Elvis, did he need?

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Even at their level of success, or pick an artist, -- at some point -- whatever they produced -- did folks around them possibly even say "nothing" concerning their work, songwriting, performances?

So, as this concerns "us" here, you and me, -- ever reach a point where whatever you do musically speaking -- folks around you just say, essentially nothing, -- and you're left wondering, -- so what happened? Good, bad, OK... and then folks are like (when asked, somehow), it's -- "yeah... love it, great, like the rest" (not all your work, but the ones that get "finished", practiced for use, etc., -- not all the demos we share with each other, and understand is an idea framed out sonically in one first draft version).

When that happens (happens to you?) -- I always wonder what that means. You?

[This is separate from the very different question, "why do this at all", -- who could stop! Smile ]

So, ever wonder if Elvis, Hendrix, Paul Simon (he speaks about this actually), Annie Lennox, Alanis Morrisette, Sheryl Crow ... ever wonder, hmmm, what are folks thinking?!

-- Whatever that may mean.

I think the very successful, as a caveat, e.g., Michael Jackson, they are told it's ALL just AMAZING, but if "smart" are on guard for that, always, too. (That was told to be an issue in his regard, I have heard.)

So, as 5090 is finished and many have MANY songs to parse through, -- what are the folk around you saying? And, what's it mean? I would "argue", even an Elvis needs to be told, authentically, "wow, now that's just another amazing piece of work", -- eh?


PS: Anyone here just know they "suck" but because of their passion for their work, folks like their stuff anyway? Wink ... it all just "comes through" and is "good", enjoyable, nonetheless?

PF Sloan complained that none of the artists, from the top to the bottom, received validation for their work in the music industry. I am too busy writing songs to wonder what other people really think sbout them. Most likely they dont think about them at all. When somebody pays a much higher price than what I am asking for on Bandcamp, it makes me feel good, but somtimes I wonder even then if it is just charity. I have been writing songs for ober fifty years now, and I know thtat I dont suck. I also know that the marginal audience for my type of music is rapidly dwindling. But I believe in myself and the value of what I do, For over ten years I made my living as a music critic, so I have a realistic view of where I fit into thw overall scheme of things. If someone put one of my records on at a party, someone else would take it off before the first song was over. What encourages me in FAWN are not the specific comments, but the fact that they listen n the first place. And with Bndca,p I can see who listens to a whole song, who turns ot off haldway, and who doest give it a chance. I like hearing what others do as much as i like having others listen to my stuff. It is an invaluable platform for sharing each others work.

About Elvis -- I have so much respect for him -- and I used to think he was simply shallow product. After a couple of trips to Graceland, and reading a bit and listening to a lot of his stuff, it's really obvious that he was both musically a genius and personally quite reflective, along with being entirely genuine and quite generous and kind. He knew when his stuff was crap and when it wasn't, and he came to realize that the people around him making decisions for him were not exactly always thinking about his best interests as an artist or a human being.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about what others think, since it's a hobby and not a vocation for me. Biggrin

when the elvis energy goes out of your music, you dont have much left to work with.

@ustaknow I have all of my Ableton Live Project (99 percent of my songs this year) from 5090 2019 and I don't know what to do with it. When I go to remix I get the same thing every time. Yeah, I do some cut back on reverb and delay but that only takes a minute and I'm sitting here with all of these projects that need pro help. Also, separating drums has proven to be more of a hassle than it is worth. I understand that every second of audio is a make it or break it. Anyway, except for Battery, my drums come with their own mixer and changing a few panning settings and no reverb on the drums seems to be 10 times faster and sounds the same. So I have all this music that I burned to CD and upload many to the internet. Nothing changes except that I don't get comments. Why do this at all? It's just a hobby but if I could sell records (I can't) that would be cool too. I'm considering lowering the price of my albums on Bandcamp but I don't think that will increase income. You have to have a band and you have to have a show. Elvis had that but I'm sure Pricilla would rather talk about money than music. Suck? Some people can't even play an Am chord or carry a tune. I don't think about suck I think about how to make it better. During the challenge, we have to keep moving. This time a year though we can work on tracks that need polish. Turns out that in most cases my remix did not produce enough difference so I canned the project (not completely). I'd love to have a fresh set of pro ears do some remixing for me. Ableton Live anybody?

