why i hate jambands. or why i think music sux!

gretchen asked me why i hate new monsoon so much.
the wheels started turning to what they reprehensibly represent in my minds association of facts and figures, line and form, word and intent, body and soul, status quo and the brilliance of human spirit.

whew! this one will be a doozy. make some room. step back now, i'm on a soap box.
note: these words are unnecessary. all musical efforts are beautiful. the efforts are. not necessarily the content.

that being my disclaimer, here now is my nutshell. or nuts hell.

jambands suck because they dont have a creative bone in their body. its all rehashed thisandthat. they cant write a song. because they dont know how to sculpt a sound or turn a lyrical phrase. its masturbation. its the difference between a musician (oh, i could do that) and an artist (oh, how do they do that?!).

these jamband "musicians" see a gravy train. i call them jam sheep. these are the audience of jambands. unable to think for themselves, like musical lemmings careening over a booty shaking precipice. its even a rehash of the cultural element of the disco fad. "it looks like they are having fun, so i'm having fun" theory.

what kenny g did to jazz. so goes the jamband to rock and roll. ouch! that was offensive!

i was a fan of the grateful dead. i saw over 10 show. dance'd, smile'd, hugged, and cry'd on the way, during, and reminiscing about shows. they were a jamband. they rehashed. they noodled aimlessly. they broke free of cultural atrocities. i ask myself, what was different about them? continue that thought forward. what was different about me.

i was a lemming.why was i a lemming? oh! its the good ole', "they're playing our song" theory. positive associations with even a brief encounter with not just the music, but also the culture. the scene was groovy. so much so, it didn't matter if jerry forgot the lyrics. or if he fell asleep (heroin induced) while playing a guitar solo. or if they cant sing for mud. or. or...

it was fun. thats why i liked them. and thats why people like what they do. i shouldn't have a problem with people enjoying themselves. and ultimately i dont.

but, i do remember being at grateful dead shows and thinking to myself that 'deadheads' are stupid for caring so much about every setlist, and every show, and every tape traded for maximum quality (its a cassette! jeez) and everything collected in jambase. i'm a fan of music, but, these people seemed ridiculous to me. they were just trying to one up each other to be the best deadhead.

there's other music people. come on. what i enjoyed about the dead was the music education that it took to become the dead. those musicians had to study MUSIC in order to do what they did. and lots of it. many different genres. many different bands. their music was an amalgam of what they had learned.

well, these new so called jambands. are only an amalgam of what they studied, it seems. the dead. or the other jamband with a huge audience. ie: dave mathews or phish. yuk! why cover that crap!!!!! oh, because there are millions of jamsheep with lots of money. thats why.

well, it looks like i fell off my soap box onto a high horse.

well, of course, i never really believe what i say. but!

maybe i'm jealous of these bands. playing music that seems very easy to me. they are getting paid beaucoup cash for playing music i would be embarrased to play.

i've always had a problem with what non-musicians like. eric clapton. sux. allman brothers. boring. steve vai. dumb. string cheese incident. psh.

my musical gods are people who do divinely guided and tasteful musical or composition techniques: jimi hendrix, brian wilson, chick corea, paco delucia, super furry animals, neil young, rush, yes, classical indian music, j.s. bach, conjunto accordian players, herbie hancock, gypsy violinist, kate bush, adrian belew, frank zappa, john coltrane, bernie worrell, hella, syd barrett, art tatum, stevie wonder, dj qbert, john cage, etc.... music that pushes the boundary. or music that pushes the listeners ear forward. well, my ear anyway. i dont know whats wrong with your ears!

i'm noticing that there isnt much dance music in that list. maybe i dont like dance music. thats not true. i loved the beegees saturday night fever era. and wait, conjunto and gypsy music is magically danceable. why exactly dont i like jambands?

jambands suck for me maybe because they rehashed once too many times. they are not the source of their musical inspiration. they are not breaking new ground in the history of music. they are keeping alive a 'tradition' of a particular era of music. maybe thats what i hate. tradition. tradition rehashed. like religion.

i know for a fact that i love hearing things for the first time. no matter what it is. and that is what i base my opinion on. "it's been done before. it sux." i do find myself saying that. "wow! what was that!? i've never heard that before!" i do find myself saying that too. but, the super furry animals, who happen to be my new fav's along with the flaming lips. they are rehashers. all be it, rehashing obscure musical stylings of the past. whats different about their rehashing?.... a creative way of reference. not a re-do. a refering to, to get a point across. thats why i dont think of them as rehashers.

