Musicians Should Learn To Laugh At Themselves For Having Crappy Influences

One time, I left my music player’s speakers on low while I was dozing off. I heard this one electropop-style song there and wondered, “What kind of shitty band is that and why is that shitty song on my playlist?” Turns out it was one of my old songs. I don’t remember which one, though.

Moral of the story: Musicians should learn to laugh at themselves and make fun of their own work from time to time. A good sense of self-deprecating humour keeps inflated egos in check. I am not special, I am not that good, I can only play chords with my left hand on the piano, but I’m just artistically stubborn. That’s how I keep making music over the years even if very few people listen to it, or even when I think it’s not that good.

The other day, I was reading this Noisey article called “EVERY INFLUENCE YOUR SHITTY BAND ISN’T ALLOWED TO HAVE ANYMORE“. While there is some truth to what the authors are saying (that many recent bands since the 90’s claim to have been influenced or inspired by the same books and ideas), I saw it as a humorous way to look at famous bands that this generation have given sacrosanct value.

Some people got offended for having their favourite bands made fun of, because said band XYZ cites ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and Orwell’s ‘1984’ as influences.

It’s like you can’t make fun of bands or artists for saying contrived things during interviews. As far as I’m concerned, overly-serious artists eventually get tiring and boring if they cannot even make fun of themselves. This is why I love Weird Al and the fact that Nirvana’s members found his parody of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ hilarious.

To tell you the truth, most of my influences are not the ‘right’ ones. I tried reading ‘Dune’ but found it too slow and dragging. I tried to like Fugazi because you’re supposed to like them if you’re a ‘real’ punk rock kid, but it felt forced because my ears enjoyed Minor Threat, and found Ian MacKaye’s DIY philosophy more attractive than his post-MT music. I was the punk kid who liked U2’s ‘Joshua Tree’ and underrated prog-rockers King’s X. I learned more about guitar music theory from listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins than Johnny Ramone.

Not that people care about it, but some of my influences are:

1.Sound Of Music

2. KC & The Sunshine Band

3. early Air Supply songs

4. The Beatles when they started getting weird

5. an old mixtape of death metal bands whose names I did not bother to find out (but played loud for kicks in college to drown out the neighbours’ horrible karaoke)

6. every pop-rock song that is a version of Don Henley’s ‘Boys Of Summer’ (those chorus-y ringing guitars are ear candy)

7. 80’s Super Sentai music, especially the Choudenshi Bioman songs sung by Takayuki Miyauchi

I’m like that gourmet chef who prefers to just have an egg sandwich at home. In fact, as a longtime cook who has worked in fine dining in the past, I’d be a happy Filipino with lugaw and ginisang mais at home.

Every other musical or artistic influence is either minor or secondary. 😉


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