How Not to Criticise a Performer

Most of the time I don’t give a crap what kind of music other people like or don’t like.  I don’t even really care if people think my music sucks, so why should I care about what they think about someone else’s?  But the following criticisms drive me fucking nuts.

“Singers who don’t play instruments are not real musicians. “

Your voice is an instrument, asshat.  Here’s a conversation that has never taken place, ever:

“Who’s your favorite drummer?”

“Totally John Bonham, bro, he’s the best”

“Pffft, that guy can’t even sing”

Ridiculous, right?  So why do people assume that a singer has less value if they’re not doing something that is largely unrelated to their job?  Sure, if you’re around a campfire, a singer who can’t play guitar is going to make everyone uncomfortable.  A professional singer, on a stage, can hire someone to play that guitar for them.

The fact is, very, very few singers can play guitar or piano at a high enough level to justify them actually doing it.  Prince and Jerry Lee Lewis are maybe the only two I can think of.  The rest of them… they’re just playing instruments to keep their hands busy.  They feel awkward doing Mick Jagger jazz hands or twirling around like Steve Nicks.  I swear this is the truth.  Most of them would collapse into black holes of fear if you put them on stage without something to do besides sing.

“But he/she doesn’t write her/his own songs”

Neither did fucking Elvis.  I think I’ve already addressed this, but let’s take it a step further.  Writing songs is a skill, like playing drums is a skill, or tuning a guitar is a skill.  Most of the people you see in a band- they didn’t write the song either.  They interpreted it.  Someone wrote it, brought it into the practice space or recorded a demo and then turned the members loose on it.  Only the most psychotic control freaks will show everyone exactly how to play a song, so everyone makes it up as they go along.  Singers do this too.

You hear these mostly from olds, meathead classic rock fans, and other assorted morons who are trying to contribute something to the conversation besides I’m old and I don’t get it!   I’ve got a couple other ones that really bug the shit out of me, but I’ll get to those later.


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