I’ve had some really interesting reactions to the most recent track I put up. These ranged from: “Yeah, that’s pretty intense” through “Sorry, but this is fucking shit” and all the way up to “It sounds like the soundtrack to the film ‘The Money Pit'” (which is incidentally the first ’15’ rated film I ever saw.)
Now, the Money Pit comment was obviously a good mate taking the piss (especially as his current project sounds like the soundtrack to Crocodile Dundee II), but people’s reactions to the music I’m creating are really interesting.
Unaccompanied guitar music is not exactly part of the zeitgeist, as far as I’m aware, it never has been – especially when that unaccompanied guitar is churning out a sound that is doing its best to avoid any form of melody. For an instrument so essential to popular music it’s amazing how the guitar is restricted to either being part of an ensemble or occasionally allowed to be the focal point of a song for sixty seconds while some arsehole wails a Les Paul in front of a remote church.
The guitar is a sexy instrument. It’s the indie kid’s penis extension. Their version of a boy racer’s body kit-clad Ford Focus. The guitar gets people laid left, right and centre. Apparently.
So why is improvised solo guitar so un-sexy? My guess is that most guitar music employs the rhythmic fucking emulated by the drums . It’s really the drummer that is the musical sex-machine in a band (though there are few sex-symbol drummers out there). So why does the guitarist get all the girls?
It may be because guitarists are the ones up-front looking all sensitive, but confident, and sadly the cliché that all drummers are total lunatics does generally prove to be true.
[Note: I’m sitting in a pub writing this, and there is now some idiot in a suit at the piano covering ‘Walking In Memphis’ – he is not getting any female attention. Is it because he’s sitting down, like a drummer?]
All this makes me wonder why I’m doing Kowa Axis and who I’m doing it for. It’s certainly not to get girls, I’m already very happily married to a girl who loves guitarists, but surely at the ripe old age of 33 I should be trying to write popular songs that people will like? If I wrote nice songs on an acoustic I could play pubs; probably get paid £100 for an hours’ set in some god-awful boozer in Wimbledon and go about my merry day.
And the thing is that I probably could do that. If not that, then I could easily learn a set of popular contemporary stuff and cover it in front of people who just want to hear a song they know.
But I don’t do that. I record music that sounds like a plane crash. Music that is getting me nowhere commercially or financially. Part of me thinks that it might be related to my rather unattractive elitist habit of enjoying getting a rise out of people who like pop music. But maybe it’s deeper than that.
I genuinely LOVE the music I record. It is truly the most honest music I have ever played. I find it visceral and emotive. I listen to it quite often,
[Note: the besuited cunt is now covering ‘My Way’]
So is the fact that I love it enough? The listening stats on my Bandcamp page are still in the low double figures at best, and probably most of those are my kind friends. Some (most) days nobody listens at all. This hurts my feelings a bit, but I only have myself to blame.
I know that Kowa Axis is not a career. Maybe if it was I’d be up with the piano man doing a Mumford & Sons number, it could supplement my income. But as tempted as I am to run home and collect my rig I imagine I will get short-shrift.
[Ok, a female customer in the pub has just joined in singing some quite impressive operatic vocals along to ‘My Way’ – respect love; show this besuited fuck how it’s done.]
Anyway. I suppose I haven’t answered the question I set myself about why the hell I’m bothering to record this music that is of such a minute niche interest. Maybe like Albini mentions below. ‘It’s my art’.
Perhaps it doesn’t need any more thought than that.
Comments and discussion welcome.