Music saved me. When I was a young teen, troubled (you don’t wanna know, it was bad), lost, confused and into booze and drugs, one thing that gave my life meaning was music.
Yes, rock and roll. It was fast, furious, raunchy and powerful. Like my brain at the time. It gave me some semblance of focus and meaning.
It spoke to me. I had crates of albums and anytime I needed to escape the grind I’d peruse my selection and escape into a different universe.
Of all the bands I loved and admired- and that list is a long one IE.Queen (before they became famous), SuperTramp, Nazareth, STYX, Bad Company… on and on—– The one band that really massaged my soul was RUSH.
Why I don’t know. Their third album was considered crap by the critics and all. But I loved it!
All told, that album was true to what RUSH stood for. It was by all accounts authentic.
Maybe that’s why it spoke to me. Who knows.
So it’s without further explanation that my personal greatest concert experience was seeing RUSH in 1976 on their “Caress Of Steel” tour. Live. In person. They had just released that album.
My adrenaline was high and my excitement was wider than the bell bottoms they wore and higher than the platform shoes they strutted across the stage with.
I have often compared musicians to photographers over the years, as marketing lessons.
I’ve tried to explain to many photographers that they need to learn their craft and put as much into it as a musician does.
Many fail at this, fooling themselves into thinking they have talent and skill…..often unearned.
Mostly because they can. Cameras and photoshop allows us to cheat, so to speak.
One analogy I like to make aligns beautifully with marketing.
Let me explain it this way:
There are 3 levels of musicians…
LEVEL1- The kitchen musician. You know, they play at house parties and campfires. Good times, lots of fun and the life of many a party
LEVEL 2- Professionals. This is where you find the hardest working musicians….. Bands like KISS, U2 and many uber successful acts that sell out concerts and are loved by millions.
In this category, putting on a show is essential. Lights, smoke, and crazy antics on stage. Including epic drum solos….
and then there’s…..
LEVEL 3- Masters. This is where bands like RUSH, Neil Peart, Bob Marley, Steely Dan and many jazz musicians fit in.
These guys don’t need a big fancy show. No drum solos required. (Although everyone loves it when Neil puts out a mandatory one at most concerts.)
Truth be told, most fans would show up if they played on concrete risers, nothing more, and performed only for the sake of the music.
Musicians like Neil Young and Bob Marley fit in this category too because they created (especially Bob) a brand so big, so powerful, so deep and timeless, it becomes all about the music.
Not the show.
Let me repeat that: It becomes all about the music, not the show.
Bob Marley invented and created a whole new style of music. Who else can say that?
Neil Young is so prolific in his output, and his music so authentic, he still plays at festivals with mostly millenials.
They get him, as we did.
This, again, is timeless.
Create material that is timeless, and master your craft the way Neil Peart has mastered the drums.
If you took your skills as a photographer and were able to transmute them into a musical instrument, how good would you be?
Is there a way to even measure this?
If you took your skills as a photographer, brought the equal amount to say a concert violin, and stepped onto a stage, what sqawks and screeches would come forth?
I know I’d likely sound like crap. Maybe I’d put out a half decent rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
At least that’s what I think. And I been at this for 39 years so far.
And I’m still rocking.
In many ways photography saved me too. In a much bigger way, since through it I was able to create a life long business and I was able to manifest lots of creative output.
But in reality, not much of this happens unless I undertake the marketing question and get serious about business matters.
Why? There are too many kitchen musicians out there, many willing to play any gig for beer and peanuts.
As a pro the only real measurement that matters is the audience and eventual take home pay.
For me I still need to market, put on a show so to speak. I may never be as good in photography as Neil Peart is on drums.
But I can try, and dream can’t I?
Robert N. Provencher – Your Master Coach Marketer
“If you want to be a profitable and successful photographer, then study profitable and successful photographers.”