By now, you’ve no doubt heard (or heard about) Dave Grohl’s recent rant at the Grammy Awards regarding how real music is recorded. If you were pirated away to the moon by Amazon women that held you captive as their love slave and are now just returning, then I will give you the quick recap. As Grohl and the Foo Fighters accepted their Grammy for Best Rock Performance, Grohl went on a rant about how real music is meant to be recorded and enjoyed with passion. The music shouldn’t be touched up by computer, or auto-tuned, or even over-edited.
“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about sounding absolutely correct. it’s not about what goes on a computer. It’s about what goes on in (your heart) and (your head),” Grohl stated. He went on to mention that the Foo Fighters recorded their latest album (Wasting Light) with no touch up at all — real, raw, recording. While it was enjoyable for me to hear Grohl take a huge swipe at most of the artists that were in the audience that night, the music community reaction didn’t seem to share the same sense of amusement.
Grohl apologized, somewhat, the next day via a press release. Even in that press release, Grohl stuck to his original statement, not backing down from his true feelings. That is what I love about Dave Grohl. He isn’t afraid and he isn’t going to back down. Grohl’s not looking for acceptance from the Lady Ga Ga camp. Grohl just wants to create real music the way it should sound. More bands should strive to do what the Foo Fighters are doing.
Even if you take all of the bubble gum, pre-recorded, auto-tuned, crap that almost no reader of Hard Rock Hideout listens to, there are still a lot of rock bands that are overproducing to get a slick, polished sound. Sometimes that’s good, but most times it’s not. A real, raw sound is the most welcomed sound of all. That’s why most of us love to attend live performances, because they are true. They are real. And they are achieved only through hard work and practice, practice, practice.
Auto-tuning and computer correcting are no different to music than steroids and performance enhancing drugs are to baseball. It’s a competitive edge that is also cheating. When the Beatles recorded one of their greatest albums ever (Let It Be) they did every song in one take to get the live feel in the studio. Granted, they practiced the hell out of those songs before finally recording them, but that’s part of what makes them so special. You practice until you are ready and then you unleash what you have on the first try. If a minor mistake is recorded, that’s all right. It’s the beauty of real music.
Raw power and true sound is one of the biggest elements that draws me to rock music over any other genre. Can anyone imagine AC/DC auto-tuning Brian Johnson’s vocals? What if Black Sabbath decided to clean up the sound of Tony Iommi’s guitar on their first album? Innovation would be lost. And unfortunately, that is the direction the next generation of music is heading in. There is limited originality. There are too few risk takers. Everyone wants to sound perfect and clean, so their albums are over produced and polished to a shine.
That is one of the reasons that Wasting Light is such a great record. There is raw, real, music on that disc. It can be felt, it can be heard, it can be believed. What that album teaches most of all, is that if you practice hard enough and dedicate yourself to your craft, you can be a huge success and gain a competitive edge without having to resort to any performance enhancements at all. I can only hope that lesson is leaned on the new wave of rockers that are getting set to take the world by storm.
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