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“The New York Mag piece on Grizzly Bear makes me feel lucky to be a member of a generation of musicians who never expected to be able to quit their day jobs.”
This was the start of the opinion I formed when reading your thoughts on this issue. Grizzly Bear isn’t in a common situation — there are many bands on their level (and even “lower”) that enjoy monetary success. Again, perhaps they need to check out their management options. So it seemed the start of your argument was based on misinformation.
That said, again I have respect for anyone who makes music, especially under the adverse conditions of today, so please don’t think I was trash-talking (though I admittedly did get a little intense — I apologize if it came off the wrong way).
A proposal? In fairness, I don’t see a proposal from your end either, though you may not see the need for one, or the possibility. Your idea seems to be accepting the shitty current reality, but I’m not necessarily comfortable with that (though maybe it’s the only thing one CAN do). I don’t know, honestly. There would have to be huge changes in consciousness, and ideas about human and artistic worth, and there would have to maybe be more money available to artists in the form of grants/stipends/etc (like in Europe and Australia), which won’t happen any time soon. It’s true that people aren’t going to stop downloading free music, or stop making shitty music in their bedrooms and putting it out alongside great records made in great studios (not that the converse can’t happen in each situation). So, I guess a concrete proposal isn’t really possible, but a recognition of the fact that the current model is wrong/messed up definitely is. Anyway good luck with everything. Maybe I’ll try and catch a show sometime.
Any band in Grizzly Bear’s position is in a position to have health insurance. These guys aren’t doing badly. Are they Donald Trump? No. But they need to seek new management if they can’t squeeze some money out of their well-deserved hype.
On to the conversation. Yes, it’s a silly one, and does indeed show the differences in experience and thus mindset (or vice versa) between a 25-year-old and a 30-something.
I’m friends with a musician who played with Bowie and other well-known artists in the 80′s and 90′s (and who continues to be successful today). According to him and other musicians on that level, in the 80′s a person could live in NYC, have a PART TIME job at a pizzeria, and make rent. Try that now! Try it with a full-time job at a pizzeria! My point? There was a TON of time to dedicate to honing one’s craft — practicing an instrument, writing, rehearsing, etc. Does Moore not believe in dedicating a significant amount of time to his craft? If not, I can’t take him seriously when he talks about playing music, and IF SO, his argument holds no water. Many of the musicians I know practice hours a day when they’re not working (yes, hours plural — often practicing all day, and sometimes going to practice after a long day’s work). The fact is this: likely ALL (if not almost all) of the bands that have been considered the greatest, most influential in their genre, from Al Green to the Beatles to Talk Talk to Nirvana to Pantera to ___(fill in great/influential band here)___ have been PAID FOR MAKING MUSIC, AND MADE A LIVING, IF NOT A LIFETIME SAVINGS, from it. They were paid to have enough time to create something that transcended what they could have done with a half an hour a day to dedicate to their art.
Perhaps “would-be” professionals don’t have a moral monopoly on the art form, but they’re in agreement with ACTUAL professionals, whose opinions definitely matter more than someone who just picked up her/his instrument a year ago. Moore is making a flimsy excuse for the state of music and for the corporate hijacking of our economy. I’m pissed that people have to work harder to pay higher rents, and that musicians are having a harder and harder time making ends meet. And I’m not going to pretend that because it’s a reality that makes it ok, or that working several jobs to make ends meet is somehow helping musicians (as Moore seems to imply) by keeping their art “pure” (for God’s sake man, he IS 25). And I’m not saying it isn’t possible to make great music, or an amazing first record, while in this predicament, but a great first record should be the start of a way out of that, which is less the case today than it’s been in recent decades (though not impossible). I can appreciate that Moore is sticking with it and working hard, and I respect both of these musicians as they’re creating music through adverse conditions beyond anyone’s control, but Toth’s perspective is more in line with reality I think — his has more respect for art and music because it asks for a way for artists/musicians to have the space to grow through having ENOUGH time to hone their craft.