The Musical Masturbation Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Dec 19, 2001.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    With all the debate over so-called "musical masturbation" (an ugly term, even if it does exist), I'm making a thread to celebrate it and poke fun at it good-naturedly (was that last word "grammatical masturbation?"[​IMG] )
    Blindingly fast guitar solos, album-side long suites about birds and Eastern philosophy, mellotrons, oh my!
    Band most guilty of MM: Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Or should I say, the Keith Emerson Band. Probably the most amazing keyboard player in the business, or at least the most anxious to prove it. Damn he's good. I love hearing him play. Tarkus rules.
    Nothing Emerson does compares to the ultimate in solo silliness: Carl Palmer ripping his shirt off and smashing the drums around for a while. What the hell is that? It's pretty funny, though.
    Rock style most guilty of MM: the guitar heroes of the 80s. The two top culprits are Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai.
    Malmsteen's early albums are fun to listen to, especially the tracks without vocals. An amazing technician and creates really cool music.
    I saw Steve Vai perform once. Lots of fun. He even made jokes about his pointless guitar heroics. I really like Passion and Warfare, but he tries to actually create real songs on other albums. WTF? He should just stick to playing a lot.
    Vai and Malmsteen would be better in actual bands as guitar players, not leaders. Too bad their egos won't allow it.
    Eddie Van Halen certainly likes to show off, but he's good enough to do it. Unlike Malmsteen and Vai, he's in a good band that makes cool, fun songs, so I end up listening to him a lot more.
    I would not consider Joe Satriani in the same category. He actually does create good songs, albeit without vocals. He has an amazing sense of melody and the music is actually quite "musical."
    For over the top metal MM, I dig Symphony X. I just got one of their discs. I thought it was from the mid-80s, but it's only 3 or 4 years old!
    Bands that are unfairly accused of MM: Rush, Tool, Satriani, Dreamtheater, King Crimson, Gentle Giant.
    Bands that are on the borderline:
    Yes- I love their old stuff. Their songs are constructed well and are melodic, so I wouldn't call it MM, but with Topographic Oceans and Relayer, they were pushing it a bit, though I love those albums.
    Jethro Tull- Boy, did they get slammed for Passion Play when that came out. An album-long piece, it has lots of amazing music in it. Thick As A Brick, another album long piece, was received well, but Passion Play was slammed. Can someone please explain this to me?
    Genesis (old school, with Peter Gabriel)- Gabriel certainly got a bit carried away with those lyrics and costumes, didn't he? Musically, Genesis never got to absurd, though.
    Solve this riddle for me: the same people who go around pointing fingers at some artists for MM worship Jimi Hendrix, a guy who played solos that were longer than Time, and used lots of feedback and noise all the time.
    (I'm not knocking Jimi, I love him, I just don't understand the inconsistency).
    MM bands that I don't like: Phish and the Grateful Dead. These guys sound like me and my friends getting together in a garage and messing around for kicks. Their solos aren't constructed logically and just sound messy and all over the place.
    The Allman Brothers, on the other hand, know how to stretch out when they play. Their instrumental leads are melodic, well structured, and fit in with the song very nicely. Is Blue Sky not the most beautiful song ever?
    Conclusion: MM is subjective, sometimes obnoxious, sometimes entertaining, and always funny.
     
  2. Chris Madalena

    Chris Madalena Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2001
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey Mike,

    One of my favorite MM bands is Gov't Mule w/Warren Haynes. They stretch it out but it's always musical.

    I have to chime in w/Pat Metheny as a prime example of MM as well. Sometimes I wonder if he really is geting off by the way he looks when he plays.

    Remember Racer X? Another good MM rock band. Still around I think.

    Sorry about your MIA 2nd cd. I'll get another out to you after the holidays.
     
  3. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 1999
    Messages:
    4,948
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Being a Beatles fan, I'm a sucker for songs and composition (spoiled by the best, really). As a guitarist, I find I tend to appreciate things that others don't, or find boring, but I agree on much of your post,Mike.

    Certainly Yngwie Palmstain is the definitive technician. I find the the "songs" (excercises, really) devoid of feeling or interest, and his choice of scales doesn't interest me, neo-classical esoterica. I'd listen to Slash play his Les Paul for hours before I'd give Yngwie ten minutes. Slash rocks.

