Disclaimer: a lot of strong f words. I need to borrow a rock band energy;)
can a rock band inspire professionals, consultants, designers, and even corporate employees?
yes, it can.
Pearl Jam did to me and to many other people that I have been known for more than 15 years. If Steve Job was inspired by Bob Dylan, many of Pearl Jam fans influenced by this Seattle band not only musically but also professionally and philosophically (almost about to say religiously…)
I am quite expecting that the band itself or many fans might be saying “WTF?” with this kind of article, but I’ll write it anyway. Simply because it’s true to me.
Pic from Pearl Jam flickr
So, what’s the Pearl Jam way that inspires me?
1. Love your fans, love your customers, love your tribe
If you form a band, there will be some people who really like you, and many others hate you. That’s the fact. For your fans, love them a lot. For the ones who hate you, fuck them. I mean, fuck them. That’s what I learn from the band who has produced hundreds of live concert bootlegs. Don’t ever spend a minute trying convince the haters to love you…even Jesus, Muhammad, Gandhi, Buddha has group of haters. That’s just natural.
It’s no secret that PJ loves their fans. In the past we have read a lot about this band efforts to “fight” Ticketmaster to make the ticket price more affordable to teenager fans. Having heard/seen a lot of live shows on CD, DVD (only one live concert for me, unfortunately), I could feel the love of the band. It can be felt also when I received the christmas vinyl (don’t have any player to play it) but I just love the packaging and artwork.
If you are not artist, your customers are the one who love you. If you work in hospital, your patients are the ones who care about you. That’s why they COME to you. So, love them back…
love the ones who love you..the people who likes you, who care about you.
2. Love what you do
Pearl Jam as I know is a bunch of people who love to listen to music, love to see other good bands playing live and love to play some rock songs.If you love what you do, then for people who like you, your work becomes a gift.
If you love you do, your works seems effortless…or you don’t feel like it’s work at all..
If it’s true for artist, then it’s true for engineer, accountant, lawyer, janitor…Work can be fun and can make other people happy.
3. Perform as it is the last performance
There’s Pearl Jam’s collection when they were playing in State College around 2003; they play until past midnite just like there’s no tomorrow…There’s the Madison Square Garden DVD showing the arena bumps like an earthquake…Live at the Gorge where the collection is almost 3 CDs of live songs, the 100 songs when they play in Boston for couple days..it’s just like in every performance they try to rock like that would be the last show!
For us who is not an artist, we have our own stage. Our mundane work is our show. Play it like a fucking rock n roll band!
4. Take control your own destiny
When you are climbing the ladder of “success”, there will be a situation that your success will take you away from your original idea of why you are doing that job. And suddenly you don’t feel like it anymore.
A band like PJ, in their heydey will be asked to do interviews (which any rookie would be happy to do it), a lot of interviews (when they will need to answer a lo of repetitive questions, like hobby, or childhood memory), play in a movie, be a celebrity endorser for household products, fake performance on TV and lipsync, be a magazine covers, and many things which have nothing to do with the one that they love: musics.
But their label woud ask them to do it, their fans want them, and of course TV, Magazine, Newspaper, Tabloid wants them to do it. There will be money involved. Tons of money. Every successful band and artist do it! Even now..!
One of the thing I learn from one of the few band who’s still standing strong from the 90s era, they learn to say NO. Its simply because they want to focus on what they like, playing couple songs they like for their fans.
Saying NO is not easy, especially if saying YES means we will get a lot of money to do things that you don’t like. There’s always trade off, but I will choose the path that will keep us sane and sober. No suicide, no drugs drama, no bullshit.
That’s my thinking on Pearl Jam. What do you think?