Many years ago when I was a student, I had a friend who decided one day to pick up a guitar. In a very short span of time he went from knowing virtually nothing of playing to being one of the best technical guitarists I have ever witnessed. He left school and we lost touch for a decade. I recently caught up with him and the first question I asked was about the path his musical career took. He shrugged his shoulders and said he lost interest.
Since then, I’ve often reflected on this. At the time, I thought he had done the musical world an injustice. An individual with such raw talent, but that talent lay in waste. But, I see his point. He could play. But, he hadn’t the passion.
Recently I read a short article by The Fourth Circle. It was posted under the ‘Getting Cozy With‘ section of this blog. I was immediately taken back by the following line:
“Even after a long day at work, faced with the prospect of standing in a cold, draughty cellar for three hours when all you want to do is lie on the sofa and relax, as soon as the music starts there is nowhere you’d rather be.”
I was enlightened why I liked their music so much. Passion.
The bands I listened to most of my life were career musicians. Making tunes was their job. I expected quality. When I moved away from mainstream artists I found quality rivaling and exceeding the tracks produced by big budget bands. At first, this did not strike me as odd. But, reading the words of The Fourth Circle my perspective changed. Here was a group of guys assembling in a cold cellar after having worked all day. This is when they created. This is when they perfected their sound. The drudgery of the working day can often consume. It is too easy to just give in and kick back once its done. The only force strong enough to overcome that inclination is passion. Passion to create. Passion to get the music out there.
Listen to the track The Biggest Lie by The Fourth Circle. There is a progression and intelligence to the track that I would expect of a seasoned musician. The lyrics and music come in waves, building the song as it progresses. Then, listen to a song on popular radio by a musician whose 9-5 is to make music. At a technical level, the guitar work or vocals may be comparable, but the passion of the artist playing in the damp cellar comes through. It gives an extra edge to the music that is seldom heard by seasoned musicians. It manifests itself as creativity. New arrangements. Experimental sounds. Lyrics that are built on experience and life.
What I write of here isn’t unique to The Fourth Circle. I happen to enjoy their music very much and was stuck by their honest words in the article I read. But, what I have said above can apply with little manipulation to so many bands. While commercial success may be a driving goal, it is not what fuels the passion to create the music I listen to. The Fourth Circle later says in that article:
“It’s such a rush when people like your music, you put a lot of yourself into it and the moment that you release it for public consumption is filled with excitement but also trepidation.”
That statement says a lot about why people create and why the music just sounds so good. The musicians are putting much of themselves into the songs. They are sacrificing the time when they could be kicking back. They are as excited to release the music to as we are to listen. No matter how talented the musician is, no matter how large the budget is, this passion cannot be replicated. This builds the sounds upon which great music stands.
This article was my way of saying ‘Cheers!’ to all the superb musicians who embody the passion to create music. They give me so much listening pleasure during the day. I’m often surprised to find that I am not even given an option to buy their music. Its just out there for us to listen to. Take advantage of this. Listen. Send your favourite artist a tweet to let them know you liked it. Go to gigs. Support the many fine artists who flood us with quality tune after tune.