Bob Ezrin GEMS speech

Video 2 – transcription

[Note: If you like to improve your english, you can watch the video on the right and read along simultaneously. If you're German, you may want to check out the German translation. Von dieser Rede gibt es eine deutsche Übersetzung.]

Bob Ezrin: "Maybe it was because I got that applause at age 2, and I became addicted first of all to that. Maybe that's why I have to go out and find other people to play to, and I have to play to other people, because I want that approval and I want that applause. But, the bottom line is, I have to make things. And they have to be great, because I've made so many things now, that I have a certain level of taste, and a certain level of discretion, and I can tell when something is a good thing and when something is not a good thing. Most of the time. And so, when I'm making something that's not a good thing, then I get really pissed off at myself and I have to try to make it a good thing. Or I throw it away and I make something else that is a good thing.

So, that's what fuels me. That's what gets a guy like me going. That's what gets me up in the morning and keeps going all day long, and at 56 years of age keeps me still, you know, sleeping 6 hours, or 5 hours a night, and just doing stuff all day long. Because I have to, I really have to.

I've never sat down and thought about ... well, that's not true, I've thought about it, but I've never been able to do it. I've never sat down and said, "I need to make a hit, because I need to make some money." I've never sat down and said, "I need to sell something to somebody," or, "I need to make a deal on this thing, because I need to make money," and then created something with that in mind. I can't do it.

I know there are people who can, and I'm not saying that that's an impossibility, and maybe some of you in here will become the kind of craft person that can create whatever you want to create, and you can do it on command and you do it for a check.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing. The world needs those. We need commercials, we need TV music, we need, you know, we need stuff. There is stuff that we need that people need to do on command. I can't do it. It's not my thing.

With me, it always started off with just having to do. And what Steve said in the beginning is why I threw my speech away, because in the beginning, there was music. It was our first form of communication. It's the first thing that people did that wasn't killing each other. This is true.

When you ask anthropologists, "What was the first human interaction?" It was music. It was some anthropoid sitting there, hitting a tree with a stick, and somebody else that came over and played counterpoint. And then they were like, "Whoa! That's cool." The first time our early ancestors realized that they were not threatening to each other, it was because they were making a sound that had a rhythm and a melody to it that was soothing. That they were going, "Ooh, Ahh, Ohh." That's music. As opposed to our, "Arrgghh!" That's also music. How we first communicated before we had language was in those sounds, with that rhythm, with that melody, it was music. Music is an essential part of our makeup.

We have internal music. Our heart beats at a musical rate. It's not an accident. Our heart beats 60 beats per minute, it's perfect. It is the perfect rate for dancing, nodding, enjoying. There's just something about that rhythm that spawns music. And the first communication that we ever hear as creatures when we first come up is the sounds that our mothers make to us, which are beautiful soothing and musical sounds. We're used to hearing. We're used to hearing the sound of melody. We're used to being enveloped in the wonderful energy of music. These special frequencies, these special vibrations that surround us, envelop us, and inform us.

So in the beginning, there was music. And that's something that society cannot live without. Music is one of the essential things in life, you know. And they say that, you know, the 5 basic food groups, or whatever you, you know, the 5 senses, the 6 senses, whatever you want to call it. But there is something that people keep leaving out of the equation when they talk about the human creature, and that is music. There is no culture on earth, none, zero, none, where there is not indigenous music. Which is an interesting thing.

So, a little bias, but I kind of think music is about the highest art form that we have, because it is one that attaches itself to our cellular makeup. It's something that is part of who we are, physiologically, psychologically, developmentally in every single way. So in the beginning, there's music. We started making music. And yes, there was music even before there were lawyers. [Laughter] I know that's hard to believe, but it's true.

So we start making music, we make it because it's our nature, and some of us make it then, because we have to. We just have to, have to, have to. And we make it as good as we can possibly make it. While we're in that state, we are an artist. That's the pure state, because we're creating for creativity's sake. And we don't care. And the artists that you admire the most, the people that you look around and say, "Gee, I want to be like that. What do I have to do? How can I break into the music ... How can I be Bruce Springsteen?"

Well, first of all, you'd have to be Bruce Springsteen. But, second of all, Bruce Springsteen didn't become something, he just was. He's a guy who needed to make music, and so he found places to do it. He started off in his garage. Then he got a bunch of his buddies, they started off playing together, they found clubs to play, and they did it! They couldn't afford to do it, nobody was their backer, they had no managers, they had no lawyers, there were no labels involved, nothing. They just needed to play. And they wrote and they played. And they were surrounded by a bunch of other people like them, who also needed to play, and write. And they would go to their shows in between sets, and listen to them.

And they'd learn from what those people were doing. They'd say, "Wow, you know, so and so, you know, Little Stevie's got a song that is just ... I mean ... why don't we have a song like that? We've got to go back and write a song like that!" So they go back and they tried to write something that was as good as that because they were inspired. And they would inform each other, inspire each other, and they would all get better just because they were playing, and they were listening, and they were interacting together. They were creative people, creating in a group, for creativity's sake. Period. Simple. Stop there.

The minute that it ... if at that point in their lives, it would have been necessary to have some intermediary between them and the outside world, between them and their music, between them and each other, none of the wonderful things that they ended creating would have ever been created. Because stuff only gets created in a purely creative environment. It only gets creative in a place where all you can think about, and all you need to do is to create.

With me so far? I mean, this is simple shit, I know that, but it's something ... we forget this. We really forget. We walk around all day going, "If I only had a manager ..."

Well, wait a minute, and maybe you don't have a manager, or a lawyer, or a label because you haven't done step one! [He pauses for about 5 seconds and looks closemouthed at the audience.] Maybe you haven't spent enough time in the garage. Maybe you haven't spent enough time then taking it out and doing it with a bunch of your friends in places where other people like you are doing it because they have to, and where you listen to what they do, and you compare it to what you do, and you try to make your stuff better, and you compete with them, and you work hard.

So that you are satisfied with what you have, and that the audience that is listening to you applauds louder for you than for your buddy down the street, you know, because there's always a competitive thing involved with creation. Maybe you need to be doing that, and worrying about that, and not worrying about the business side of 'music business.'

So, my speech was supposed to be about the past, present, and future. So I'll go fast about this, but this is really important. So this is my underlying principle, and it has a lot to do with why we are where we are. In the beginning, there was music. And it was a live thing, and it was virtually free. People would sing for their supper, literally. There's, for as you know, 'I'll sing for my supper.' But people would just go from town to town, singing music, and if other people liked it, they'd either throw vegetables at them, or give them something to eat. Literally!

And they would encounter other musicians along the road, and they would share music, and compare stuff, and they would get better from their exposure to other people. And then somewhere along the line, rich people would discover them, and become a fan. A rich person, a fan, who would say, "I like that music. In fact, I don't want you going back down the street, and I don't want you going to the next village. I want you to stay here. I will feed you, I will clothe you, make your music here." And those lucky people who were picked up by a patron, sponsor, major label ..."

Continue here with Part 03