“Let’s leave that for the practice room and come out and play me something tasty.”
Producer Max Norman pointed out one aspect of modern musicians, especially guitar players, that he’s not very fond of.During the 1980s and the 1990s, Norman produced and engineered some of the finest albums in hard rock and metal music. Apart from his work on Ozzy Osbourne’s first three studio albums, he also got the chance to collaborate with Megadeth, Grim Reaper, Savatage, Lizzy Borden, and many others.
But as he said during a recent appearance on the “Talk Louder Podcast,” “music has changed so much.” And, according to his opinion, it’s not exactly for the better.
“Now you get the symphonic bands, for instance, that appear to have no idea about dynamics at all because they have every instrument in all the time,” Norman said (via Killer Guitar Rigs). “I don’t know if you’ve ever been to see a big band or an old jazz band or anything, but a lot of these guys don’t play sometimes.”
Norman explained how jazz musicians will “tell you that silence is more important than what they’re playing,” and he explained how “nobody seems to be doing that anymore.” He then added:
“But that’s very non-dynamic to me. Maybe it’s due to everybody’s social media, and everybody has an attention span of about five to ten seconds. Maybe that’s what it is.”
In many ways, he can also notice a very similar problem with guitar players today. Apart from the dynamics, he finds that focusing solely on technical skills rather than substance isn’t all that appealing. Norman said:
“It seems to me that I have the same problem with today’s guitar players, who are astonishingly good — and all kudos to these guys — but very few of them that actually speak to me, musically.”
“And I can see there’s a thousand of Yngwies, but there’s only one Uli Jon Roth, for instance,” the producer added.
“If you want longevity, it’s not about how many notes you’re playing. It’s really about how beautiful can you make this piece of music. People seem to be going past the musicality and into some technical realm — which is very fine and good, but let’s leave that for the practice room and come out and play me something tasty.”
“Well, chicks don’t like fast solos anyway,” Norman said with a laugh. “So you’re much better off doing the Mick Ronson or Pink Floyd solo than you are doing the Yngwie solo. It’s disappointing because I think these guys are terrific.”
“There are a couple of astonishingly good players who have very good feel, their timing is impeccable, they play with real beauty, and they play astonishing stuff. Those guys are really fantastic, but there are lots and lots of guys who are just a blur of notes, and it’s not speaking at all.”