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Bass Musician Magazine: Apr/May 2009 Issue Featuring Anthony Jackson

Anthony: People have to expose themselves. You have a responsibility to pursue and acknowledge whatever is “good” in the arts. If you really believe that the height of American culture is American Idol, you’ve made that choice. That’s now the biggest program in the world. Every country has its ‘fill in the blank’ Idol. That’s what people want, and they’ve made their choice. You have to be responsible for your own education, and that’s where it begins. If you’ve never listened to classical music, the only experience of classical music that you’ll have will probably be on a TV commercial. You have to step out. You have to turn the television “off”, and go seek out other things.

What would happen if people just took the trouble to let’s say go to a classical concert and see for themselves what might transpire… call your own bluff? Nahhh, I don’t want to go and hear any of that longhaired stuff. Just go and find out, you might be surprised. You just might get the shock of your life. There are more and more things out there to get people to simply sit and stare at a screen, and that’s a tragedy. We have free will in this life, and if that’s how you choose to restrict your horizons, it’s your decision.

The people that have made that choice won’t eliminate the rest of us permanently, totally, but right now we’re going through a very self indulgent phase where people basically step into the world and look around and say, “Entertain me, Now”. Don’t tell me I have to study something, don’t tell me I have to appreciate and consider—I’m bored, I’m sleepy, “shock” me. For those of us that are hooked, for those of us that have been touched by the divine gift of art of any kind, they’ll always be a place for us. But it will be more of a solitary pursuit, something that we will do on our own, and that’s OK. It’s not like we’re forbidden to hear these things. We can still benefit, we can still be inspired, and we can still create.

But to reiterate an earlier question of yours, I think we need to pay less attention to “what” we can do. Right now it’s a losing battle. American Idol and Fox News together show how America has been debased. The idea of going to the news and finding out what’s happening in the world, well, you really can’t find out any more. You’ve got to hunt to find legitimate news. And for music, now we have the growth of autotune, which I believe is one of the greatest scandals, the worst scandal that I can remember in my years as a musician. Now you don’t have to be able to sing, “at all”. You can almost speak, and they can make your voice come out with pitch. I can always tell when I’m listening to the radio that they’ve used it, but I also know that the average listener can’t tell at all. You can’t cry about all this, you just need to go pick up your axe and make music.

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