100 Days of Guitar Riffs

Who can be dissatisfied with music? Well, I have been playing guitar on and off for 30 years, and well, it has been more “off” than “on”. I pretty much completely stopped playing 4 years ago, and figured I needed a kick-start. So here was my indulgent challenge, to record 100 riffs in 100 days that I posted daily on Facebook and Twitter. As these are done daily, some recordings are ok, others not so ok, but that is ok. This is all in the spirit of fun and learning! Also tried to make it 100 different bands during this process (after all, if it were completely up to me, I would do all Rush, Police, and Iron Maiden!)

Below are the posts with the clues and answers (I did not give the answers during the postings). Enjoy and let me know your favorites!

Day 1 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – First one a bit of a deeper cut, but a fan favourite for this band. Don’t shoot the guitar player –  YYZ, Rush
https://clyp.it/orgsuif5

Day 2 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – This band a staple in my early guitar repertoire. – Pride, U2
https://clyp.it/oijk5wlw

Day 3 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Always my fav at highschool dances.  Suffraget City, David Bowie
https://clyp.it/y1x1wkb3

Day 4 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – This guy was the opening act for the first concert I ever saw (Blue Oyster Cult). Fantasy – Aldo Nova
https://clyp.it/4ktvqkql

Day 5 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – The rhythm guitarist in this recording should be fired for laziness… Fire Woman, The Cult
https://clyp.it/ipdofaia

Day 6 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – One of the best performers I have ever seen…Run to You, Bryan Adams
https://clyp.it/tvbsc44e

Day 7 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Have to have this band, at least once… The Trooper, Iron Maiden
https://clyp.it/zzfblei1

Day 8 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Band made wearing the Union Jack fashionable, Hysteria, Def Leppard
https://clyp.it/v4zkocgz

Day 9 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – To me, these guys defined the sound of the 80s! Do Do Do, Da Da Da, The Police
https://clyp.it/avcg0gmp

Day 10 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs –  Apologies, very fast & poor recording of an 80s rocker…Rebel Yell,Billy Idol
https://clyp.it/x0bafrlg

Day 11 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – A song that was played a lot on relatively new radio station the Bear when I starting doing work in Ottawa…December, Collective Soul
https://clyp.it/pppeujby

Day 12 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs –  First band I listened to, and every guitarists go to riff…Day Tripper, The Beatles
https://clyp.it/5lynzxab

Day 13 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Despised this band in high school, then saw them live in the 90s and “I got them”…Personal Jesus, Depeche Mode
https://clyp.it/xsdsmm3v

Day 14 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Tia Carrere re-popularized this classic tune in the 90s in Wayne’s World. Did you know she won an Oscar for her vocals (not on this song though!)
https://clyp.it/ct2x0vag

Day 15 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – My second stab at British New Wave of Heavy Metal…Breaking the Law, Judas Priest
https://clyp.it/dqjvmeoj

Day 16 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Got to love when Indie bands make it, in this case to the mainstream alternative scene. Added bonus, they are Scottish…Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out
https://clyp.it/4jsvtc3p

Day 17 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Love these guys who brought blues to whole new level…Crossroads, Cream
https://clyp.it/z4hdlmtp

Day 18 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Easy today…NEED MORE COWBELL…Don’t Fear the Reaper, Blue Oyster Cult
https://clyp.it/bdr5d0lr

Day 19 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Album to support my first reunion tour concert in 1983ish….Knocking at Your Back Door, Deep Purple
https://clyp.it/qpjssp5k 

Day 20 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – An untouchable, done really really badly (had an off day and am too lazy to redo)…Let’s Talk About Love, Van Halen
https://clyp.it/afncu4jz

Day 21 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – My first taste in punk…London Calling, The Clash
https://clyp.it/p0pedhfp

Day 22 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – This should be the US Election theme song…Don’t Stop Believing, Journey
https://clyp.it/etoh2pn3

Day 23 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – This guitarist was arguably the most difficult to work with…many people were fired in his band….Long Live Rock N Roll, Rainbow
https://clyp.it/mxvhs1nr

