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uncle ebeneezer
04-26-2009, 03:37 AM
Hey guys, here's an interview from WNYC, with 2 scientists who did a study on the anthropology of bands. There's some interesting conclusions. Full disclosure: My band Super Duper participated in the study, in the interest of science. Anyways, thought some of you might enjoy it:

http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/bandthropology-soundcheck-friday-24-april-2009/17153856

graz
04-27-2009, 12:31 PM
Hey guys, here's an interview from WNYC, with 2 scientists who did a study on the anthropology of bands. There's some interesting conclusions. Full disclosure: My band Super Duper participated in the study, in the interest of science. Anyways, thought some of you might enjoy it:

http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/bandthropology-soundcheck-friday-24-april-2009/17153856

So as a participant, did you learn anything new?
Is there such a thing as band groupthink?
Or are you just looking for a Yoko as pretext for tearing the unit apart?
Most important, aside from groups like the Residents that obscure their identity completely or costume themselves like Kiss, does the promo photo identify the bands inner soul?
In other words: What does a photo of five dudes with varying stances, looking at different points in the distance mean to convey to me about the music?

uncle ebeneezer
04-27-2009, 03:20 PM
Hey Graz,

I learned that putting your hand in ice water hurts pretty badly after only a few seconds.

As far as the conclusions that she mentioned on the interview, some I'd agree with, some not so much.

Bands work hard and have rules: duh. I mean any organization of people work together for a common goal is gonna follow this pattern right, whether it's a softball team or a band. With a band, usually the stakes/passion is greater so they probably are even more focused than casual hobbyists of other sorts.

East/west: the idea that there is a difference in band's approach towards professionalism depending on geography, I question. My band (and most of the ones I've been in, in LA, are predominantly made up of people who are from the East/MidWest etc. When I lived in Philly my band did take a somewhat more casual approach, but we were also alot younger. Alot of musicians in LA/San Fran etc., have moved there specifically to try to "make it", thus there's a self-selection towards motivated people.

Keyboard players get the most tail: Not in any of the bands I've ever been in. She should have noted that they "report" getting more. And seeing as how they are usually third fiddle to the singer and guitar player, I think there's a fair possibility that they inflate their numbers. Of course this metric is also muddied by the fact that at 35ish most of the musician's I play with have steady girlfriends or wives etc...so nobody's getting laid!

As far as the age-old question of which instrument gets the most girls, I'd say there is no answer. It depends on the personality of the musician. I've known front men who were really introverted or had no patience for groupie-type chicks. I've known guitarists who were math geeks who could barely talk to a pretty girl etc. There's incredible variance, and I have found that the guys who get the most are the ones who were already getting the most regardless of playing an instrument, and vice versa. Granted, I'm sure that changes if you hit the big time and are famous and all that. My advice to any guy who wants to be a musician to get laid: be a DJ. I doubt that it's anywhere near as spiritually fulfilling as playing guitar or drums or singing, but it takes much less practice and those guys seem to do really well with the ladies (if only because of the nature of the scene.)

I don't think groupthink is much of a concern within a band. There may be a tendency to inflate the importance of the band in each members mind, but that is probably a good thing for the pursuit of the difficult road that bands face. Sortof like every team believing their going to the Super Bowl before week 1 of the season. It's an attitude that you probably have to have. Also I'd say that most musicians have inflated sense of themselves anyways, so when they come into a project, it's not so much a product of groupthink, as it is taking the vision of yourself and applying it to the rest of the gang.

In fact, if there was ever a place where Groupthink would have a tough time making inroads, it would be in a band setting. Disagreements are many and passionate. Although everybody wants to get to the same place (sometimes) everybody has their own opinion about how to get there. Sometimes the heated discussions we have in the band, make the bhTv comments section look like a Kumbaya chant, by comparison. But like any social setting, you pick your battles, compromise, make your points, be respectful etc., and everything goes relatively smoothly.

The Yoko phenomenon does happen. I had my band in Philly torn apart by a similar circumstance. And I saw another friend's band in LA go through a strikingly similar (to Yoko) situation. More commonly, though it's a job and the kids that ends bands.

The promo picture can be anything. You definitely want one that captures the spirit of the band. But also, you shoot a ton of them and only a handful may come out really well, so you may do a dozen that are conceptually a better representation of the band, but aesthetically didn't work so they end up on the cutting room floor (or more accurately in the "delete" box.) Ours is a decent representation of us. We're pretty ridiculous and corny and fun, but with some serious messages in there if you can dig a little. After all, we did write a song called Force Majeure (roughly about the urge to run away from our debt), 6 months before the bailouts, and are probably one of the few bands to be linked to Carl Zimmer!

So I'd guess that bands that can afford to take a ton of photos and be all artistic about it, yeah, their photo is probably very thought-out by them or their manager. For the rest of us it's usually getting a photographer friend to do a quick shoot just to get something usable.

Our picture is meant to convey the fact that two of these guys are no longer in the band, which is why we're going to shoot a new picture next weekend ;-)

bjkeefe
04-28-2009, 12:07 AM
I will be back to comment more when I've had a chance to watch the interview, but in the meantime ...

Keyboard players get the most tail: Not in any of the bands I've ever been in. She should have noted that they "report" getting more.

ROFL!

So true.