I remember a camping trip I went on for Cadets (back in grade 9) and a friend said to me that, for him, the trip sucked because it was three days without music. I agreed with him then, and I still do now. If I’m not listening to music, then there’s music going through my brain, cluttering up my thoughts and preventing me from thinking of something more important.

I can understand playing music at a somewhat high volume while wearing headphones, but I don’t understand idiots in their souped-up cars with their expensive stereo systems blasting their crap tunes to everyone with decent hearing in a 500-foot radius. Why do you want everybody to hear what you’re listening to, and why do you want to destroy your hearing before you reach the age of 20? (I’ve never seen any of them wear earplugs, by the way.) The majority of the time I see these morons in their cars with their hip shades on the bridge of their nose, their hat on sideways, their left hand draped over the steering wheel and their music BLASTING, they’re playing rap music. I’m not going to judge the choice of music, but I am going to judge the volume level. Unless you’re wearing earplugs, what’s the point of having the volume in your car up so high? I fail to see how cranking the volume in your car and rolling down the windows makes you cool, bad, or “dangerous”. If you have no respect for your hearing, then go right ahead, but be forewarned: you can’t get your hearing back.

The Canadian Government is in the motions of passing a bill that would make sharing copyrighted material illegal. You know what that means: music and movies can’t be shared online anymore for free. I may be a downloader, but I didn’t stop buying CDs after I started using Napster back in 1999. I was, however, more CAREFUL in what I handed over my money for. When I first moved down here to the lower mainland, I got rid of about 30 CDs that I didn’t think were worth owning anymore to pawn shops. Now I buy CDs only when I’ve heard everything on them. Of course, I can go to HMV and listen to entire CDs at the listening centre, so why don’t I do that? Because they don’t let you listen to any CD that you want; only those they’re trying to get rid of or the ones that are popular and selling faster. They only let you be selective to a point.

I think Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs are necessary. I understand the music industry is losing a lot of money because of these programs, but I also think that people are tired of buying a CD that has only 2 good songs. How much money does the music industry need anyway? I know the artists need the money in order to keep performing and furthering themselves as artists (you know, doing drugs, drinking, soliciting prostitutes, getting your teenage daughter drunk backstage and gangbanging her while taking photos and video of it to share on the internet and all those other good things that bands do in the interest of music), but is there some calculation that the public can be shown so we have a better understanding of WHY the music industry needs so much of our hard-earned cash? A lot of any consumer’s money goes to taxes, so why should I give up even more to the music industry? If there’s a good CD out there that I want, then I will definitely buy it. But until then, I’ll download and share in the interest of getting the most out of my dollar.

If you’ve ever been to a concert, have you wondered why some people throw things at the bands that are playing? Why spend plenty of your money to stand in a sea of people throwing whatever you can get your hands on? I heard on the Vancouver radio station, 99.3 The Fox that, in Scotland, the guitarist for Kasabian was hit in the head by a bottle thrown by some moron in the crowd. If they didn’t like the band, why didn’t they leave?

Moshing: I don’t understand the concept of pushing people around and throwing punches as a reaction to hearing music. All these fools pushing each other around and falling into others who are simply there to see the band (and enjoy their music) is completely baffling to me. Jumping around, dancing, or singing along I can understand, for these are all forms of musical expression. But not throwing your arms around like a wild animal and pushing your fellow crowd members to the floor. Then again, I’m sober at these concerts. Maybe I need to be drunk? I can imagine how many fights have been started because of moshing, and it makes me laugh.

And what, exactly, is the point of being a “groupie”? You’re around the band all the time and they fuck you and then go do their set and then fuck you some more and you go with them to their next gig and they fuck you yet again…is that it? I’ve seen the movies “Almost famous” and “Rock star”, and I still can’t understand why women go nuts for “rock stars”. Then again, I don’t understand “rock stars” either; especially the ones who are married yet still mate with groupies. Why do women feel the need to become sluts for a guy who’s in a band? Why does it matter so much if the band is famous? What makes them appealing: their money, fame, or the way they sing a song? I’m not jealous that there are lots of guys in lots of bands getting it on with different chicks every night and I’m sitting here at home typing this shit up; in fact, I’d rather be in a loving, caring relationship, knowing that the person I’m sleeping next to at night isn’t going to take my wallet (and a picture of my drunk self passed out) and run. I’d sleep better at night knowing that the woman who’s sleeping with me actually loves me for who I am and not because I have a video on MTV that’s in the top 10 that week.

