YouTube can certainly be a Vast wasteland of absolute time-wasting dreck. Every now and then I’ll stumble upon something that makes me think 1) what on the vast green earth would possess someone to film this and 2) what in the vast blue ocean would make someone post it (and then I feel a little bit like an idiot for watching any of it…duh)? There’s actually a video of someone gently slapping themselves in the face. For 24 hours. I kid you not. There are hours upon hours of “marble racing”…that’s where you scrape a line down a sandy slope and then roll marbles down it and run along filming them and providing play-by-play like it was NASCAR or something.
I seriously don’t get it. I’m a pretty open-minded (and reasonably twisted) guy but about 90% of what I see on YouTube makes me shake my head and look to the heavens.
There are, however, hidden gems. Pretty much every album or concert ever made is in there somewhere and I love playing old classic Rock through my bluetooth boom box in the workshop. I’ve also found some amazing things converted from old VHS tapes that I never knew existed. When I was listening to my favorites back in the 70’s they were already polished and had sound guys and concerts sounded a lot like albums and it was great, but there are a lot of members of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame who have early stuff floating around out there. Really early. Like Rush in a high school gym.
That particular recording got me thinking. When I first heard Rush they were already what used to be referred to as “power trio” and they had sound effects and the drummer had a lot of techno-toys and they were out on the fringe of progressive rock. This tape is from 1974 and they’re just 3 guys playing on a local TV show in a secondary school (that’s Canadian for high school…eh…). It’s raw and simple and goes straight to the roots of the garage-band-on-the-rise and I love it. Peel back all the layers and go to the source and it’s great. (Of course growing up and selling 40 million albums ain’t all bad but they had to start somewhere.)
The thing it got me thinking about was that purity. Whether you care for their music or not, it’s still right at the heart of what the musicians are, where they came from and what they tried to do BEFORE they actually did it.
That’s where we are when we stand up and sing in a choir. No synthesized stuff, just accompinament and voices in unison or harmony. No fancy recording wizardry. We rehearse and try to perfect it and put as much spit-and-polish on it as we can but when we stand and sing in front of an audience there’s nothing to hide behind. It’s just us being us and the honesty of it is a lot of what makes it work.
Heck, we’ve sung in a parking garage…you can’t get a whole lot more simple than that!