Friday, October 12, 2012

This Is Soul Business

People often say that they were born in the wrong era.
And I'd be remiss if I didn't join in now and then. Living in the wild American West? Despite all the fun contagions and lack of body wash (love me some body wash), I think it'd be awesome. Some people want to ride with knights or dance with flappers or eat with Buddha. At the least, fudge my birthday a few years and let Semisonic and The Wallflowers guide the 90's teen years I never had.

But to the point, I feel like I missed out on the era of American rock and roll, blues, R & B, pop.
I'm reading a biography right now on the late, great Bill Graham. He defined the times. He shaped the face of the music industry as we know it today. And I never got to meet him. I just get to look out on the industry, from my small but wonderful role, and see what he accomplished. In his book, Bill talks about the come-up. The rising action. When Otis Redding was hitting the stage. When Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison skyrocketed to godhood and came crashing down. When music went from lounges and jazz festivals to concerts, to festivals, to arenas. When Carlos Santana was trying to sneak into shows after school.

And I never got to experience that, you know? Don't get me wrong. Things are changing everyday. The world is changing and the industry is changing. But I can't shake the feeling that I missed out, just a bit. The way these music legends- Pete Townshend, Jerry Garcia, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton- talk about the events unfolding, it just seems stunning. Breathless and exciting and chaotic. I've been working in the music industry for over eight years now, and I've seen some incredible shows. Some near-perfect performances and audiences to match. But I've never felt anything like what they describe. The interplay between the musician and the audience, with both parties feeding off of each other, escalating and exuding energy. The way that a band can captivate an audience to the point where they won't leave their spots for anything. 

I never got to meet Bill Graham, or see the world he lived in. And it bums me out a bit. There's nothing I can do about it, except keep working, keep loving the music and honoring his memory. And keep on waiting for those perfect, fleeting moments. Where the music hits you and you never forget the feeling.

Bill Graham, speaking to Neil Cassady:

"This is just show business, Neal."
"This is soul business, Bill."

Locking myself away in my dorm room to study for midterms. Just me, game theory, and the music.

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