Day 24 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – One of the great alternative bands of the 80s…Boys Don’t Cry, The Cure
https://clyp.it/a2f3llox

Day 25 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Get your dancing shoes on! This may be difficult to recognize without the vocal Woowoos, but probably not for fans of the band….I Was Made For Loving You, KISS
https://clyp.it/j3saqjms

Day 26 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – The Rockman I bought when I started playing bote this guitarist’s signature…More than a Feeling, Boston
https://clyp.it/cqybbvbc

Day 27 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – A classic track that has been Brucified, or butchered, depends on your perspective…Painted Black, The Rolling Stones
https://clyp.it/iqvbwyly

Day 28 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – A little bit of Celtic rock tonight…well, sort of…Zombie, Cranberries
https://clyp.it/m5stoeps

Day 29 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Wifey, says you cannot be a true musician unless you watched the documentary about this band…Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You, Spinal Tap
https://clyp.it/vgkto0xq

Day 30 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Beatles wannabes….Wonderwall, Oasis
https://clyp.it/34r04ctc

Day 31 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Probably one of the easiest lead lines ever written (in the verse), but most iconic…Smells Like Teen Spirit
https://clyp.it/miofyppe

Day 32 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – First time I have EVER tried playing anything from this band…You Shook Me All Night Long, ACDC
https://clyp.it/ucbvyu3x

Day 33 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Lazy today…first guitar riff I ever learned. Sunday, Bloody Sunday, U2
https://clyp.it/lifsd2ri

Day 34 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Feeling a bit snake-like today…Slither, Velvet Revolver
https://clyp.it/x2glylbn

Day 35 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Hard to believe this band auditioned a new singer via a reality TV show…Devil Inside, INXS
https://clyp.it/ebi4bew1

Day 36 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Not sure what genre you would call these guys, but fun distinctive riff though…Rock Lobster, B-52s
https://clyp.it/3nmq22sp

Day 37 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – This is the band’s 2nd singer. From movie Heavy Metal…Mob Rules, Black Sabbath
https://clyp.it/ifsob4f4

Day 38 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Not a religious song…and very challenging to play…Hail to the King, Avenged Sevenfold
https://clyp.it/upsj0qu5

Day 39 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – This song not about a stairway….and the “vocalist” needs to be fired…Living Loving Maid, Led Zepplin
https://clyp.it/zqiy3d5g

Day 40 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Without Daylight Savings Time, I could use one of these for the next 4 months…Holiday, Green Day
https://clyp.it/0xydbmhi

Day 41 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Grandfather of Grunge = easier riff today (and cool)…Rockin the Free World, Neil Young
https://clyp.it/2fpmghxm

Day 42 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – This band has the funniest lyrics…Big Mough Strikes Again, The Smiths
https://clyp.it/zh4wrwyl

Day 43 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – These guys played with Rush at RNR HOF induction! Everlong, Foo Fighters
https://clyp.it/w3qnjeoi

Day 44 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – These guys got a great deal with Microsoft for Window’s 95! Undone Weezer
https://clyp.it/hpt54fmm

Day 45 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Never really got this guy, but EVH played on this track…Beat It, Michael Jackson
https://clyp.it/xg3u5ha2

Day 46 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – See if you can recognize this twisted version of 80s pop classic…Tainted Love (Soft Cell/Marilyn Manson
https://clyp.it/vb4uodhp

Day 47 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – All songs from this album are very riffofday worth…Where Ever I May Roam
https://clyp.it/vv2uzsvf

Day 48 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Big on alternative radio in 2007.I dont do song justice…Dashboard, Modest Mouse
https://clyp.it/md4r5drt

Day 49 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Track 1 of a man unkind to bats first solo album. Left us way too young…I Don’t Know, Ozzy Osbourne
https://clyp.it/ufwhwhp0

Day 50 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Half way there! Always loved the tone of this song…Run Like Hell, Pink Floyd
https://clyp.it/f41udql1

Day 51 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Song was #1 song on CHOM FM’s top 10@10 4over1year…lyrics unintelligible 2me…Still Loving You, the Scorpions
https://clyp.it/ovl1qq3i

