This chart might be applicable to EVERY song on your setlist. I know it is applicable to mine. There’s a delicate balance. And of course, a lot of “musicians” complain that songs like Mustang Sally are old and tired. But it’s not the song that’s at fault. It’s the half-assed, uninspired and merely workmanlike interpretation of these songs that is to blame. Most of these are GREAT songs, their original (or most famous) interpretations amazing examples of when the magic of writing and performance actually came together. The fact that YOUR version of Mustang Sally sucks is YOUR fault. If you can’t connect to the original version, or the song itself and the specific parts the instruments play that you feel overqualified to render or give a fresh take, then maybe, just maybe, you’re in the wrong business. You don’t want to play music that people are enthusiastic about hearing? How Emo of you. If you could play anything else as inspirational, or that communicated or energized half as well, your audience would be happy to hear anything you came up with. That being said, there’s no point in playing songs just to play them, nor any justifiable reason to play a request if you can’t give it something of yourself. But saying you won’t (or can’t or shouldn’t)? That’s not just underestimating your audience. That’s severely limiting yourself.
- How Music WorksHow Music Works is David Byrne’s buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about. Drawing on his work over the years with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and myriad collaborators—along with journeys to Wagnerian opera houses, African … Continue reading →More
- Hearing is BelievingWhile it may be many other things, music is at its core a hearing experience. A good friend of mine once quipped, “Very rarely does one capture lightning in a bottle; but when one does…”. Recorded music is often like … Continue reading →More
- How Music Works
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