PLAYTHROUGH VIDEOS ARE THE FUTURE (NOW); JUST ASK KEITH MERROW
In decades past, musicians and bands lay shrouded behind a curtain of secrecy; music videos brought fans a little closer to their idols, but for the most part band members were still completely mysterious individuals whose mystique was part of their appeal. Even the music videos often added to a band’s mystique. All this changed, of course, with the Internet; all of a sudden fans had instant access to every aspect of their favorite band’s lives through constant updates about studio progress, tour blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts from band members’ personal profiles and instant access to music at any time (the latter of which we really take for granted already).
For younger metalheads who were in their teens during the MySpace era, it must be hard to imagine that once upon a time we did not know what the members of our favorites bands were doing at any given moment, and oftentimes didn’t even know what they looked like. We had to wait for a live show to come around to our area once every two or three years, or at best hope that MTV would decide to play their music video when we happened to be watching. If we were lucky our favorite magazine that we punked down hard-earned bucks for would have a feature where we could learn precious information about a band.
To me nothing is more emblematic of this shift, the transparency of the modern musician, than the current trend of “playthrough” videos.
Not only is a musician giving a song away for free, not only can you stream it on-demand any time you please, but the musician is showing you how to play every note for FREE (gasp! we used to have to pay for these things called “instructional videos” or “tab books” and they usually sucked) and the clip is often filmed inside his very own home. Talk about transparency… such a thing would’ve been unimaginable even ten years ago; managers surely would’ve advised against it. The genre now known as “djent” lends itself perfectly to these types of videos because djent itself is a particularly see-through genre, recorded largely in simple home-studios by amateurs who make no efforts to hide who and what they actually are.
The above playthrough video of Keith Merrow playing “Heart of the Sea Nymph,” which I saw at Got-Djent.com, is what got me thinking about all of this. Keith is one of the best in his genre and has made a habit of putting out these kinds of videos. I eat this stuff up, and I love watching. Look at those chord voicings he’s using… so creative. That’s Jeff Loomis playing the guitar solo at the end, by the way; even Jeff didn’t seem to mind the footage posted on the Internet of him tracking the solo.
Note that I am not making a judgment about whether rock star transparency is a good thing or a bad thing as compared to the mysterious rock idols of yore; just that this change exists. I leave the opining to you… what do you think??? Is transparency a good thing because it shows that our heroes are ordinary dudes just like us or does it ruin the appeal and fun of looking up to rock stars that are bigger and better than us???