Thursday, November 10, 2005

Relational Dynamics in Music

I flew in to Houston last night to do some recording for Vineyard Music. I got my vocal takes done so now I have some time for blogging. It is nice to be in a city void of devistation, a city with Starbucks, not to mention it was nice to sleep in a real bed last night. Not that I'm getting all soft though.

Last night in the airport I picked up a copy of Rolling Stone Magazine mainly to read the cover article/interview with Bono. A really insightful interview! One thing that really stood out to me was the relational aspect of the band and how it is part of the music they create and perform. (you can download a podcast of the interview at ) U2 has been together now for about 29 years. And Bono has been married to the same woman for most of that time. Wow! Those are 2 things you rarely find in any rock bands.

You get the idea that Bono and the other guys in U2 are really good friends who love creating music together. Yeah they have their issues and problems but they stick it out and we get the benefits of it as consumers. This is one of the reasons I like bands.

It occured to me as I was reading this article that the relational side - the band side, if you will, of music seems to be in such short supply on radio stations and CDs.

I was reminded of my years with my band Mary's Den. In our 6 plus years together we turned out 3 CDs and spent a good deal of time traveling around the country. What was real cool is that we were all friends apart from the music. When we weren't playing gigs together we were hearing music together, hangin out together, barbequing together etc. In other words we didn't just work together. I would say it was this dynamic that probably made the most impact over the years. When we would lead worship at a local church we would seek to not just play music for a worship service but invite people into relationship with us and God. There are so many relationships that i have to this day that came out of those years. What was really cool was the creative proccess that came about. Our music came out of community. It was a team effort. Sure I wrote most of the songs but it was definately not a unilateral approach. Sure there were some very hard struggles in our relationships. But going through them only made the depth of creativity and character of our relationships stronger. To this day Ben Davis, (the former drummer of Mary's Den) remains one of my very closest friends and I still try to involve him in every creative endeavor that I undertake. I know working with him will keep the proccess honest, creative, and fun. King Solomon wrote "Wisdom is found in a multitude of councilors." I would say that good music is in turn found in a band of brothers.

I hear a lot of mainstream music that combines some of the best studio musicians, top producers, and state-of-the-art equipment that still fails to conect on the level of the soul. I really think that part of this is due to the fact that much of the music is created apart from community. However the music of bands like U2, Coldplay, Dave Mathews Band, connect at a deeper level. These bands weren't just put together to reach a demographic group and sell CDs like oh so many pop acts out there. The guys in Coldplay will redily admit that they are just average musicians but the sum of their music and impact is so much greater than the parts. Of course producers, and state of the art equipment have their place but so much of the soul of music and it's expression comes from the microcommunity of The Band. The music of U2 cannot be mass produced by great musicians and slick production because that's not the way it's arrived at. It comes from community.

More on this to come as I'm just thinking out loud here.

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