Why You Should Give Up On Gear

Someone recently asked me for a guitar rig recommendation (as people who know me are oft to do). The conversation went something like this:

HIM: “I was up till 5am watching videos and browsing forums and wow did you see the [gratuitously expensive but awesome thing any self respecting guitarist NEEDS]???”

ME: “Yes indeed that is ridiculously amazing and I NEED IT, but sadly I have no income at the moment. BUT DID YOU SEE THISSS????”

[sick gear porn exchange ensues over another 10 emails]

So the question is, what do you really need to make great music? Really, nothing but your mind. After all the punkest thing you can do is NOT play music at all. But if you simply must get those glorious refrains out of your head, maybe some staff paper would do the trick, if you know how to read and write music. Ok ok yes we are in the 21st century, who uses paper, yadda yadda yadda. You have heard that even basic computers these days have way more musical possibilities than the Beatles had access to, right? Are you really better than the Beatles??? So what do you really need to get the job done?

Every year, more and more musicians get lost down the rabbit hole of gear, the gear-hole if you will, and many never come out, nary a note heard from them again. I found myself treading down this slippery slope, which caused me to start this blog, which caused me to stop making music.

Recently, I’ve been trying to reverse that trend. Lack of income has helped the process of recovery a bit, though I still troll gear sites and forums lusting after every piece of bleepy bloopy contraption I see. This past year, I took a cross country trip, leaving my studio behind. I missed all my stuff dearly, but you know what? I MADE MUSIC. In a small rehearsal space, with only a guitar, a few select pedals, my little GK Microbass amp, a Pearl drum kit, a pair of [cheap-made-in-China] Oktava MK12 omni condenser mics, a Shure SM57 for vocals, a 2 channel USB interface, and my laptop, my wife and I recorded this:

It’s admittedly lo-fi, out of necessity, but I think it has its own certain charm.

I realize I haven’t posted in a while, and I’m happy to say that it’s because I’ve been working on lots of music (and trying to find an actual paying job)! Going forward with this blog, I am thinking about focusing on products I actually have, and trying to fully utilize the possibilities they offer, instead of just gushing over the latest hot-new-thing. Hopefully this will lead me back down the path of steady COMPOSING instead of merely CONSUMING.