I can find it! I promise! But yes, music hasn’t grabbed me really since…I can’t remember really! I’m not talking about songs I like and don’t like or popular song that are out there. I’m talking about bands and music that I could not stop listening to!
For those who know me, I am known for my intense love for the band Dream Theater. I discovered this band, probably in 2005/06, around the release of their Octavarium Album. I had first heard songs from their album Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes from a Memory. I was blown away! At that stage I was listening to the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M and other such bands who, in their own right, were really cool! But this!! This was intense. As someone who (at the time) was learning to play drums and becoming completely obsessed with them, I was dumbstruck by the intensity, emotion, flow and pure genius and skill that this band had in their music. This was the first song that attacked my ears on that fateful day.
My next move was to show my best friend, Dean. He was (and still is) probably the greatest musical genius I know (I dare say of our time – but he never gets to show it off). It was Dean that taught me my first drum beat and got me hooked. The day I showed it to him – I will never forget these words – he stated profoundly, “It’s a bit loud”. And there it was he was in lov…wait hang on. A bit Loud?? Personally it wasn’t loud enough!! But Fast forwarding a bit, he did get into them and (dare I say) it changed his life more than it changed mine. From my view, it was the spark that opened up his mind to push the boundaries of his musical ability and try stranger, more wonderful things. I would now like to secretly take full responsibility for his impeccable music taste and his entire being.
But it didn’t stop there! Together, Dean and I (mostly Dean – I felt that I gave him the nudge, let him do some bloody work for a change) found weird and wonderful music! From Porcupine Tree to Nightwish, The Flower Kings, Pain of Salvation, Gentle Giant etc etc etc. So much music. Such small ear canals! My mind and self were overwhelmed by the different thoughts and Ideas and the many different ways that people would express these thoughts and Ideas! And from the drumming perspective! I cannot explain the excitement that I felt when I heard Planet X and Virgil’s Insanely difficult drum grooves (but I can explain the sadness when I realised that only he could play them).
Then came Gavin Harrison, the drum-god from Porcupine Tree who showed me that just because something is technically challenging, it can sound good to any ear too. The meaning of “groove” was put into perspective. So what if I could play two grooves at the same time, like Simon Phillips from Toto (ok, I worked hard on that and am still pretty proud of it). So what if I could play along to Dream Theater almost flawlessly (I thought it was flawless…until i recorded it. Yikes!). What matters sometimes, is the ability to play something and make people go “ooo yes!” with the amount of groove that is flooding their ear holes!
But all in all, it was Mr Mike Portnoy of the mighty Dream Theater. “Prog Titans” they were called. “God’s of their instruments. “Ohmygodhowdotheyplaylikethat’s” by me! Mike Portnoy just had something memorable about the way he played. Yes, Virgil had the speed and technical prowess. But after a while it got a bit much and you could never play it in your head because there was very little time for your brain to do that much multitasking. Gavin had the groove, but again he did things and had this flair that many people loved but few could play. I think Mike was amazing in the sense that, whatever drum beat he came up with, was a mix of thought about the song and an understanding of what sounded good. Almost every drum beat he played was memorable. And yet (with a load of practice) still playable.
Phew…that was a bit of a mind-wobble there..where was I…lesson to the many – Don’t get me started on drumming!!
So, in case I lost you, I was talking about my love for music. But now, I must come to the part where I am disappointed in music. Nothing grabs me like it used to. Even the Mighty DT’s last few albums made my jaw drop…in a yawning kind of way.
I don’t think it’s the music per se, but perhaps me. I am still waiting for something to knock on my door at 3pm on a Sunday and say “Excuse me Sir, do you have a moment to have your mind blown?” Everything seems very Samey of late. I have yet to hear a song that I “Have to tell Dean about!!”. This may be due to the fact that he probably already has the special edition of the album. Do not get me wrong, as stated above there are many, many songs that I like. But very few that I love. Music of today, that I have heard, seems to have lost the meaning of music. It seems to be written for the sake of writing music (coughDreamTheatercough) and not for the purpose of expressing oneself (I hear the screams of Dean – HAKEN YOU IDIOT). There is nothing that makes me want to listen to it. Yes the skill and time and sound quality and everything is there. But where is the heart that I once heard all those years ago?
And that, my dear friends, (on a very abrupt note – C# I believe) is my waffle!