In accordance to my fellow music-bloggers, I rarely write about musical things that I don’t like because why waste precious web-space on shitty music? But sometimes I have to raise a voice because even though usually, I just rant for the fun of it, now and then it’s also to hopefully give some insight into the do’s and don’ts of music/music journalism, as shown here and here. Sure, I am not a musician, so what the hell do I know? Well, I am the fan, I buy the concert tickets and CDs, so even if I acknowledge each and everyone’s creative process, I think there are things that are not necessarily creative but rather self-serving and contra-productive.
Ok, with that out of the way (somehow, most of my rants start with a disclaimer like that, weird), I can start. What is “Gniedeln”? Well, “gniedeln” is a German made-up yet commonly used verb for intrinsic guitar-play that usually does but not necessarily has to occur during a solo. It often comes with the “Gniedel-Gesicht” (“Gniedel-Face”) which is the weird, scrunched-up face that guitar-players have that are highly concentrated. Gniedeln is good, if it’s done well, it can elate a song to dizzying heights. However, there is a huge difference between the necessary gniedeln to help the song and the self-serving show-off of one’s talent. I’ve been to the Zappanale-festival last weekend which can be seen as one of the hot-spots for Gniedeleien all over the place because Zappa loved his instrumental soli. BUT I’ve seen a band there – and I will not name names, because I am essentially a nice person – that played for three hours, played roughly 20 songs and more and had an elongated guitar-solo in EVERY FUCKING ONE OF THEM! People, what the hell?
They had pretty much a guitar-solo for every guitar in this clip
Now, I know that Zappa-fans are generally a little different than us normal-music-lovers because they now and then admire the instrumental/technical skill a little bit more than the actual songwriting which is cool. But I was flabbergasted that everyone loved this band. They played Zappa-cover-songs and had a pretty cool setlist (including “Baby Snakes”, which I really like) and they managed to gniedel every single song into the same 70s 200-Men-Funkband-Jam-Session, it was horrid, it was a three hour torture session of the same guitar solo in all different varieties. Oh, I forgot to mention, to mix things up, they trew in the occasional drum- and hammond organ-solo but only ADDITIONALLY to the guitar solo.
I didn’t even know what to say. Everyone loved them and I questioned my own experiences at every concert ever and tried to conjure up any show that had a freaking 5-10-minute guitar-solo in every single song. I couldn’t think of any show. Oh, and I am not talking about a sweet “Sweet Child O’Mine”-solo that is part of the song. I am talking about the kind of guitar-solo that just stretches the song unnecessarily (especially the funky Zappa-numbers usually gain from their shortness). It was like a Turducken, it was just too ducken much!
So, apart from turning every song into a homogenous mass of gniedeling, a solo-show like this is also uncalled for for one giant reason: it’s never about the song but about the single musician trying to show off. Essentially, you’re watching a three hour masturbation session on the guitar which might be a little better than watching a literal three hour masturbation session but it’s still on the list of things I’d rather not do.
Yeah, just had to share to overcome the trauma. Thanks for listening guys.