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Thursday, January 17, 2013

When Heavy Music Goes Acoustic & How It Impacts A Musicians Nerves

Back in the 90s, the "MTV Unplugged" series became very popular since it showcased artists in a very intimate setting. Part of the magic within the series was that the majority of artists would step out of their "comfort zone", and many would switch their electric guitars into acoustic guitars. This obviously added extra stress to the artists, since they had to rehearse and many times learn how to play a certain "amplified" musical part without any electrical effects or "tricks".

One thing that all musicians who are not used to performing in an intimate setting have in common, is that they get nervous as hell. Of course they are professionals and usually shine within this unusual environment for them, without letting anyone know how nervous they are. And even though they are used to performing in front of massive amounts of people, they do feel the added pressure.

Take for example MACHINE HEAD's Robb Flynn, who recently performed and acoustic set at a Tony La Russa benefit show (video below). Here is what he had to say about how nerve wrecking his recent acoustic experience was:

"And then the time came to do my set for a 40-to-70 year-old audience that I was certain had no fuckin’ clue who the hell I or Machine Head was. I cracked a couple jokes about it and definitely broke the ice; I was nervous, surprisingly so, irrationally so. Every time I do these acoustic things I'm nervous, I kept telling myself "dude, you headline festivals in front of 100,000 people, and don't even blink an eye, why are you nervous?" I guess the idea of sitting, just me and an acoustic, and just being in the moment, connecting to the lyrics, connecting to the emotion and the place where I wrote it, and the idea that I couldn't rely on my old bag of tricks is... well, scary. I both like and hate that feeling. I feel like I need to do more of it just to get past this weird... I dunno, fear? "

Another Heavy Music artist who recently performed acoustically in New York City and in Gothenburg, Sweden, is TRIVIUM's Matt Heafy (video below). Prior to his first acoustic solo performance at the Moscot Gallery in New York City, Heafy made it clear that he was out of his "comfort zone".

"I’m never nervous with Trivium shows but I’m always nervous with things I don’t really do – like dancing in public, if I had to do it I would be terrified. Having never done a solo acoustic show of songs that no one would expect me to do I don’t know what vibe I’m going to get, I’ll figure it out. I was asking Corey Taylor, who was doing those acoustic shows – I saw him do one in front of 8,000 people in Austria and people were freaking out, he played the Spongebob Square Pants Theme, Alice in Chains and all this stuff. So I asked him how he gets into it and he gave me a couple of tips."

Since Heafy brought up Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR)...

In 2011, we had the chance to catch "An Evening With Corey Taylor". The event was Taylor's super smart way of promoting his debut book "Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good". Seeing Taylor in such an intimate setting without of his jumpsuit and mask, was very powerful (video below). Almost as powerful as seeing his as #8 in SLIPKNOT.

So for those who say that acoustic sets are not Metal: if you want to be close minded about it and not open your mind to NEW/COOL ways for our music to be presented, that is your personal choice. Just don't forget that the key ingredient of Metal is rebellion, which it can be translated into trying things that most are too scared to try.

Mr. Flynn, Mr. Heafy and Mr. Taylor, are all vocalists in some of the most important Heavy Music bands today. If they weren't "Metal" enough, they would have never dared stepping out of their "comfort zone" and rebelling all for the love of music.

Lets take a look at the differences between an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar:

What do you think about this? Let us know at the comments section below.

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