Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Just call me “Jack”

Yesterday when I began this personal blog journey I said that among other things, I wanted to use this forum as a chronicle of the musical events I attend here in "Music City" (Nashville, TN). The live music opportunities are so abundant here, anyone who has even a passing interest in nearly any type of popular music couldn't help but be thrilled. I've made a conscious effort to save the ticket stubs from every show I've seen in the last 5 years to serve as a way of reminding me about the experience. However the vast majority of shows I see are in local bars and small, general-admission venues that don't sell "tickets" per se, so that kind of defeats my memory-jogging system. So I think I'll just go back and try to recount the highlights of the shows that I can remember, and then obviously, begin in detail with the current events as they happen from this point forward.

Music is one of my two personal passions. I love to listen to it. I love to talk about it. My tastes are pretty broad, so don't be surprised to see just about any style discussed here. "Music Hounds," as I like to refer to folks such as myself, are among my favorite people. All my best friends are music hounds. If I had a single ounce of musical talent, I'm certain that would be my profession of choice. But alas, I have none, so I try to keep up with as much as I can to be conversational on just about all levels, while guarding against coming off as a smug asshole, which my wife constantly tells me I am dangerously close to being. It's a very fine line for me I know, but I seriously try to avoid the appearance if I can. Am I an idiot for admitting that? I dunno...but at least I suppose I'm admitting it to myself. That being said, there I have two credos I pretty much adhere to in both my approach to music, and especially in conversation with others about it:

1.) Don't be a snob. ALL music is music to somebody, and perhaps even you if you give it a chance.
2.) You are never as big a "fan" as you think you are. No matter how much you like a particular artist or musical style, or no matter how knowledgable you are in general, there is ALWAYS someone who knows more, has been a fan longer than you have, or places more of his self-worth on what he knows about said artist or style than you do (sad as that may be).

That has been my overriding experience in over 40 years of really being aware of what music is. I've learned its always better to listen politely than to get your ass handed to you in a pissing match with someone you think you're more knowledgable than. Unless the information is SO wrong that it simply HAS to be corrected, it's better to just let it go. There's nothing a know-it-all wants more than to be respected, so if you show it, you'll probably get it back as well.

And while I would love for you to think me noble and mature for having these attitudes, I really don't deserve the kudos, unless the basis for awarding them is that I've learned from my mistakes after looking and feeling like an ass on a number of occasions. :)

A lot of guys really take the notion of their musical knowledge and one-upsmanship in such conversation as an important part of their self-image, and that's fine for them. Although I definetly battle that same urge, I prefer to try to relegate that aspect of my passion for music to the recreational. I don't want to ever "have" to win the argument if it means exposing myself to ridicule if I'm in fact wrong about something. As introspective issues go, this is one I ponder a lot. I guess I've learned that I'm too much of a generalist to really be successful at that kind of thing. And I'm fine with that, because I've got a LOT of things that captivate my attention and curiosity on a daily basis. For me, it's okay to be a "Jack of all trades, and master of none."
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