Like everybody who’s ever thought of a withering rejoinder five minutes after the person who deserved it walked away, the Foo Fighters‘ Dave Grohl thought of what he should have said a few days after leaving the Grammy stage. In his acceptance speech, he spoke of the “human element” moments before performing as a frontman for Deadmau5. Dave—the podium’s yours. Take two:
Oh, what a night we had last Sunday at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. The glitz! The Glamour! SEACREST! Where do I begin?? Chillin’ with Lil’ Wayne…meeting Cyndi Lauper’s adorable mother…the complimentary blinking Coldplay bracelet…..much too much to recap. It’s really is still a bit of a blur. But, if there’s one thing that I remember VERY clearly, it was accepting the Grammy for Best Rock Performance…and then saying this:
“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. 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… It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”
Not the Gettysburg Address, but hey……I’m a drummer, remember?
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. OK….maybe Kanye has me on this one, but….Imma let you finish….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? In 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 fucking 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 fucking 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, don’t give me two Crown Royals and then ask me to make a speech at your wedding, because I might just bust into the advantages of recording to 2 inch tape.
Now, I think I have to go scream at some kids to get off my lawn.
Not sure I’m buying the “I’m just a meathead” defense, nor am I sure he really backed up that far from what he said the first time, but you make the call.
Grohl, the Foo Fighters and their human element will play Jazz Fest Sunday, May 6.