To jam or not to jam ?

I am back to the ever-debatable question of music…which is to be given priority, the music or the audience? The reason I’m back at the drawing board is thanks to last night. We decided to have one of the late night jam sessions spearheaded by one of the violinists in the group. I was, well, told to join and bring my guitar along. At the risk of sounding like a complete jacka**, I kept refusing to play.

I know…you’re thinking it… ready audience and he does not want to play? Must be the heat. Let me set the cards on the table. The clear majority of students here don’t exactly appreciate the kind of music I play. Rock is all noise, forget grunge and heavy metal. Now, while some would unwillingly say that they are open to listening to any sort of music, the truth remains that they really want to listen to the songs they like. Appreciating and acknowledging this fact, I prefer not to play unless I’ve got an audience who would appreciate the nuances of western music. But under pressure, I brought out the axe…and much to my dismay, I’m back to playing the same old Hindi songs that I’ve been playing since the day I got here. At the end of it all, since my heart wasn’t into the whole affair…. I felt completely dejected and basically…never want to do this again. This - as in....never want to play without wanting to play.

This is probably how trained chimpanzees feel. The same tricks over and over again. We all can’t be Alex the Lion and enjoy performing the same show everyday. This unfortunately happens in every group with a limited knowledge of a music genre. I remember even back in college and at the office parties, one ended up playing the same songs…Hotel California…. Words…. Country Roads…Summer of 69….Nothing Else Matters….and the all famous ‘Education song’ ( Another Brick in the Wall). I think audiences have taken classics and have killed them by making every guitar player in the world ( or just in small scale India) play them unto death. I’m honestly not blaming anyone here, but come on….give the poor guy some artistic freedom. Who knows? You might actually end up liking a new band and a new genre all together.

Some might argue that the same applies to me and that I ought to suck it up and learn Hindi and Tamil songs. I don’t mind, I would play those songs, but allow some experimentation. I’m playing the same songs over and over again….i’ll be damned if I play ‘Chura Liya hain tumne jo dil ko’ once again….I’m feeling like a darn one-trick pony. The problem with such a scenario is that you end up being a replacement for the Ipod with your favourite songs on it, a mere complement to Steve Job's contraption. Select favourites playlist and begin playing. And it's the same songs over and over again....

I can’t even imagine playing a song from Pearl Jam, John Mayer or Foo Fighters. Even if I do, a great song would go unappreciated and I’d be back to playing Hotel California. Gorgeous beauties like Better Man, Unforgiven, Georgia go completely unnoticed. One must not even dream of trying any original compositions. And the part that annoys me the most is that people would soon come to a consensus that you aren’t a very good guitar player…(okay…I am not even worthy of being within a hundred feet of the shadow of Jimi Hendrix), which is perhaps the best reputation one can get. Unfortunately, not everyone is open minded enough to experiment. We all love running around in circles in our own familiar territory.

Oh well, back to learning how to play ‘Tum ho to….gata hain dil….’ And hitting the high pitch squeal of Farhan Akhtar.