@billwhite51, if somebody turned one of my records on at a party I would turn it off myself...lol. Yep, still makes me cringe. However, my latest CD I finished up last night (5090 stuff) I tried something I haven't done in a while and ended up calling it my hippy mix. I was sitting out here in the living room and I heard "California Dreaming" come over the stereo and I noticed the beautiful sound of wide vocals so this inspired me to attempt a CD mix. I did play the whole CD last night and in many ways it sounds much better. Sadly, on the headset, it sounds like crap. Oh, and I haven't written a song in a long time. I need this challenge and FAWM to get any listeners and commenters. My Bandcamp is very lonely. Same thing with SoundCloud...nothing unless I upload new audio. I've lost my groove though and can't produce anything with vocals right now. I can't use material that doesn't include lyrics and singing. Put those two together and you got no songwriting production. So, it's back to remix and I'm tired of that under the hood tweaking with no place to put them. I can't even figure out what songs go together because it was quite random for my songwriting this year. Maybe just ditch the whole thing and wait for the next challenge FAWM. At least I got establish on Bandcamp and SoundCloud. Play live for a living? No experience, too old, no band, bad memory, and nowhere to play. They don't even have open mic at Sam Ash anymore. Nope, my listeners are on the internet and I sure appreciate the support I have gotten this year Bill. Many others were very nice to me as well. It was a good 5090. I had more fun and more contact this year than any of my previous challenges. The way I did that was to take time out to listen to music and read lyrics. This is something I had to work on because I felt I don't have an interest which leads to me missing out on the gist of the challenge. Yes, Jerry, there are people in the group that are much better than you...lol. Clearly this is true and more I dig into people's lyrics and demos the better my experience with the visit. So much talent and great audio here yet it seems "Nobody" even cares now that the challenge is over. I actually had a plan to make CDs which started in the second week of July when I came out of retirement. Of course, I want to sell them but I don't have a band and the competition is very tough. So these songs will go into my stack of CDs...lol.

@TomS; I read somewhere that Elvis personally phoned up Maybelle Carter and apologized to her for wrecking "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

Yeah, I've mostly given up on caring if anyone hears, let alone likes, my songs (except for you fine folks at FAWM and 50/90 - I truly appreciate the love and support I've received here).
Folks outside of this community (besides my wife, of course) just don't seem to care.
For example, I've burned CDs of some of my stuff for my bandmates, but it's like throwing it in to a black hole; no feedback at all.
When I ask them if they've listened to any of it, at most I get back, "Yeah, I did." That's it.
I've even played them some tracks and they just end up talking over them, which I think is quite rude.

Sorry for the complaints.
This is an interesting topic.

Fuzzy ...Do you know when Elvis made that call? Was it after he made the record or during the Vegas years? because at Vegas he made an intentional mockery of the song , one that i can imagine him apologizing to her for..but not the original recording. that was beautiful.

No, I'm not sure.
I tried to track a date down, but can't find it amongst all these music books I have. I'll keep looking and let you know if I find it.

An interesting thread, and glad some folks are still around! (I'm trying to work up even a little bit of enthusiasm for doing another Rocktober song - I know a few of you good folks will give it a listen, and I have a couple of performances in November so I could record as I rehearse. But the extra hassle of putting it on Soundcloud versus my 50/90 hosting - yes, I know it's like 5 extra minutes of work - is one of the things holding me back.)
Back to the discussion - I'll talk Elvis. Those first recordings of his (well maybe not the very first, but the Sun Records songs) were so ridiculously electrifying and unique. I bet a lot of people who first heard those just didn't know what to think! Any what about that unquantifiable something that made him The One, instead of Carl Perkins or Johnny Cash or Charlie Rich or any of the other Sun artists?
But how did the folks back in Tupelo react? Probably the very same way mildly-interested-if-at-all way many of our friends and family and bandmates do to our music. And so you're left with all the crazy-ass variables, the infinite mathematical combos of talent and luck, required to achieve financial success - or even simply stability- through art.
And I could go on, but I'll close by saying my favorite Elvis song by far is "Suspicious Minds." Second is probably "Heartbreak Hotel." When I was a kid, my dad had an album of Elvis' country songs that I really liked, but I can't remember the names of any of the songs.

