Monday 14 December 2009

Have Our Musicians Become Common Hussies?

It seems to me that band disloyalty has become gratuitously ubiquitous. Frankly, the levels of tolerated infidelity within most modern marriages are insignificant in comparison to the unclean urges which are dividing our musical community. No one so much as bats an eyelid when a vocalist and guitarist from rival groups suddenly commit the dirty deed together.

For those of you who fear that I may be on the cusp of an evangelical tirade, I am referring to that emerging habit which has infected many of our musicians: the side-project. Granted, side-projects have been an exciting idiosyncrasy of the music scene for decades but now they threaten to become so prevalent that the notion of a traditional band structure seems almost defunct.

Last month witnessed releases from two notable supergroups: ‘Monsters of Folk’ and ‘Them Crooked Vultures’. There is no denying that both of these albums are finely tuned gems but my question is this: Does the quality of the music justify placing a band on indefinite hiatus? Am I alone in impatiently lusting after some new material from 'Queens of the Stone Age' and 'My Morning Jacket'?

There is one man who, more than any other, shoulders responsibility for the fickle-minded attitude of today's rock aristocracy. Jack White has collaborated with more artists than Tiger Wood's has had mistresses. It is extraordinary how one gentlemen has managed to infiltrate our musical landscape with such authority. At a time when Meg White can finally attempt to fathom the complexities of percussion, Jack has been mercilessly upstaging her on the skins of his latest side-project, The Dead Weather.

Perhaps I should relent. Perhaps Jack White has discovered a happy equilibrium where musical differences may not necessarily preclude a band's downfall. In any case, we must concede that side-projects are no longer the novel exception, they are the rule. I, for one, am not yet convinced that this a healthy development.

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