I'm just thinking about what I said before and wondering if I'm contradicting myself." - Lester Bangs
Whenever I sit down and try to write something about music I start daydreaming about something else entirely.... Writing for me is an Alzheimer's patient driving down Route 66, taking detours, forgetting, losing and coming out the end of a wormhole. It's liberation, but i haven't felt free for quite some time.
There is a myth perpetrated by the material world that you need the best of everything to do anything worthy. Get the best gadget. Buy the most rugged mountain boots. Use this product because it's the best designed and you deserve it. When you use our devices you will be more creative, productive and attractive women will be more inclined to go home with you.
There are clever marketers and advertising people trying to hijack your mind so that you will buy their client's brand or whatever. The decision making faculties of a consumer have been deconstructed by geeks in labs. Or geeks like me. It is really fun dissecting human behavior.
There are 2 basic ways to get people to buy what you are selling:
1. Study the consumer and then create products and services they will buy. Craft messages they will hear. Throw money at the challenge. Let's just put all those bored housewife magazines at the checkout counter: the ones that make people feel ugly, inadequate, eat more and buy more cosmetic and beauty products.
2. Create a product or service and then look for a market. Where there is no market - create one. Stimulate demand for your 70's clothing shop by throwing 70's Pimp parties! Who cares if you didn't want Widget X - we will make you want one. Learn the language of the consumer. Craft message to inspire action.
There is more to marketing, advertising and public relations than my explanations, but the point is to look for alternatives and to destroy the concept of marketing like any good artist or anarchist.
3. Create something that is awesome. Something that needs little marketing calculations. Something that requires no advertisements at Superbowl halftime. Create something just because the creation itself is an honest an accurate representation of your soul. That is kind of rebellious nowadays. How many of us are tracking out Facewank Likes on our Facebook page before we've actually done anything? I see these posts on public Facebook music community pages: Like my Facebook page! Yes, but who the fuck are you?! Telling someone to like your page before asking them to listen to the music is revolting. Sadly, there are people that will judge their own talent, skills and worth by their social media popularity. All these likes and engagements on social media don't add up to jack fucking shit if there is no engagement and no real desire to hear or see your music or your live shows. A pop star in SE Asia may have close to 1 million likes on his Facebook page. You would think that someone might show up for their event. You would be wrong. Those likes were bought with sponsored ads or the efforts of media firms. Technology has created unprecedented opportunities for anyone to create something cool, distribute it, and sometimes make some money. Still, much of what exists is garbage. Stop marketing and create. The fact is, when something is really cool, it just spreads but you cannot set out to be viral. With a goal of being popular, or rich, you may achieve those things but still end up mediocre. Mother Teresa was inspiring, so was Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Their goals were beyond selfish interests - they had a mission to serve a community, to share a message. The followers just came.
Congratulations: You Are a Digital Content Editor (Now, Hang Yourself!)
I am inspired to write this today (actually writing over a few days) as I consider how tech obsessed I've become. When I first started traveling, I'd put my thoughts down onto notebooks. There was no personal blog. Times have changed and introverted writers everywhere found they can self-publish. They had to! Soon the writer in me died a bit and "Digital Content Editor" is what I put on my LinkedIn profile. I am heavily reliant on machines now spending much time in the digital universe. And no one gives a fuck about writers or philosophers... unless you are Kanye West.
"I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life." - Kanye West
All my computers are dying. Technology is not for me. In the last few months, I have dropped my tablet and lost my smartphone. My MacBook is on its way out. The entire blog was created with it. But why am I eulogizing a machine? The computer didn't write or take photos. Everyone has a friend who thinks simply by buying the best computer, or latest software, or best musical instrument that they will automatically be inspired to create beautiful things. It's not only our friends. How many hours have I spent looking at gadgets in the electronics shops and browsing online buyer guides. The fact is none of these devices have ever made me more creative. Having to fight with my aging computers limitations has, in fact, made me more creative. And I was never so free as when I just had a pen and paper racing down the highway of time and imagination.
I wrote more with no distractions in the old days before desktop publishing, blogs, iPhones, Facebook, digital cameras. Photographs weren't always instant. We once had to wait for them for a day, then an hour and then with digital cameras we could share them immediately. The rise in social media meant we could share things instantly. But in our world of American Idol, everything now, me me me, selfish fucking selfie addictions, the commodity of narcissism we have lost our souls and are de-evolving into soul-less beings. We can do anything, be anything, go anywhere yet as a human civilization, as "content creators" for social media "user-generated content" websites we've stopped creating and saying anything more original than: look at me and how much better my life is compared to yours. Social media is a huge public relations game for the brand YOU.
Our over-reliance of technology separates us from reality rather than connects us to it.
The Rock Philosopher has been in the process of becoming the "Rock Digital Content Editor" but after listening to legendary rock critic, Lester Bangs, in a 90 minute interview, I think I'd rather be the former. Back in 1998, I arrived in Asia with the intention of staying a year and then returning to graduate school for creative writing. Well, I'm still here and have neither the money or the inclination to go to graduate school. Plus the idea of studying something as fulfilling as creative writing in a place like Iowa is just ridiculous. Most people do not need a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing - that would be the most useless fucking degree imaginable. Take the money and go build houses in South America for indigenous people in rain forests. An MFA in creative writing was just a way to stall the inevitable... One day Dave, you will have to work.
Expansions just happens - does it need to be planned like a strategic marketing event? I am canceling the plan to build a Wordpress site - it's stupid and after looking at lame websites for all different kinds of publications, I realize I'm just a writer and not a content editor. No kid ever says, 'My goal is to be the best content editor the industry has ever seen." If you're kid said that you'd think he was ambitious and without many original ideas. When ideas simply become "content" - useless stuff or "copy" to achieve higher rankings in Google, you can see why our world suffers. I once took a job as a copywriter for an online jewelry company - my responsibility was to write original copy for each item in their inventory staring with the letter 'A'. That did not last long.
No one really trusts marketing anyway. We all know the lingo of marketers. These are people whose highest aspirations include million dollar mansions, a New York Times bestseller and a jet transporting him from one speaking event to another - at $25,000 an hour it's not bad. It's understandable why civilization is in decline. I don't see many books about "Creating Peace in the Middle East" or "Fighting Human Traffickers". We are all busy hoarding money and power and then wondering why life is so unfulfilling. We may be living longer by selling our souls.
I have no idea how I got where I am. In the goal-driven results oriented world, we've lost the spirit to digress, to ramble on, and wander in the desert with Jim Morrison and the lizard brain. We want everything to make sense and be logical. We approach the arts the same way. Whose got time to waste?
Rock is dead.
I know Marilyn Manson said this and I wouldn't trust anything he had to say considering his mascara choices, but like the death of God sometime around - what was the date? - rock is dead as well. The ghosts and ghouls of the dead rock n rollers line the hallways - I suppose we are all a bit possessed.
If its not challenging its own genre, its probably a carbon copy of something else. Corporate-sponsored music will never challenge anyone because it aims only to please a comatose mediocre majority. Everything Lester Bangs said abut music in 1980, is still true today.
Like Bilbo Baggins, I need to get away to the mountains. I could probably rent a place for 2 weeks and just write all day in between long walks, cheap coffee. Be free on the Route 66 and goodbye real world. I need to check out for a long time if I am going to get the writing done for the book. Or did I quit my horrible ob just to be lazy?
In conclusion to today's long meandering missive - you're still with me right? - I would like to thank Lester Bangs and Hunter S. Thompson for inspiring me to grow some balls and strengthen my spine... and of course, the great philosopher/ artist, Kanye West. Route 66