Dr. Phil's response was that although he thinks this guy's music is crap, he would not discourage him from following his dream. He suggested that the guy get a job and pay his bills and not expose his young son to this antisocial behavior. I would say that this is basically sound advice except that the man’s creative output is nothing more than a poor excuse for spewing anger at a world that rejects his irresponsible sense of entitlement and manipulation. This is not music or art of any kind.
The purpose of music and all art is to raise people's consciousness and enrich our lives. It should encourage us to love ourselves and others, not to hate and kill. This is a problem I have with some rap, heavy metal and other genres of music that are anger based.
Music can express a wide variety of emotions. The common goal is to connect with an audience and share an experience that resonates with the listener. The amazing thing about music is that it can do all this without words. When we create music, it's as if we are saying, "This is how I feel. Do you ever feel this way?"
I've often heard the expression, "it's a matter of taste." Somehow, after decades or a century, it becomes crystal clear to everyone which art was great and which was merely popular. Why does it take so much time to become evident? Did some people know all along? Were most people confusing style for content?
I wonder if people really listen to music and judge for themselves, or if they are guided by which music is popular at the moment or who the critics tout. How much preparation does it take to appreciate great art? Would a 5-year old like Beethoven if he or she has never heard classical music? Even among jazz musicians and fans, I've wondered how some don't comprehend Duke Ellington's greatness. Joe Temperley used to say that no one is born with a taste for fine wine; it must be cultivated.
I can remember seeing Ellington on TV for the first time. Even before I heard the music, I was impressed by his regal appearance. He dressed exquisitely and spoke with distinction and humor. He would always say, "our music," even though he had composed it. By the time I was 12, I knew I wanted to be like him. He was a truly great man. A man to be admired. He understood what is was to be an American and what it was to be a human being. Even when he joked, there was a seriousness about him and his music.
When I fell in love with bebop, I began to see Ellington as I saw my grandfather. I loved and admired them both, but being two generations older than me, they didn't seem to be in tune with the current fads. To a teenager, this can be confusing. We want to be hip--au courant.
When I was a young man, I developed my own personal style in music as well as clothes, deportment, speech, grooming, etc. as I've aged, I've made only slight adjustments. I am not afraid to like what I truly like. I could never pretend to like things just because they were popular. I can remember when I was a teenager, watching people my parents' age doing the twist, and thinking how pathetic they looked trying to hold onto youth that was long gone. I never wanted to become like that. I'm completely comfortable sporting a porkpie hat. No tattoos or piercings for me.
Is it OK to be of an older generation that came of age over a half century ago? I think so. It's part of my authentic self. I let people see different parts of my authentic self. I try to be as open and truthful as I can be, but there are trust issues and also what is appropriate. I've shown different parts of myself to my parents, friends, children, students, audiences and lovers. I once had a girlfriend who gave me the freedom to show her everything. I, in turn, gave her the same latitude, but I don't think she needed much encouragement. It was scary for both of us, but liberating at the same time. I discovered parts of myself that I didn't even know I had.
Of course, my music has all of this and more. Each piece I've written is different and explores different parts of my personality, but every note contains my DNA just as every cell in my body does. In music I don't worry about trust or appropriateness. I live for the vulnerability of putting myself out there for the world to see. It's so much safer to do this in music than in words.
Not everyone loves my music. The great majority of people in the world have never even heard it. I'm OK with people not liking my music, much more so than people not liking me. I suppose I have more confidence in the quality of my music than I do in the quality of me as a man. I constantly work on becoming a better musician and a better man. Neither is easy to master, but that's what makes the journey so fascinating and enjoyable.