Unmet Expectations

I was just watching “Metal Evolution” on VH1 Classic. The “Grunge” episode. There were musicians ripping on seemingly grunge-influenced bands like Candlebox, Creed, etc. Whatever. My point is not to defend a particular band or era of music – that is all extremely subjective. What I do want to address is how angry people can become when their careers don’t quite turn out like they had envisioned. Be very careful to not get caught up in their negative energy. It is not good or helpful, and only makes people more cynical and asshole-ish.

Look, I fully understand there are myriad reasons to hate the realities and confines of the music industry on the whole. That is why I’m about to finish a book called, The Music Industry Doesn’t Have To Kill You. But, we all must try and get beyond crushed dreams and the shrapnel of dubious lies, and live life to the fullest.

Things rarely work out as we hoped, expected or built up in our minds – just like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. We often build things up in our minds to a point where if they don’t work out, we have absolutely no idea how to respond, other than ripping on everyone else that did make it.

Taylor Swift is one of the most talented and engaging entertainers, ever. One cannot deny the incredible “thing” she has going. She is spectacular. But I consistently hear people taking jabs at her. Why? Jealousy. Plain and simple. Taylor Swift has blown up to utterly-gargantuan proportions, and she continues to make the right moves. But I still hear that she isn’t a good singer, her songwriting is shallow, etc. Have you heard Bob Dylan “sing”?

If Taylor Swift called to hire you right now, you would gladly accept. Trust me, I saw the magic during her last tour.

Stop being negative.

It is one thing to not be a fan of something. It is another to simply try and tear it down because it’s not you.

I don’t like the New York Yankees or the New England Patriots, but I cannot deny the stellar legacy of both teams and their consistent competitive play.

Accept the fact that very, very, very few musicians will ever be rich and famous. If this is your dream, please check yourself. Don’t give up, but do your best to not unintentionally tear everyone around you down because it didn’t quite pan out like you hoped.




Team Taylor

Oh, Kanye.

So, on one hand, this Kanye taking the mic from Taylor thing from last night’s MTV VMAs is laughable. Seriously. Part of me wonders if it was planned between MTV and Kanye. Everyone is talking about that award show this morning.

But, let’s assume that’s not true, and that Kanye really is that selfish.

19-year old Taylor Swift won the first award of the night, Best Female Video. Kanye jumped up on-stage as Taylor was beginning her acceptance speech and took the mic from her. He proceeded to tell her he was happy for her, blah, blah, blah, but that Beyonce had “one of the best videos of all time.”

That’s great, Kanye. We all appreciate your opinion on a matter that clearly required you to steal the spotlight from one of the hottest musicians out there right now.

I love the irony of Beyonce going on to win Video of the Year later in the show, then completely giving her time to Taylor Swift.

That is class.

Kanye didn’t commit a crime, technically. But, in the minds of countless Taylor Swift fans, he did worse than that.

We will all (likely) continue to be hooked when we hear Kanye’s next melody, but you do have to wonder sometimes when it will all slow down for him. His infamous interruptions, comments and antics aren’t that big of a deal (technically), but they are starting to get kind of old.

When I woke up on Sunday morning at Bonnaroo 2008 and was looking for breakfast, I kept hearing random shouts of “f*ck Kanye!” I hadn’t waited up for his 2 am performance (which was changed at the last minute at his request, and he was still late!), and I’m glad I didn’t.

Garth at Fan Fair

Garth treated each person as if this moment mattered as much to him as to the fan. He had no quota on the number of autographs he gave a person. He signed T-shirts, sweatshirts, baseballs, CDs, cassettes, photos and scraps of paper. He had no strong-armed aides standing there ready to push people along. The thousand or so waiting fans could see that Garth was acting with goodness and fairness, and they responded with goodness and fairness of their own. He had no minions out there working the line, selling Garth Brooks merchandise either. If it was someone’s birthday, then he and the fans sang “Happy Birthday.” If it was a young girl who began to cry, he calmed her down, and let her feel and see that he was nothing but a man. If it was a child in a wheelchair, he had words to whisper into her ear that she carried away like precious secret jewels.

This man standing here was the greatest-selling solo performer in the history not simply of country music but all American music.”

So shares Laurence Leamer in his book Three Chords and the Truth, describing Garth’s surprise appearance at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville, for Fan Fair 1996, where he went on to sign autographs for 23 straight hours.

According to the Country Music Association’s website, the organization that sponsors the annual event, in 2008 Taylor Swift signed 900 autographs between 10 am and 6 pm, noted as the longest consecutive signing since Garth’s apparently-insurmountable 1996 hang with his fans.

By my calculations that is a total of 8 hours. Garth signed for 23 hours.

There’s a reason why Garth Brooks is Garth Brooks. And there’s a reason why Taylor Swift is currently taking the music world by storm.

Fan Fair is no longer Fan Fair. It is now called the CMA Music Festival, with an intention of broadening the musical appeal of the event beyond just country music.

Regardless, country music fans have a special and steadfast devotion to their favorite performers, something rarely seen in other genres of music.

This week in Nashville, some lucky fan will meet their favorite musician that will have little clue just how much the moment means to said fan.

Also this week in Nashville, some lucky country music star will have the privilege of meeting an individual that allows him/her to be where they are in the first place.

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