Reversing the Numbness

Monday, January 22, 2007

An Accumulating Resource

Today I met a guy at my office who used to be a roadie for a bunch of bands in the '60s and '70s, the most notable of which was Lynnrd Skynnrd. I admitted to him that I've never been into that band, but we did find common ground with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings. I'm sure if we'd had more time to talk, we would have found dozens more bands that we both like.

He was talking about how cool it was to be around some of the great bands of all time as they were coming up through the ranks, and while I agreed that it must have been great, I also stressed that there's a lot of good new music coming out these days. And that got me to thinking about music, and art in general, as a resource for joy (or pain or sorrow or love or whatever it is it makes you feel), and how it doesn't just renew itself, but it accumulates.

All of that great music he loved as a young man? It's all still here: every note, every chorus, every word. But so much more great stuff has come out since. And ten years from now, there will be a whole decade's worth of great music that'll just get lopped on top of all of this other great stuff. I guess it's been happening this way since the cavemen made horns out of mastodon tusks and played songs that others remembered and passed on. (I don't think this actually happened, because I'm pretty sure their horns were solid, but still.)

I've already got a long list of bands that I'm just not very familiar with that I plan to explore eventually. I call them my rainy-day bands. I've recently checked off the Talking Heads from that list -- love them! -- and next up will be Otis Redding. I also need to listen to more Bill Withers, and I've got to stop judging The Who by that god-awful Tommy rock opera. It's astounding to think how much of their music I've never even heard. My list is long, and I'm excited to tackle it.

Alls I know is I better get cracking, because with all of the new music I plan on exploring as well, I'm starting to get behind.


Raoul Duke said...

here's how Otis applies to my life:

"left my home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco bay"

my dream tour: the Who opening for Elvis Costello. kill me now ;)

SleekPelt said...

I hope you were bowing down when you typed King Costello's name. And, no, I don't mean Pete Townshend-style.