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Art and Entertainment - a musicians perspective

 
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Thom



Joined: 12 Jul 2002
Posts: 94
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2002 5:06 pm    Post subject: Art and Entertainment - a musicians perspective Reply with quote

I know this is a FILM website but I know so many people in bands and they always have intersting things to say about the music industry which is just like the film industry - kind of, almost ...

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by Ben Adrian of Cartographer, Replicator and The Librarians

So I was leaving Conan's house tonight and I saw the lights of the Oakland hills. It was very lovely and I thought to myself, "(MC) Hammer used to live up there."

Hammer now lives in Tracy, CA, so I hear. He's bankrupt and broke. But I was thinking... he's HAMMER. Just in that alone he has cultural reference. He could get weird speaking gigs, show up on TV show cameos, and get many pretty good paying jobs for just appearing and being Hammer. I wondered if maybe he didn't do that because he too proud.

The it hit me, why would he be too proud? He's an entertainer. His songs weren't very good. He was a flashy, dancing, safe rapper who entertained. He's a damn good entertainer. And he could entertain now at public appearances, etc. If he is indeed broke, that is. He is a famous entertainer, not some kind of idealistic artist with some kind of artistic ethos.

So that got me on the subject of art versus entertainment. I get on this topic a lot, be it with other people or by myself. I feel that entertainment plays a vital role in society, but I'm not very entertained by most entertainment. I am entertained by art. I'm entertained by music that pushes buttons and boundaries. I'm entertained by creative fuck yous. I'm entertained by being surprised and astonished when the music I'm listening to or the movie I'm watching doesn't give me what I want, or just goes in a completely unexpected direction.

As I'm sure everyone reading this far knows by now, I'm a musician. I can't listen to music without using my "musician's ears." When I hear music intended for some kind of popular consumption, I know the not-very- extensive library of safe and predictable musical changes and directions that pop music tends to go in. I get quickly bored by entertainment in the pop culture sense. I don't want to know where the song will be at the 60 second point when I hear the first 10 seconds, and if I can predict it, then I'm let down. I don't want to know what happens at the end of the movie after ten minutes. If I'm right, then I'm disappointed, unless my guess was something truly twisted.

But so many things in my life burn down to this art vs. entertainment balance. I've never learned to be an entertainer. I'm realizing that, in order to have my artistic concepts examined by the world, I have to learn how to entertain. Hell, I do enjoy being entertaining. When I know people are enjoying my work it makes me happy. However, I have a big problem with performing works I'm not into personally, or that I think are just awful, just to entertain successfully.

But when you put money into the equation, things get complicated. I have no problem using my skill to play just as someone asks if I'm compensated. I've designed web pages I've despised at jobs. I'm paid for my skill, not my creativity, and that's fine. I don't know if I could write and perform popular culture hit music and not feel very, very dirty.

I'm trying to draw my lines of integrity, I think. I'm getting older and re-examining the order of the art world and the entertainment industry, and I'm seeing where I fit in, and how I've moved from 17 to 27. It's pretty fun.

originally posted here
http://www.livejournal.com/users/benadrian/
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y2mckay
HBS Monkey
HBS Monkey


Joined: 13 Aug 2002
Posts: 3831
Location: Bay Area, CA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2002 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pretty interesting article. I'd say I'm more into movies than music, but It's always cool to hear musicians' perspectives on things when they have something interesting to say and aren't just being pretentious wankers. Actually, one of the most interesting books I read in the past year was Meat Loaf's autobiography "To Hell and Back". Very funny and bizarre, but also a lot of good tales about the kind of shit they had to put up with from the music biz because each of their songs was a 10 minute rock opus and not some 3.5 minute pop tune that was "suitable for airplay"
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