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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The days of true instrument bands are over

Over recenttime, many of us have listened to the catchy beats of newer music, but have we ever thought about whether it was digitized or actually played by a musician? I haven’t, but now that I think about it, I realize that musicians are slowly being replaced by computers.

Now, I’m not knocking those that do play still, and there are a lot of them all over, but I’ve just come to think that there are fewer true bands today than there were a decade ago and earlier.

With artists like Lady Gaga or Katy Perry using synthesized beats through a computer, the need for a musician has gone down drastically. Back in the earlier era of music, there were session musicians who just played for albums and worked for the studio. The band Toto was even formed from studio musicians.

Other groups just had their own backing bands. A great example is the E Street Band that backs Bruce Springsteen. They just play with the frontman, but at least they physically play their instruments.

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The best example of musicianship has to be the legendary Funk Brothers that played with Motown. They were a group of men who weren’t credited, but just played their guitars or basses, or the drums to the best of their abilities.

The sounds of that wah-wah pedal or the distortion of an electric guitar just cannot be replicated on a synthesizer. Since the mid-1980s, the technology-driven sound has dominated music. We see it even more today. I just cannot understand it. When I listen to the ’90s bands like Matchbox Twenty or 3 Doors Down, I see musicians who love their craft, not just performers who are onstage to lip-synch to a catchy beat.

I know that music can change over the years, and I admit that change is necessary for music, but I’m rooted in the old school of music. I love the guitar and the simplicity of just a guitar, a bass, a drummer and, occasionally, a piano. If it can make four kids from Liverpool, England, the most popular music group ever, then it’s good enough for me. For now, I’ll listen to my Chicago or Bon Jovi and wait for the guitar rock to come back.

Wendlant is a sophomore broadcast news major and can be contacted at mic.wendlant@drake.edu

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  • K

    KarissaNov 19, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I second Stella’s comment. If you want so-called “guitar rock” in the vein of the bands you mention, what about The Hold Steady, who has the most bitchin’ instrumentation of any band I can think of nowadays? What about Locksley? Titus Andronicus? Ted Leo? Okkervil River?

    Your acceptance of what’s spoon-fed to you on mainstream Top-40 or so-called “alt rock” radio is merely indicative of your unwillingness to try something that might go against the grain. There are TONS of instrumentally-driven bands that take from that classic rock sound you mention – you just have to be willing to put in a little effort to find them rather than complaining and fallaciously claiming that they don’t exist.

    Reply
  • A

    AlecsNov 18, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    The most popular, trendy music has been dominated by studio-driven manipulation for decades. This is nothing new.
    “Back in the earlier era of music, there were session musicians who just played for albums and worked for the studio”
    This is still incredibly common! How ignorant of the music business are you?

    “When I listen to the ’90s bands like Matchbox Twenty or 3 Doors Down, I see musicians who love their craft, not just performers who are onstage to lip-synch to a catchy beat.”
    This would make sense if some of the biggest (in terms of album sales) albums of the ’90s didn’t come from the likes of Britney Spears and N’Sync.

    The industry hasn’t changed that drastically. Your perspective and frame of reference has.

    Reply
  • S

    StellaNov 18, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    By simply passively “wait[ing] for the guitar rock to come back,” you’re missing out on amazing opportunity to listen to contemporary indie or blues rock bands with traditional instrumentation. Just because they’re not on KISS FM doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
    Be proactive. Don’t wait for the top 40 to play the music you prefer — go out and find it. If you’re not willing to do that, then don’t complain about it.

    Reply