The next book I’m reviewing for Blogcritics is John Taylor’s In the Pleasure Groove. Having been a “Duranie” since 1983, I jumped at the chance. What fun! Taking a little jaunt away from the neuroscience, voice science and Buddhist philosophy I’ve been stuffing my head with for a while now. Leave it to me to turn it into a lesson in interconnectedness. It crept in sideways when I was least expecting it. The prompt was a story Taylor told about having asked the driver of the limousine of one of his favorite bands if he could have the used champagne cork from the floor of their car. Later, he met a fan who’d gotten a cold from him after having absconded with his tissues – um, eewww! Then there were the boots.
Any of you who lived through the eighties will recall those short ankle boots popularized by Duran Duran. I had a pair. All of my friends had a pair. And yes, you know it, you had a pair too… Mine were black. To match the fedora. Yeah. I know.
But I digress. What does all of this have to do with interconnectedness?
The first half of In the Pleasure Groove had a lot of information about Taylor’s musical influences, what bands were his favorite and how each related to the development of the pop/rock genre from the mid-seventies into the eighties. The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Blondie had various influences on the sound palate and musical sensibility that Taylor brought to the band. It was really interesting to me and led to rumination about where I fit into this lineage.
It has for a long time seemed to me that musical influence is not unlike spiritual transmission from one adept to another. If the Sex Pistols, David Bowie and Blondie left pieces of themselves in Duran Duran’s music, how many pieces of themselves did Duran Duran contribute to my musical heritage? How much Bowie and Blondie are left in the mix after it’s filtered through Duran? When I write or sing, I can’t help but be aware that it’s not only me up there, but actually every musician who’s ever meant something to me. And no other band has meant more to me than Duran Duran.
So I asked myself, what about my students? I’m now teaching the next generation of singers and songwriters. How many pieces of Duran Duran will be left in them after being filtered through me? The answer came to me in an amusing form.
What does this mean? In reality probably nothing, but over the past week it has served as a reminder that we are not always aware of the tiny ways in which we influence those around us and those who come after us. It was just a little funny nudge to keep me focused on our ultimate interconnectedness in all of its brilliant variety.