The internet can be a tricky thing to navigate when it comes to determining the credibility of quotes or lyrics or anything of artistic merit these days. I’m always skeptical whenever I see a viral quote; I think it’s ridiculous that someone expects me to believe that every profound statement can be attributed to Morgan Freeman or someone like that. That being said, I do hope the noted speaker of the following quote I saw the other day is correct:
“When I think about kids watching a TV show like American Idol or The Voice, then they think, ‘Oh, OK, that’s how you become a musician, you stand in line for eight f*ing hours with 800 people at a convention center and then you sing your heart out for someone and then they tell you it’s not f*in’ good enough.’ Can you imagine?” he implores. “It’s destroying the next generation of musicians! Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy and old effin drum set and get in their garage and just suck. And get their friends to come in and they’ll suck, too. And then they’ll start playing and they’ll have the best f*ing time they’ve ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they’ll become Nirvana. Because that’s exactly what happened with Nirvana. Just a bunch of guys that had some shitty old instruments and they got together and started playing some noisy-ass shit, and they became the biggest band in the world. That can happen again! You don’t need a damn computer or the internet or The Voice or American Idol.” – Dave Grohl
While I was never a huge Nirvana fan, I fully appreciate what he was trying to say in that interview. Musicianship is such a hard thing to come by nowadays. While a lot of bands remember to update their various social media once a day, a lot seem to lose sight of what makes a band truly great: Playing your instrument and wanting to be a good musician. If you don’t have that combination of talent and drive to always get better and to just play because you love it, then it doesn’t matter how many followers you have on twitter.
Which brings me to todays sharing of a few songs by one of the hardest working bands out there today. I’ve been on a huge kick of their discography lately, thanks to a conversation with my friend Matt a few weeks ago when he said to me ‘When I take a step back and look at my life, I have become a Lucero song’. I laughed, but I knew exactly what he meant when he said it. Isn’t it crazy how we internalize what we love the most and make it a part of us? I could title entire years and decades of my life by the bands I was heavily into during that time and see how they influenced everything I did: What I wore, where I went and even how I felt about things.
Lucero is a perfect blend of Memphis rock, punk and country and in the past few years they’ve been on tour more days per year than not. 250 tour dates a year is rough, I give them major kudos for that. They’re the only band I know that has managed to charm me with a horn section, love ballad lyrics, a gospel chorus and steel guitars, all in the same song. They will make you want to run away and drink whiskey from hickory barrels, sip sweet tea on porches and drive west down an empty desert highway with the windows down. Every song really makes me want to slow dance with a scruffy man wearing a plaid shirt in a dusty dive bar.
But even as great as they are now, I’m sure that at some point, they sucked too. They’ve released 8 full lengths at this point, and if you go back to the begininning and compare what you hear to their most recent release, you’ll hear the difference that time and dedication makes. The heart of their songs is still there, but the rest of their magic came later. You know why? Because they kept playing. They kept recording and doing what they loved over and over and over until it worked for them. They didn’t wait for someone to tell them that they were good enough or that they had permission to do it, they just kept playing every show they could and got their fans the old fashioned way.
Whether you’re into their particular sound or not, these boys stand for everything that’s still good in rock and roll. That unknown kids can become rock stars in garages. That if you refuse to take no for an answer, and if you work really hard and do what you want, you might just become what you love.