if any of you elvis fans have not heard his final recordings, check them out here, for me these are the most emotional recordings of his life. he breaks through as a true artist with these gut wrenching performances at the end of his life when there was nothing left but the music. pure spirit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7LJvaMxX8M

Using Elvis as the analogy for what I was thinking..., I'll bet there was one or two people he looked for a "that's good" affirmation and even "Elvis" -- needed.

Yes, one can't look at Elvis within one period of his work, imo, -- one has to look at him dropping that $.25 cents into the 45RPM vinyl record cutting machine, through it all (or what ever that first recording was).

jcollins -- goes into an interesting skew and feeds into something that I like to talk about but is fully, always taken to some land far far away Smile Nonetheless, in terms of "now what"?, there's a few things to realise as I have observed things over time. At some point, you sound like you, and that's that, -- so to speak, your "sound"... unless a "Singer" and do Karaoke for a living. So, it's why I speak about authentic, if even subtle "feedback" comment. Now this is not specific to *anyone and not JC here... but for me, I try to "listen" to what folks say because they ARE qualified to ID how they relate to a track. In that, that translates to folks NOT listening to what they are "told", so to speak.

So, for example? not that anyone needs to read/listen to me/this Smile hahhh... if someone says, "Hey, drop all the plug'in's and go back to a solid "recording", simple and maybe NOT technically proficient (I ref CBGB's paradigm of success, -- can't play a guitar? that's OK... by next week?! then?)... anyway and giving "it" a try.

How that relates to "me", as all feedback does (the one saying it, it's about "them" mostly! not you), -- I try to stick to 1v1g and rarely go to the "Gear". It's "ez" ? to grind out a zyx wall of Marshall face melting plank spank, as folks here like to call it Smile but, then, so what?

During Rocktober from new to me track, e.g. the Tom Waits stuff, heck, he modulates a word a certain way and "that", "makes" the song, in my opinion. But, so as not to "copy" TW, can I then do that myself or do I have to bring that in to make it sound good to me?

Well, it IS hard to listen to a Mix on a PC speaker (zero dynamics or bass at all), or BlueTooth it to a "Stereo" with usually to heavy Bass balance, and even on a HeadPhone to hear it as if a stranger, not you singing it.

Back on track to my above thesis ? Smile ... yeah recently I was getting to wonder, as Bill White said... all the feedback (not meaning "here, but in "real life")... was "yeah, it's great..." hmmm Smile If it were "Vanity", that would work, aye!, but, it's about new paths and how does that sound and could be better, not stroking.

Wow, the other day I pulled up a "Ricky Lee Jones" track since was looking at Tom W... and I was like, krappe, that track, while good, is as well, total studio engineered krappe (not a reflection on Ricky at all). And, I said to myself, I am so glad I got over trying to achieve that kind of "Mix". One has to wonder why the old e.g., Tom Waits, early demos still exist on the "Early Years", or the first Elvis disk, or the Wax Cuts of the 1800's are still listened to at all? It's got that something, and that's that.

