Music Quotes…

So much better than anything I could’ve ever written in this space. (Don’t worry, I’ll try at the end…hey, would you expect anything less? 😉 ) And you may not even necessarily agree with all of these, but at the very least, they spark the intellect; and with some of them, hopefully the heart. Oh, and I basically wrote this whole post in order to put this first quote in:
  • “There’s only two kinds of music: good and bad. If it sounds good, don’t worry about what it is; just enjoy it.” –Louis Armstrong
  • “Music is melody.” –Johann Sebastian Bach
  • “Melodies should feel inevitable.” –Bono
  • “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” –R. Buckminster Fuller, engineer, designer, and architect
  • “It may take talent to play fast, but it takes soul to slow down and say something…..” –Kenny Blue Ray
  • “After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own.” –Oscar Wilde
  • “There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” –Johann Sebastian Bach
  • “I don’t personally see my work as being dark. What interests me is a balance between light and dark.” –Carter Burwell

(Break due to inundation of musical genius.)

  • “So where does all music come from — be it hip-hop or rock ‘n’ roll? I don’t know. But I do know that all music is praise. It’s praise to the god of your making. Which, in the case of a rock star, might be oneself. Or a woman. Or an idea.” –Bono
  • “Johnny Cash doesn’t sing to the damned, he sings with the damned, and sometimes you feel he might prefer their company.” –Bono, again. Sorry, say what you want about him, but some crazy rad things sometimes come out of his mouth.
  • “If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think they’ll hate you.” –-Don Marquis
  • “The way you write music is at once humdrum — there’s a fridge in the corner with apples and a bottle of milk, and there’s a fax machine — and at the same time you’re waiting for a miracle, or else it’s just the sum of the parts.” –Paul Hewson ( 😉 )
  • “Music…which fills the soul with a thousand things greater than words…” –Felix Mendelssohn
  • “We’re not very religious people, but we are believers. And we believe in God, but we find it very uncomfortable to see what religion has turned God into.” –Edge. Okay, that one’s not about music, but it unfortunately rings a little too true sometimes, and at the very least, is quite historically accurate.
  • “There are no such things as wrong notes, there’s only the look on your face.” –Anonymous
  • “Good music comes out of people playing together, knowing what they want to do and going for it. You have to sweat over it and bug it to death. You can’t do it by pushing buttons and watching a TV screen.” –Keith Richards

(Break as I realize that some of these people have said in one sentence what I’ve been trying to say for 3 years.)

  • “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” –Leonard Bernstein
  • “Tone is a journey.” –MIke Huffman
  • “Turn my delay off? I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question.” –-All guitarists
  • “It just so easily could have gone into the whole big rock guitar part there, and there’s something incredibly satisfying at the end of that tune, by…doing the complete opposite.” –Edge
  • “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” –Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • “When you sing, you have to open yourself up, you have to be raw. And you have to reveal yourself, and sometimes it’s very difficult for me to listen to that back, because it might not be as macho as you see yourself.” –Bono
  • The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another… and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.” –Leonard Bernstein

And then lastly, for my part, well…some folks have been requesting the full song, and I wanted to make sure I got across that there’s a short story e-book to which this song is a soundtrack. So, here’s the full version, with pieces of the story appearing from time to time. 🙂 Or skip it and go read Bach’s quotes again. That may be what I’d do.

Soundtracks & Stories I: She Ran
Free Download at Bandcamp

And, lastly…what’s the point of talking about music, without listening to the songs that evoke the feelings for which the quotes were written:


38 thoughts on “Music Quotes…

    • Sorry guys, these didn’t show up at first! My host is having a lot of trouble the last few days. Anyway…

      Brandon–haha I just can’t seem to help myself. 🙂

      Naal–I know, right? Almost brings tears to your eyes just to read it! 🙂

  1. In a U2 related note, I just finally got a working needle (derp) for my turn table, and I am, at 18, listening to vinyl for the first time. My maiden voyage? War. My verdict? HOLYCRAPTHISISTHEGREATESTEXPERIENCEOFMYLIFE.

    Carry on.

