Gigging Advice

It includes an F-bomb or two, but the screen legend's speech to college graduates highlights the inevitability of rejection and how you've got to keep working.

"Time goes on. So whatever you're going to do, do it. Do it now. Don't wait." —Robert De Niro

Here's a true music industry story that's stuck with me for 15 years. I'm keeping this anonymous because the story involves some transgressions by formerly powerful people, and although I like the idea of karma in action, I'm no snitch. As a rule, I avoid saying negative things about anybody, whether it's deserved or not.

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Photo courtesy of Stephanie Neumann Pica Music - Promotion & Werbung

Choose wisely. Your fate as a guitar-playing clown or a sonic genius hangs in the balance.

We all know that, regardless of the genre we associate them with, our musical heroes typically have a pretty wide array of influences that affected their growth as original songwriters. But you might be surprised just how different their most treasured music often is from the genre(s) they play. This has been a fascinating point of interest for me over years of interviewing musicians, but over the last several months it's struck me even more as I've interviewed all sorts of players for our Big 5 video series. One of the five "big" questions is about their desert-island album, and whether I'm talking to someone like Dream Theater's John Petrucci or Melissa Etheridge or Andy McKee or Cradle of Filth's Richard Shaw, I'm often kind of blown away by what they choose.

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Photo 1: Despite the ornamental look of this golden Celestion speaker from 1924, its main components are essentially the same as today's.

Courtesy of Wikimedia

A rumination on the history of bass speakers and how they compare to their guitar-amplifying kin.

Musicians rarely see the huge effect a speaker or cabinet has on their sound, as our relationship to our instrument is way more emotional and intense than with what comes after the output jack. In 1915, Peter Jensen perplexed those who attended his Magnavox speaker demonstration with the amplification of a human voice. The construction of that speaker—a conical membrane and a voice coil in a magnetic field—is principally the same as what we use today, although the Celestion speaker from 1924 looks quite different to what we are used to seeing (Photo 1). The tonal goals in the world of hi-fi speakers are pretty clear: a wide frequency range and high linearity, which is far from what our rigs require.

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