When Foo Fighters won the prize for Best Rock Performance on Sunday night, Dave Grohl grabbed the microphone and went to bat for music done the old-fashioned way. “Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do,” he told the audience (before, ironically, being cut off by an LMFAO song). “It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer.”
That last statement struck a lot of people as disingenuous, considering that later in the broadcast, Grohl shared performance space with deadmau5, a guy whose primary instrument is a computer. The disconnect was enough to rankle members of both the rock and dance communities, so Grohl sent out a statement today to clarify his stance. Check it out below.
Well, me and my big mouth. Never has a 33 second acceptance rant evoked such caps-lock postboard rage as my lil’ ode to analog recording has,” he wrote. “Just wanted to clarify something. I love music. I love ALL kinds of music. From Kyuss to Kraftwerk, Pinetop Perkins to Prodigy, Dead Kennedys to Deadmau5…..I love music. Electronic or acoustic, it doesn’t matter to me. The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that ALL human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician’s personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and … human.”
That’s exactly what I was referring to. The ‘human element.’ That thing that happens when a song speeds up slightly, or a vocal goes a little sharp. That thing that makes people sound like PEOPLE. Somewhere along the line those things became “bad” things, and with the great advances in digital recording technology over the years they became easily ‘fixed.’ The end result? I my humble opinion…..a lot of music that sounds perfect, but lacks personality. The one thing that makes music so exciting in the first place.
And, unfortunately, some of these great advances have taken the focus off of the actual craft of performance. Look, I am not Yngwie Malmsteen. I am not John Bonham. Hell…I’m not even Josh Groban, for that matter. But I try really f—ing hard so that I don’t have to rely on anything but my hands and my heart to play a song. I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me. Because that’s what I think is most important. It should be real, right? Everybody wants something real.
“I don’t know how to do what Skrillex does (though I f—ing love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that’s badass. We have a different process and a different set of tools, but the ‘craft’ is equally as important, I’m sure. I mean…..if it were that easy, anyone could do it, right? (See what I did there?)
So there you go. But now that he has buried the hatchet with DJs and knob-twiddlers everywhere, is he starting beef with other drummers? Grohl can expect to get some angry tweets from both Neil Peart and Justin Bieber soon.
What do you think of Grohl’s statement? Rock (or you know, digitize) out in the comments.
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