Sunday, May 31, 2009

Don't be more about money than music (You can still make a living)

I was reading John Zorn's introduction to Tzadik's Radical Jewish Culture series where he states 

" There have been occasions when the jewish content of the music delivered has been unclear, or even non-existent. My role as executive producer in these instances has been to question the artist. If the
 answer is simply "I'm jewish—this is what I'm doing—that makes it jewish music"—the project is rejected, returned to the artist to do with as they wish. If they can articulate a well thought out response and their sincerity and honesty is clear and unquestionable—I go with it—even if I don’t entirely go with the program."

I find Mr Zorn's attitude exemplary, to be lauded, as it shows  a commitment to a specific vision, one about the content itself, rather than as a catch all gimmick, or a purely economic driven model.   Unfortunately few share this predilection.  More often than not what begins as a labor of love (and a very specific love at that) bogs down in the day to day battle to stay afloat.  And once the money starts rolling in, god help your soul. 

I know it's the music business, but cutting corners is not where it's at.  The externalities are not as obvious as in fabric dying, or oil drilling.  No one is getting cancer because a label is dealing in sub standard esthetics.  But we all suffer from the cheapening of our life experience.

I guess what I am really on about is living a right life, and so setting a good example through right deeds.  You may say "choose your battles, the ones that really matter".  And yes switching to Mass Transit, increasing  local organic farming, reducing carcinogens, and upholding freedom of assembly are all more important.  But where does the slippery slope start.  

The powers that be show us how to live like sharks.  How to be predators, consuming whatever is in your path, and leave nothing but your waste behind. Just enough to feed the hungriest of the little fish.  It is the message we get on the news,  in the movies, in the history we are taught.  I find it to be a false message leading us further down a dead end road.  

So I am starting with our own actions on a daily basis.  The ones we actually control, like Mr Zorn, who makes conscious choices based on his ideas, rather than what his community or his accountant says.   You do what you can find in your heart to do.  I just hope your expectations for life, yours, your circle, and all of us, are large enough to take the road less traveled, instead of being herded down that dead end. 

Thats it for now



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