El Paso Music Scene

My Ears are Open, So is My Mind

by Malice

I checked out the forum, you know, Fishhookrecords.com, and saw my last little diddy created a slight stir. More of a shake than a stir but none the less, something happened. Let me clarify what I was trying to get at in my article.

I know the majority of you do NOT listen to Power 102 or HIT FM, but I do, as well as KHEY Y-96, KBNA, 92.3 FOX, KTSM, The Bandit, and of course, our beloved, KLAQ. Though their haunted warehouse was lacking on some parts this year, that's besides the point. If you listen to Kanye West, and I'm sure I'm going to be hated on by every little teeny bopper out there for downing their idol, but seriously, his song, "Lonely" is nothing but a remake of a '50s song. Granted he paid the royalties for it, still, its not original. Mariah Carey jumping out with a Notorious BIG song, with her scratchy voice in there. YES, i know that Ashanti did use that same song when she came out with "Foolish" but she put his voice in there too so in a sense, its still Biggie.

On to rock groups. You don't see very many rock groups coming out with hits that were once hits before. Rehits, if you will. Yes, there are cover bands, and hey, cheers to them for giving those who don't like new things what they like. Most cover bands put their own twist to the songs they are covering. Metallica did a bunch of cover songs, remember? In my opinion, they did a great job on that album. They put their own twist to the songs, and James' signature gravelly voice made it that much better. There will always be cover bands, and there will always be hits we want to never be forgotten. So cover bands will be there keeping them alive.

As far as locally goes, I will hand it to a bunch of bands for going for the gold. Yes, I stand by what I said, Epitha is at the top! Show me another band who has performed in tap lights and safety helmets. Show me another band, HERE IN EL PASO, who has wooed the crowd, with their "annoyances" from toys us older people (mid twenties and up) played with and probably never thought of using as musical instruments.

Vertigo Shock, has an awesome industrial sound. I haven't seen too many industrial bands here in El Paso. Maybe my eyes just haven't been open or I'm just too busy. Either way not too many out there. Erotic Death, just to touch on the "goth" bands out there, has a beautifully sad sound. With the violin, the singers melancholy voice, the music though is great. They go out there to be unique, and come very close to it. I've seen touring "goth" bands that don't come close to these guys.

Granted, yes, many bands out here in El Paso strive to be unique but most in doing so, become, as people have said, "cookie cutter bands". Just because you take the singer from one band the bassist and guitarist from another and the drummer from yet a third band and throw in a keyboardist, that doesn't make it original.

Now, then, to the person who said, my ears weren't open, trust me they are. I was making the point more towards the hip-hop crowd, but I guess, it does spill over to other genres of music too. Maybe the need to be original has become such a fad that its lost its luster. Everyone is trying to be what is seen as original, they achieve that mark as does most everyone else, so its not original. You can put a label on any kind of music to try to make it original, but once a label is applied, everyone wants to be it. Especially if it gets great acceptance.

Believe me, I know bands in El Paso that stay on the traditional routes and do cover songs, with out them giving their twists on hits, some hits would soon die out. Big cheers to them for keeping the music we grew up with alive. But for those musicians who take hits, "remix" it, and change the words around a bit so it sounds sorta new but in your head you are saying "I've heard that before, but where", to me that is not music. Perfect example, P. Diddy. How many songs did he "remake" to get himself hits? He even said it in his song, "take hits from the 80's, do it sound so crazy?" Music will always be reminiscent of other music. But to copy a song and call it yours because you changed the words, I don't think so.