  2. Read this quote from Ira Glass yesterday and it blew me away:
    “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

    “Good music is its own promotion” – John Mayer

    • wow … that is a great quote from Ira Glass!

      one I’ve read in the recent past that has really changed the way I look at tone …

      “Good tone is what works for the song. Your tone forms the basis of each song. Basically, there is no bad tone, just bad uses of tone. What’s good for one song can be bad for others. I use lots of different tones depending on the material” — Joe Perry (Aerosmith)

  3. Do you have any funny guitar quotes? I mean the ones that are cocky and make no sense?

    I did see an ad that someone wrote about their lightning playing speed ability…they were asking for a compressor that could keep up with their playing! haha

  4. rhoy:

    wow … that is a great quote from Ira Glass!
    one I’ve read in the recent past that has really changed the way I look at tone …
    “Good tone is what works for the song. Your tone forms the basis of each song. Basically, there is no bad tone, just bad uses of tone. What’s good for one song can be bad for others. I use lots of different tones depending on the material” — Joe Perry (Aerosmith)

    That is my excuse from now on for buying more gear! ha ha

  5. thought I would share a song from Australias musical poet, Paul Kelly. This guy tell story through song writting with the best of them… this ones powerful on many levels. Powerful because he never descibes the tension.

  6. Wow, some really great quotes and links in here! 🙂 Feel free to post more if you got ’em…very enlightening.

    Also, on the vinyl thing, I’ve got Red Rocks on vinyl, and it’s pretty fantastic. 🙂

    And Paul Walker. lol 😉 His only good role was Meet the Deedles.

  7. Nathan–ya, isn’t it awesome? Really gets me every time I listen to it. 🙂

    Andrew–haha Not the full thing…not sure if that even exists? (Someone feel free to correct me.) Just ‘Under a Blood Red Sky.’ Should be fairly easy to find. 🙂

    Samuel–haha Nice!

    TimH–ooh, nice. I really like that!

    • I might be mistaken, but I think the songs on the Under a Blood Red Sky LP are mostly from a concert or two in Europe, with just a couple of songs from the filmed red rocks show. It’s still a great live album though.

  8. Noel Gallager quote…about bono
    “Before going to see U2 in Manchester recently, me and my girlfriend were saying, ‘I wonder what it is with Bono and God?’ Anyway, we’re sat around a table after the gig and I go, ‘Explain it to me ’cause I was brought up Catholic and it means f— all to me.’ We had a good three hour conversation about his religious philosophy, which is basically, ‘Go to God, tell Him what all your flaws are and say, Can you work with me?’ Which is completely different to the ‘Don’t drink, don’t screw, don’t take drugs and always go to church’ bollocks you get taught in school. I didn’t think a whole lot more about it until two days later when there’s a knock on the door and the recorded delivery guy hands me two books that have been sent by Bono. There’s also a little note, which reads, ‘I don’t know if you were serious the other night, but here’s something that might give you a bit more of an understanding.’ What a f—ing top geezer! His Dad’s on his death bed, yet he still takes the time to go out, buy two books and send ’em to me! . . . I tell you, I’m going to read ’em from cover to cover.”
    –Oasis’ Noel Gallagher [Q/HM, March/April 2002]

  9. Jody–ya!! Meet the Deedles!! ‘Just like Captain Pine is short for…Caaaaaptaaaaiiiin Piiiiiiine.’ hehehe

    Jim–you could very well be right. I haven’t checked in a while.

    Nic Lake–haha A Mother’s Day gift for the ladies who like U2? I think that’s fitting. 🙂

    Matt–wow, that’s a rad quote!! Thanks for that!

    Cam–yikes, that’s a rad one, too. Go Bono! 🙂

  10. For sure! I heard him say that in a documentary, and it inspired this whole post. haha

    Hey, we still need to get together for lunch or something. I’m living in Corona now, but I’m down in the Murrieta area 3-4 days a week. 🙂

    • Let me know when you’re down this way. I teach Tuesday and Thursday nights at MSJC but classes finish this week. Other than that, my schedule is pretty open. Give me a call. My cell is (951) 440-4764. Take care!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.