It goes without saying that across the USA, we can experience an incredible amount of variety when it comes to foods, fashions, and of course, musical styles. Musicians of all walks of life are known to stay up late at night to debate the merits of great song writers as well as the vast number of commercial bands that aren’t worth a darn. Besides discussing the concepts of certain music styles being palatable or not we like to put down recording artists who we find uninspiring and uninteresting. Some of this pro and con talk can have cultural bias and I’ve noticed that everybody seems to be an expert when it comes to live or recorded music. It’s also fun to share music with friends. The expression we used when playing a new album for someone was ‘let me turn you on to this’. This jargon has multiple uses. You can also turn on a friend to certain foods, movies, or marijuana for that matter.
After playing a recent outdoor concert, my band of Dave Yamasaki, Dan Benson, Merwin Kato, and Gordon Uchima hung out to shoot the breeze. At one point, I mentioned the fact that when I listen to certain avant-guard musicians jam, there seems to be a lot of anger and hostility in their music, Dave said that it might be related to their cultural history and perhaps the music is a statement that reflects centuries of oppression. I believe this to be a valid idea.
Some musical lyrics are actually quite corny. Yellow Submarine, Walter Wart The Freaky Frog, and Winchester Cathedral come to mind. They were big hits though and I do admire the business accomplishments of being famous and generating revenue. Musical styles like these seem to tell us that if a musician or band becomes famous enough they can virtually play whatever they want to and that my friends can definitely be construed as a wonderful situation to be in.
Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at email@example.com.