sorry, folks.
have i made a point here? do i even understand what my problem is?!!!
it seems i'm a conceded musician. yes. it's a personal problem.

a couple of blurbs of what i hate about jambands.

its been done before.

jam sheep dont like music. they like what their friends like.

audience is too high on drugs to know any better.

jambands "hump the corpse of the grateful dead" (not my words, but, i loved the quote).

if your not a classical indian tabla player. dont perform tabla. that goes to say with any traditional instruments.

try doing something musically that your unfamiliar with. stop using your bag of licks.

let a poet write your lyrics.

masturbate musically by yourself. its called woodshedding.

play something good.

impress me.

ps. it bugs me that medeski martin and wood are lumped into the jamband catagories. those guys are very capable of stretching the limits. a real fusion of true jazz and groove.


RobinSlick said...

Ha ha - I enjoyed this.


Jim said...

Oh my god! Thank you so much!

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Anonymous said...

Hi -

I don't know you or anything, but I just read this post and found it to be very hypocritical. The Grateful Dead is one of the most influential jam bands to have ever existed and had an extremely large fan base (or "jam sheep" or whatever you call them). What makes you think jam bands today are any different? Phish's Trey Anastasio is so into his music: he invests A TON of time in thinking about how he wants his music to sound. Yes, there are some people who like to take drugs and have the time of their lives at jam band concerts/festivals, but a lot of fans just love the upbeat, positive vibes that this type of music gives off. I just really don't understand why you are bashing today's jam music as it seems like you used to be at least partially into the Grateful Dead.

jambandohio said...

Here is a great link if you Hate jam bands like i hate jam bands http://www.youtube.com/user/jambandohio Thanks

Anonymous said...

Dude... you are so full of SH*T and Hate... you spout on and on like you are some scholarly critic... do u even have an education? in art?, music?, criticism? HELL NO... opinions are like a$$holes... yours obviously STINKS and has been FUKD. anyone who sits around procrasturbating by putting FRAUDULENT soundtracks to AUTHENTIC artists videos... and spreading NOTHING but Hate and negativity, IS a HUGE DOUCHER... You have used COPYRIGHTED material and Business logos in a LIBELOUS and DEFAMATORY manner.. and if you think the Jambands are bad wait Until their lawyers lay down a Groove on your dumba$$... Millions of fans are not wrong.. you are. so if u want to be a Hater and a Critic... go take your own video footage... stop STEALING recordings and altering them to try to justify your HATE... you are a SHAM.

Anonymous said...

you are a douche. jimi hendrix wasn't too good either bro, get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

Millions of fans?Try a few hundred asshole!Your on a Anti-jam band blog not the werks street team page!

Anonymous said...

You DO know that the dumb guy, Steve Vai, was a very big part of Frank Zappa's band, right?

In fact before joining the band, he took it upon himself to transcribe part of Zappa's music, impressing Zappa so much that he hired Vai to complete the transcription of all of Zappa's music catalog.

Then, when Zappa realized what a great guitarist Vai was, he hired him to play in the band calling him "my little Italian virtuoso".

I can understand where you are coming from however, I hate "jam bands" with a passion so I can see where others would feel the same about "shred guitar", it gets repetitive if not handled correctly.

Jeff said...

I went to a regional Burning Man event where one of the camps brought a jam band, I unfortunately was camping 15 feet away from their main tent. I now don't have any confusion as to why I hate jam bands. The same 8 bar blues progression in A... for 15 hour straight. That is the definition of hell.

Their "songs" all consisted of the exact same chord progression in the exact same key with some pedantic improvised melody over the top. Lyrically, at best they could be described as insipid.

Good, educated improvisation can be mind blowing. When your rehearsals consist of nothing more than learning a new 6 syllable chant over the top of your only unmoving, unmodulating, uninteresting harmony you're not artists, musicians or even a band. You're a script regurgitator.

If these guys were in a professional field like IT they would have been the first call to Comcast support, just expect them to read the script and if you throw anything interesting at them they'll panic.

The Dead, studied music, the jam band rip offs today... They get drunk, learn a chord progression and then beat it to death and call it music.

Love the article, spot on!