I LOVE high fidelity! to be sure... but it needs to be a container for something worth listening to if even not technically perfect. OMG! I looked at the St. James Infirmary lyrics... really, kinda all mixed up jumbled krappe. But, it works, even as krappe, and who judges that? Not the Top-40 list critics Smile

Anyway, "this" is the time of these projects that I love the most..., the most hard core keep grinding on... -- yeah! Smile

Anyway, yes, I think even a Jeff Beck, or Clapton, or Dylan or Joni Mitchel, or Aretha Franklin, et alia looked for a, "hmmm, now that's good", comment from "someone"... I guess it's a human condition. Makes me think of Gun's and Roses singer Axl Rose, if I got that story correct (beside the drugs), -- what did he need to get on stage in front of 20K people who dropped $n-dollars to see him, even if he did poorly... wow. I like Axl's vocals and he could sing krappe and I'd have a listen, due to the "sound" he has, or a Cab Calloway, etc.

-- Well, I do run on, don't I Smile

I have a 1924 crank Victrola and a few hundred pre-1930 78s, and I absolutely love the sound. It is highly engineered, really, given what they knew at the time. (Elvis spent 3.98 in the summer of 1953 to record "My Happiness" and "That's when your Heartaches Begin," and I don't think that listening to them one gets the sense that this is going to be one of the biggest talents ever. At least, I don't. Not until "That's Alright." Smile Of course, that was a few years before I was born, so maybe I don't have the right context.) Smile

Oh man, Tom, I have always wanted a Victrola to play my 78's on.
Just another reason why you are my hero. Wink

We got lucky and found it in an antique shop in Sarnia a few years ago, the shop was going out of business and we got it cheap. Smile Really, those old 78s transferred to CDs or vinyl just don't sound as good as they do through this mechanical folded horn device. You have to use a new needle every time you play a side, and even so it gradually destroys the record, so I limit how much I use it (I have a lot of Christmas 78s Smile ) but yeah if you can find one that can be fixed up at a decent price, it's totally worth it. It's just a soul-satisfying sound. Smile

I'll guess ? , hey @TomS you watched "American Epic" ? somewhere on Amazon Video, "Jack White" et alia engaged those first recordings. Not a waste of time for anyone here to watch that short series of "old" tech. The Mic and how to record for me, is totally "usable" in even today's considerations and what they did to get that one-take, first-take pass on a Wax Cutting.

I worked for years for AT&T (early Internet creation, consultant and other, -- the guys who held patents came to me for solutions Smile hahhh! weird to think about now), anyway..., and I love that, near the end of the series they engage that AT&T's idea lab (I worked in that basement lab a bit too), is what got that tech out and built. (It was "it" end to end they say and, it's true...) I thought, "finally", a fully realized ATTLab project as Sound Producers and Recorders... consider it is a "phone" company and all they deal in IS sound and recording Smile ... hahhh! Fidelity was always a consideration along with all the "line" issues. Well, there IS a difference in making a "Record" (RECORD), and making a song to perform, -- two different physics issues and expectations and if/not amplified.

Anyway... I remember as a kid (thrift store shopping with Mom) and then maybe 78's were not "that" old ? ... folks throwing them out, 3 for a $.25 in thrift stores and me asking my Mom, -- what's wrong with all "these" that folks are throwing it all away? She never answered. She always had the soul of an Artist and likely wondered in disgust too. (Funny to think now for me, -- but all the "Rock" stuff was from "their" time... they lived the non-electric transition time, ---- I could have been a "hippie, beatnick" child... instead, it was "ballad, standards" old 1940's, 50's, 60's?, movie backing song tracks (?) and OhmmmPah Beer Hall "polka's" and etc. Dad always said, "where did you come from", Smile ... no, musically, -- not from them. But "Mom", fully supported me Wink , good old mom!)

I'll have to look into getting a hand crank gramaphone... Victrola, -- I need "another" hobby, hahhh!

Two Elvis connections. I used to date one of Red Wests ex girlfriends I removed all the dry wall insulation in Elvis' Bel Air Mansion.

@ustaknow one of my absolute best friends is a pro in the audio world and does inter alia wax cylinder recordings along with the people at the Edison museum. Between us, I am all sorts of green with envy. Smile golly that would be fun. Of course, it would have been fun to have enough talent to be a pro in the audio world, but hey life is life. Biggrin

So, what about the other Elvis? Wink I never said which, hahhh! Smile

the other? he is not even from Declan of elvis.

