The La's Music Philosophy

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The La's Music Philosophy

Postby bostonla » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:29 pm

Lee spends a fair bit of time discussing his ideas on music, what it is and where it comes from. From the way writes songs to the way he tunes his guitar it seems like he endlessly ponders the mystery behind music. In that Bob Marley documentary "Marley," one of Bob's old bandmates says that the Bible mentions a holy music, and that they believed it to be reggae. Mick Head says that he gets all of his songs from dreams etc.... If anyone has any info on more of what Lee or John thinks or what other musicians believe I think a lot of us would be very interested.
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby eggyroader » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:38 pm

i think lee is allways looking for that nursary rhyme quality, think he says it in the book. the way everyone knows them off by heart but without really hearing them for years. Lillywhite said the songs had "no fat on them whatsoever" which nursary rhymes dont, the tune as a whole takes root in the mind of everyone so you get a kind of unifying experiance everyone knows, and the simplicity of the songs structure gets this across .. almost hypnotic chord and note cycles, allways a symmetrical feel to it and effortless, just like nursary rhymes and tribal songs etc
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby Birdman » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:40 pm

To talk and talk and talk and talk.....soz lee couldnt resist
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby bostonla » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:49 am

eggyroader wrote:i think lee is allways looking for that nursary rhyme quality, think he says it in the book. the way everyone knows them off by heart but without really hearing them for years. Lillywhite said the songs had "no fat on them whatsoever" which nursary rhymes dont, the tune as a whole takes root in the mind of everyone so you get a kind of unifying experiance everyone knows, and the simplicity of the songs structure gets this across .. almost hypnotic chord and note cycles, allways a symmetrical feel to it and effortless, just like nursary rhymes and tribal songs etc


Yeah, the songs on the crescent tape really seem to have that cyclical hypnotic quality. Jack White talks about seven nation army that way, in that it's become like good folk music, to where people recognize the riff without even knowing the name of the song or the band that played it (eg the riff's become a soccer chant that people around the world sing)
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby James » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:27 pm

I always find Lee's very Beefheart in his roots/imagery with regards to his music... seek out www.beefheart.com website for some good old vintage interview clips... it could almost be Lee talking... using colours/imagery/stuff that seems to be of little relevance (Tanks/Schools of fish in Beefhearts case) to describe what he sees and what he wants...

The only real difference about Beefheart is though he wasn't a musician per se (you could argue he played clainet/oboe etc. but it was more a free jazz - did he really know what he was doing and in what key? I doubt it!), but worked with early tape recording devices and whistled his ideas which I guess is along the same lines of Lee sticking a sony walkman on top of a speaker in the practise room to get demos and work in progress ideas down... I suppose in the way you hear him humming his thoughts for how the guitar melody could go in 'Our Time' for example repeats the Beefheart thing of humming/using the voice as an instrument...?
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby bostonla » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:17 am

James wrote:I always find Lee's very Beefheart in his roots/imagery with regards to his music... seek out http://www.beefheart.com website for some good old vintage interview clips... it could almost be Lee talking... using colours/imagery/stuff that seems to be of little relevance (Tanks/Schools of fish in Beefhearts case) to describe what he sees and what he wants...

The only real difference about Beefheart is though he wasn't a musician per se (you could argue he played clainet/oboe etc. but it was more a free jazz - did he really know what he was doing and in what key? I doubt it!), but worked with early tape recording devices and whistled his ideas which I guess is along the same lines of Lee sticking a sony walkman on top of a speaker in the practise room to get demos and work in progress ideas down... I suppose in the way you hear him humming his thoughts for how the guitar melody could go in 'Our Time' for example repeats the Beefheart thing of humming/using the voice as an instrument...?


That's interesting. I knew Beefheart had a pretty unorthodox method (i read somewhere he'd describe what he wanted the band to play in terms of stuff like "a bat being dragged through sludge") but the mavers connection never clicked, but I can totally see how similar they are. Mavers probably connected heavily with Beefheart when he first teamed up with Badger.
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby redlandsman87 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:26 am

Captain Beefheart's "Ten Commandments of Guitar Playing" pretty much sums it up, I believe.

1. Listen to the birds.

That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar.

Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you're good, you'll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush.

Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn't shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil.

Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the "devil box." And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're brining over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out.

If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone.

Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key.

That's your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He's one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song "I Need a Hundred Dollars" is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty — making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he's doing it.

8. Don't wipe the sweat off your instrument[

You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place

When you're not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine

Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can't escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby eggyroader » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:39 am

deffo.when john french was doing the dishes beeefheart said "thats what i want the drUms to sound ike" its just another perspective, van goghs piano teacher gave up cos he seen the notes as colours
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby eggyroader » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:45 am

"play like a drowning man trying to reach the shore" love that la
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby eggyroader » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:04 am

while im here i had the pleasure to meet the great mark frith tonight, a proper modern genius, a great scouse music advocate and if there's anyone trying to keep the la's flame alive by actually doing it it, its the troubadours...and dead small, nice fella
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby bostonla » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:51 am

Thanks for that redlandsman87, that was really interesting
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby redlandsman87 » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:22 pm

You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby Marbled » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:32 pm

What about my philosophy? MY philosophy
You gotta be your own, you gotta be your own dog
You know? You know what I'm talking about? - that's right
You're supposed to say yes, like a James Brown-thing Yeah!

You gotta go sniffin' on your own turf
Be your own dog, don't let nobody put a leash on you.

(dEUS - Fell Off The Floor Man)
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Re: The La's Music Philosophy

Postby digit » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:53 pm

eggyroader wrote:"play like a drowning man trying to reach the shore" love that la


its interesting that john lennon used a very similar analogy when explaining his own music, he said something like :

when you're drowning you dont shout "may you be so kind to help me get out of this water please" you shout "help"
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