Random observations, Spring 2015 from GuitarAttack World Headquarters

2015....wow.  Lots of stuff going on...here are some thoughts about a couple of them.

If you want to talk back or comment, go to the Forum and have at it.  If nothing else, you’ll have something to think about.

1. Does music suck?

Yes, it sucks.  Just listen to the radio or watch one of the countless music awards shows.  Thank goodness American Idol is ending next year.  We need something new.

2. What should you do if you want to record some original music?

 I've been doing some recording for local acts recently.  Here are some tips if you are ready to take your band to the next level with a recording:

  • You probably need a producer.  Even the Stones had one for their home recording of "Exile on Main Street"...his name was Jimmy Miller.

  • You may not be able to do it all yourself.  At the very least you may need someone there to run your Gram Parson or your girlfriend/wife out of the recording space.

  • Do not over-listen or over-analyze.  "Perfect" is the enemy of "good enough".  You are only going to sell dozens of copies.  Your friends will not buy one, anyway.

  • Other musicians will hate it.  Do not be held hostage by some guys who hate you already.  Nothing you do will be good enough.  I had to learn this lesson the hard way.

  • Think about whether or not you are really prepared.  Do you actually practice singing?  Do you have the lyrics written down and accessible?

  • How much did you spend on the project?  Recording in the basement or your practice space is not as sexy as being "in the studio'.  However, in 2015, what exactly is the "studio"?  Don’t be a baby – do your best.

  • Is it possible that you suck?  Explore that possibility.  However, it may not matter...lots of bands suck.  Your problem may be the gulf between your lofty expectations and recorded reality.  Those ten dudes who love you guys, and your wife, may not be telling you the truth.

  • The deep dive into the minutia.  Compressor?  Plugins?  Mic cable?  The "unexpected" prompts the “deep dive” into unrelated detail….that compressor didn’t make your song suck.

  • Don't spend too much time on one song...you need to produce some product...you'll get better.

  • To expand, your local Musicians circle will talk bad about your effort...let somebody who is not a musician listen to it and get their reaction.  They may buy one - the musicians you know won't.  You know...it doesn't sound like Rush...or Journey...or Priest...and neither do they.  As a musician, it’s always high school.  Jealousy, petty arguments, “you're too loud”, “…and why did you get more money”...blah

  • Preparation is the key.

Maybe it was better in the old days. Bands didn't have the time to obsess over their recordings.    They had to crank out two albums a year and tour constantly.  That system produced our favorite records.  Those guys are still on the cover of Guitar World magazine.

Finally, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. (Translation: Do not unappreciatively question a gift or handout too closely.)  If somebody does you a favor, make sure you tell them 'thank you".

 3. Are guitars still cool?

OK...recurring subject:  Do young people care about them?  I go to the guitar shows here in Nashville, and the crowds are old white guys – kind of like the guys in trading card conventions and the Barrett-Jackson Muscle Car auctions.  Who really cares?  Note:  I think a lot of those auction shows on TV are completely fake and they use shill bidders to drive the prices up on those cars for the cameras.

I had lunch with an old friend this past week, and we talked about how the big local band he managed back in the 1970s inspired all of the junior rockers in the area.  It was great to go see live music.  You could get into bars at 18 back then, and it was always loud!

As stated earlier, there were very few distractions back then for somebody who wanted to play guitar.  There would be three or four bands playing at the school talent show, but that was about all of the guitarists who could actually get up and play...and that was cool

I read last week in Billboard about the trend of country music radio editing guitar solos out of songs.  Did you see this?  Supposedly the issue is the short attention spans of radio listeners.


Ask a young person you know if they like guitars and guitar music.  I am interested in your perspective.

So, are guitars still cool?  Yes, and I’m not going to change my mind.

4. The State of Nashville Bands

I saw this ad on the board at a prominent Music Store in Nashville.  I'm sure it was a joke, but it hits a little close to home:

I want to start a band.  I’ve been playing guitar for 10 years and I really want to focus on playing live music.

I want to put a great rock band together, go in debt to buy top-notch equipment, trade my 10 year-old Corolla for a truck and trailer, and stay on social media constantly to promote the band.

I cannot wait to practice for months and play in the local Nashville clubs for free.  I especially look forward to our 30-40 fans to come out to support us. 

I want to record a four-song EP at one of the local big studios in Nashville, and I plan on getting a new credit card to cover the cost.  May consider a KickStarter campaign.  I know we won’t sell any CDs at our gigs, but I look forward to everyone in East Nashville getting the music for free from their “bros” then making fun of it anyway.

I will get some t-shirts made, and I have a spot in my parent's garage to store them for years.

I particularly want to invite Belmont Students to play with me because they seem pretty enthusiastic and will work for free.


-          Must be over 21 or have a convincing fake ID

-          Must have pro gear and the money to maintain it

-          Must be getting money from parents to live on while you try to “make it”

-          Must be able to talk about “writing sessions” and “going to the studio” at all times with a straight face

-          Have your own transportation – bicycles don’t count

-          Have a Guitar Center Credit Card

-          Be able to borrow money from your grandparents

-          Will consider a lesser player who has connections in the business.  I will be the judge of the quality of the connections.

-          Urban Lumberjacks and faux Hipsters need not apply

We'll have dinner before I invite you to the Practice Space.  You pay.

Thank you.

5. Am I still the only person on the internet without a Kickstarter campaign?

Do you have one?  I am interested in your opinion on this issue.


So what do you think?


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