If you ever watched “Kitchen Nightmare” with Gordon Ramsay, it becomes quickly apparent that although a prompt service is really important in the restaurant business, it is nothing compared to what is in the plate. What about the decor, the music, the atmosphere? Those are a maybe. But the sauce with the twang, the tenderness of the meat, the silkiness of the soup, the spice in the stew? Absolutely.
Same in music.
The band has to be good. In music. It has to be good in music. Strong. Solid. Detailed. The arrangements, the delivery, the coherence, the projection, the dynamics, the space, it all has to be there. No questions asked. That’s what’s in the plate. That’s the non negotiable part. You are a musician, your kingdom is sound, great! now, impress us with that: make your sounds worth listening.
The not-as-important-but-still essential part would be the stage presence. That would be the equivalent of the service in restaurant business. If that fails, the meals come cold to the tables. Same as in music if the greatest players play for their feet. Feet don’t clap. Try it. If you play for your feet, you’re rehearsing.
So, it is a trade off, isn’t it? Either you play with a ton of energy, you jump on stage like a madman and your sound might suffer. Or you really, really pay attention to the notes, and you concentrate only on that, but you’re as fascinating as a door knob.
So what to do?
You have to work to make sure that you can play those tunes with a little movement, some energy, some pizzazz! And be super accurate at the same time. A tasty plate and a prompt service is a winning combination. Van Halen used that method to become famous as a rock band when disco was reigning supreme. Nirvana: same thing. Smashing Pumpkins: Same. Etc…