Day 52 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – 1 of my favorite guitarists, and most underrated…Lay It on the Line, Triumph
https://clyp.it/4pnws40e

Day 53 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Inspired by an Alice in Chains/Gretchen Wilson cover…Barracuda, Heart
https://clyp.it/laettmpu

Day 54 of 100 Days of Guitar – 2nd person (perhaps) to benefit from fame of Nirvana….Celebrity Skin, Hole
https://clyp.it/yvfhcbtn

Day 55 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Wrestler Tommy Dreamer’s entrance theme tune…Man in the Box, Alice in Chains
https://clyp.it/oinsheqw

Day 56 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Favorite cover was from TV serie BSG, S3, last episode…All Along the Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix
https://clyp.it/lp3lqkom

Day 57 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Wore this album out when I discovered punk…Pretty Vacant, The Sex Pistols
https://clyp.it/vymbxmxu

Day 58 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Always liked the humour of this band…Blister in the Sun, The Violent Femmes
https://clyp.it/k1en1hnx

Day 59 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs –  Hard one today, not unless you are a fan of Freddy Krueger. Dream Warriors, Dokken

https://clyp.it/2br4jyuq

Day 60 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs –  Avril Lavigne’s ex-husband’s band.  Hell Song, Sum 41
https://clyp.it/l3lfxu2n

Day 61 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs
Appropriate sun for a sunny day, too bad today was not. Shiny Happy People, REM

https://clyp.it/g1iotowb

Day 62 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Simply put, a great toe tapping song, Kryptonite, 3 Doors Down

https://clyp.it/grc4kzuy

Day 63 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Part of title key lyric in most of band’s songs…Californication, Red Hot Chilli Peppers
https://clyp.it/2p4v1c1l

Day 64 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs -Overplayed 1 hit wonder in early 2000. Hanging by a Moment, Lifehouse
https://clyp.it/y45ywuhh

Day 65 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Song supposedly inspired by ZZTop, but I can’t hear it! Cowboys From Hell, Pantera
https://clyp.it/sdeef14h

Day 66 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Anyone remember Spitting Image? Land of Confusion, Genesis
https://clyp.it/djmyzjsj

Day 67 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Blake Lewis sang this song on American Idol…who cares. You Give Love a Bad Name, Bon Jovi
https://clyp.it/4meeuags

Day 68 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Going to the swamp today. Around the Bend, CCR
https://clyp.it/vyjfzlhy

Day 69 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Hunger games actor, who is a cool guitarist
https://clyp.it/tupsd3gw

Day 71 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Best metal band name ever. Hanger 18, Metallica
https://clyp.it/hsxd344j

Day 72 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Like if you recognize. Song 2 of 80s Hair Metal Week…singer had no hair
https://clyp.it/w0rk51mt

Day 73 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Song 3 of 80s Hair Metal Week…Why did these guys give themselves a name Disney would be proud of? Nobody’s Fool, Cinderella
https://clyp.it/kh31yxy4

Day 74 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Song 3 of 80s Hair Metal Week…Band’s guitarist known for his fretboard tapping, not heard so much in this song though.
https://clyp.it/ql3jbc3c

Day 75 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Song 4 of 80s Hair Metal Week…Milton Berle was the lead singer’s uncle and makes cameo in video, Round and Round, Ratt
https://clyp.it/2h5vdrv1

Day 76 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Song 5 of 80s Hair Metal Week…These guys threw Bibles at their audience during their shows. Glad no one got hurt! Soldiers Under Command, Stryper
https://clyp.it/vfyc34g0

Day 77 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs
Song 7 of 80s Hair Metal Week…Bit ironic, but this band’s lead singer had a recent feud with yesterday’s band’s lead singer, 18 and Life, Skid Row
https://clyp.it/qdxzkiau

Day 78 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – This song is so metal, it makes me laugh. What makes me laugh more is how I recorded this. Reigning Blood, Slayer
https://clyp.it/p1jvki0m

Day 79 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Had a friend who loved this video and watched it endless times…wonder why. Sharp Dressed Man, ZZTop
https://clyp.it/5ncn211m

