Friday, March 7, 2014

A Little Friday Reminder (Courtesy of PB Wolf).

Last night I was lucky to be invited to the Canadian premiere of Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, a new documentary about the visionary Peanut Butter Wolf and his famed underground LA label Stones Throw Records. Peanut Butter Wolf, who has suffered the loss of two of his signees and best friends - Charizma and J Dilla - has evolved over the years to include some of the most interesting, influential and obscure artists in the hip-hop, jazz, funk and electro game on his label. Wolf, who attended the screening to answer questions, is a quiet industry vet who's undoubtedly been through it all - economic hardships, mainstream pressure, loss, gain - but he's proudly maintained what he originally created in 1996. If there was any message gathered from watching this documentary, it was that obviously, the music industry can be a cutthroat, shitty place. But there are so many people still out there doing what they do for the right reason.

I'm not by any means a struggling artist - or any artist at all - but I do fancy myself a creator (of the non-deity variety). I like to think I'm alive to create anything I can; to make some kind of tiny contribution. A message, a tiny ripple, a sound of sorts - something that some small frequency might pick up on, or might not. Like anyone else in the arts and culture industry - specifically the music one - there's a lot of exhaustion, a lot of confusion and a lot of questioning. Yet, somehow, the answer to why you do what you do, or why you care about what you care about, never changes. Despite some infrequent doubts and ambivalence about the path you've chosen, there's no other logical answer as to what you're supposed to be doing in life when you know your sole purpose is to believe in, promote or support those who are putting something profound out into the universe.

I walk out of my house most nights of the week around 8:30 pm, after having spent the day working. I usually feel physically tired, but absolutely always feel mentally and emotionally alive. Because, why wouldn't you leave your house again to go watch, or contribute to, someone's really special creation? Every time, there's this giddy feeling like I might be about to witness some little bit of history. Even if it's just a little bit of my own history in the making - I guess that has to count for something.

Those who are involved in music should hopefully be in it for the same reason, really, in that they wholeheartedly believe the world is a better place when an artistic creation touches something else. Those of us who work in it may have no realistic understanding of who else consumes it or cares about it the way we do, but we do know that everything would feel so wrong without this seemingly "intangible" stuff; without every single bit of art - and subsequent feeling - that we are convinced is powerful.

So, thanks PB Wolf for the upbeat reminder that there's no question, and always a reason, for what really matters - and why we keep plugging.

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