Monday, April 11, 2011

Time For A Change

Change, now it’s time for change, nothing stays the same, now it’s time for change --- Motley Crue

The time has come for change. For quite a while I have wanted to take The Rock And Roll Guru to the next level. This is not due to lack of enjoyment with the work that has been accomplished over the last two-plus years. It is more because I feel so much can still be achieved with this blog. You can go almost anywhere to get a lot of the information that I produce here at The Guru. While some of the commentaries and everything that’s in the Best Of section is a product of my best, unique work, The Rock And Roll Guru has moved away from what was originally envisioned.

Sure, all blogs and websites evolve over time. Sometimes their creators can make solid changes and steer the direction of the blog. Sometimes the blog takes on a life of its own and the creator rides the wave to see where it will go. That is what I have done for the last year. The blog has morphed and while I’ve enjoyed some of the changes, there are other areas that left me wondering if I could have worked harder to make it better. I’ve decided that now is the best time for me to step in and really take over.

With that being said, I propose a huge change in the format of The Rock And Roll Guru. Originally, this blog was started so that I might capture a memoir of every concert I ever attended. Anything else that was blogged was pure gravy. Now that most of my concert memoirs have been written, I knew there was a new direction that I needed to go in. With approximately 20 concert reviews remaining (not counting the concerts I will attend this year), the original vision of The Rock And Roll Guru is coming to an end. And now I am excited to start the next phase of this blog.

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to my music collection lately. 90% of the reason this blog exists is due to my undying love for music. I have amassed quite a record collection over the years due to my obsession. But recently, between record reviews and listening to a lot of my favorite bands over and over and over again, I’ve gotten away from my collection as a whole. I’ve forgotten what it was like to listen to multiple artists. I’ve even forgotten some of the albums that I’ve owned.

Recently, I decided to log my entire record collection to understand exactly what was in my possession. This was something that had been done years ago, but I lost that file when the disc went corrupt, and my collection has grown since then. So I went through the entire process once again from album zero and re-entered every album that I own into a spreadsheet. The net result was 2,053 albums. That found me asking myself, how many of these albums do I truly listen to? More importantly, how many of these albums do I truly enjoy?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’ve discovered a way to find out. With the changes taking place to the format of The Rock And Roll Guru, I am embarking on a self made challenge. The challenge is for me to listen to every single album that I own without buying any new music before this task is complete. I call this challenge to myself, the “Every Album Challenge.”

Why The Every Album Challenge?
Recently, I read a book entitled “The 100 Thing Challenge.” In this book, Dave Bruno, author and creator of “The 100 Thing Challenge,” decided to live his life for one year by only owning 100 things or less. While I could never live my life like that, I can do something similar in my music life. “The 100 Thing Challenge” was an inspiration to me. It caused me to take a closer look at my life and my stuff. The one particular area where I spend way too much money and acquire way too much stuff is obvious --- my record collection.

I feel that I do not appreciate my music collection the way I should. I own over 2,000 albums. Before I logged my entire collection, I knew that I owned a hell of a lot of music, but I didn’t realize it was that much. 2,053 is a LOT of records. And how many of them do I listen to regularly? How many of them have I NOT listened to in ten years or more? I probably haven’t listened to the vast amount of my collection in years. Eric Steel’s Infectious? I didn’t even remember I owned that one. Lenny Kravitz’s Lenny probably hasn’t been played since the year it was bought (2001). Jefferson Starship’s Greatest Hits is still in the wrapper for crying out loud! And yet, here I am, waiting for the next great release to come out so I can run to the store and buy it. It’s time to put an end to this madness.

The Sacredness Of Enjoying Your Collection
These days, it’s even easier to own hundreds or thousands of albums. With the internet making every album ever recorded just a click away, anyone can own a massive record collection in a matter of days (whether legally or illegally is a post for another day). Now more than ever it’s how we utilize that collection that matters most. If I were to truly sit and enjoy my massive collection on a regular basis, then all would be well and the Every Album Challenge would not be necessary. But I don’t sit down and enjoy my entire collection on a regular basis. I enjoy parts of my collection, over and over again, and the rest gets ignored, collecting dust, and taking up space in my home or on a hard drive. The Every Album Challenge is bound to change that forever.