@ustaknow "When that happens (happens to you?) -- I always wonder what that means. You?"

It just means the people I know are not interested, sadly. Some family and friends know that I wrote songs and made audio but most don't even know I play music. What does that mean? My grandchildren know I play music and they like my "Invaded By Ants" song. My son told me I got a request for the ants...lol.

Elvis? I grew up watching him as a movie star. I liked all of his girlfriends too. He played a tough guy in the movies too and when somebody messes with him the fight was on. Growing up Elvis came off to us as masculine or alpha male. Then the embarrassing overweight Elvis changed his dynamics and our opinions for a while there. I like his songs and his vocals. He peaked before my time as the movie were already on TV from way back. My mom liked his music and we had Elvis music as far back as I can remember.

@ustaknow "So, as 5090 is finished and many have MANY songs to parse through, -- what are the folk around you saying? And, what's it mean? I would "argue", even an Elvis needs to be told, authentically, "wow, now that's just another amazing piece of work", -- eh?""

They are saying nothing. It means show me the money. I tell people who make good music why I like it. I tell beautiful women that they are beautiful too. No I don't...lol.

Hey @jcollins -- well, to see this from others, be it "that" or some other possible response is good for me, and likely the rest of us to see, hear, -- possibly. It's great you came back to comment. Thank you from me, anyway! Smile

All the comments and discussion, even branching off discussion is very useful, imo. It's why I tried, as well as I could in that moment to qualify or frame it so as not to initiate a redundant response; as I said, "not the why do it at all thing... not what I am engaging", and glad you got that! Smile

The "saying nothing", if even saying "sound great love it" meaning the same Wink hahhh! is what I was wondering about. So, for example, no one here no matter how self deprecating can deny, they can play and sing and etc., regardless of "comparison", -- they just, can. No one can deny you're not an accomplished musician, engineer and etc., -- compared to, literally, "anyone". If we could qualify our levels here and do NOT want to do that, but if we did, even the most "newbee" is heads and feet above "normal folks".

When I listen through my stuff and see the "green bars" on BandCamp and wonder about what others like versus what "i" like Smile it is very interesting to consider, -- part of the fun of being here for me. Make no mistake, I have LOTS of fun here and why I do it. However, I am very serious about it.

I saw an interview this weekend of "Flea" about his new Autobiography... if anyone caught that or maybe can find it, -- his "reactions" to the life events he commented, well, "that" me, here when I comment about stuff. Man, like him or not, and I do, one can't deny he's authentic and how he "originated" into music. I remember, for me too, it was that way and thought it may be for others. Then, found out it was not... we had a discussion "here" somewhere about that, or I did Smile hahhh! and an almost famous friend said, "you were lucky", -- his up coming was a blood bath, so to speak and his dad was "famous" or had his 15 mins as they say. One would think with that opportunity, it would be different, -- it is not. It's why I tell folks asking for the "formula to make it" I sometimes say, -- it's a phone call out of the blue, and because someone is ALWAYS watching, always..., and said, give'em a call... and see what's up... etc.

It's why I wrote last year, "ducking the folks who used to duck you" Smile There is as much "not fun" as one thinks there may be. It's like, when one finally realized they are all grown up and an actual adult! and realize, "oh sheit... this sucks!"... this is what "that" is Smile I was soooo dissapointed to find out when I joined the "grown ups" club... not the answer, if not the issue Smile hahhh!

Turning the Elvis, Presley Smile not Costello Wink -- yeah, he was before my time. I thought he was some dead guy who used to be famous! Smile hahhh... and he was not near being done yet. I remember his movies but were borderline "old" ish movies. But, TV and Theatre, it was different then! It's why I threw in the other names with him. I think Hendrix had just died more or less and not really covered. I was in College when Moon (the Who drummer) died and that was barely an event, -- John Lennon was a campus wide issue. I don't think anyone expected a guy you could walk with down the street would wind out murdered like that. The Stones then were already "old" and prior to their realized, not come back, but never left status... they do seem to get better. I actually didn't like them as a kid. I like 2-3 songs but not as a band. Now, they are a favorite, all of them as band and individual.