Day 80 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Band may get more $ if Marijuana legalized in Canada. China Grove, Doobie Brothers
https://clyp.it/5li1mowp

Day 81 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – These guys,from my hometown, played my high school before they became famous. Sign of the Gypsie Queen, April Wine
https://clyp.it/4n0nhs2e

Day 82 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – A punk that uses jazz chords? Go figure. Rusted from the Rain, Billy Talent
https://clyp.it/xk50uw1e

Day 83 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – So sorry, horrible recording, too tired to fix. Life is a Highway, Tom Cochran:
https://clyp.it/uobu3csa

Day 84 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs
One of my favorite bands. They played this entire album opening for Rush. Also one of my favorite albums
https://clyp.it/f0qap4ir

Day 85 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Toronto-based band all met as kids. Bandname comes from the Catholic church they all attended. Who knew?
https://clyp.it/0z4xvcya

Day 86 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs
Another underrated guitarist and songwriter, though the singer deserves the “Queen of Rock” title. Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Pat Benatar
https://clyp.it/tbog4ex5

Day 87 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Crank it up..synonmys for this band’s name include: pirates, college fraternities, Western posses, rag-tag mercenary
https://clyp.it/ipms4iih

Day 88 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – I am married to one…Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison
https://clyp.it/wwdevuyd

Day Christmas of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Just Putzing Around the Christmas Tree!
Merry Xmas everyone!
https://clyp.it/lghxaqse

Day 89 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs –
The song that opened the door to the world of Progressive Metal for me…Pull Me Under, Dream Theater
https://clyp.it/kvbucrnv

Day 90 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Testing out a Xmas gift…a shure sm57 microphone…go easy folks, 1st time doing this. Hyperdrive, Devin Townsend Project
Day 91 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Always amazed what some metal bands will cover..Blue Monday, Orgy
https://clyp.it/3jl5toi4
Day 92 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – First song I recall using prolific f-bombing on the radio…Last Resort, Papa Roach
https://clyp.it/ecrnsx34
Day 93 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – One of the great losses for 2016, Life in the Fast Lane, Eagles
https://clyp.it/nupbycgi
Day 94 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs –  Sort of like the retro groove of this song…
https://clyp.it/mgmzyoem
Day 95 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Bruce Dickinson does an awesome cover of this song…Behind Blue Eyes, The Who
https://clyp.it/fwnfuy3d
Day 96 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Great song for returning to the office…Welcome to the Jungle, Guns ‘N’ Roses
https://clyp.it/rdc4hzaw
Day 97 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – One of the best covers of this song, released in 1985
https://clyp.it/miiq3s21

Day 98 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Song was overkilled on radio, but I like it now…Twilight Zone, Golden Earring
https://clyp.it/2e45ypo3

Day 99 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs – Easy phone number to remember…8675309, Tommy Tutone
https://clyp.it/gb5itkea

Day 100 of 100 Days of Guitar Riffs  – I end this journey with the song that, as a 13 year old, made me dream of playing guitar. I have learned a lot with this exercise, thanks for indulging me over the last 100 days!
https://clyp.it/uasq3t3d

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Running into a brick wall

Shut that NOISE!

Music is so subjective.  Why is it that when I hear a sustained note on David Gilmour’s (of Pink Floyd) guitar it brings a tear to my eye, and yet when I hear the repeated loops and processed vocals of any song in our current top 40, I want to repeatedly run into a brick wall to the cadence of the electronic drums?

I admit to not being that up to date with what is the latest and greatest musically.  In my older age, I am finding it harder to memorize band names that choose random letters, rearrange them, and add a “featuring some domestic animal (ie Pit Bull)”.  It is much easier to remember names like “Beatles”, or “Queen” than Ty Dolla $ign.

I want to repeatedly run into a brick wall to the cadence of the electronic drums

Looping Ad Nauseum

I started realizing how out of touch I was with about four years ago. My gym shut down and I was forced to sign up with the Good Life. I would hit the gym at 5:30 am, and the same songs were cranked through the airwaves.  It was electronica on steroids!  The beats did not motivate me. In fact, it made me want to run from the gym screaming!  What was even worse is that these beats became “ear worms”.  They stuck with me for the whole day!!

