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Interesting industry insights from Joe Walsh

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  • Interesting industry insights from Joe Walsh

    In my YouTube listening adventures, I have a wide palate of interests, one of which is Joe Walsh. For those of you that don't know, Joe Walsh is one of the old guard of the Rock and Roll world. He's had a 40+ year musical career with The James Gang and the Eagles, a few other bands, plus a successful solo career and collaborations with Ringo Starr, etc. Part of Joe's story includes the hardcore Rock and Roll lifestyle of money, power, and drugs. He eventually came to himself and got his life straightened out, and he's still active in the industry.

    Joe appeared with Daryl Hall (of Hall and Oates fame) on "Live from Daryl's House" in 2012, Joe had a bit of a monologue talking about his relatively new album (circa 2012) "Analog Man", and how music has changed in the Digital Age.

    Joe says (emphasis is mine),

    ďRecords, record stores, record sales, itís all gone. And itís up to the young musicians to try to figure it out. Thereís no money in it, thereís no record companies. Itís free. You can download it. Nobody gets paid, so they canít afford to make music, thatís whatís happening. And, uh, theyíre just cranking out music that is like, just a recipe. Nobody is playing at the same time. Everybodyís adding on virtual instruments that donít exist onto a drum machine that somebody programmed. And you can tell in the music thatís out now. Itís all been programmed. Thereís no mojo. Thereís nobody testifying. Thereís not the magic of a human performance- which is never perfect. And the magic of a human performance is what we all know and love in these old records, by the way they were made. And itís all gone. So, weíll see what the digital age has in store.Ē

    I think about this when I hear CCM that's heavily Electronica and dance music, to a recipe of Nashville worship anthem, assembled in a studio by engineers with very powerful digital tools.

    Then you see live versions- which are becoming more and more prescribed- click tracks, backing tracks, auto-tune, etc.- it just reinforces how we are moving away from that magic of genuine but imperfect human interaction and lack of testifying into a display of clinical and technical excellence.

    As the digital tools and processing become more powerful, many smaller worship teams and churches are feeling the pressure to perform these songs for their congregations without the technology. Many are overwhelmed and disheartened, and are leaning on their older songs as something they can confidently perform together.

    However, for Sunday morning, I see this as an opportunity to bring back the human element- the testimony and magic of humans worshiping together- no matter how imperfect it is. That's the element we have on our teams that we can use to bring the congregations we serve into a time of fellowship with God.

    Speaking of recording technology, those of you who write and record your songs, how are you approaching the song recording process? Are you experiencing some of these things, or are you taking a different approach?

    Thanks in advance for your responses

    If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Mike on Bass View Post
    Speaking of recording technology, those of you who write and record your songs, how are you approaching the song recording process? Are you experiencing some of these things, or are you taking a different approach?
    I've been on a songwriting bend as of late, writing at least one or two songs a week, for over six months now. I guess I'm a little old school, as I am still writing the first draft of this on paper, with pencil, and then I move it to Finale's Print Music, where I spiff it up, print it out, practice, and rewrite. At one point I'm in the chapel and I sing this acappella, in my prayers, to see if it flows okay. And then I do the last changes, and move on to the next.

    I haven't recorded these yet, save for one private YouTube video I used to share with some others on what I hope to accomplish. I want to get a year's worth of songs crafted, and then have them all professionally copyrighted before I share with everybody (yes, I know it's copyrighted the moment I have it written down and have proof of its existence). The idea of having these professionally recorded is appealing to me. The idea of doing it myself is going to be a challenge, but I did catch the interest of a notable producer, but his price is quite high (unless I can get a successful kickstarter campaign going, which involves a different set of skills). Reading David Byrne's book about music, he seems to think that self-producing is the way of the future, anyhow.

    I'm not one who is inclined to go the route of the Hillsong Alive & Heavily-Syncopated route. I think "real" singing is well-worth noting. I'm actually into wanting to get congregational participation, which I think much of today's music is a deterrent (not all). Where I am struggling is figuring out how to promote outside of K-Love circles, because I'm an indie, and most of the prayer circles I'm familiar with are going with the CCLI/K-Love/Billboard charts.

    Nick Alexander
    Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
    Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
    Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.


    • #3
      Sounds like fun. In today's recording world, One of the reasons why it can be self-produced is due to digital breakthroughs like Pro Tools. Plus all the freeware out there that will do a decent job. Anyone with a few thousand dollars to spend for the Pro Tools suite and some decent gear can turn a spare bedroom or a basement into a working studio. Granted, it may not be great, but you could lay down some tracks and put them on your own YouTube channel, and away you go. They might sound like they were produced in a broom closet, but you'r e a self-producer.

      But then you face the industry. What you are paying for with the bigger producers aren't just track mixing skills- you re paying for his networking in the industry that has a shot at separating you from the noise of millions of self-produced amateurs.

      I think one thing from the old days that still rings true is that if you really want to make it, you have to get in front of people. You have to play for an audience- build your name, build your brand, build your following, through old-fashioned exposure. That's still what sells.

      Hope it goes well for you.
      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.


      • NickAlexander
        NickAlexander commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks so much, Mike!

    • #4
      Now you're talking my language...
      Joe Walsh is one of my favorite guitarists. Dude is ridiculously talented. He is a BEAST on the slide.

      Playing in a band, being tight, and playing off of each other is a dying art. Younger folks who didn't grow up in band(s) have no clue how to do that. This is how I learned how to play. Now, with IEM's and tracks, I'm hanging on just to not get lost.