It has struck me over the last few months writing my little piece for this great
Guitar 9 site, how much effort really goes into getting a player, a product or
indeed a web site like this off the ground. The music business is crammed full of
failed individuals who then try second or even third best options to keep a foothold
on the business that they once thought would offer them a dream.
The problem is that with each step in the wrong direction away from their dream,
they become embittered. "So what," you might say, "that's nothing to do with me."
Well think again. That once-upon-a-time, axe-wielding, spandex-clad, slinky, Led Zep
'wannabe' twenty years on, now runs the record company you want to impress, or the
magazine you need exposure in, or the venue you want to bring your adoring fans to.
He will gladly tell you how bad you look, how your playing sucks and how your
girlfriend has a slight squint - and furthermore there's no way in hell that you are
setting one foot in his venue without first laying down a $1000 deposit and halving
any profits with him after he paid his staff out of your door take. The fact that
he's now 350 pounds, can't get his fingers between the frets anymore and his girlfriend fancies you more than him has no bearing on his attitude. Yeah right!
You have to be made of steel in this business. You need to stand firm in the line of
critical fire. See it for what it is. Always remember this business is purely opinion based. There is no math or science involved in rock 'n' roll. Just because some individual tells you your album sounds like something the Marines should play
to Iraqi prisoners to deprive them of their sanity doesn't mean the girl next door
won't love it and want to introduce you to all her friends. I know it's not particularly rock 'n' roll, but check Toby Keith's song called, funnily enough, "The
Critic." He's got those guys nailed!
Here's a sample line...
"A young hot star headed into town, so he (the critic) hid behind his typewriter and
gunned the poor boy down."
Remember that people really only start liking you once they can see a way of making
money from liking you. Except your mom that is, who although she's really into Frank
Sinatra, somehow manages to find a special place in her heart for your death metal
doomsday cult album.
By exposing yourself as a guitar player you will be wounded at some point. About
that, there is no doubt. Never ever let it sway you from what you believe in. Most
people use criticism in this business as a tactic to avoid paying you a decent rate
for your worth. Again, see it for what it is. Other criticise out of envy or habit.
Whatever the underlying reason, you win in the end because they're talking about you
and they obviously feel you have something that generates a little fear in them.
Don't worry, it's only rock 'n' roll. It's the way it works!
Oh yeah, just so you know, I personally love your album.
I shall leave you with wiser words than mine. Those of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or whether the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again;
because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion,
who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.