Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Music Is Like Food; Each Has Its Own Audience: Matt Tan, Canada

Matt Tan comes on again, strong and clear. "The test of a musician is... to jam spontaneously take a risk." I agree. Lots of us in Singapore play canned music, copied from the tombs of time. Note for note? But is it true?

Matt was the original Fried Ice bassist from Singapore 60's and writes from Canada.  It's time we listen to what he has to say again. Thanks, Matt.

*Old article, but I wasn't around at that time you wrote this. So I will tune in on my opinion. Music is like food... each has its own audience. This one is pure showmanship, nothing musical? No doubt I agree with Dr Tony S (Australia), who says, "Really? This is exhibition drumming and there are loads of them on YouTube."

The test of a musician is not in playing to a record, it's to jam spontaneously take risk, like Ritchie Blackmore also said of Satriani... "No mistakes, no risk, no magic". We, risk takers are just that, like jazz or experimental rock, we live for that momentarily manifestation of magic... Jeff Beck, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, all do that. they don't play the same song the same way twice. 

But on both sides of the spectrum of music, like food, we have audiences to say, "total disaster, all noise", "wow, she nailed it perfectly, note for note". It's cordeau bleu or brand fast food. Like the chef when given a burger from the super serving millions , spat out the burger. Yet, they serve millions like those rote, copy note for note playing to a record, get millions of view.
We live in world of manicured gardens where lots of ppl adore these trees looking like well-coiffed heads and rose bushes like paint by numbers. And we also live in a world where, like me, and Ritchie Blackmore, and Miles, see beauty in trees, flowers, mushrooms, creatures, etc.. all in disarray and seemingly haphazard. But like Wayne Shorter says of Coltrane's music.."it's not in disarray; it's scrambled eggs, only the eggs unscramblers know how to unscramble the music!"

Finally, to quote your favourite, I am sure, Andy... "You can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself." 

Long Live Rock and Roll ... caprice or paint by numbers.. music or repertory! Whatever turns you on, dude!!! Just do it because it's your song, "Take it or leave it!" 
RITCHIE BLACKMORE    SATRIANI                          JEFF BECK           
Mick Jagger, when the Stones were new and fresh-faced, played at the Badminton Stadium, was later interviewed by a magazine or wherever, when critics called Stones music total garbage or something to the effect , to which Mick casually responded, "I am the musician. When I play, it's mine. Take It Or Leave It. "

Actually, Mick said something entirely different and less diplomatic... 😉

Comment anyone?

Written by Matt Tan. (the last sentence, edited).

When he was in Singapore 60's Matt Tan was with Fried Ice and active with performances.

*The article Matt was referring to:

Matt's Music Connection below:

Images: Google and A Personal Collection.


JT CHEN said...

Hi Andy,

I am not in the habit of attending concerts because personally I cannot hear or see properly.

From the few I have been to, the enjoyable ones were those who have been given a lot of attention and preparation bearing in mind the audience to whom the concert was presented.

The performers can take liberty with the materials they are delivering, within limits. Ultimately, it's audience who determine whether the concert is successful.

If a performer becomes over indulgent interpreting the materials, then his concert is unlikely to be well received.

I heard very negative comments about Engelbert Humperdinck. Apparently, he talked too much about things the local audience could not relate to and sang too little.

H. FRANCIS said...

Only robots copy note for note.


It's OK if the performer is playing music for himself/herself, that only he/she understands. Not for the masses.

Whatever turns him/her on.


New and upcoming musicians will normally copy as close as possible, note for note and even the tone of the guitar especially SHADOWS music, because the SHADOWS fans can hear the difference and will judge you.

Likewise, Elvis Tribute Artistes will try to imitate, copy to the slightest detail in order to be considered good for the hardcore Elvis fans.

When musicians mature they will try to rearrange their own music or style of playing especially the recordings have to contain original ideas, etc. Most laymen will only know you're no good if you can't copy from the original, so even if you can play better than the original artiste, you will not be recognised or accepted by the general public.

