Mr Oz posted this comment on an entry last week about feeling insecure about music creation. Mr Oz is the pseudonym of long-ago recording buddy and chat chum, Andrew Osborne. My replies to his comments are italised.
Mr Oz wrote:
a) Told you so (that’s it’s a difficult thing to define/justify/satisfy oneself at).
b) I now risk hijacking your Blog.
Well you aren’t hijacking and it isn’t that difficult. The problem with some of us humans, the creative ones, the ones that think too much is just that. We think too much. A lot of the creative process should be thrown open to instinct and the gut, rather than the brain. Sometimes the brain just gets in the way. It’s just when someone asks you questions about something you never really think about, you tend to start over-analysing. I’m over it now.
For me:
…because the physical act of playing an instrument is intrinsically enjoyable. I’d argue it’s A Man Thing, involving “manual” labour and tools;
This is true. Playing the electric guitar is an incredibly macho thing to do. It really is an extension of the penis; from the way the guitar is slung low, to the “look at me” expression and the “I can play this fast” bravado. I don’t really class myself as a man though – I know it sounds weird but to call yourself a “man” often pigeonholes you into the beery leery, Clarkson, forever young Peter Pan never growing-up, facile face of masculinity. I believe that there’s more to men than that – we’ve just not been allowed to express it yet. Get in touch with your feminine side, dude. Yer missus won’t mind you trying on her undies, honest!
…because as I get older I realise just how mediocre I am at most things, and would like to prove to myself/others that I’m superior at one thing at least;
Ahhh, superiority/inferiority complex. Never really suffered from that. I know I am pretty crappy at the guitar, but I have an insatiable drive to create, so that makes up for any lack of dexterity or “talent” – this is often derision from other guitarists. The thing about YouTube is very often I’ll get one comment that is intended to wound me. Such a comment is this (verbatim): “You’ve got a lot of expensive equipment there. Shame you are so shit”. That always makes me giggle as it reveals a lot about the poster than it does about the player. Maybe men really are that facile? But ask yourself Mr OZ, is this a good reason to play?
…because I strive to express myself (or to paraphrase Mr Oldfield, I want to create a musical world I’d want to live in);
Self-expression is a good motivation, but you have to have something to say or a vision or an aim. A marksman without an aim will just shoot into the air.
…altho it rarely happens, I want to perform, or be ready to perform, because I want to feel I’m an artist, a star, part of something;
I see. I think you should be prepared to stand alone first, to say: “This is me. This is who I am”. A lot of people hide behind bands or excuses and never discover that inner voice. Look for yourself, dude.
…because despite finding that I can’t achieve the above, I can’t help myself.
The thing that has always bugged me about you is that you have oodles of potential but you just don’t know how to unlock it. I’ve tried to guide you and give you a few pointers, but unless you make the leap on your own, you are in a self-fulfilling circle of doubt. A lot of musicians concentrate on performing other people’s music. Sit down and compose yourself. It could be the simplest of tunes, but compose for you. If you have to compose for someone else, compose a nursery rhyme for your children or a silly song for them. Use your talent to make something, rather than skirting around the issue.
Probably only the last point is true. When you started your newsagenting, it sounded like you weren’t going to get the opportunity or energy to produce anything, but you have – hinting that the same is true for you. You are genetically disposed to want to make music. Failing to do it to your own standards is not a good enough reason not to strive to get there.
It is the creative process. I like doing silly stuff: whether it is writing stories no-one will ever read or recording music that no-one will buy, you have to do it to entertain yourself. Record the album that you want to hear, rather than the one you think your friends want to hear. Being creative is very selfish, very arrogant and very conceited. All those facets of your character need to be developed.
AND FWIW, my contribution to the Load gear is some of my best and most interesting playing, and the finished product of high quality that I’m proud to pass on to friends. And I always thought my musical paranoia was greater than yours. Go figure.
LOAD was a very interesting project for me, which I found very useful. I listened to it not that long ago and was surprised by some of the ideas floating about in there. The good thing about working with someone else is you will get dragged in directions you don’t necessarily want to go and so you have to learn to react in a different way. If I knew you were up to it and had the conviction I would propose LOAD 2.
Do 3rd parties ever read comments?

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