I am not sure how this type of music moves people emotionally, except, maybe to talk louder, become more agitated,  and to make more noise over the din.  Repetitive looping is popular in our iTunes generation. Though it is rhythmic, composing music has migrated from writing albums, to singles for iTunes, then to the new reality where single bars are composed that are repeated and layered. If you can talk rhythmically and cannot sing, you can always use auto-tune! If you don’t believe me, install Songify. You can write a catchy song by saying a few words and let the software do the trick!

If you cannot sing, you can always use auto-tune!

Ever go for a walk in the mall?  The stores blare “loops” to try to entice shoppers.  Ever hear house parties in the neighbourhood? Loops are blaring on outdoor speakers for all to enjoy!

Yesterday was Canada Day. I walked briefly around the neighbourhood to see what the denizen were up to. There were lots of house parties, all playing “house” music with those same repetitive beats and loops.  In fact, the looping started as early as 8 am. The only activity planned at that time was a senior’s breakfast. I can only imagine how well that music went with eating pancakes and sausage first thing in the morning.  Sausage grease aside, the music alone would give me indigestion!  The songs were so similar, in fact, that the variety of loops just blended into each other creating a weird dissonant harmony.

It All Sounds the Same

My walk in the ‘hood demonstrated how similar modern music is.  You would think with all the variety of notes, tempos, chords, and timings there would be an infinite number of different songs available.  Especially when you break things down to the “bits and bytes” level. Is it possible to run out of new music? Well, technically no (as illustrated in a fun 10 minute youtube video on this subject, which gets a little geeky), but it sure feels like it.  There are literally billions and billions of musical variants and possibilities. Reality, though,  we tend to gravitate to certain patterns we like more than others and are influenced by what came before us.

Is it possible to run out of new music? Well, technically no, but sure feels like it

This also applies to lyrics. There is a notion called “common poetic meter”.   Emily Dickinson was known to use this rhyming scheme in most of her poetry.  It is why the songs like Amazing Grace,  House of the Rising Sun, and Giligan’s Island can almost interchange the lyrics with the melody.  Speaking of which, the song “Stairway to Gilligan’s Island”  takes the concept and stretches it a bit

One thing that has not changed in musical history is the nature of popular music.  If something sells, the market will get saturated with it.  How many ripoffs of the Beach Boys were there in the 60s?  The artists all looked like the Beatles too!

What Changed?

If what history demonstrates is true, that humans gravitate to certain musical patterns that have some influences from what came before us, then our tastes should always be evolving.  It seems, though, in my case, that my tastes are evolving back in history, and not keeping up with the times.  I am now appreciating the songs I did not like on AM radio. Disco no longer sucks! At least there is a band playing! I am regressing, not progressing with the musical times!

Disco no longer sucks! At least there is a band playing!

Growing up, I only had access to an AM radio that had a few stations. There was only really one radio station that played music, so it was “genre agnostic”.  Your listening ears really perked up when you heard John Denver following a great kick-ass Van Halen song.

The nice thing about listening to music like that is that you never knew what song was coming.  If you did not like a song, you would not pay much attention to it as the next song may be better. If you liked a song, you would buy a 45 to repeatedly listen to it, or maybe purchase the album if you wanted to deeper explore that sound.  Admittedly, I bought several albums I am embarrassed to admit owning (do any of you have Barry Manilow or Abba in your collections?).

We tend to gravitate to certain patterns we like more than others and are influenced by what came before us

As there was only one or two stations, everyone in the house heard the same songs. Whether we liked them or not, we knew them all. The household participated in the music.

There came a point where the music became less household and more personal.

Turn That Noise Off!

Music sometimes shows the division between the generations. I recall my parents liking some of the music I listened to, like the Beatles, or some of the current bands of the 70s.

In the early 80s, I started to listen to FM radio. FM offered music radio stations catering to a certain style. As my musical tastes refined, I gravitated more to rock.   I bought my first rock album, Rush’s Exit Stage Left, and started to play it with Geddy Lee’s screeching vocals. It was that album that triggered the first “What is that you are listening to” response from my parents. The fact that Rush earned the Order of Canada did not matter. I think most teens and parents have had that experience. Do you remember yours?

