Ass-power. You need it. You want it. It’s both the easiest and sometimes the hardest thing to bring to your practice. You can have some ass-power for your very own. Without it you’ll go nowhere. No, it’s not an alternative energy plan that involves harnessing donkeys.
Author, screenwriter, and music critic Nelson George visited with fellow music critic/gurus Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis in a recent Sound Opinions show. If you don’t know about this show, it’s a great podcast to subscribe to. These guys are smart and know their stuff and introduce a lot of great new music and give informed insight into well-known and lesser-known artists.
Anyway, Nelson George has written several books on music (Hip Hop America, The Death of Rhythm and Blues, Buppies, B-boys, Baps, and Bohos: Notes on Post-soul Black Culture), the most recent of which is his memoir City Kid: A Writer’s Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success.
In an interview Nelson George did with Quincy Jones, the legendary producer (who also played trumpet w/ Dizzy Gillespie, btw), Quincy Jones said that one reason Michael Jackson was so much more successful than another fairly well-known artist Mr. Jones produced was that Michael Jackson had Ass-Power. What this means is something many writers know: you have to be willing to sit your ass in a chair and work for several hours a day. It’s that simple.
So half the challenge is just showing up to the practice room. The other 45 percent has to do with exactly how you practice, what this blog and the future book is all about, and then the last 5% is luck. Do you have ass-power? Can you sit down for a couple hours a day and practice? How about 20 minutes? Even that sliver of practice time, done every day, will add up. In a year, that’s 120 hours of practice. You’ll get better, guaranteed. Almost no matter what you do! But if you take the approach that veteran musicians use, you’ll improve even faster. More on that as we go.
Stay tuned! Work on your ass-power. Be kind to donkeys.