Consider the following Artists who died young while Tommy Lee continues to live:

Jimi Hendrix
Lowell George
Bill Evans
Janis Joplin
Chet Baker
Tommy Bolin
John Bonham
Duane Allman
Berry Oakley
Phil Ochs
Sandy Denny
Woody Guthrie
Paul Kosoff
Terry Kath
Kirsty MacColl
George Harrison
Jaqueline du Pre
Jerry Garcia
John Lennon
Emily Remler
Frank Zappa
About a half dozen Spinal Tap drummers
Keith Moon
John Entwistle
Freddie Mercury
Kurt Cobain
and, of course, Paul McCartney

Music my friends is not about brains. Oh, good music takes brains to create and arrange, but deep down music is really about emotion. To connect it need not be deep, or technically demanding, or any of that. In fact, often a bit too much technical savvy can get in the way of the feeling (see free jazz). After all, even teenage boys have feelings. With music it is the emotion that matters.

Discipline is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end - - - - - Robert Fripp

It is useless and pedantic to argue that the masses don't deserve to enjoy Tool, Nine inch Nails or any a dozen other bands who manage to create both interesting and popular music. Think of all the people they miss. How many Bruce Cockburn songs have you heard on the radio lately? Yet if you go to one of his concerts it takes only about four bars to realize that you're in for something special. How many great jazz musicians feed themselves giving lessons because their albums don't sell diddly? Blues great Charles Brown was a school bus driver when he got his second break, via Bonnie Raitt. Adrian Belew was ready to quit music on the day Frank Zappa called and changed his life. I found my Toy Matinee disc in the cut out bin for $3 when they should have been famous. Why isn't Brittany Spears opening for PJ Harvey? Is it the boob job? How many of you have even heard The Dictators classic "Go Girl Crazy"? Has anyone ever heard of Automatic Man?

When an artist like Tool, Peter Gabriel, or Dave Brubeck breaks through and becomes popular it is because they succeeded as artists in touching some deep emotional response universal to us all. That's a real chore, particularly when DJ's insist that drek is what we want to hear, where payola is slipping in the back door of the music industry. How many albums have you bought where the worst song on the record was the hit single? The fact that stuff continues to get through is a tribute to talent and persistence.

Life is not fair. Deal with it.

If quality guaranteed popularity then Tommy Lee would be stocking cigarettes in a Seven - Eleven rather than shagging former Playboy Centerfolds and TV actresses on the net. If you want to do something, then reward good stuff. Buy it. Go to the shows. And support your local musician There are lots of fine local musicians who just didn't get the right break to make it big. Guys like Cincinnati's Rob Fetters, who now plays with Belew in The Bears. Ever hear of Paul Brown? He's a Columbus guitar vituouso who's been on the cover of Guitar Player magazine three times at last count. Baltimore's Jay Turner creates the tastiest jazz influenced rock over his viruoso bass lines. These people play in bands you can hear for five bucks while drinking reasonably priced beer. And there are lots more of them. In any good sized city or large college town someone is playing in a bar for peanuts. Someone you've never heard of, but will totally kick your ass! Many fine, original musicians fall through the cracks in the recording industry. They're worth looking for, and you can find them if you try. Ask around the music stores and the live music clubs. The good players know who the other good players are.

Let's not complain about the good artists who became famous. Instead, root for the people who deserve fame.

for more Jay Turner go to for Rob Fetters go to