What Would John Doe Do? – Songwriting Vision
John Doe, the founder of the seminal Los Angeles punk group X, solo artist and actor answers questions from the KnowTheMusicBiz.com community members in the WWJDD? blog.
A Question from Donna in Princeton, NJ
I love your blog. I’m a writer and this morning I was thinking about how I strive to reach this ideal with my words…this fantasy vision inside my head…I’m wondering if that’s what you have inside your head when you write a song and which of your songs come closest to that vision? I’m also wondering, what do musicians talk about when they get together? Different venues? Life on the road? Management? I’ve found that writers talk more about business than art, but maybe that is different with the people you know?
Thanks for your time,
To answer “what do musicians talk about” totally depends on what genre yr referring to. From my experience it usually revolves around other tours, preposterous situations, war stories, diva demands, amazing venues, bragging about how many states-countries-gigs completed in the shortest number of days, etc. Only musicians who know each other well will ask advice on business matters but that does happen. There also is a fair amount of exchange regarding other bands, records or performances so that people are informed or turned on to something worthwhile; new or old. Then I suppose there are others who just talk about drugs, food & sexual conquests or how much they spent on “bling”.
I’ve found that attempting to realize a “vision” is usually disappointing. I tend to begin w/ a moment or thought & let it become what it’s going to become as it takes shape & hopefully is complete. Here it’s best to know when something is “done” & when it needs more attention to be the best song it can. I’ll take a certain piece of writing & elaborate on that or some music that has stayed w/ me for a while & complete that. That’s specific to writing a song or piece of music. Then there is a whole other layer of creative process that happens during recording. This involves the beauty or trials of working w/ other players, singers, engineers, producers & finally mixing; etc. This is where the “vision” thing can get particularly contentious. It seems more rewarding to allow room for the unexpected to make the piece better than what you might’ve envisioned. Expectations are most often impossible to realize.
I hope this helps.
and as always, thanks for writing,
If you have questions for John Doe about music, the music business or life feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on John Doe check out theejohndoe.com or YepRoc.com .