The theory was that the most technical musicians become great artists. The fastest kids become professional athletes in the sports they selected and the smartest kids become good leaders or innovative ones. And that proved rarely the case.
When CC DeVille did a guitar solo spotlight live, people wanted to walk up to the stage and unplug his guitar. Same deal with Mick Mars. Reviewers in guitar magazines had a certain elitism in their writing and used these two guys as punching bags, but people are more aware of the music that DeVille and Mars created, than the words the elite journalists wrote.
Then another theory came out, that we all need to be better at what we do, that companies need to get better at their social responsibilities, that we need to be better at inclusion and how we need to keep learning to be better.
But better is always in the eye of the beholder.
I subscribe that we always need to be improve. For me, it’s a basic need to learn new stuff, as I am a curious person to begin with, and I like to create, so to create, I like to spread my learning wide so I have enough tools and information to create. Because nothing is created from living in a vacuum. Even those artists or the heirs of the artists who believe that their songs are so original, well they ain’t.
Every new song has to push the sound, the melodies, the lyrics and the music a little bit more than before, but not too much, otherwise the artist will lose the trust of the audience which they battled so hard to gain. It’s a big reason why some artists don’t stray too much from what made them famous, like Kiss, AC/DC and Iron Maiden.
Buy an album from these bands and it will still sound like an album they did, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago and even 40 years ago. And then there are artists who did stray a lot from their sounds and divided their fan base.
Def Leppard with “Slang”, which is a great album by the way and perfect for the time and era it came out. Motley Crue with their self-titled debut, which is one of their best albums for me and “Generation Swine”, which has great rock songs but an industrial production from Scott Humphries which I don’t like.
Bon Jovi with “Lost Highway”, a cool pop rock take on the country/southern rock sounds.
Queensryche with “Promised Land” an album full of dissonance and bleak landscapes so far removed from the polished sounds of “Empire” and even further removed from the operatic and concise storytelling of “Operation Mindcrime”.
Dokken with “Shadowlife” and their attempt at Nu-Metal, which is their worst album by far and after this, George Lynch reformed Lynch Mob, smoked some Limp Bizkit and delivered “Smoke This”, a rap metal album which was a complete disaster. Two from two for good old Georgie.
And then you have an anomaly in Metallica. They pushed the limits of technical thrash and then dropped a self-titled album with shorter songs, a powerful sound and concise lyrics. But it was still rooted in metal. Then they became a classic rock band with the “Load” releases. Then with “St Anger” they became a hybrid, but that trash can drum sound with James spitting out words rather than singing was interesting before they returned to their speed metal roots.
The truth it this, it doesn’t matter how technical you are, how fast you run, how much better you get or improve your skills, it all depends on your execution. Sometimes you will win, sometimes you will lose. But don’t ever stop executing. Just keep going and keep creating.