Rush was the first band that my parents asked me to turn down the volume when I listened to music! The fact they earned the Order of Canada did not matter.

If the axiom of musical gravitation holds true, that we gravitate to patterns we know, then there was likely nothing that Rush offered to my parents that connected them to their musical experience. For me, there was a natural evolution of Beatles, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Rush. There is a connection of musical influences.  Listening to Rush without any musical context can be tricky, especially if one’s context may have stopped at Frank Sinatra.

My Musical Context Has Not Changed

I can listen to some popular music.  There are some artists, like Lady Gaga, who have musical references to my 80s influences. I think that is a general rule for any artists who is in a “super stardom” zone. They speak to all generations musically.  There are a handful out there.  I tend, though, to gravitate to what I know musically, and look to see modern twists on it. Of late, Joe Bonamassa has got my ear. He is a blues guitarists who has lots of progressive rock influences.  That appeals to my musical upbringing. Some long-lasting and well-established bands, like ACDC, Rolling Stones, and Iron Maiden, have multiple generations attending their concerts, all by choice. Justin Beiber have parents attending because they have to for their kids. This may be  bi-product of music being passed down from one generation to another.

Ever since the age of AM radio has stopped, I have seen my musical tastes getting more and more limited as I do not naturally search for styles I don’t gravitate towards. I did not have to listen to country, or rap, so I did not try. In the 90s, radio was becoming more and more refined to genre, and my genre of choice was not well represented.  Rap, house, and sampling became the dominant art form, and as I had no real connection to it, I could not appreciate it. To me, rap and house were pop music purgatory.  For those raised on the evolution of dance and rap music, modern looping is much more natural expression (though I don’t get the gangsta appeal in predominately white suburbia).

Some long-lasting and well-established bands, like ACDC, Rolling Stones, and Iron Maiden, have multiple generations attending their concerts, all by choice. Justin Beiber have parents attending because they have to for their kids.

Music De-valued

Looping music is the easiest form of music to put together. You do not need to play an instrument. You just need a good computer and some knowledge of sound engineering to make “quality” music. If you have a bit of rhythm, you do not even have to sing. It is like reading rhythmic poetry, while talking through a megaphone.

The digital world has made music very easy to put together. Access to streaming services and peer-to-peer networks (like Napster) has dramatically reduced sales. The only way a musician can make money is by touring and branding themselves (KISS is iconic in rock, but music aside it was their ability to sell themselves that was their real talent).

You just need a good computer and some knowledge of sound engineering to make “quality” music.

By looping, the production costs go down. You don’t have to hire musicians, pay money for studio time, and it can be done in a basement.  The focus has shifted to writing a good album, to writing a handful of loops.

The experience for the listener has changed. Once I would intentionally put an album on my record player and listen for 20 minutes, then actively change the side! The artwork and liner notes were interesting to look at while I listened. Now, an album’s art work may be a pdf file that accompany some iTunes purchases. Leafing through a pdf is not the same experience as I play my library of several thousand songs randomly in the background. Music now is background noise, or is used to block out the noise of others. Music has become a passive activity. I now can turn on my Google Music streaming service, enjoy what I am listening to, without actively knowing anything about the artists behind the music. Sad, but true.

Music has become a passive activity.

Even concerts are more about sound, light, and spectacle with less emphasis on musicianship.

Bringing it Home

If music is a household experience, then all the different genres could represent family members. For me, looping is the “Uncle Ralph” that no one wants to talk about because he is obnoxious, says the same stories over and over again, is loud, and does not know when to stop talking.  When Uncle Ralph is at family gatherings, no one wants to get cornered by him.  Most families have an Uncle Ralph. When Uncle Ralph does not attend the family gathering, there may be relief that he is not there, but there may be an underlying feeling that his presence is missed. The family is not really the same without him.

I can say safely, I would not miss Uncle Ralph. My musical home has not evolved to appreciate what he brings to the table.

Things to look at:

On youtube: Kirby Furguson: Everything is a remix