The Bands Are Back

 

B. K. Hart-President DSR Records/Hart Music Co.

 

What a novel concept that is. A stage set up with huge stacks of cabinets with speakers the size of truck tires, driven by amplification systems with tubes the size of beer cans. Add to that about half a dozen guitar stands occupied by Les Pauls, Strats, Teles, P-Basses, J-Basses or Rickenbackers. And a centerpiece of a zillion piece drum set (OK, so I'm exaggerating) with chrome gleaming forever.

 Awesome.

 

The lights are still on and about 15 or 20 people with long dirty hair, shorts, sneakers and dated Black Sabbath World Tour T-shirts are running around on the stage testing mikes and running snakes. You look in a far corner and you see stacks and stacks of Korgs, Rolands, Ensoniqs and Yamahas forming a semicircle around a stool with some geeky little guy striking keys to get levels. Then, all of a sudden, the lights go down, and you think you see shadowy figures entering the stage area. Count them, 10, 11, 12...there are 15 people on the stage. The lights come on at the same time you hear and feel 10,000 watts of hot analog instruments course through you, and it shocks your core, but you love it because you now know deep within your hungry soul that THE BANDS ARE BACK!

 

No, not like the Backstreet Boys, N-Sync or Silk. Contrary to all of the record company propaganda, those are not bands. They're groups or ensembles, and they're good, but they're not bands. I'm talking about bands, with guitars, keyboards, drums, horns, all that. Allow me to bring forth to you a lesson from Real Music 101. A band is a group of musicians with the ability to,  with instruments, execute complete musical works, with or without accompanying vocals. I suppose to some degree you could possibly, based on that definition, include those groups. But in my humble opinion, no one under 30 can truly relate to the word band.

 

On the other hand, because of the triumphant return of the long lost "real band" structure (a la Hootie and the Blowfish, the Dave Matthews Band, etc.), young people are tuning into real instruments more now than ever before. Of course, some music has never lost its original magic. I guess a fitting phrase at this point would be something old and moldy like, "long live rock & roll".

 

What's that? I'm hearing questions. Questions like, what does a Black, middle-aged, gospel jazz playing veteran of the Waffle House circuit know about rock & roll?

 

Funny thing about being a middle aged veteran. That means I was one of the privileged people who got to see rock & roll giants like Elvis, Jimi, Janis and Jackie perform live before they died and became the legends you now emulate. I was fortunate enough to hear first-hand radio and TV accounts of the British Invasion with the Stones and the Beatles before their records became collectors' items. I was raised on everything from  Molly Hatchet to Manhattan Transfer. I cut my guitar playing teeth on everyone from Chet Atkins to Carlos Santana.

 

In other words, I am a child of the Analog era. You see, there is something magical, warm, and positive about the analog music of a real band. Something that gets destroyed for me everytime I think of some kid sitting in his 9x9 bedroom in his parents' house with a sampler, a drum machine and a tape recorder making loops out of whatever old records he can get his hands on because he has neither the inclination nor the aptitude to learn to really play an instrument. Or when I turn on the radio and hear how someone took a classic piece of music and perverted it into some cheap, cliche-ridden song.

 

I truly feel sorry for urban music, because it seems to be the only form that hasn't evolved out of the continuum of techno-sludge. No wonder people are so pissed off. In addition to its lack of real musical content, urban music has only one type of message any more. Either it's  the fellas trying to get busy with the girls, or the women trying to get paid by the guys. Forgive my bluntness, but what does that sound like to you all? Yeah, I thought so.

 

We have witnessed an entire genre of music slip just outside of what can honestly be labelled music into what must truthfully and honestly be referred to as simply another art form. This is cool, I guess. But from where I sit, the world needs to be healed and comforted, and nothing really does that like good,  positive, warm music, I mean real music, not just something some DJ put together with Fruity Loops. So here's the skinny. If you want art, go to an art museum. If you want to profile, go to a hip-hop concert. But if you truly want to feel good about yourself and life in general, cash in your DMX tickets, and go see a band like U2 or Hootie and the Blowfish. Better yet, go see someone who could really use your support, like the Rattler, Jeff Pyatt. Real music by real artists, that's what it's all about.

 

Any of you old schoolers notice how many young people are tuning in to blues and jazz these days? I mean, really getting into it, too. And reggae, they are eating it up. Tell ya what. Find a really decent blues, jazz or reggae concert somewhere, and buy a ticket simply to scan the crowd. You will see a lot of young faces, because frankly I do believe that young folks are becoming increasingly intolerant of trashy, pointless, non-artistic music made by people who try to pass themselves off as musicians in favor of more mellow approaches.

 

I remember as a teen, watching programs on TV like Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack (RIP), and Rock Concert, hosted by the painfully monotone but mega-cool Don Kirschner. This was way before MTV. Real bands played real music in real time, bands like Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, Doobie Brothers, Little Feat, the Eagles, can we talk? (sorry, Joan) Does anyone remember that?

 

How about I do this: The first ten people who e-mail me with the correct answer to this question will receive by e-mail a link to a free copy of Voyetra Recording Station. It is my own personal registered copy, so it's not pirated or cracked.

 

Here is the two-part question:

 

1. What was the name of the band who performed the hit song "Come and Get Your Love"?

 

2. What was the most significant trait of that band?

 

I will print the answers in next month's column. My e-mail address is:

bkhart@hartmusic.every1.net  &  bkhart@forestpro.net

 

Well, my friends, that should get your creative juices flowing. Be sure to take full advantage of the new interactive features of this website. It is the latest of a plethora of innovations by Mr. Gary Kersey to help unite the world through the universal language of music.

 

Remember, brothers and sisters, we are still a nation in mourning and in serious need of healing. Next to any deity you may worship, if you so practice, nothing heals better than good music. Go listen to a real band this weekend and be healed.

 

Peace,

 

           B. K.

Archives    Newspage     Homepage