"Music sweet music, I wish I could caress" - Jimi Hendrix
Do you ever get that thing happen to you where you feel totally inspired to do something awesome, artistically or whatever and you start or are about to start and then you realise that you are undertaking something quite epic, at least on a personal scale, and you fear that you won’t do it justice so you just give up and leave it unfinished? Or worse still you just don’t do anything...you don’t even start it? Sucks ey? I get it plenty, I write a 15 page short story and then ditch it cos it isn’t perfect. I avoid writing about Arrested development cos I want to do a 3 part epic on how much I love it. With that in mind I present Music – Part one of question mark...exclamation mark
So yeah the other day I was cruising Venice Beach with Luke and Jay, lapping up the Sun and the cool vibe of this alternative beach strip. Early on Jay and I walk and this black guy stops us and shoves his CD in our face. The guerrilla sales tactics pays off, leaving us ambushed and bewildered and slow to react. Before we know it Jay has headphones on and I am putting on a set from some other rapper. I listen along and find that the music isn’t so bad. The guy talks to me and says he is touring with Big Day Out later this year and he turns out to be genuinely interesting. I figure I will buy his CD for a few bucks to help support fellow a aspiring musician. He asks my name and signs the CD. As he does so, he explains he works on donations, the CD is free. Jay’s rapper, however, is about 30 seconds ahead with the scam than me and my rapper. He is at the point where he explains that he “usually gets around $15-20.” Jay politely offers $5, it’s all he can spare, and he’s gotta get lunch and catch the bus back. “Yeah like I said I usually get around fifteen to twenty dollars,” he says a tad more forcefully. So the veil is lifted from my innocent head as I turn back to my guy who is frowning at the $5 bill in my hand. We offer to return the Cds, but then they are already signed with our names, like their sigbature suddenly makes this 50c disc a vintage piece of music history.
It’s hard to describe the disappointment that swept over me as I accepted that I had been hustled out of what turned out to be $15 (standard price), but i think my rapper could tell. Our conversation which included me congratulating him on his success and wishing him well for his tour down under dissolved into to me nodding and just wanting to get away from these guys as he pocketed my dough.
In the end it wasn’t that bad as we left feeling impressed by their scamming abilities and with a solid quote for the rest of our holiday but I guess the ultimate disappointment for me is that these guys are artists and musicians. I was into the music and, more importantly, the feeling of comradery of a musician struggling to make it. His success and his story were interesting and I’m glad we got the chance to share it, but it all became a hoax when his true motive showed through. It should be the love for music and expression and creativity and a strong desire to share those things with people that drives a musician. Like Jay pointed out, instead of inspiring and finding new listeners they are just pissing off potential fans. Compare what they do to a story Lee told me about giving some random guys a lift home and bypassing $10 for a promise that they visit the Vienna Circus facebook page. I know which musician has a clearer idea of the power and importance of music.
- Eden (while listening to Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd)
PS. We listened to the CD and it sucked balls