Familiarphobia

“…in constantly searching for something new, i easily forget how good the greats really are.” -Sam Grawe, Editor-in-Chief, Dwell

Sam, of course, is right. As a musician, as an artist, concept manager, reader, film watcher… there’s always a push for the next thing. Who can i discover and share with friends? What’s the next trend? What’s the next movement? Always anticipating the new classics. To be a good chef, you have to keep your eyes open, maintain a childlike whatnot. Everything is the brilliant the first time- you’ve got to be ready for it. But the classics… i remember

Reading David Copperfield for the first time.

Hearing OK Computer and thinking “but this sounds like everything on the radio today”- then realizing its ten years old.

Seeing Luncheon of the Boating Party in person and only then understanding what the term “Master” means.

I’ve got this familiarphobia that distracts me from the great stuff. I skip on to the next thing and forget to remember and reflect.

Back in Nashville, i had a recurring musical experience. We would be at a friends house, spending time, hanging out, with an ipod shuffling in the background. Often, i would hear a song i didn’t recognize and think, “That’s new. That’s fresh. That’s classic- yet progressive.” and i would check out the ipod to find out what clever new artist i was discovering. And every time. Every time. It was the same band every time. The Beatles. Our friend Chris used to pull Frank Lloyd Wright books off his shelf and show me brilliant stuff- stuff i didn’t know was Frank Lloyd Wright but instantly recognized. Every house in america has a piece in it that was influenced by Wright. Every musician wants to respond to The Beatles whether they realize it or not.

I subscribe (its dirt cheap) to the idea that art, all art, books, music, visual arts, all of it is a conversation. If you produce on any level, you take part in the conversation of your medium and you want to have something to say, something smart. You want to contribute to the conversation. You want to take the conversation further. What did Clapton say? “What do i do now?” in despair after seeing Hendrix live for the first time. Encouraging though, that Clapton would feel that way. Because if he can feel like he has nothing to say, then go on to write She’s Waiting… Well, then.

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