Friday, August 13, 2010

I'll record a cover version, but why would I bother with your book?

I never want these posts to convey the wrong side of the intended message - in other words, don't read this and feel it's a complaint. These are more observations and ideas that get me thinking about what others may consider when I approach them about the book and perhaps offer an insight they may not have envisaged, potentially and hopefully usurping what I believe to be a misguided point of view...

I found myself scratching my head recently when an artist I had approached to write a piece for the book replied that they saw no merit in rambling on about some record. I'll get to the specifics of that shortly. Naturally many of my observations about people in BM bands are not quite what you'd call empirical, and despite spearheading this project, I will always have the utmost respect for those arrogant souls who believe (not think; believe!) that what they are doing is superior to everything out there including that which came before them. These people, though rare, often produce the kinds of records I hope to see discussed in BMR. However, these thinkers/believers are outliers in the grand scheme and I would have been beyond naive to have considered everyone I approached for inclusion in Black Metal Revolution was actually going to be interested. And of the 300+ bands approached so far, only one saw no merit in discussing, "...legends of the past", so empirical no, but the opinion of an outlier, definitely yes!

The logic I would apply to this scenario is as follows. If writing a piece for BMR seemed a less than noble idea, yet you were from a band constantly name checking, performing and recording cover versions and generally content with the associations that brings, then I for one find that response peculiar. Especially as the written word provides an artist with complete freedom to express the virtue of their chosen record.

So in exploring the motivation behind recording/performing a cover song, there are really only so many reasons that a band would choose to do so, and I hope if once I've listed my thoughts that readers will feel free to add any others they can think of.
  • You worship the band you are covering
  • You love the song and think the original lacked something your band can provide
  • You are one of those bands who think that closing a set with a cover song is the strongest impression you can possibly make
  • You think that by doing a cover song it generates an affiliation between your band and the band you've nominated to cover.
  • There is some sort of ironic statement you wish to make by recording a song from outside the typical sound/style/philosophy of your own band. This is not typical of BM bands.
Either way, it's all some degree of homage. So why would that sort of "tribute" be acceptable, yet an unambiguous written piece not be? The question, though rhetorical, somehow longs for a logical answer.

Perhaps there is little to extrapolate from this rant and more can be gleaned from the Previews posted at Black Metal Revolution.

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