Are you into S&M? Do you enjoy torture? Perhaps you like getting whipped by some dominatrix. Maybe your high threshold for pain stems from some sort of fetishized pleasure of it? Maybe you've exhausted all routes of getting choked, spanked, whipped and cow prodded and are looking for new heights of torment? You want it so painful that you just might pass out? Look no further because I have your new painful pleasure -- ask a musician about their music.
Listening or reading about what a musician has to say about their own music is the holy grail of torture. It's the equivalent to getting your leg sawed off without any anesthesia or forcing you to swallow your own eyeballs after they've been poked out. I have almost poked my own eyeballs out when I've heard the nonsense that comes out of the mouths of these yokels who play five chords on a guitar. If you suddenly walked in the middle of a musician babbling on and didn't know what they did for a living or what exactly they were talking about, you'd swear, by the gravity of their tone alone, they were working to save all of mankind.
The worst thing is I'm in the same line of work as these assholes.
Don't get me wrong, these kinds of "musicians" aren't charlatans. They believe every damn word that comes out of their mouths no matter how condescending or inane it can get. They're just buffoons -- coddled, spoiled and patronized village idiots. They actually think their gauche poems, when paired with A, G and B chords, have deep seated profundity past being something to hum along to when taking a shower.
Let's take a look at the jargon that they apply when describing themselves and their "music."
Words like "process," "exploration," "spawn," "accomplish" and "evolving" when blathering on about songwriting infer that writing songs requires great toil and works in tandem with their own personal development as a human being, something most people, a.k.a. non-songwriters, will never get to experience. Words like "honesty," "vision" and "inspired" infer that their fragile work is of a divine nature, with them acting as mere anointed mediums.
I would love to see how long these spiritualists would last working in a factory or working cash at a Dunkin' Donuts. I give them half a shift before they all start to implode. But then again, they'd probably run home and write a damn song about it replacing the words "donuts" and "coffee" in the verses with "rawness" and "artistry."
In the greatest betrayal to musicians everywhere, I'm gonna let you in on an industry secret -- Penn & Teller style -- about what it's like to write songs. You pick up your guitar, piano etc. and play it until something sounds good. It might take five minutes or it might take 50 days. You record it and if enough people like the combination of chords you've managed to cobble together you might be allowed to do it again.
There's no ethereal otherworldly contact. There's no inward psychic connection. There's no past life regression analysis. There might be a lot of mumbo jumbo, but nothing much else.
Sure, everyone's allowed to prattle on every once in a while, myself included... like I'm doing right now. But it's almost a journalistic device to allow and prod musicians into blathering on about their music, similar to watching a spider get entangled in their own web. It makes for great amusement and often confirms these people as the halfwits. I'm also aware that by writing all this I'm ensnaring myself to some degree.
If yammering on about how much others yammer on paints me into a corner, so be it. Just make sure that if I must get painted in a corner it's not beside one of these dingbats. Anything except having to listen to them talk about how "deeply personal" whatever it was they just did made them "push boundaries."
Follow Danko Jones on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dankojones