It irks me that Metallica sued people for sharing the band’s music. I don’t know how much money each band member has individually, but why sue people who are listening to your music and sharing it with those who may be curious but not able to (or not wanting to) buy the albums at the time? People will do anything to get something for free, and as long as there are computers, microphones, speakers and audio programs, there will be MP3s (or some similar audio format). The music industry can hire Bill Gates and his team of programmers to combat this evil, but there will always be hackers out there who will find ways to transfer music from CDs to some kind of playable file on their computer and share it with others.

The bottom line is: the music industry wants to prevent us from listening to music unless we pay for it. If the government passed the bill to make the sharing of copyrighted material illegal, I’m guessing that they would make P2P file sharing programs (like Morpheus, DC++, Napster, Kazaa, WinMX, etc) illegal to own/run/share/use. Now, if that’s so, wouldn’t it make sense to ban the use of boomboxes? After all, you can record anything you want from the radio with a boombox. The same goes for VCRs: you can tape a music video, and therefore, be in possession of copyrighted music. As I said, I’m not wasting 20 bucks on a CD that isn’t worth buying for 1 or 2 songs. And buying the CD-single, in my opinion, is a rip off. The singles cost approximately $5, a QUARTER of the price of a CD…for ONE SONG. It all relates to money, greed and how pompous the music industry has been for quite some time. Still, you’ve gotta feel for those artists who are putting themselves out there and trying to make some decent music while living off the revenue of what they’ve already produced. To me, it’s a tug-of-war situation.

Now about the music itself: there are many classifications out there for what types of music exists today. What exactly is defined by “rock” music? Why is the “rock” of the ‘60’s so much different than the “rock” of now? I believe that artists should change and evolve ideas and NOT stay in the same mindset for an entire career (but not to the point of selling out). Here’s what I mean: if Nirvana was still around today and they suddenly changed their style of music (from “Nevermind” and “In utero”) to the styles of Maroon 5, Hoobastank or even 98 degrees, then THAT would be “selling out”. Obviously Led Zeppelin’s style of rock is different than Theory of a Deadman’s style but, in the end, isn’t it all “rock” music? I listen to a wide variety of music, but I’m starting to have a tough time classifying what most of it is. Is there a true, one-time definition for what rock, metal, rap and country are?

How about artists who write songs because they have things to say about the planet, the political climate, or the world in general? The metaphors they use to describe things and the way they disguise what they’re actually trying to say is an art in itself. A friend of mine told me that filmmakers hide meanings and opinions about certain topics in their films in the forms of events taking place, symbolism, or characters’ lines. I asked her why the filmmakers don’t just SAY what they’re thinking. She told me that hiding it and making people think about it for themselves is part of the “art” of filmmaking. Could it be the same thing with music?

Could there be higher powers in the music industry; corporate giants who are controlling what comes out through most of the mainstream record labels? When some band comes up with a catchy-sounding chorus line, might the corporate giants send out agents to control how the song is edited (and in some cases, rewrite it to accommodate that catchy-sounding chorus), then release it and have the radio stations play it over and over again to generate a lot of interest in the upcoming album that the single in question is from? And, people being people, they listen to something a lot, get tired of it, and move on. By that time, the corporate giants have found the next “hit” and are already applying the same formula. Imagine the money a record label can make off of a CD single. Think of how much money Lou Bega’s CD “Mambo No.5” must have made when it was released: $5 for the CD single multiplied by a million people in North America just DYING to get their hands on it, add some taxes, and a “special limited edition, signed-copy” print of the single (that sells for $5 more), and BOOM, the money flows in. And those “signed copies”? Don’t believe it. Unless you see the artist in person and have them sign whatever you have with your very own writing utensil, it can’t be a real signature. It’s most likely one of those stamps that’s manufactured in some warehouse in Guatemala and plastered onto everything that the artist/company/record label is trying to sell. Have you ever gotten a letter from your bank introducing you to some new “options” (or just some pure bullshit in bank terms commonly referred to as “options”)? The “signature” of the bank president is always at the bottom of the letter…a STAMPED signature.

Wasn’t rock music originally the rebellion of everything that was mainstream? Musicians may have gotten tired of the “happy go-lucky” tunes of the ‘40’s and ‘50’s, but that “revolution” caught on quickly, and now it has become government influenced/approved/controlled rock ‘n’ roll. There are still record labels out there (most of them independent) that let artists say and do what they want, but they’re slowly being bought out or driven out of business. There will always be groups out there (mainly religious) who will have a problem with people who express themselves musically…like Marilyn Manson. When I was in grade 8, there were rumours going around that Mr. Manson had some ribs surgically removed so he could suck his own dick. What would be the point of spreading that, and more importantly, WHO started it? I think people base their opinions more on what a person looks than what they have to say, and in this day and age when visual art can be manipulated with computer graphics and then marketed for lots of money, people will get hooked on what looks good rather than what is important, what makes you think, and who has something to say…or has it happened already?

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