How The Challenge Works
Let’s get the basics of the challenge out of the way right now. The purpose of the challenge is for me to realize the music that I already own and to find a way to appreciate my record collection, one album at a time. In order to do this effectively, I really need to listen to every album that I own and then determine whether it truly belongs in my collection.

The overall challenge is simple. I will listen to every album that I own in my collection without purchasing, listening to, or otherwise obtaining any new albums until the challenge is completed. Estimating that I can listen to approximately 2 albums per day, I can safely assume it will take more than 1,000 days (or just over 3 years) for this challenge to be completed. That’s a long time to go without any new music. Yet, that is really the purpose of the challenge.

A lot of music that I own, I had to have it when it was released. Then after listening to it for a couple of weeks to a month, it was thrown into the collection and forgotten. Even my favorite artist’s new albums like Kiss’ Sonic Boom or Pearl Jam’s Backspacer got a few spins, and then were quickly filed away. It’s a lot of money to spend for a small return. The Every Album Challenge is a way for me to take back my music collection and see larger returns.

The Rules Of The Challenge
Since every good challenge needs a set of rules, below are the rules I have set for myself. These rules must be followed during the challenge. If any of these rules are not followed, then the challenge will be considered a failure and I will be placed on a 10 year moratorium from obtaining any new music.

Here are the rules:
• I will listen to every album that I currently own in my collection as of April 18, 2011

• I will not listen to any album more than once

• I will not listen to or obtain any new albums during this challenge

o The exception to this is albums that I receive to review both here at The Guru and for Hard Rock Hideout (

. I will listen to those long enough to write a comprehensive review, and then the album will be placed aside until the challenge is completed

• I will mark each album as “listened” on my master spreadsheet once they have been listened to

• I must truly listen to the album, not have it on as background noise

• If after listening to a particular album, I determine that it is completely junk or something that I will never listen to again, it will immediately be purged from my record collection

• If I fail in any of these rules, the challenge will be considered a failure and I will place myself on a 10 year moratorium from purchasing any new music.

Can I still listen to new music? Sure, if it’s on the radio. I do have Sirius/XM, so I am bound to hear some new songs every now and again. I just can’t obtain a new album, or run online and stream a new album once I’ve heard the single. That would be considered a failure.

What Does This Mean For The Rock And Roll Guru?
Obviously, this challenge is going to be the focus of the blog for a while. Will I still be posting my concert reviews? Yes, until they are all complete. Will I still be reviewing new music? Yes, but it will likely be less for a while. New Music Monday’s will still pop up from time to time and album reviews will still be around, albeit less.

Will I still post Friday’s Rockin’ Roundup? Most likely, but there is no guarantee. The challenge may force me to stop reading about forthcoming releases as to avoid temptation, but I doubt it. I still like to keep my finger on the pulse of the music industry.

Will I still post press releases/upcoming concert information/summer tours/etc? Yes, but again, these will be considerably less. In the coming weeks I know that I am going to be blogging a lot about the challenge and how I am doing with it.

I will be doing my festival week series once again and I will continue with my How To… series as they are written. Elements of The Rock And Roll Guru will remain the same, but the Every Album Challenge is going to be the core focus for a while. I hope that you enjoy it and I hope that you will follow me all the way.

Come Join Me On My Journey
This is not going to be an easy challenge. Just off the top of my head, I know that Kiss is working on a new album, U2 will be releasing new music this year, Pearl Jam is bound to release an awesome live disc of their upcoming festival, and I’m sure that Dave Matthews Band will also release a live album from their four summer festivals. The Cars are releasing a new record in May, their first in over 20 years. How am I going to avoid the temptation of listening to that album? That is why it is called a challenge.

I am excited about the prospect of focusing solely on the music I already own and not rushing out to get the latest disc from (insert band name here). It is going to be quite a journey and I hope that you will stay along for the ride. I’ll be sure to update you as much as I can. The challenge begins on April 18th.

Comments are open. Feel free to post some.

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