    Vai isn't quite as bad, but he should definitely avoid attempts at writing "songs". I happened to have put on "Sex and Religion" the other day. It came off real quick. Satrianni is a step above Vai in holding my interest, and I consider "Surfing..." to be the ultimate guitar instrumental record.

    Eddie is (maybe "was") in another class. He's got the pyrotechnic stuff down, but I always found it to be fun and interesting compositionally.

    It's tough to look at Hendrix these days, after everyonne has copied him for so long, and see what he was in his time. Certainly one of the greats, maybe the best. Still is.

    I've seen Rush maybe 15 times, and I'm always impressed at their technical prowess and how it works with really good music.
     
  4. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  5. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mike,

    As much as I love Dream Theater, I would understand some people criticizing them for engaging in MM at times. There are parts of The Dance of Eternity that I think could have been shortened.

    Speaking of MM, you could go back to Chopin to find someone who could be accused of it. The Revolutionary Etude was a keyboard exercise for the left hand that I think is also a great song.
     
  6. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Being a HUGE Rush fan, I've never quite understood why they are sometimes labeled by some as being MM. Unlike many who DO deserve the label (Malmsteen and some Vai come to mind)they back up their techinical ability with great lyrical songs.
    Heck, I think my other favorite Canadian import Triumph also fell under the same type of skeptical eye.
    I think a lot of the reason I like this type of music is that I am a musician myself(guitar, bass, some drums/keyboard and occasional vocal)and really appreciate the incredible musical ability possessed by many of these groups.
    The guys I feel sorriest for though were the ones who were criticized AND overlooked for their abilities since they were victims of the "Hair Band" years and as such labeled as MM and untalented (George Lynch, Reb Beach and Vito Bratta come to mind).
    Oh well, I know what I like[​IMG] To heck with those that can't appreciate all types of music and how they influence each other[​IMG]
     
  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Brian,

    DT do write Songs, though. In a better world, Pull Me Under, Lie, 6:00, Take Away My Pain, and Peruvian Skies would be hit singles.

    If you want to get into classical MM, what about Bach's Goldberg Variations?

    The biggest casualty of the MM label, btw, is jazz.
     
  8. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  9. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 1999
    Messages:
    4,948
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    John, as a Rush fan you may have seen Mr. Big open up for them one tour. Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert...now there's some MM. I had fun, though, just watching their hands. [​IMG]
     
  10. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  11. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,058
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Hey Mike, which Symphony X disc did you get? Divine Wings of Tragedy or Twilight in Olympus?
     
  12. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I got Wings of Tragedy. It was the only one in the store.
     
  13. Dax Scott

    Dax Scott Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2000
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Oops, I thought this was going to be a discussion on the proper way to watch a Britney Spears video. :b

    But to contribute something semi-constructive to the thread, I'll say this... Jimi doesn't get the MM label like many of his "students" because he invented and/or perfected some of the techniques. I guess it really comes down to something like this:

    Jimi Hendrix - "Hey guys, listen to this!"

    generic MM person - "Hey guys, listen to me!"

    My vote for the "quit before you go blind" award would have to go to John Popper for the way he blows a harp. Is it physically possible to fit more notes into a solo?

    Happy holidays, ladies and gents.
     
  14. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mike,

    You claim Dream Theater are unfairly accused of this, good god man they are the worst perpretators of this. That idiot Petrucci has ruined many of their songs by his ridiculous over playing. I have said it before these guys need to learn restraint. And the new album with a 40 minute song is not a step in the right direction.
     
  15. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,058
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    610
    You know what...To each his own. Not everyone is going to like and/or 'get' what progressive is all about. That's fine by me. I don't particularly like a number of types of music but you don't see me trolling in those threads. It would be pretty easy to wander by and suggest that the music is simplistic, boring, and created by people that aren't inventive/talented enough to do more.
     
