The current RTH poll, which I’ve included here for posterity, raises a point that Townsman Oats is “very curious” about.
Very curious about today’s poll. I’ve been thinking about how members of bands like Superchunk and Quasi are in their mid-40s now, and they still play their music with conviction and in some cases have only gotten better as musicians without losing much of the fire. When The Who were around that age, they were subjecting us to the 1989 tour. Sometimes, it’s not the “indie” bands that need slack-cutting.
I meant to follow up on that poll question sooner. It came to mind over the dinner table last week.
“Dad,” said my 16-year-old son as I took my seat, “do you think indie game developers should be cut some slack?”
Not being a video gamer, this needed a little explanation. My son is a longtime gamer and tech-head. He writes video game reviews for blogs and has a sponsored YouTube channel. He really knows his stuff, he writes well, and he makes more money with his extracurricular pursuits and has a wider audience than his father does. I’m proud of him.
“There are independent video game companies that I review alongside the major companies, like EA,” he explained. “No one has a problem if I criticize a big game, but whenever I post a negative review of an indie game, I get all kinds of comments, like ‘Aw, come on, man, you shouldn’t criticize the indies!’ What do you think, Dad? Do you run across this with indie rock?”
Before I get into my answer, let me say that for anyone who’s ever wondered if it’s worth all the trouble that goes into raising kids, moments like these answer a resounding YES! I had to look away for a second and pretend to yawn and rub my eyes to clear out a tear that was building. As much as my work here is geared to influence future generations of music lovers, these achievements are a hill of beans compared with the influence I occasionally hold over my own children.
“I know what you mean,” I told my son. “This comes up a lot among my music friends. I make allowances for things that can be influenced by a budget, such as production quality, but ultimately the music has to deliver. If the songs and the performances are subpar and show a lack of creativity, if there’s no spark, it doesn’t matter if the record was made independently or not.”
“That’s how I look at it, Dad. I don’t care if the graphics aren’t top flight if the game’s design and story are creative.”