Music 101: Passion

Music is like sex in a lot of ways. Both are forms of communication that transcend words. Both push the limits of how much fun a person can have. And a good sense of rhythm provides greater pleasure to your partner/audience.

Recording is like romantic love. You should take your time to make sure you get it right. You should pay attention to every detail. You should communicate as honestly as possible. You should be aiming for eternity.

Playing live is most like sex: pounding and sweaty, the air filled with rough animal noises. You should be aiming for immediacy. When it is over you should feel drained and sore, having held nothing back.

Janis Joplin photographed by David Gahr – holding nothing back

Every musician I know became one because something burned inside them that they could not find another way to adequately express. Once we learned how to channel that burning thing into our instruments, we found ways to express other things – sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrifying – that were different from our original passionate urges. Sometimes we were embarrassed by that raw emotion, the way an older child is embarrassed by the memory of their infantile self. But, like punk rockers reacting to the excesses of progressive rock, we need to return to our inciting passion to keep from running dry.

“One more time,” the singer tells the band, “with feeling.”

Your stitches are all out 
But your scars are healing wrong 
The helium balloon inside your room has come undone 
And it's pushing up at the ceiling 
And the flickering lights it cannot get beyond 

Everyone takes turns 
Now it's yours to play the part 
And they're sitting all around you 
Holding copies of your chart 
And the misery inside their eyes is 
Synchronized and reflecting into yours 

Hold on 
One more time with feeling 
Try it again, breathing's just a rhythm 
Say it in your mind until you know that the words are right 
This is why we fight 

You thought by now you'd be 
So much better than you are 
You thought by now they'd see 
That you had come so far 
And the pride inside their eyes 
Would synchronized into a love you've never known 
So much more than you've been shown 

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