  16. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  17. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Peter, how can you already bash a piece of music you haven't even heard yet? I'm amazed at you're ability to listen into the future.
    Playing fast /= MM
    Playing slow can = MM
    Playing long /= MM
    You can play complex music and weave it into a good song. You can keep it simple and do the same. You can play difficult material and it will still be boring. You can play simple material that is just as boring.
    Attacking a band because they often create intricate music without bothering to listen beyond their "fast notes" is just as bad as saying that simple songs are mindless and uninteresting.
    You people need to learn to mature a little, and not be so concerned with movements, musical politics, and your quaint little super-subjective theories. In short, use your ears, not your mouth.
    I'm listening to Bob Dylan now. Jeesh, this tune is so simple it's funny, and his voice is thin, but it's so great, because the song is solid, the lyrics are cool (what, Dylan write good lyrics?[​IMG] ), and it flows nicely. Then I'm going to listen to Opeth play ten minute long songs with lots of double bass drumming, overly grand arrangements, and some of the most well thought out and structured music out there. It works, and doesn't work, in all different ways, folks.
     
  18. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,358
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Why is he an idiot? If Petrucci plays long elaborated solos then he should be appreciated by other guitar players for his abilities rather than being condemned for them and his ability to execute it (beautifully I might add) within a song.
    As a drummer, I find new reasons to enjoy Portnoy's playing with each listening because of his mastery of the drums. Not to mention that not only can he remember all of those "chops" and changes for one song, but have the ability to remember them for an entire live set.
    And then there is the ever-so-quiet Myung who not only has the ability to play a 6-string bass during an entire live set, but also writes beautiful and memorable lyrics.
    Jordan Rudess is just phenominal and not only blends well with the band musically, but also personally (just listen to the commentary on the Metropolis 2000 DVD).
    My point is, why should they restrain themselves when so many others do already? Why not have at least one great band express themselves and their talents, without bashing them and saying they should "conform?" Yes, I know these aren't your words, but you said restrain and I think the idea of a great progressive rock band restraining themselves should not happen, simply because rock, some forms of metal, pop, and the like already do. I listen to all of the forementioned, but Dream Theater stands out from them (this is where I need to stress that this is all my opinion) because of their musicianship, style, and originality.
    Sorry for the rant, but I tend to get too excited when it comes to Dream Theater. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion and have offered yours, so I thought I would offer mine.
    -Brad "over-zealous Dream Theater fan" W.
    Thank you for listening.
     
  19. Peter Mazur

    Peter Mazur Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mike & Brad,

    You love them...fine.

    If you like heavy progressive bands, you might like Arena, Threshold and Pallas.
     
  20. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    How the hell did this turn into the Dream Theater analysis thread?

    If you find them boring, fine. I don't. In an earlier post, I listed examples of songs without insane solos, that were really written well, of "normal" length, etc. Some choose to pretend they don't exist, and focus only on the Evil Fast Guitar Solo. Whatever.

    Brad, I'd only like to point out that you're making it sound like bands like DT are only able to be appreciated by other musicians and the like. While it's true that there are lots of musicians who enjoy that stuff, some people can read what you say as being exlusive. I'm not saying you're doing that, just that it's a common misconception.

    If I tell people I like DT and they ask who they are, I tell them they're a really good metal band, and don't get into the technical stuff, as that might scare some people off. Myself and many others I know like them. We are not musicians. We have musical tastes that involve simple pop, hard rock, and jazz. I listen to a DT album with the same joy I listen to an AC/DC album. DT songs get stuck in my head, and I sing them in the shower, albeit poorly.

    This is why I don't classify them as MM: I listen to them as fun. Sadly, there's this huge chasm between people who worship them as the second coming, and those who thing they should be lynched. I don't understand it.

    Oh, um, here's a reason to listen to a band: BECAUSE YOU LIKE THEM!

    I got into Rush in college when I was mostly listening to simple music; straight ahead blues and hard rock. My roommate let me borrow Chronicles. I like it. Not because I sat there being all impressed with how they play, but because the melodies got stuck in my head, I loved the way the words fit into the song, and I just dug the tunes. It's the same reaction I had to Paul Simon, who is heralded as a God amongst the anti-MM crowd. I therefore can't call Rush MM either.

    I didn't get into jazz because I'm so impressed with technicality. Heck, I can't even listen to most fusion because it doesn't have the right "feel" for me. That stuff can delve into MM sometimes. And don't tell me you can't talk about jazz and rock the same way because they're different styles. Music is music, art is art, and I kind of feel sorry for anyone who is too concerned with labels and other such nonsense to enjoy music.
     

Share This Page