Monday, June 17, 2002

From the In Box: Music to My Ears VIII
The two friends whom I was concerned about offending in that last batch of reviews wrote back almost immediately:

I think much of the stuff you wrote makes sense. I actually feel like I do have a higher standard when I bring a song to the Operators. That said, I'm still proud of "Stars in Winter." I know that not everyone will like it, but that's the way it goes. As a side story, a friend called me last night to tell me how much he liked it. He later confessed that he was really stoned when he first listened to it. Hmm. Stoned or not, I hope you like it the next chance you give it. I'm of the opinion that it definitely is not a first listen album (whatever that means).

However, I wouldn't want you to know who I was from the record as most of the songs aren't about me. I'd be a rather uninteresting person if you could determine what I'm about from one set of songs. Still, even if you could figure it out, you'd probably be wrong. Much is fictional, some is twisted truth, and some is plain truth. I don't always speak directly. This is often intentional.

As an artist, I want people to interpret what they hear and give it their own meaning. Literal translation can be powerful, but I prefer the
subjective. The risk with this approach is that someone may not find meaning at all in your work. It's a reality I'm willing to live with.

That said, this set of songs (not all of them, but most) say more about me than anything else I've ever done. Unfortunately, I'm probably the only one that could give you the exact interpretation and meaning. I won't though.
-- Paul Coleman


Yeah. If only you owned more Figgs records, you'd see how much I'm aping them as well. I don't know. I feel like Hall & Oates opening up for the Ramones in this city. Wrong place, wrong time. I'd rather play for soccer moms out in the burbs -- those types always seem to get the most out of the music, whereas around the scene, the focus is on competence and style. Most people who actually buy records (i.e. not rockers who get theirs for free) can't tell Bruce Springsteen from Tom Petty from Elvis Costello from latter-day Figgs (assuming they ever got the chance to hear them). It's about the singer and the song and the sound somewhat. I guess it's not taking you anywhere because I make music to be heard, not thought about. You can listen to the lyrics and get the song, but if you're looking for something cultural, it ain't there.

My comment on rockers getting free records isn't a dig at you being media -- it was more a comment about how people who determine the fate and marketablity of a record within the industry (journalists, radio people, record company people, booking agents) are the ones least likely to actually pay for a new record and thus make it marketable. There's nothing wrong with getting stuff for free.

But I guess I was surprised (not in a bad way) by the angle. My thing in the last year has sort of been to get over the musical aspects of my music and try to just focus on the lyrics and the singing and having a good time -- and to produce it like it's a new record instead of applying a set of retro standards to it. I even used Pro Tools to make "Destroyer." I guess I'm so naturally mired in the past that I just gravitated towards that anyway. It's always interesting to hear how someone else hears your music. Like, I've never owned any Buddy Holly, and Elvis Costello bores me, but everyone mentions the latter.

Anyway, I do appreciate your honesty. Too often, "local" music is the Special Olympics of rock and roll. I actually enjoyed hearing what you said, and in a way, it's satisfying that I was able to make someone think about that stuff while listening to the music I made.

Or maybe we're just ripping off the Figgs and it sucks. I don't know. I quit.
-- Brett Rosenberg

No comments: