The hired gun musician

Discussion of anything not related to audio or music production
beats me
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The hired gun musician

Post by beats me » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:22 pm

Was listening to a podcast interview with the son of a studio musician that was on a lot of hits and albums of the 50’s and 60’s. Can’t remember the name and even if I did I’m sure nobody would recognize it. Some interesting stories about “time is money” and even when signed band members were well known they still used session musicians in the studio because they could nail the song in a couple takes as opposed to the actual band taking up to 70 takes in some cases.

This got me thinking about a couple things. We might be a little isolated in electronica world here, but how many people are really trying to be skilled musicians anymore? More importantly when people take up an instrument many are aiming to be the focus of attention in a band or solo project, making it as a publicly recognized, admired, and well paid musician. Many times that doesn’t happen.

Meanwhile the well skilled session musician can make a great living without the public recognition and even end up playing live in large venues if they only focused on their skills instead of focusing on trying to be a rock (or whatever genre) star. And because they are a well-rounded musician they also don’t have a short shelf life tied to the popularity of the band or in many cases image. They can go on getting paid well in support of other acts in the studio and on stage for decades.

Discuss.

H20nly
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by H20nly » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:45 pm

Sade's band. :idea:

they make most "popular" musicians look like a bunch of kids on the playground.

beats me
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by beats me » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:57 pm

Apparently Steely Dan used one group of session musicians per album, toured with them, and then fired everybody to use a new group for the next album and tour.

I imagine being in the backup band for the Justin Timberlakes of the world being just as rewarding playing arenas as if it was your own band and I’m sure an almost equal amount of game comes with it.

H20nly
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by H20nly » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:53 pm

Steely Dan was a revolving door... they even went through half a dozen band names and Chevy Chase as a drummer to arrive at their acetate pressed place in history.

memes_33
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by memes_33 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:27 pm

yeah, steely dan was becker and fagen- the rest were whomever was right for the track. even denny dias, who founded the band with them, was let go as a permanent member in the early 70s
Hip-Hop, Breakbeat, Glitch, IDM, Dub, & Mashups! Go to:
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beats me
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by beats me » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:56 pm

I didn’t start appreciating Steely Dan until I hit electronica overload in the ears. In fact I think electronica overload is currently the #1 cause of traditional band appreciation. :P

I bought a couple tracks off the new Spoon album this weekend. A band who I’ve never heard of but are 8 albums deep. :x

H20nly
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by H20nly » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:29 pm

^ they're from Austin. they played at Outside Lands yesterday. i was able to catch a bit of their show... good stuff. they've been around for decades.

Flaming Lips took the cake yesterday though... the singer was in a giant plastic hamster ball looking thing that got passed around by the audience. 8)

Angstrom
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by Angstrom » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:35 pm

beats me wrote:I didn’t start appreciating Steely Dan until I hit electronica overload in the ears. In fact I think electronica overload is currently the #1 cause of traditional band appreciation. :P

I bought a couple tracks off the new Spoon album this weekend. A band who I’ve never heard of but are 8 albums deep. :x

Ok you freaks, you made me do it. I wasn't going to do it, but you made me...

here's Donald Fagen's Concepts For Jazz/Rock Piano - 1 hour 11 minutes of complex chord deconstruction

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbke5CXD1ig

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in sunglasses at night

beats me
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by beats me » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:19 pm

H20nly wrote:^ they're from Austin. they played at Outside Lands yesterday. i was able to catch a bit of their show... good stuff. they've been around for decades.

Cool. They seem like they would be one of the token alt rock festival bands. I just bought the tracks because it was a new release album I checked out on iTunes and I liked what I heard, and then was listening to The Nerdist podcast and one of the members just happened to be the guest. That’s how I found out about how long they’ve been around. So it was like a coincidental big Spoon weekend.

doghouse
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by doghouse » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:31 pm

If you check the credits of modern pop recordings, you'll commonly see only a few musicians contributing to the songs. Often the song's producer cowrites with the singer and plays the bulk of the instruments him/herself with a few trusted colleagues playing the rest. Multitracking and sequencing has ended the glory days of the NYC, Hollywood and London studios that employed so many session musicians.

chaibuka
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by chaibuka » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:06 am

Steely Dan : The Making of Aja
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QA9ydTb_bM

Many people consider Aja a benchmark or reference along with Gaucho and The Nightfly.

memes_33
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by memes_33 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:21 am

this is hilarious for anyone who likes steely dan or has a friend who likes them

http://www.theonion.com/articles/donald ... ends,2601/
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beats me
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by beats me » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:47 pm

doghouse wrote:If you check the credits of modern pop recordings, you'll commonly see only a few musicians contributing to the songs. Often the song's producer cowrites with the singer and plays the bulk of the instruments him/herself with a few trusted colleagues playing the rest. Multitracking and sequencing has ended the glory days of the NYC, Hollywood and London studios that employed so many session musicians.

I think that says a lot more about why current pop music is simplistic and not a lot of new sonic territory being explored. And I like current pop music. I just can’t tell you the last time I’ve heard a pop song that is truly unique and really stands out more than any other pop artist.

aisling
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by aisling » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:17 pm

beats me wrote: I just can’t tell you the last time I’ve heard a pop song that is truly unique and really stands out more than any other pop artist.
Agreed. But for some reason Lorde perked my interest the first 50 times I heard Royals. While minimalist as far as composition goes, it just had a draw to it. These days I am forced to listen to top 40 when driving my kids around, it's my only window to the current trends. Other wise I am still stuck up to 98-99.
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Angstrom
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Re: The hired gun musician

Post by Angstrom » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:17 pm

beats me wrote:
doghouse wrote:If you check the credits of modern pop recordings, you'll commonly see only a few musicians contributing to the songs. Often the song's producer cowrites with the singer and plays the bulk of the instruments him/herself with a few trusted colleagues playing the rest. Multitracking and sequencing has ended the glory days of the NYC, Hollywood and London studios that employed so many session musicians.
I think that says a lot more about why current pop music is simplistic and not a lot of new sonic territory being explored. And I like current pop music. I just can’t tell you the last time I’ve heard a pop song that is truly unique and really stands out more than any other pop artist.
I don't think the increasing trend for super simple pop tracks is driven by the players, most of the "producers" are capable of playing and enjoying bizarre key changes and arrangements. The trend for simplicity is driven by the market reality. because pop as you knew it is now dead. The old Pop music where a poor kid can get in on an act and make some money from royalty points, doesn't really exist any more. The old version of Pop where even hairy weirdos were tolerated because there was so much money in the business that even an ugly freak could potentially bring in stacks of cash for the business.
Gone.

Pop has been replaced by a 4 second blipvert designed to be jarring enough to remind the disinterested punter that Branded T-Shirts, Condoms, Drinks Flasks, Headphones, Hats and baking equipment is now available for this Branded Entertainer.

Why would anyone bother spending time and effort making overly-complex works, now that the commercial side of "purchasing a recording" has effectively gone? All we are left with is Jingles for the Brand

The simplicity is driven from the needs of the consumer. The consumer is the 14 year old who skips a youtube video after 5 seconds because its BORING. The person with the attention span of a goldfish with alzheimer's.

Dont get lost in an outdated idea of "pop music" , which was only ever a place where people looked for cash. Regardless of how people wanted to claim great things for their idols.
“Somebody said to me, 'But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.”
? Paul McCartney
These days a Pop act looking to get paid is just a brand ambassador, for key chains, hats and perfume.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/musi ... money.html

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