PropertyOfZack Contributor Blog : : JR Wasilewski
JR Wasilewski of Less Than Jake is back to do a new Contributor Blog for PropertyOfZack, and it’s one of the best he’s ever written. In his new blog, JR discusses the challenge musicians and artists face when releasing new material after a band has already gained notoriety from fans. Bands often find themselves struggling to make music that they think their fans would like to hear instead of continuing to make the music they were made to, which brought them their fans in the first place. JR faces the topic head on and we’re beyond happy that he chose this subject to write about. Check it out below and enjoy!
I don’t have enough tattoos to fit the mold of what many would picture as a true punk rocker. I grew up a little too middle class to say I can fully relate to the plight of the working class. I have, at one time or another, spoke my mind and thusly altered what people think of me. My closest friends think I’m kind of an asshole, but I never say anything behind someones back that I wouldn’t say to their face. Good or bad, right or wrong; I am who I am and no matter how hard I try, I can not be something I am not.
In the same way we can’t be something we’re not, as musicians, we can’t try to make our music something that it’s not supposed to be. I realize this may sound very Yoda-like but seeing that little green muppet isn’t the one saying it, let me try to explain.
I had a great conversation with a young man who fronts a popular rock band while in Australia for the Soundwave Festival in 2011. It’s fun to talk to someone when there is a mutual level of respect for each others work. It makes conversation easy and honest. We talked about mutual friends, the deals they signed, the records they wrote, the career choices they made and their inevitable consequences. When I asked him how things were with his band’s new material, he seemed oddly stressed. I could understand why based on my own experiences, but in my opinion, his band has already done the hardest work: they built a strong, loyal fan base.
Eventually, he said “When we’re writing, I keep asking myself ‘Well, what do they (our fans) want?” My response was, “Have you done anything differently (with your writing style) up to this point?” He replied, “No.” My response?
“Afraid to change, right?”