Music inspires us. It’s a communication of joy, regret, anger, uncertainty, fear, want, and sadness. It gives the listener some verification or understanding of a feeling, or maybe the listener hears the words that they themselves could not say. It is an artistic way of communication that inspires the world.
Bands or artists have been inspired by music before they began to inspire. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s not.
Music is admired for it’s originality and unique style, but all bands or solo artists draw inspiration from other music done previously. The artists are not stealing the band material or copying, but creating something new and original. Originality is the ability to take previously made music, and turn that into a new or more developed piece.
One of my favorite bands, Sleater Kinney, was a garage band. They made music for fun and friendship and love. They released seven albums since 1995 and are one of the most adored bands. Carrie Brownstein is the lead guitarist but also a famous comedian and has a show with Fred Armisen (who I met in the parking lot of a Sleater Kinney concert). Recently she released a memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. Within the first chapter she wrote this about inspiration:
“Everyone who plays music needs to have a moment that
ignites and inspires them, calls them into the world of sound
and urges them to make it.[…] For me, however, I needed to
be there– to see guitarists like Kim Warnick and Kurt Bloch
of the Flashbacks or Doug Martsch of Treepeople play chords
and leads, or Calvin Johnson and Heather Lewis from Beat
Happening […] I could watch them play songs that weren’t
coming out of thin air or from behind a curtain. I needed to press
myself up against small stages, risking crushed toes, bruised
sides, and the unpredictable undulation of the pit, just so I could
get a glimpse of who I wanted to be.” – Carrie Brownstein
As I stated before, some music has obvious influence from previous music or other sources. One example of this is the Beatles. They are one of the most well known groups throughout history. Their music truly inspired millions of musicians. They were inspired by many famous artists like Elvis and the Everly Brothers, but the obvious inspiration comes from Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The Beatles decided on their name from the Crickets.
“I was looking for a name like the Crickets that meant two
things, and from Crickets I got Beatles. And I changed it to
B-E-A because it didn’t mean two things on it’s own as B-
double-E. So I changed the E to A and it meant two things–
when you said it people thought of crawly things, and when
you read it, it was beat music.” -John Lennon
Some bands or artists draw inspiration from other things besides music. Another band I’m enjoy is the Mountain Goats. In the album, The Life in the World to Come, each song is named after a verse in the Christian Bible. The songs aren’t necessarily about the Bible, but each John Darnielle, the singer of the Mountain Goats, explains that he chose those verses because each of those verses teaches a hard lesson.
Inspiration comes from many different sources but each musician is inspired by something, whether it’s music they grew up with, bands they admired, or from something they loved. Inspiration is the guide that leads musicians to their future.