Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dave Grohl and the Economics of Genre

Before I begin, I'd like to preface that I have the utmost respect for Dave Grohl. The music that he's helped create in the last 23 years as a part of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fast track his entry to the Hall of Fame.

At the Grammy Awards this evening, Dave Grohl said something that stuck out to me while making his acceptance speech for Best Rock Performance for the Foo Fighters' "Walk".

In the speech, Grohl made it a point to mention playing instruments and working at your craft to be a better musician.

I respected the speech, but the issue that I have is that not every kid can afford instruments to play and some neighborhoods here in the Bronx have it very difficult.

There are a lot of very talented, but underprivileged kids that don't have easy access to these instruments.

A lot of people turn to rap music because it's fiscally easier to handle. All you need is the gift of wordplay and a good beat (which can be vocally or digitally manufactured) and you have a song.

R&B music is very much the same way. All you need is your voice and music (which again can be very easy to make digitally).

In a world where your parents can barely afford to pay for rent, food, or even clothing, buying a $500 electric guitar with a $300 amp isn't really the answer.

It's a lot like sports. Not everyone can pay a couple of hundred dollars for the equipment to play football whereas you only need yourself, a round ball, and a hoop to play basketball or yourself, a round ball and a couple of placeholders to play soccer.

In either case, you make do with what you have rather than what you want to have.

It's all about money. If there were schools that would offer free lectures to kids that are aspiring musicians regardless of their socioeconomic class, that would be a wonderful way to bring kids to perform, hang out with each other and learn about each other (and how people don't all live the same way) and experience the ability to make music for fun together and eventually explore making music for a living.

Again, I have no problem with what Dave said aside from not recognizing that not everyone has access to affordable instruments to play with. However, this can change with lobbying from famous musicians (*ahem* Mr. Grohl) so that they can either begin new programs for kids to learn instruments and sing or enhance programs that already exist.

If there's one musician that I have faith to incorporate this change, it's Dave freakin' Grohl.

1 comment:

WadeH said...

I'd be surprised if Grohl had rap or R&B in mind when he made those comments. I took it as an indictment of the over-produced, auto-tuned product of the popular music machine.