Music is art (unless it sucks, then music is noise).
And if art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual way,” then seeing live music is like witnessing art being made.
Art happened on tv last night. And it made me happy.
This week, Foo Fighters are the house band for the Late Show with David Letterman and during the first night of residence, with the help of country singer Zac Brown, they covered Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”
Take that in for a second…..
The performance was one of those moments when outsiders are privileged enough to watch people do what they love. Zac Brown looked a bit nervous, but he nailed his part and seamlessly joined the epic rockers on stage. But it was the drummer, Taylor Hawkins and the guitarist, Pat Smear, that played with reckless abandonment and enormous smiles on their faces, making me feel like I was watching a bunch of boys rocking out in their garage for the first time. Their joy was so evident that it made me almost jealous.
And it reminded me that in its most basic form, music is art, and when an artist is doing what they love, then the process and product uplifts those watching and listening.
Actors say if you really want to be an actor, then act anywhere you can. Hone your craft and don’t ever try to be famous. You have to love the process. It’s true about doing anything you love. You have to love the process and not the end result. The result can be fleeting, but the process is on going. No one encounters that more than new bands playing to empty rooms.
I once saw a relatively unknown band play in front of a nearly empty room and it was as if we were in an arena. Their passion and excitement was palpable and intoxicating. It helped that they were talented musicians, but it was like there was an outside force helping them along. They were doing what they loved….making art and sharing it with the 20 people there. A few years later, I saw the same band play at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and once again they pulled the audience into their inner circle. They were an opening band, but the audience listened and their music filled the space just as it did in that small, empty club. It’s exciting to witness people doing what they are meant to do.
And that’s what happened last night on Letterman. A group of people, making art, sharing it with the world and enjoying every moment of it. I am excited to see what the Foo Fighters do with the rest of their week and even more excited about their up and coming show Sonic Highways on HBO.
We should never miss the opportunity to look through the window of true artists doing what they love.