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Whatever happened to the 'front man'?
Last Post 23 Nov 2004 03:09 PM by bonzo. 57 Replies.
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bonzoUser is Offline
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bonzo

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23 Nov 2004 03:09 PM
    Why do a lot of Irish bands have front men who play guitar on nearly every song?
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    23 Nov 2004 03:21 PM
    No idea, puzzled as to why you find it annoying?
    EricUser is Offline
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    Eric

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    23 Nov 2004 03:25 PM
    ...because most singer/songwriters play guitar. I think thats fairly universal, not just an Irish thing. It wouldn't put me off a band!??
    GarUser is Offline
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    Gar

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    23 Nov 2004 03:25 PM
    There are loads of front men who don't play guitar on the majority of their band's songs. Look at Mick Pyro from Republic Of Loose, fella from The Things, fella from Sack. But I'm with Binokular on this one when asking 'Why is it so annoying for you?'
    ArchieUser is Offline
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    Anna Murray

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    23 Nov 2004 04:06 PM
    What odds does it make if he just sings or if he sings and plays guitar or piano or drums or bass or xylophone or recorder or cello or trombone? (or all of the above together? that would indeed be interesting)
    bonzoUser is Offline
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    bonzo

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    23 Nov 2004 04:19 PM
    Annoys me because bands who have front men who go mad on stage have always been deadly. Bands with singers who are static are boring to look at for 2 hours.
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    23 Nov 2004 04:42 PM
    Fair enough, hanging on to that guitar does slow one down a bit when attempting your best Iggy Pop impersonation. The thing is, I assume most bands have the singer play guitar out of neccesity. The typical rock band (unless they are playing stripped down garage or punk) usually has a drummer, Bass player, rhythm and lead guitarists, with the rhythm guitar usually played by whoever plays vocals. The band will usually write and arrange their songs with that in mind, so onstage you need two guitars. the solution would be either strip down your songs so you only need one guitar or rope in a fifth band member. The problem is then is that the band get too clever by half and think "ok, now we can have rhythm, a lead part and an additional harmony" (a la radiohead) and you end up back at square one...
    OptimusUser is Offline
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    Optimus

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    24 Nov 2004 07:17 AM
    what i find more irksome is that most irish bands lack that sense of drive. Theres no power to the songs. I'm not saying that all needs to sound like kerbdog or the mexican pets, but a little strength would be nice. I'm tired of this nice boy attitude where everything is simplified and acoustic. Music is art. Art is emotiove. I find that the irish music scene currently has no emotion. Since when is having a lack of emotion a good thing? Since when is banality a good thing? Rant over.
    bearUser is Offline
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    bear

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    24 Nov 2004 09:13 AM
    i see where you're going optimus...this is worth reading. but i wouldn't say it's a lack of emotion, rather a different way of expressing it- granted it does seem to be all about quiet angry moodiness or quiet sweet loveliness these days, and a bit of variety would be nice,a bit of volume and honesty!! i think a lot of musicians are afraid to be honest, and you only really tend to get all out powerful angry music in ireland a) if it's a post rock thing with no vocals and the band don't need to be embarrased and really put themselves out there, or b) if the band is very stylised and american sounding (including the singers accent), turning the whole thing into a sort of pastiche or performance(you know the sense i mean), and sapping any honesty from the music, thereby once again protecting the band from really putting THEMSELVES out there. the guitar thing may be part of this. i think a lot of frontpeople in this country hide behind their guitars. it's okay if you're DOING something- (hard at it on the auld guitar there eh?)-but showing off?- who do you think you are there, jimbob? that guy's a w**ker. maybe it has something to do with ireland being such a small place. the tide is turning but people may still be a little afraid of the old parochial thing..."there's ur man...tha fella's an eejit" - and everyone knowing who they are. a city like new york, for example is a lot more anonymous. culturally, the irish tend to dislike people who act "full of it". even if someone asks how you are, you're not supposed to say "great"- "absolutely fantastic","and how are you donig, i hope everything is going great for you" etc. honestly you know the kind of reation that gets- yer man wha? full of s**te. you are supposed to say(i'm talking traditionally here, it's changing slowly) things like- "not too bad" (but bad nonetheless) "alright" (i suppose) "can't complain" (although i have cause) "grand" (this as we know, means only okay in ireland) a nation of begrudgers-unless success is imported back into this country from elsewhere. then it's okay-- he has a big job in the london now, ten men under 'im- by god! then you have to respect them even if you hate them. this probably needs a lot more to make it a fully rounded argument, but you see what i'm getting at. anyone agree? ( i promise there will be no more super long posts from me) rant only just beginning.
    bonzoUser is Offline
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    bonzo

