Continuing to Trust the Process

Two things today:

First off, if you’re not already watching John’s bass tutorials on Wednesday, you should. They’re fairly short – this last one clocking in at a teensy bit over seven minutes – and they are highly entertaining, particularly if, like me, you’ve always wanted a birds eye view of what the song evolutionary process is really like!

Yesterday, John went into a little depth about Girls on Film, diving in and explaining everything from the beginning groove to finished bass line product. Dissecting the song to this level, down to the beginning thoughts of using octave intervals as the bass line, made my ears happy. I loved hearing the differences over the course of the process, and yes – one can see how you really do have to “Trust the Process” when it comes to songwriting. I can hardly wait for more!

Along those same lines, I tuned back in to listen to John welcome Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) to a Q&A session. I must admit that while I’ve enjoyed a few of their (The Bangles) songs over the years, I’ve never been a die hard fan. Listening to Susanna talk about her career was fresh and new to me. She seems delightful and kind, not at all “Hollywood Fake-y”, which I appreciated. Somewhere deep and hidden within the cobwebbed caverns of my brain, I vaguely recalled hearing that Prince had written “Manic Monday” for them. Listening to Susanna explain how she drove herself down to Prince’s studio to get it, and then what it felt like to hear it for the first time, gave new life to a fun and easy song I never minded hearing on the radio. Good old pop music, right?

The best part of John’s Q&A sessions is that so far, they’ve encouraged me to seek new music. Last week, after he chatted with Dave from Chromeo, I spent some quality time with Spotify and their catalog, enjoying a lot of what I heard. Later today, it’s time for some of Susanna’s music. She’s even writing a novel, which I’m looking forward to reading when it comes out. My point of course is that it’s never too late to find new music that makes your ears and heart happy.

Which brings me to item number two: what have you been doing to occupy your time during this pandemic? Have you been seeking creative outlets? Arguing politics? Relentless social media posts? Cleaning? Cooking? Eating?? Finding new music, perhaps??

That last one has taken up residency on my to-do list as of late. I’ve been spending increasing amounts of time on Spotify, scrolling through my curated playlists that Spotify throws together, based on my listening habits. (good luck with THAT, Spotify!) I’m discovering new bands I’ve never heard of, older bands I’ve still never heard of, and music I somehow completely missed along the way. I’ve also downloaded the app “Readly”, and have been spending an ungodly amount of time reading music magazines, when I should be cleaning this house. Shhhhhh

The fact is, I’ve gotten supremely lazy with my listening. Instead of working to find something new, I stick with what I know. Books I’m currently reading and articles I’ve read this week tell me that at my age (which is far from old, but also kind of far from young), this is normal behavior. It takes work to find new music. It’s EASY to stick to things we know, and if you don’t want to spend a lot of time searching – what do you do? You find that old playlist that has gotten WAY too much of your tine lately, hit “play”, and move on…am I right? You know what you like!

Well, I do that too. I know what I like. I also know that for several years now, I’ve stopped listening. I play new DD albums when one comes out. Pop the CD into my car stereo, and leave it there for months. (Okay, years) Listen to it over, and over again. I get so sick of it (yes, I really do), that I eventually stop listening to all of their music, and switch to First Wave on SiriusXM. That’s all fine and good, except that on First Wave, I usually hear nothing new. I’m digging my own grave here. So, I decided enough was enough, and have forced myself out of the box. Or coffin.

After nearly 50 years of listening to everything from “Patty Cake” to “Don’t Start Now” (Dua Lipa), at the very least, I know what has pleased my ears in the past. That’s something to start from! Team that with being a musician myself, and I’ve got zero excuses. So now it’s just a matter of training myself to try so that it feels normal to me, rather than some strange, foreign exercise. I’m not quite there yet.

With that, I am wickedly tardy and must be on my way….this house isn’t going to clean itself!

-R

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