Dave Bidini from The Rheostatics once said “the prerogative of any person in a dying band is that every other band sucks” (or something like that). That quote always stuck with me and I often have to ask myself why it is I don’t like a new artist that comes along? Is it because my band went down in flames of what almost was? Is it because my current band, although just a hobby, is not touring the world? Am I getting old? Sure, it’s all part of it I suppose. I will never lose the desire to be a full time musician, I will never lose my slight jaded edge, which saddens me at the success of the LMFAO’s and Foster the People’s of the world, and I will never be able to fully relate with the musical tastes of a 14 year-old. However, I am also a music journalist and I try my very best to not be “that” guy (even though my gut rot for those two bands transcends my own bruised ego or birth date).
ALL THAT BEING SAID…..when I heard Mumford and Sons for the first time I experienced a sense of happiness and joy that my musical Grinch heart usually doesn’t feel for a new artist. What I love about them, aside from the organic way their sound connected with me, is that they are rooted in folk music, melody, and songwriting and are from the school of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, The Pogues, etc etc etc. I love when music like that, when given the opportunity, cracks through to compete with the polished noise of over production or image. Although, there are many who would argue that Mumford and Sons are all about image and have very methodically orchestrated their pop culture infiltration, which is something I was very excited to get to the bottom of, if for no other reason, the sake of my own musical (Grinch) heart.
You’ve heard the saying before I’m sure, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it”? That quote is a perfect warning for aspiring musicians and artists. The overwhelming theme with many of the people I have had the opportunity to chat with who have reached a massive level of success is this idea that they were not really prepared for what the success they wanted might bring and it’s always worse the quicker that success comes.
Mumford and Sons are one of the biggest names in music right now. How big? They are only one of three artists to have surpassed 1 million album downloads in the iTunes era. Five years ago they were playing pubs in London and now they are headlining festivals and selling out arenas around the world. It’s not so much about the level of success however, but the speed in which they got there. They have accomplished all of this on one album!!!!!!
After this episode of In Sixty my impression of Mumford and Sons, a group of guys in their early 20’s, is that they are not so much reveling in this huge success as they are dealing with it. They seem uncomfortable with the idea of fame and being famous, really uncomfortable, and have yet to be hardened by the industry or media to the point where front man Marcus Mumford freely admits being brought to tears over a negative review, something I’m sure after another five years in this business he will be less apt to admit. Are Mumford & Sons grateful to have broken through and become a world famous band? Of course they are. The question that remains is now that they’ve broken through, do they still want what’s on the other side? This is a new band with a lot of things to talk about which I think you will enjoy…but the BIG news is that after this episode of In Sixty, I’m pretty sure my heart grew almost two sizes.
I’m as cuddly as a cactus,
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