Singer-Songwriters and ’shrooms
It’s a great time for live music in India. Clubs, pubs and other performance spaces are mushrooming like, well”¦ ’shrooms on a Kodaikanal hillside. There are more places to play these days than there’s ever been. The upside is there’s more reason to heed the urge to make music, thanks to which there are more […]
It’s a great time for live music in India. Clubs, pubs and other performance spaces are mushrooming like, well”¦ ’shrooms on a Kodaikanal hillside. There are more places to play these days than there’s ever been. The upside is there’s more reason to heed the urge to make music, thanks to which there are more musicians working their thang, which means the music’s constantly on the upward march. But while rock bands and electronic acts have been flaming the circuit, what of those spent poets cloistered indoors with their beat-up Martins and dog-eared reams bearing their deepest inhibitions? Singer-songwriter, get out of the room – your time is now.
Rolling Stone and I are developing a monthly live performance series called Acoustic Adventures, which kicks off on September 16 in Mumbai. The series will travel across the country. We are looking for musicians who play their own acoustic-based songs – either vocal or instrumental; individuals or bands. Originality of content and expression is key. High standards are essential. Email mp3s of your songs (record them reasonably well, please) to [email protected]
And what songwriter today has not in some way or another been influenced by perhaps pop music’s greatest songwriters ever – the Beatles. The finest display of their brilliance? Indisputably (though some would dare to contest it), their last album, Abbey Road. And what a swansong. I recently met a couple of musicians who had never heard it. First thing I did was burn them copies (oh, piffle, record company man; I burned it – so sue me, mofo!). If you don’t have it, get it. Then listen to it, over and over again. And soon you will come to start it from a little later than the beginning, from what used to be called Side B – from George Harrison’s ”˜Here Comes the Sun.’ You will listen to it each time from there through to the very end. And each time you do you’ll be blown away by the impossible genius of the ultimate ensemble – a band that hit the peak of evolution in perfect tandem with their non-playing member, the producer George Martin, who wove their whimsies into a symphony. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic picture that became the cover of Abbey Road. Here’s a good way to pay homage: Turn down the lights, switch off the phone, suck up a doobie (or an omelette of those Kodi ’shrooms), hit “play” and prepare to be transported to an alternate plane. And when those voices in ”˜Because’ kick in, try not to weep.
Also 40 years ago, the mother of all music festivals: Woodstock. So it was in another country, before our time. But the movie was an agreeable surrogate, and through it we joined the mudslides, the rain dances, the naked bodies, the featherbound freaks, and watched in awe as Roger Daltrey spread his arms messianic-like while Pete Townshend whirled and leapt, and Santana drummer Mike Shrieve played a solo you could sing, and Sly Stone funked it up like nuts with the Family”¦ If you haven’t seen it, get the DVD, turn down the lights, switch off the phone, light up a doobie”¦ aah, you know the drift.