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    24 Nov 2004 09:35 AM
    I see where this thread is going. I do agree that singers are hiding behind their guitar. I actually can't think of an Irish band that has a singer who gives it loads. The Rags maybe?
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    24 Nov 2004 09:51 AM
    How about Neosupervital? Seems to have absolutely no problem entertaining the crowds, doing his best Prince impersonation, etc. despite being a one man band lumbered with a midi guitar and a load of electronic gear. Incidentally, he gets major Kudos for almost making Midi guitars cool
    herbieUser is Offline
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    herbie

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    24 Nov 2004 09:57 AM
    Your man from Lazarus Soul gives it loads. Then again he is backed up by the lads from Future Kings Of Spain so he can concentrate on the singing.
    mutchUser is Offline
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    mutch

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    24 Nov 2004 10:12 AM
    in fairness i think ye are ignoring the world of country and traditional music. anyone ever see frankie lane (meath country artist, excellent, funny. impersonates someone impersonating a country star but is quality. see smoke at old el paso for introduction) playing live? hes mad. well he was at least. he used to front the fleadh cowboys. in general there arent alot of mad front men (sam snort asked the question where are they gone there afew months back in hot press) which is strange for a country full of lunatics. (see the dail and/or scene outside any bar on sat night and most taxi drivers for proof!)
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    24 Nov 2004 10:36 AM
    quote:
    Originally posted by mutch
    in general there arent alot of mad front men (sam snort asked the question where are they gone there afew months back in hot press) which is strange for a country full of lunatics. (see the dail and/or scene outside any bar on sat night and most taxi drivers for proof!)
    *best Dr Phil from Oprah voice* "we just need to channel all that negative energy into something productive"
    OptimusUser is Offline
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    Optimus

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    24 Nov 2004 11:10 AM
    Bear- I appreciate what you're getting at but it still doesnt strike at the heart of the issue. Rock is the only truthful music that there is, you know? Making it bland and uninvolving decimates what rock and/or roll stands for, in whatever format it comes out. We've gone from the likes of Led Zepp, Blue Oyster Cult...even the Beatles(who I cant stand) to the likes of the Frames. Now I know the bands I've mentioned as positives arent Irish. But thats not the point. Music is on it's arse. It has been for almost a decade. It's been consistantly bone with only a handful of actually good acts with passion and fire to come in and out of the scene every so often. This is an argument I had on cluas about 4 years ago. The only honest musicians are good old fashioned rock artists like the above mentioned bands and others like Guns N' Roses, Alice In Chains etc. Whats predominant these days is that kinda coldplay influenced slow "rock" or techno based pop/dance. Thats not music. Music should elevate and inspire. And rock is the last great hope for keeping music going. But even rock is dying a death. Even the so called metal/rock acts that are known as "nu-metal" bands are delivering the final blows to what was once the greatest music on the planet. It's devestating to see this kind of neglect and compliance with banality corrupt the finest, most artistic and honest music in the world. Anyway, that last paragraph was too biblical for even me. *roots through his old record collection* Oh yes - A bit of the Zepp.
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    24 Nov 2004 11:19 AM
    quote:
    Originally posted by Optimus Whats predominant these days is that kinda coldplay influenced slow "rock" or techno based pop/dance.
    Techno/Dance Predominant? Are ya mad? Maybe you didn't notice Cream closing, Muzik magazine going to the wall (still miss it) and the Chemical Brothers forthcoming album being described as a comeback album. Old fashioned Rock the only honest music? I don't think you have to think too hard about that to realise that that is rubbish, not least because its a ridiculously western culture-centric view of the world.
    OptimusUser is Offline
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    Optimus

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    24 Nov 2004 11:39 AM
    Ooooh...Abrasive. I think you'll find that if YOU indeed think about it, I'm right.
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    24 Nov 2004 11:44 AM
    Er, your mum! Come on, thats not much of a counter argument. People have been making music for thousands of years, wherever there is human life, theres music, its a part of what we are. Yet you're telling me that AC/DC style rock and roll is the only truly honest music out there?
    OptimusUser is Offline
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    Optimus

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    24 Nov 2004 11:57 AM
    No. I said only GOOD rock and roll artists tell the truth. There's weakness in all variants of music. It's just that right now, music is generally, across the spectrum, VEEEEERY weak. Except for maybe Vanessa Mae.
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    Ian Wright

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    24 Nov 2004 12:07 PM
    quote:
    Originally posted by Optimus
    No. I said only GOOD rock and roll artists tell the truth. There's weakness in all variants of music. It's just that right now, music is generally, across the spectrum, VEEEEERY weak.
    NO Only "GOOD" rock and roll artists tell the truth TO YOU. But when you think about it there are very few absolute truths in the universe and what you percieve to be truth is only that, a perception. You seem to be arguing that you have to rock to tell the truth, I'd say that a musician only has to honestly articulate how they see the world to do so. But then again, I like the whiney singer-songwriter thing.
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