A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Success And Sameness

Success leads to sameness and conformity. Success leads to less risk taking. Success leads to complacency and lack of innovation. Success also leads to wanting more success which also involves less risk taking again.

I’ve read countless stories of companies who have died a painful death because they refused to innovate.

Kodak told their digital camera creator to put his new toy away as they didn’t want a digital camera to affect their camera film sales, which in the end it killed the company completely.

Bands also follow a similar route but not all. Once they have public acceptance of their music they seek it again and again. Sometimes to their detriment and sometimes until their break up or an important band member leaving.

Bon Jovi basically tried to rewrite “Slippery When Wet” with “New Jersey”. You could interchange “Bad Medicine” with “You Give Love A Bad Name” and “Born To Be My Baby” with “Living On A Prayer”. While “Let It Rock” started off with a keyboard solo intro, “Lay Your Hands On Me” started off with a drum intro.

It didn’t surpass “Slippery When Wet” but it made Jovi think he needed to get out and relax for a bit, so he put the band on hold and rode his motorcycle across America and started writing. The main song to come out is a rewrite of “Wanted Dead Or Alive” called “Blaze Of Glory”. Some of the other songs like “Dry County” and “Bed Of Roses” appeared on the “Keep The Faith” album which was a little bit different, but this time Jovi was content with reduced sales until he struck it big again with “Its My Life”.

Metallica wrote the self titled “Black” album the same way they wrote all of their other albums up to that point, with James and Lars listening to all the tapes of riffs and compiling the songs.

But in the recording they conceded some of their viewpoints to Bob Rock which meant getting into a room and playing the song and even slowing down tempos. And when the album blew up, the trust in their producer was even stronger. Mainstream success was theirs. And success leads to wanting more success and less risk taking.

Suddenly, for the next album, the band is writing songs together in a single room along with the usual Hetfield/Ulrich combination. And the music was more stripped back and rooted in blues rock than Metal. But also the look they had, conformed to the Lollapollaza look of Janes Addiction and RHCP. Even a Megadeth started wearing flannelette shirts.

Create for creativity and not because of the riches which might come or for the look that’s successful at a certain point in time.

Success is a choice. Choose wisely.


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