So, "me", -- did I answer this myself? Not sure. Anyway, I am surrounded by folks who in general are just not effected, or affected by music, -- even many musicians! As far as the musicians go, one can hear it, or I can, in their playing. They are very competent, but yet mechanical, w/o feel, or that loose mistakeyish sounds good stuff if makes sense? A drummer friend, man, if he ever ignored the click track, -- he'd be a "great", great drummer Smile yah, know!

Anyway, I am glad and dismayed at the diversity in my stuff, as far as 1v1g, live played can go. Hey, Folk is folk and yet different due to the limit of 1v1g. Yet, get 100 diff Folk Musicians and they are all different, if even the "same" so to speak. If I had a real, 12 piece band, "then I'd sound good!" hahhh! Smile

Like I said about one artist I'd heard, more live then an "album" cut, and I was like wow, -- that's so plastic sounding, it just didn't sound good, -- to me. There is a balance, imo, with making a record (Record, recording of one version of a song) and the feel that can get lost in all the "corrective" tech. Well, what do I know, -- it's all auto tuned and elec filtered, just look at MTV videos, wow. It's all T&A, twerking one after the other with a formula Video model, script like spaghetti westerns turned into Bogart bad guy films! Smile -- ala MTV.

I have not turned on the radio in many years and funny to consider.

I have an old MGB, 1979 with the original 8-Track Smile hahhh and FM, -- high tech then and on occassion the radio actually works, or a signal makes it in and it is curious what's played, either talk radio or I am having a flash back to 1975, -- it's very confusing!

Well, I rabbit holed that enough! So, enough!

I appreciate all the comment. It is useful! It's validating. And, today, we need to get broad experience input as well as we can. I don't know of any musician, "real pro" or otherwise that does not feel *isolated.

One last e.g., then on that, -- I was at the "Drum Collective" in NYC and a "famous" working drummer hosting a clinic said, -- "make no mistake, if I take a week off, not calling folks (me calling the constantly) and lining any kind of work (downtown manhattan, "clubs") I'm finished". He said he'd risk never getting back to the niche he has, and he knows it. So, fair warning I guess was his point and to do it for self. I think it's why he did it.

Carmine Appice lives locally, and many may have to look up his resume Smile hahhh, but, here, one may even be grocery shopping with him and not know it and it's a shame, imo, as great a drummer and "Teacher" of drum as he is and imo, one of the best in that too, -- no one cares. I don't know what people "care" about today... but, it "ain't music"! Smile

Oh, well! I DO! Smile

regrding phone calls out of the blue....a friend of mine was looking up the number of his friend michael white. he tried one number and it was the wrong michael white, but they talked for awhile and this michael whte turned outt o be the famous jazz violinist. i didnt know you were living in seattle yeah ive been here for awhile. why havet you been playng anywhere? nobody has called me, michael answered. so my friend invited him to come down to his gig that night and sit in if he felt like it. turned out to b the first of many gigs michael white played with my friends band, as well as playing violin on two of his albums. .

Great story, yep, indeed! @billwhite51

Back to the original question. I sometimes wonder if that is part of why musicians have had difficulty sustaining long term success while evolving creatively, and why some simply regurgitated a different blend of their original success either because of the box the record company put them in (thinking more of sales projections than music as art) or because of being surrounded by yes-people and a lack of meaningful feedback.

For me. The quiet part of me knows my strengths, my inner critic screams about my weaknesses (but does not paralyze or impede me), and my lizard brain is still working with the frontal lobes on how to best process any kinds of comments/critique. I feel like I am improving at being able to tell the difference between when people genuinely like my music, are just being polite/nice, are being supportive but trying to be helpful with my best interests at heart, or just projecting their own issues/negativity at me. LOL no danger of me getting to the point where success has its own momentum and swallows up my creativity or that I might someday be surrounded by yes-people.