From my own point of view, I always want to be different when playing. The image is there and people will remember that person who plays differently.

Just my two cents worth.


I totally agree with Matt. I never mentioned to you Andy, but I've always looked up to JOHN CONTRANE, MILES DAVIS and many of similar attitudes.

Willing to take a leap of faith, true to their beliefs and not give a damn what you think.


As a guitar player, I've always used this judgement.

Show me how you can play a nylon guitar with only one chord and articulate around it. It will reveal the truth.


It's true, a seasoned musician can afford to, cause they have a strong foundation of the music. At the same time, they can feel the song which they play or sing.


Very difficult to comment. To each his or her own. Like Michael Bolton's HOW AM I SUPPOSED... composed by him for Laura Branigan; she sounded fantastic, but he got a good voice but I dont like it one bit.

Michael Buble got a fantastic voice but I think he is a copycat; I don't quite like him, prejudiced maybe.

Just my two cents worth of opinion.


Hi Andy

This is why I say there is no best pickup, guitar or sound. Frankly, there is no real best in anything. The best has to be relative to preference. Just imagine every man loves only one woman and every woman loves only one man - this world will be in chaos.

This why I also keep saying be yourself and stop being monkeys because nobody can be somebody else. One more If you never fail you will also never succeed. Many of my achievements with God's Grace were through mistakes.

I would like to tell what the late Liberace said to me. Liberace: "People often ask me why I play differently all the time. The audience, venue and piano are different. My mood is not always the same. But don't you think it is boring to hear the tune exactly the same every time. If that is what you want, listen to a gramophone record, don't come to a live concert. Mistakes are part and parcel of live music."

From my humble experience, many musicians in many genres often play the same tune differently. Only some exceptions like orchestras you have to follow the music score and in a symphony orchestra, you also have to follow the music conductor.



I original also 🤔🤔🤔🤔??????? how lei ...give tips lah ..heeeee !!!!


Only musicians in the jazz genre plays a tune differently. Some singers do sing a song in their own style

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks to all so much, especially those of you who took time and trouble to write your ideas and feelings to answer Matt Tan.

Hopefully, all of you have seen the video by the pretty Taiwanese who plays the drums. I think she's fantastic. If she can play so accurately with the melody that she hears from her earphones, she can play any melody.

If she needs to improvise, that'll be easier cause she's on her own. And like Liberace said (from Michael Lee) it's ok to make mistakes. It's LIVE.

Thanks also to Matt Tan for this lively round of conversation and chats. He comes from Canada today, but was once a Singaporean and played with FRIED ICE.


Hi Andy

just for some lighthearted humour. Just like Matt said - music is just like food - each one has one's own prefered taste. A few days ago my wife got bored of eating the same nasi lemak, so she cooked clay pot nasi lemak with a blend of Japanese and Korean flavour plus of course the nonya peranakaan chilli paste. We love the taste, but I am sure not everybody will like it.

tan510jomast said...

I think everyone is correct. There is a saying, there is no right or wrong ..
what is right for me, is right ; what is wrong for me, I will shame myself if I can straight-facedly do it, even if I believe it is wrong.

Like you said Andy, words ,.. like Ben Franklin say, mean so little...
we can only be ourselves, and let the world decide when to like it or dislike it..
but hey, we did not invite you to come and listen if you don't like what you read or what we play, or what you hear, ...

the door is over there... come as you leave.

The consensus is obvious, I love durians. I will keep eating durians
even if 90% of the western world dislike the smell.

Same thing applies to my music. LIVE FREE AND PROSPER.

ROCK ON PEOPLE, please remember to come listen to my music
whenever you feel like wrecking your ears LMAO

but I do have classical music originals too...

but I only did that because I suffered from carpal syndrome playing my steel strings all winter. I like classical guitar, but I prefer disarray and electric
guitar because my soul loves imbroglia like I adore a thunderstorm.

Anonymous said...

Who is Jeff Black, dude?